ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT

ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT

The tireless researchers at Pew have just released their annual Global Attitudes Survey, which polls members of the public in 25 countries with questions about who runs the world, who should run the world, what they think of the US vs China, and so on. The full report is worth your time, but here is Alex Kliment (@SaoSasha) with a few highlights that stood out:


The world distrusts Trump, but still wants the US to lead

Most respondents outside the US have negative views of the US president – about 70 percent said they aren’t confident he’ll “do the right thing” in global affairs. But 63 percent of respondents said, often with large majorities, that they prefer a world led by the US to a world led by China. The only major outlier here was Russia.

From Russia with (a lot less) Love

Most foreigners’ views of Trump have improved slightly from the terrible lows set last year. And he remains very popular in the Philippines, Israel, Nigeria and Kenya. But one staggering change was the collapse in support among Russians, where confidence in the US president soared to 53 percent after he was elected, but fell to 19 percent this year. This reflects the fact that despite the apparent affection between Trump and Putin, the US president hasn’t delivered much for Moscow.

They’re with Her

The world leader who rated highest among those surveyed is (shocker) not Trump. Nor is it Putin. Even Xi Jinping, for all he has done to expand Chinese power, has yet to convince the rest of the globe that he should lead it. It was German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Embattled at home, trusted abroad.

China is popular with the kids 

Favorable views of China in the US have fallen from 44 to 38 percent as Washington and Beijing have locked horns over trade. But among younger people, positive views outnumber negative ones by a sizeable 15-point margin.

Most countries still see the US as the leading economic power, but…

There are a few notable exceptions: China is seen as the leader in Australia – and has been for a decade. Meanwhile, 59 percent of Germans polled rate China ahead of the US. Two years ago it was about 30 percent.

 

A sector that's rapidly expanding, domotics - domus (home) plus robotics - are smart houses that manage temperature and lighting to minimize wasted electricity. For example, smart thermostats sense your presence and set the temperature according to your needs, saving 20% a year on heating bills. Watch this episode of Eni's Energy Shot series to learn how domotics save money and increase a home's value.

Even if the US, Europe, China, and India reduce carbon emissions at the rate they've promised, much climate damage has already been done. That shouldn't stop these and other countries from doing all they can to meet their net-zero emissions targets, but they also better start preparing for a world of people on the move.

Climate change will displace an unprecedented number of people in coming years, creating not just a series of humanitarian crises in many parts of the world, but lasting political, economic, and social upheaval as those of us who live on higher ground try to find a sustainable place for these climate refugees to live.

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Listen: In a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer, Pulitzer Prize-winning climate journalist Elizabeth Kolbert assesses the current state of the climate crisis and answers a simple question: how screwed are we? And as the climate continues to warm at a record pace, she unpacks some of the more extreme climate solutions that some increasingly desperate nations are starting to consider. Such measures may sound like stuff of science fiction (see: injecting sulfur particles into the atmosphere or shooting millions of tiny orbital mirrors into outer space) as times become more desperate, their appeal is growing. Can we fix the planet the same way we broke it?

China is making its neighbors nervous these days. Chinese fighter jets are screaming into Taiwan's airspace. Hundreds of armed Chinese "fishing boats" are plying the disputed waters of the South China Sea. And Beijing is slashing imports from some trading partners because of disputes over political issues.

To push back against this increasingly aggressive behavior, regional powers Japan, India, and Australia, together with the US, are boosting cooperation via a 17-year-old grouping called the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or simply "The Quad." But how effectively can these four countries really work together to counter China? Eurasia Group's Peter Mumford discusses the Quad's future.

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Want to tackle climate change? If so you'll have to reach out to China, which is currently responsible for over a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions. Beijing will certainly take your call, as climate is a huge priority for President Xi Jinping.

Xi has promised that China will go "net zero" — meaning its carbon emissions will be offset by equal amounts of either natural or tech-driven carbon capture — by 2060. Is a decade later than most of the top 10 polluting countries fast enough for the rest of the world? It is for the Chinese, who want to help but have their own ideas about how.

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When will it be safe for the world's children to be vaccinated against COVID-19? The World Health Organization's chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, says that vaccines are being tested in children down to the age of six or even lower, and promises that data on children will be shared as soon as it's available. She also notes that there are not enough studies on transmission in schools, and the WHO has advised governments to prioritize schools "over other things like shopping malls or cinema halls or pubs." Dr. Swaminathan spoke with Ian Bremmer in an interview on GZERO World, airing on US public television stations starting April 9. Check local listings.

Watch the episode: Vaccine nationalism could prolong the pandemic

Over the past half century, climate change has had an immense impact on the farmers who produce the food we eat. A new study by Cornell University shows that global warming has knocked 21 percent off of global agriculture productivity growth since 1965, equivalent to seven years of normal growth if humans had not polluted the planet. But not all countries have been affected in the same say. Farmers in warmer parts of the world have been hit hard as conditions grow more arid, but sub-polar regions in Canada or Siberia are now actually better for agriculture because they are not as cold as they used to be. Here we take a look at how climate has affected farming productivity growth around the world.

On Tuesday, a major US intelligence report said the top threat to America right now is China. A day later, John Kerry, the Biden administration's "climate czar," got on a plane to... China.

Such is the drama of ties between the world's two largest economies these days.

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Can "the Quad" constrain China?

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