Friday, February 3, 2023

Climate, COVID, China: Key points from the online Davos event

GENEVA ( Associated Press) – Government and business leaders are calling for cooperation on one of the world’s biggest issues – climate changecoronavirus pandemic and economic reform – at the World Economic Forum’s virtual gathering.

Speeches and discussions of the choice of Chinese President Xi Jinping And UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres went online this week as COVID-19 concerns delayed the forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Critics routinely blame the Davos event for hosting a high-minded elite, but often empty goals are deemed out of touch with regular people.

As always, big ideas were debated, but no concrete deal emerged. The Forum announced on Friday that it plans to hold its individual meeting on May 22-26 after a delay of two years.

Here are excerpts from the online event:

Climate change

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed to use his country’s Group of Seven presidencies to lead industrialized nations to a “paradigm shift in international climate policy”.

The new head of Europe’s biggest economy said on Wednesday that the “climate club” would agree on “combined minimum standards”. Its goals are already part of the Paris climate agreement, which includes limiting global warming to 1.5 °C (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Scholz said the club could try to achieve those goals by “pricing carbon and curbing carbon leakage” – designed to prevent companies from relocating carbon-heavy industries to countries with looser emissions regulations. Is.

Others urged help for developing countries. Guterres called for debt relief to wean them off coal, and Latin American leaders said money was vital to a green agenda.

With Africa “most negatively affected” by climate change, although the continent contributes “the least”, Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday asked developed countries to provide $100 billion annually to support climate efforts in developing countries. Asked to stay committed to his pledge to do so. ,

Meanwhile, a panel with US climate envoy John Kerry and billionaire Bill Gates said the innovations Not invented or widely used, would still help reduce emissions. The idea is popular in some circles, but also divisive because technologies such as carbon capture are expensive and energy intensive.

covid-19 pandemic

Global efforts to tackle inequalities in health crisis A line was through.

The World Health Organization’s head of emergencies said quickly addressing large disparities The worst the pandemic could mean in vaccinations and medicines – deaths, hospitalizations and lockouts – is soon to end.

Dr Michael Ryan said the virus may never end, but “we have a chance to end the public health emergency this year if we do the things we are talking about.”

WHO calls COVID-19 vaccination imbalance between rich and poor countries A catastrophic moral failure. More than 10% of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated.

Nigeria’s vice president said on Friday that “limited resources mean that a full rollout of vaccines could take “many years,” and support for donations and local production of supplements is needed.

China’s president on Monday announced plans to send an additional 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to other countries, including a donation of 600 million doses to Africa.

In another panel, Moderna CEO Stephen Bansell said the vaccine maker was working on a single-shot booster for both COVID-19 and the flu, adding that it could be ready in some countries next year.

Global Economy

top economic issues An increase in consumer prices and a possible interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve this year, which will have ripple effects around the world due to the role played by the US dollar.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva warned in a panel discussion on Friday that many of the poorest countries are facing debt problems as their economic recovery lags behind the developed world. The Fed’s move could strengthen the dollar, leading to larger debt in local currencies.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a separate address that the Biden administration’s pandemic relief and infrastructure plans has accelerated economic development. He underlined the need for a global minimum corporate tax That more than 130 countries have supported at a time when the tax burden has shifted to middle-class workers.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the 19 countries that use the euro were in a different stage of recovery than the US and suggested that temporary factors such as higher energy costs could fuel inflation in Europe.,

During the economy panel, she said the bank is “trying to figure out how long this will last” and that it will act to combat high inflation, including raising interest rates, once “norms”. satisfied”.

The bank plans to end its efforts to boost the pandemic-hit economy in March. Compared to the US, Europe lacks “excessive demand” after major lockdowns, which will drive prices up longer, she said.

China’s negotiating points

Urging the world to share vaccines, fight climate change and promote development, Xi also took a dig at the United States in a recorded speech.

“We need to abandon the Cold War mentality and look for peaceful coexistence and win-win results,” Xi said through a translator. “Protectionism and unilateralism cannot protect anyone. … Worse are the practices of hegemony and bullying, which run against the tide of history. ,

These are words that Beijing has used to describe US policy and actions amid tensions over Taiwan, human rights and other issues. Xi touched on standard topics, including responding to complaints from trading partners by promising to open China’s state-dominated economy widely to private and foreign competition.

He also said China was “ready to work” with other countries on climate change but announced no new initiatives and provided no resources. He said it is up to the developed countries to provide money and technology.

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