Watching/Ignoring

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

The Tunisian Gravedigger  Chamseddine Marzoug walks the beaches of Zarzis, Tunisia looking for the bodies of those who drowned while trying to reach Europe by boat. When he finds a corpse, he lays it in a body bag and takes it to a nearby hospital for examination. Once a report is filed, he washes the body and takes it to a graveyard dedicated to the unknown dead. He then buries the bodies in graves he has dug himself. In the process, he treats these unfortunate men, women, and children with a care and dignity they may never have known in life.


Cortlandt Street Station  After 17 years, New York’s Cortlandt Streetsubway station, nearly destroyed by the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, has officially reopened. It’s disorienting to see a shiny, clean station anywhere in New York City, but those who work on Wall Street are glad to finally have it back.

WHAT WE’RE IGNORING

Russian alibis – Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, accused by British authorities of the poisoning attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in March, told the Russian state-run RT channel they were in the UK as tourists when the Skripals were poisoned with a rare nerve agent sprayed on Skripal’s front door. The two men say they are sports nutrition salesmen who visited Salisbury only to see the famously tall spire atop its cathedral. British officials say the two men work for Russian military intelligence and that police have surveillance footage of the two men near Skripal’s home.

Russian threats – Viktor Zolotov is fighting mad. This former bodyguard to Vladimir Putin posted a challenge on YouTube in response to what he says are false corruption charges levelled against him by Kremlin gadfly and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny. “Nobody has ever given you the spanking you deserve, so hard that you felt it in your liver,” warned Zolotov. “I simply challenge you to a duel… I promise in several minutes to make a nice juicy steak out of you.” Colorful threats, but the Petrov/Boshirov interviews were more entertaining.

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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