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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 06/05/2021

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 06/05/2021

The Washington Post – Dan Diamond, Tyler Pager and Jeff Stein / Biden commits to waiving vaccine patents, driving wedge with pharmaceutical companies

  • The Biden administration on Wednesday threw its support behind a controversial proposal to waive intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines, with liberals framing it as a necessary bid to speed the shots to billions in the developing world, while the drug industry warned of devastating effects to vaccine production.
  • U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the United States will now move forward with international discussions to waive the protections for the duration of the pandemic. U.S. officials helped block a World Trade Organization proposal that was introduced last year to stop enforcing patents for coronavirus-related medical products.
  • “This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures. The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines,” Tai said in a statement.
  • The drug industry said that the move would backfire, with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America predicting that allowing more manufacturers to begin making shots would spark new competition for limited ingredients, slow down existing production and even lead to counterfeit vaccines.
  • The New York Times – Thomas Kaplan, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Rebecca Robbins / Taking ‘extraordinary measures,’ Biden backs suspending patents on vaccines

The Guardian – Lisa O’Carroll and Daniel Boffey / UK sends gunboats to Jersey as 80 French vessels gather in St Helier

  • HMS Severn and HMS Tamar were deployed a mile off the coast of Jersey while observing the French flotilla amassing at about 6am south of the Channel Island capital before it headed into the port just before 7am.
  • Downing Street said the gunboats had been sent to “monitor the situation” but some criticised the decision as heavy-handed gunboat diplomacy designed to boost the Conservatives credentials on the day of local elections across Britain.
  • Up to now they have been allowed fish under the 200-year-old Bay of Glanville treaty, which Jersey Fishermen’s Association president, Don Thompson, says allowed them authorise their own fishing licences leading to declining fish stocks.
  • Chris Le Masurier, the owner of the Jersey Oyster Company, described conditions placed upon the new post-Brexit fishing licences issued to Breton and Norman fishers as “insulting and discriminatory”.
  • Politico – Maïa de la Baume / 7 takeaways from Michel Barnier’s Brexit book

The Guardian – Warren Murray / Falling Chinese rocket to crash to Earth on weekend as US calls for ‘responsible space behaviours’

  • The White House has called for “responsible space behaviours” as a Chinese rocket, thought to be out of control, looks set to crash back to Earth on Saturday, US time.
  • The US Space Command is tracking debris from the Long March 5B, which last week launched the main module of China’s first permanent space station into orbit. The roughly 30-metre (100ft) long stage would be among the biggest space debris to fall to Earth.
  • China’s space agency has yet to say whether the rocket is being controlled or will make an out-of-control descent. The Long March 5B rocket carried the main module of Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, into orbit on 29 April.
  • The Global Times newspaper, published by the Chinese Communist party, has claimed the rocket’s “thin-skinned” aluminium-alloy exterior will easily burn up in the atmosphere, posing an extremely remote risk to people.
  • Time – Jeffrey Kluger / A massive Chinese rocket will fall uncontrollably back to Earth soon. It (probably) won’t land on you

Euractiv – Kira Taylor / Eleven EU countries call to ban fossil fuels from trans-European energy infrastructure

  • Eleven EU countries have signed a declaration calling on the European Union to stop funding fossil fuels under its trans-European energy infrastructure regulation (TEN-E), which is currently under revision.
  • The non-paper – EU jargon for an informal document – follows discussions in Brussels on Wednesday (5 May) about the contribution of Europe’s infrastructure to decarbonisation and the green transition.
  • The signatories – Austria, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Luxembourg, Latvia, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden – emphasise the role that decarbonising the energy system will have in reaching Europe’s 2030 and 2050 climate goals.
  • It adds that the regulation must contribute to developing the framework for “a viable pathway away from the reliance on fossil fuels,” particularly as investments made over the next few years will have an impact for decades to come.
  • Bloomberg – Jonathan Gilbert / Carnivorous Argentines told to forgo beef as climate fears grow

Today’s science:

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and EsadeGeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.

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