Insights

General Politics

Money, power and respect in the EU’s latest crisis

General Politics

Anikó Zsebik
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After relief at the agreement on EU spending priorities for 2021-27, the Brussels establishment was caught off-guard last week by vetoes from Hungary and Poland over the obscure-sounding “rule of law conditionality”. A requirement of the European Parliament and of a qualified majority of member states, this affects a tiny proportion of the €1.8 trn package, effectively…

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Nature-based solutions: cost-effective and credible?

Sustainability

Charlotte Roberts
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Not all solutions for mitigation and adaptation to climate change are technological. So-called ‘nature-based’ solutions are rapidly increasing in prominence, successfully breaking through conservation circles to mainstream policy since the 2019 Madrid UN climate conference.

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Adaptation and resilience: Who builds? Who pays?

Sustainability

Elizabeth Beall
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Over the last few years, climate finance investment has focused on mitigation over adaptation and resilience. A few things are probably driving this. One is the sense that adaptation and resilience are responses to potential physical changes still in the relatively distant future. Mitigation, by contrast, is seen as an urgent race to reduce emissions to forestall more…

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The race for climate finance leadership

Sustainability

Mollie Brennan
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Last week, the City of London Corporation and the UK Green Finance Institute hosted a ‘Green Horizon Summit’. At the event, a package of proposals was unveiled by the UK government aiming to cement the UK as a global centre for green finance and signal something of the UK government’s post-Brexit vision for the City of London. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s…

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What decisions are needed for the UK to achieve its hydrogen ambitions?

Energy & Commodities

Lilah Howson-Smith
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With the prime minister set to make a set-piece speech next week on how the UK meets its net-zero commitment, the big question remains how far he will emphasise the importance of hydrogen to the country’s green ambitions. Pressure has been ratcheting up in the context of Europe and China committing substantial funds to hydrogen in their recovery plans, but the UK has not…

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The pitfalls of vaccine salvation

General Policy

Tom Smith
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As clinical trials for covid-19 vaccines begin to produce sufficient evidence to begin the regulatory approval process and scale-up manufacture, governments, especially in the UK, face a whole range of new challenges. Many will resemble those of the earlier phases of the pandemic and will be shaped by the experience of managing the first peak and the subsequent attempts…

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The case for WHO reform

General Policy

Beatrix Thompson
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The World Health Organisation has not performed well in response to the covid-19 crisis. In a video-conference discussion of EU health ministers on October 30th, it was unanimously agreed that the WHO was not fit for purpose and required an overhaul to boost transparency and accountability. With the WHO’s largest contributor, the USA,…

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Guinea, Tanzania, and Côte d’Ivoire: three observations from October’s elections

General Policy

Isabelle Trick
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While all eyes have been on the US presidential elections, Guinea, Tanzania and Côte d’Ivoire have all also elected presidents in the last three weeks. In all three countries, the incumbent presidents retained their positions and increased their votes: Alpha Condé won 59.49 % in Guinea; John Magufuli won 84.40% of the vote in Tanzania; Alassane Ouattara won 94.27% of the…

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Climate policy - coming to your plate

Sustainability

Charlotte Roberts
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On November 3rd, Global Counsel hosted a panel discussion on the role of diet in achieving climate objectives. The discussion focused on how likely we are see forthcoming UK policy aimed at addressing a dietary shift and whether we can expect to see governments increasingly intervene in this area in the same way they do in energy or transport.

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Three views on the US election

General Policy

Joe Armitage
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At this point - with Joe Biden likely to win the presidency - the UK government has probably started to build and strengthen relationships with individuals in Biden’s team who are set to lead the transition process. However, given that President Trump still has a slim chance of successfully contesting the outcome in key states and remaining in office, any such outreach to…

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Democratic déjà vu? Assessing the prospects of US presidential election litigation

General Policy

Ben Bassett
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As Democrats and Republicans anxiously await the final tallies of mail-in and absentee ballots in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, and North Carolina to decide the closely fought US presidential election, both sides are bracing for what will come next: an onslaught of litigation that could make the controversial Florida recount during the 2000 election look like a garden…

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US Election: A tight race and no landslide for Biden and Dems tempers progressive agenda both domestically and abroad

General Policy

Erin Caddell
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Whatever the outcome of America’s election – which for both the presidency and Senate remained too close to call as of early Wednesday morning in the US – the blowout victory that Democrats were hoping for did not materialise. This has implications for both US domestic and foreign policy regardless of the final outcome. Both are likely to be more moderate and more…

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General Politics

Tech and trade: how hot is the Israel-UAE peace deal?

General Politics

Thomas Gratowski
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Did Israel get a sweet deal with the United Arab Emirates, and the latter little in return? Critics would say yes. Abu Dhabi broke with the traditional Arab position, requiring the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in return for recognition. All Israel had to do was to suspend its rather dubious annexation plans. But this criticism…

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Transatlantic reprieve? Implications of a Biden presidency for EU-US trade

Trade & Manufacturing

Alessandro Gangarossa
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This week’s decision by the EU to hold off on retaliatory tariffs against US subsidies to the aircraft manufacturer Boeing is a sign of Brussels’ interest in working towards resetting transatlantic relations after the US elections. The possibility of a new president in the White House potentially means reduced trade tensions with the EU. But those thinking that this reset…

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EU farm policy reform: what’s on the table?

Sustainability

Mollie Brennan
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Last week’s extensive negotiations in the European Parliament have set the tone for how far the EU is willing to integrate its stated sustainability objectives with agricultural policy. The two areas of policy have often been at loggerheads, but the Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy released earlier this year had created some expectation that things may be shifting…

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China’s engineered economic recovery

General Policy

Jens Presthus
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The dust has now settled on China’s latest GDP figures. As usual, even without going into questions about the reliability of official numbers, the data dump has led to some confusion. Strong headline GDP growth has been widely reported, both inside and outside of China – pointing to a strong recovery. However, while China without a doubt currently is doing better than…

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A brave new world: the limitations of the G20 debt suspension extension

General Policy

Isabelle Trick
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At the beginning of the year, many low- and middle-income countries were already struggling with increasingly large debt burdens. Then, these debt levels collided with a global health emergency and an economic crisis – reducing access to finance just when it was needed most. Given the ongoing impact of the pandemic and what looks like an increasingly bumpy and uneven…

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General Politics

Armenia-Azerbaijan: two global implications of the conflict

General Politics

Frederick Michell
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One of the world’s longest running conflicts has once again erupted, causing devastation and instability across the South Caucasus. For citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous region situated between Armenia and Azerbaijan, their home has once again become a warzone with no sustained peace in sight. But this conflict also extends beyond the region, creating wider…

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