Ahead of the 76th UN General Assembly, the US and the EU both agreed to cut methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by the end of the decade to reduce global warming. Will they convince other top emitters like China, Russia and India to do the same before the COP26 climate summit in November? This would be a big deal, because methane emissions, one-quarter of which come from agriculture, are the biggest contributors to climate change after carbon dioxide — and 80 times more potent in warming the planet. We take a look at the world's top methane emitters, compared with their respective carbon dioxide emissions.
Five months after halting vaccine exports amid a catastrophic COVID wave, India now plans to resume vaccine exports next month, vowing to produce some 300 million vaccine doses in October alone. Until then, India had exported more than 66 million doses, which were sold, given as grants or snapped up by COVAX, the UN-backed initiative to vaccinate low- and middle-income countries. COVAX had been relying on Indian manufacturers to deliver the bulk of its supply, and the export ban has been a massive blow to the program, which is well behind its target. We take a look at which countries have gotten the most shots from India to date, and their respective vaccination rates.
What responsibility do wealthy nations have to ensure the least developed countries aren't left behind? Have we actually made any progress since the COVID-19 outbreak? Today at 11am ET/8am PT, join GZERO Media and Microsoft for a live Global Stage discussion: Unfinished Business: Is the world really building back better?
The New Yorker's Susan Glasser will moderate a discussion with Brad Smith, President and Vice Chair, Microsoft; David Malpass, President, World Bank Group; Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media; and Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme. Special appearance by António Guterres, UN Secretary-General.
Watch LIVE today, Wednesday 9/22 at 11am ET/ 8am PT/ 5pm CEST at gzeromedia.com/globalstage.
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Taiwan now says it needs to spend a lot more on its military to defend itself from China — and that could mean sourcing more American-made weapons. For decades, the US has sold weapons to Taiwan over China's strong objections. While Beijing claims the island is part of the People's Republic of China, Washington does not take a position on the question of Taiwan's sovereignty, holding that the issue should be resolved peacefully by both sides — while supporting Taiwan's self-defense capabilities. But tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan have been rising recently as the US-China relationship deteriorates more broadly. If China were to someday invade Taiwan — which it regards as a renegade province that sooner or later will be brought under mainland China's control — would the US come to the island's defense? A 1979 law provides "strategic ambiguity" on whether America would have to. In the meantime, US arms sales have bolstered Taiwan's defense deterrent while China's military budget has skyrocketed. We take a look at US military sales to Taiwan compared with China's own defense spending over the last 31 years.
Many countries with broad access to COVID shots are grappling with a major problem: despite 18 months of death and destruction, many people still aren't willing to roll up their sleeves. This trend is most pronounced in Russia — despite developing its very own Sputnik V vaccine and using it as a diplomatic tool — and in the US, which has the second highest percentage of vaccine skeptics, in large part because of partisan politics. We take a look at the countries with the highest percentage of people uncertain or unwilling to get the shot to date, as well as their respective (partial) vaccination rates.
Things were looking good for Joe Biden for a while. A big economic relief package passed in March, coupled with a stellar vaccine rollout in the spring and summer, helped boost his approval ratings, which almost reached 55 percent in late May. But since then, a spike in inflation as the economy tries to rebound has hurt Biden's poll numbers, which took a further hit amid the chaotic and widely-criticized withdrawal from Afghanistan last month. Excluding Donald Trump, Biden currently has an approval rating lower than his five predecessors during this same period in their presidencies. We take a look at Biden's approval and disapproval ratings against the backdrop of relevant milestones.
In the two decades since 9/11, the US government has spent an astounding $8 trillion on the resulting Global War on Terror, which included invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and more limited involvement in other conflicts around the Middle East and Asia. The human costs in affected countries are staggering: almost a million dead, and 38 million refugees or internally displaced people. Meanwhile, a select group of US-based arms companies benefited immensely — if you'd invested in them in 2001, you'd have seen a return twice as large as the average for blue-chip firms during that time frame. Here we take a look at US military spending, top US defense contractors' stock prices, death toll, and displaced people in the US-led Global War on Terror.
Editorial note: An earlier version of this graphic incorrectly listed the amount spent on US veterans' care and the breakdown of deaths in the Global War on Terror. We apologize for the errors.
The United States and the European Union have comparable population sizes, but the trajectories of their COVID outbreaks have diverged. The US death rate per million people is steadily rising as a result of the more contagious delta variant and vaccine skepticism, while the bloc's deaths have remained mostly flat — a massive change from this past spring, when the EU's death rate was outpacing America's. One big reason is that the EU has overtaken the US in vaccinations per capita, with 70 percent of European adults now fully vaccinated. Here's a look at the seven-day rolling average of new COVID deaths per million in the US and EU since the start of the pandemic, and COVID vaccination rates in 2021.