Uncoordinated Global Coronavirus Response; Kim Jong-un; US Immigration

What's the coronavirus update? Is there global coordination yet fighting this pandemic?

Global coordination is completely absent. There is a level of harmonization from the central bank governors because they are mostly technocratic and independent. And because they all basically hail from Western advanced industrial countries. The Chinese don't have a convertible currency. So, it's a wholly different story, monetary policy.


Otherwise, fiscal policy is not oriented in coordination. It is certainly not what the emerging markets, the developing world, is going to need soon. The G20 and G-7 meetings so far have accomplished very little, on that front. But most importantly, a complete lack of coordination on the medical side, in terms of testing, metrics, even things like the contact tracing, really needed across the West. France says they want to start their own, but they've got privacy issues with Apple right now. Need the private sector and the public sector, at the very least, coming together on the tech fixes. That should be the easiest thing to do. You want one system. We've got every country at best, coming up with one for their own.

Even inside the United States, there's a lack of coordination. President Trump comes up with, "here is what phase one, phase two, phase three looks like." Then you've got a bunch of states around the United States saying, "we're going to open up even before phase one is in place." Not what you would have expected, but that's where we are.

What do you make of reports that Kim Jong-un is extremely unwell?

He's not that old. If he dies, there's probably not a good succession plan in place. I want to assume, his younger sister would take over since she's the one that has been given much more significant authority, big roles across the North Korean state government. But, might there be an internal military coup? One doesn't know. Danger in a country like this is, whenever the leader is sort of not there, whether it's out of the country or under surgery, the potential for a, you know, a hostile response internally is real. It's clearly very dangerous when the world's most totalitarian state, one of the only ones that still exists now, with virtually no intel, even from the Chinese on what's going on inside, and suddenly the leader might be gone. The people that will suffer the most on the back of this will be the North Koreans themselves. Hard to imagine that that would lead to military activities that would threaten stability in South Korea or Japan. But that doesn't mean that you would have, if he were to die, the question of the disposition of their nuclear weapons and material, whether the military would all act in coordinated fashion. Those are real concerns and one of the reasons nobody wanted them to have nukes to begin with.

And then finally, how will the US suspending immigration change the status quo?

Not very much. Trump makes announcements like this and then there are all sorts of exceptions. There are lots of immigrants you need. The State Department just a few days ago said they want more immigrants and they're going to make it easier for them to apply, if they can be a part of the health care response to coronavirus. We desperately need more people doing contact tracing. People involved in that I suspect we'll also be welcome in terms of immigrants. I suspect that there will be exceptions made for people that are able to pay large sums of money to get visas that way. So, first, not many people traveling right now. Generally, all sorts of quarantine, about 60% of the global population under lockdown.

Secondly, not going to have much real impact. There'll be exceptions. But of course, what Trump wants to do is give something that his base really loves and at the same time, if he agitates international alliances, he doesn't really care. That's a longer-term problem and it's one he doesn't think matters very much. So, unfortunate from my perspective, because you don't need to undermine alliances that have already gotten weaker over the past years. But Trump's view is those relationships don't add to very much in terms of American influence and power. And he's been consistent in the way he's acting, the way he's felt, and policy on that.

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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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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A Castro-less Cuba: Raúl Castro, younger brother of the late Fidel, is expected to retire on Friday as secretary-general of Cuba's ruling communist party. When he does, it'll mark the first time since the 1959 revolution that none of Cuba's leaders is named Castro. The development is largely symbolic since Castro, 89, handed over day-to-day affairs to President Miguel Díaz-Canel in 2018. It's worth noting that US sanctions laws do specify that one of the conditions for normalizing ties with Cuba is that any transitional government there cannot include either of the Castro brothers. So that's one less box to tick in case there is a future rapprochement across the Straits of Florida. But more immediately, we're watching to see whether a new generation of leaders headed by Díaz-Canel will bring any serious reforms to Cuba. COVID has killed the tourism industry, plunging the island into an economic crisis that's brought back food shortages and dollar stores reminiscent of the early 1990s.

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16: Brazil's new plan to save the Amazon promises to curb deforestation, but not too much. Although it would reduce annual forest loss to the average recorded over the past five years, next year's target is still 16 percent higher than the Amazon's total deforestation in 2018, the year before President Jair Bolsonaro — who favors economic development of the rainforest — took office.

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Should the Biden administration "reverse course on China" in the hope of establishing a friendlier relationship, as diplomat Kishore Mahbubani argues in a recent Financial Times op-ed? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Michael Hirson take out the Red Pen to explain why it's not that simple.

And today, we are talking about the United States and China. The relationship between the two most powerful nations in the world is the worst it's been since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Pundits and policymakers alike all around the world are trying to figure out how Washington and Beijing can at least stop the bleeding because a reset is nowhere in the cards.

That's the topic of the op-ed that we are looking at today. It's from the Financial Times, written by Singaporean diplomat Kishore Mahbubani, and the title summarizes the key argument: "Biden should summon the courage to reverse course on China." Meaning, he should throw out the Trump era approach and open the door to more cooperation and kinder, gentler relations.

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