The Guardian – Samantha Lock / WHO to assess new highly mutated Covid-19 variant as countries ramp up health checks
- The World Health Organization will meet on Friday to assess a new variant detected in South Africa that is feared to be the worst Covid-19 variant yet identified.
- The meeting will determine if the B.1.1.529 variant should be designated a variant of “interest” or of “concern”. The variant, which was identified on Tuesday, initially attracted attention because it carries an “extremely high number” of mutations.
- Some world leaders have hastily responded by issuing new precautions and travel restrictions, while markets around the world saw falls sparked by the uncertainty.
- Indian health officials on Friday put states on alert, asking them to carry out “rigorous screening and testing” of travellers who had arrived from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, and to trace and test their contacts.
- The New York Times – Lynsey Chutel, Andrés R. Martínez and Mike Ives / South Africa detects a new variant, prompting new international travel restrictions
Euractiv – Benjamin Wehrmann, Nikolaus J. Kurmayer and Sören Amelang / Next German government aims for coal exit in 2030
- The new German government has agreed to pull forward the country’s coal exit, “ideally” to 2030 from 2038, and rapidly speed up the rollout of renewables, reported CLEW.
- The “traffic light coalition” formed by the social democrat SPD, the Greens, and the business-friendly FDP, must deliver on the parties’ key climate policy promise to get on an emissions reduction path compatible with the 1.5°C-degree global warming limit of the Paris Agreement.
- The coalition has agreed to speed up the country’s coal exit and accelerate the rollout of renewable power to get the country on track for climate neutrality.
- “We will align our climate, energy and economic policies nationally, in Europe and internationally with the 1.5 degree path and activate the potential at all levels of government,” states the coalition agreement.
- Bloomberg – Damian Shepherd and Vanessa Dezem / Germany’s new climate policies fall short of Green’s promises
Bloomberg – Alessandra Migliaccio and Chiara Albanese / Draghi toasts Macron to seal Europe’s new space, fiscal axis
- President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Mario Draghi are turning the page on several years of tense relations between France and Italy with a new treaty forging cooperation on everything from space launchers to fiscal policies.
- With Macron set to arrive in Rome on Thursday, French and Italian jets performed a joint acrobatic display over the city. Later in the evening, a sumptuous state dinner is planned under the painted ceilings of the presidential Quirinal Palace.
- That residence will give its name to the treaty the two leaders will sign on Friday, an accord which envisages regular bilateral meetings, according to a draft seen by Bloomberg.
- The events mark the biggest demonstration yet of the close bond that’s developed over the past nine months between Macron and Draghi.
- Euractiv – Zeljko Trkanjec / Editor’s take: New pact for more spending?
Politico – Pieter Haeck and Giovanna Coi / EU tries on new role as tech venture capitalist
- There’s a new venture capitalist in town, as the European Union launches into a new role taking ownership stakes in technology companies that receive injections of public funds in a move toward venture capitalism for Brussels.
- The change was presented in the EU capital this week by digital czar Margrethe Vestager and Innovation Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, and marks a break with the previous practice of issuing grants or supporting private investors.
- In an interview with POLITICO, chief investor Jean-David Malo said a new investment vehicle called the EIC Accelerator would focus on emerging technology, particularly in the early stages when founders might have difficulty raising money.
- “We are taking risks that nobody is taking,” said Malo, who is the director of the agency in charge of the European Innovation Council (EIC), the EU’s main program to help startups scale.
- The Economist / Adventure capitalism
This weekend’s longer reads:
- Project Syndicate – Various authors / Burning energy
- Foreign Affairs – John Podesta and Todd Stern / Biden’s climate scorecard on climate change
- Council on Foreign Relations – Roger W. Ferguson Jr. and Upamanyu Lahiri / How to fix global supply chains for good
- Foreign Policy – Peter Kuras / Are Germany’s capitalists cool now?