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Facebook metaverse launch leads other Big Tech firms to focus on AR/VR

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

What is Facebook planning with the metaverse?

Well, my sense is that Facebook mostly prefers a virtual reality over the actual situation the company is in, with overwhelming criticism about the many harms to people it is causing all over the world. The metaverse at launch would be added to a number of services and experiences online in a more virtual and augmented reality setting. Think about what the gaming sector has done, but now, also, other big tech firms are jumping on the bandwagon. The thing to remember is that the user experience would be more immersive.

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Want to avoid greenwashing label? Go from targets to action, track progress, suggests Catherine McKenna

Everyone's talking about greenwashing at COP26. Why? For Catherine McKenna, Canada's former minister of Infrastructure and Communities, it's too easy to make commitments without having a process in place to deliver. Good words, she says, are no longer enough. "We need to understand how you're going to translate your targets into real action. And then we need to track that progress. That's exactly what governments need to do, but it's also what businesses need to do."

McKenna spoke during a live Global Stage event, "Climate Crisis: Is net zero really possible?" Watch the full event here.

Africa needs reachable climate goals, says DRC lawmaker Jeanine Mabunda

Africa is barely responsible for today's climate crisis, yet African governments are being asked to stop using fossil fuels like everyone else. That just won't work, says DRC member of parliament and former speaker Jeanine Mabunda Lioko, unless rich nations make good on their climate finance pledges for the continent. Africa, she explains, needs "concrete and reachable goals" that provide access to reliable energy, and there will be a lot of pressure to deliver on promises ahead of the next COP climate summit, which will take place in an African country.

Mabunda spoke during a live Global Stage event, "Climate Crisis: Is net zero really possible?" Watch the full event here.

Why we need to put a price on carbon: University of Tokyo’s Naoko Ishii

If we are serious about doing the right thing on climate, only incentives to cut emissions simply won't cut it. Naoko Ishii, Director of Center for Global Commons, and Executive Vice President of the University of Tokyo, wants the carrot to be backed up by a stick in the form of a price on carbon that incorporates natural capital into economic policy. Once politicians do that, it'll be a lot easier for companies and individuals to see that further pollution will hurt our pockets as much as it harms the planet.

Ishii spoke during a live Global Stage event, "Climate Crisis: Is net zero really possible?" Watch the full event here.

Eurasia Group’s Gerald Butts: US climate change debate has moved from finger-pointing to solutions

Five years ago, for the US president to say it's time to move away from fossil fuels sounded like an episode of The West Wing. Not anymore, says Eurasia Group Vice Chairman Gerald Butts. In his view, the climate debate in the West has (finally) moved from who's responsible, to what we're going to do about it — "much more productive ground." Butts admits the enormous inertia in the US political system that'll fight change on climate, but ultimately believes that "when you take the very long view, the direction of travel of has set in."

"What's it worth to save everything we have?" asks climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe

Why do governments and corporations set Net Zero goals when the science just says to just cut emissions ASAP? For atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist at The Nature Conservancy and Director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University., it's too easy for humans to procrastinate on doing stuff 30 or 40 years from now. That's why she says we need more near-term goals with "everything on the table," given what's really at risk is not the planet — but rather us. "So the question is not, 'Could we possibly spend too much trying to fix climate change?' No. The question is, 'What's it worth to save everything we have?'"

Companies moving from climate pledges to judging performance, says Microsoft’s Lucas Joppa

As governments haggle climate deals to curb emissions way into the future at COP26, Microsoft chief environmental officer Lucas Joppa says the private sector is moving beyond lofty pledges to talk about performance. Instead of what your commitments are, he explains, corporations are asking each other how they're scoring on what they promised to do. "How are you measuring carbon? How are you accounting for carbon? What are the systems that need to be put in place to actually make this whole Net Zero thing work?"

Joppa spoke during a live Global Stage event, Climate Crisis: Is net zero really possible? Watch the full event here.

Big Tech's big challenge to the global order

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Read Ian Bremmer's wide-ranging essay in Foreign Affairs that puts in perspective both the challenge, and the opportunity, that comes from the unprecedented power of Big Tech.

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here on the road, something we haven't done very much recently, but will increasingly as we try to move through COVID. And I want to talk to you about a new article that I just put out in Foreign Affairs that I'm calling "The Technopolar Moment." Not unipolar, not bipolar, not multipolar, technopolar. What the hell does technopolar mean?

It means that increasingly big technology companies are themselves geopolitical actors. So to understand the future of the world, you can't just look at the United States, Europe and China. You need to look at the big tech companies, too.

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