Last year brought about new, unforeseen challenges for the global community. The Covid-19 pandemic came as an unexpected “black swan” and put abruptly under discussion our life styles, our working practices, the ways we used to do business. In a nutshell, the whole globalization paradigm, which had reached its peak, was under threat by an invisible and microscopical enemy. Today, as we are finally getting out of the most acute phase of the emergency – at least from the health point of view – we are called to a possibly even daunting challenge: how can we build back our societies better?
The G7 finance ministers and central bank governors communique of 5 June 2021 contains commendable language to ensure a “Transformative effort to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss". The critical commitment “to properly embed climate change and biodiversity loss considerations into economic and financial decision-making” now needs to be comprehensively implemented by G7 Leaders.
The world is faced with major challenges that will shape the decades to come. Issues such as climate change, COVID-19 and rapid technological change affect us all and demand a collective response.
Launched last month,Global Britain in a Competitive Age: the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy describes the UK government’s vision for the UK’s role in the world over the next decade and the actions we will take at home and with other countries to ensure that we are stronger, safer and more prosperous.
After a gap year, the G7 Summit is back. Joe Biden meets the other political leaders in person in the UK. Hot topics abound: from the COVID-19 vaccine distribution to climate change (with the Uk co-chairing with Italy the COP26), from trade to fiscal regulation. Other democracies have been invited to join the club: South Korea, Australia, South Africa, and India (in absentia).
In the early ages of hydrocarbons, when the oil companies discovered gas, they quickly abandoned the wells and moved the drilling rigs to other areas, looking for the most valuable crude oil. In those days, gas was considered as the poor relative of the fossil fuel family.
Driven by acute shortages and growing geopolitical competition, semiconductors have shot up the EU policy agenda over the past year. Caught in the crossfire of a global trade war and exposed to the vagaries of an undiversified supply chain, Europe has understood how its strategic autonomy is dependent on these chips. Looking further ahead, Europe aims to diversify its economic structure and be at the forefront of the next generation of digital technologies.
The Sahel region is the theatre for one of the most significant developments in Italian foreign policy in the last decade. As a consequence of the intersection between external shocks, domestic pressures, and internal reorganisations, Italy is testing new approaches, instruments, and strategies in the Sahel to further its national interest, which is understood as much in terms of national security as domestic stability and international status.
Knowledge drives productivity and economic growth. Data are, in the least, a vital resource for every instrument of power.
Figure 1 the data, information, knowledge, and wisdom (DIKW) construct
EU fiscal rules will very likely remain on hold until at least 2022. Last year, eurozone countries were able to implement sizeable fiscal easing after the EU triggered the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), relaxing budgetary constraints. The general escape clause will continue to apply this year and in 2022, allowing countries to continue to pursue loose fiscal policies.
The European Commission published its “European Green Energy Deal (EGD)” in December 2019 with the aim of reducing its CO2-emissions by 50-55 percent (instead of its previous goal of 40%) by 2030. The 27 EU member states have agreed to the EGD, a new climate law (codifying the new emission goal for 2030) and its “next generation fund”, which includes a €750bn economic recovery programme in the wake of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic .
As the world progressively recognizes the need for “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, renewed interest for hydrogen is surging. This need was implicit in the United Nations Framework Climate Change Convention’s ultimate objective, which calls for the stabilization of GHG atmospheric concentrations, though no agenda —and hence no standards— were set. The Paris Accord, by setting the target to limit the global temperature change to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and striving to limit it to 1.5°C, has filled this void.
Hydrogen has drawn great enthusiasm in both the public and private sector, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. Governments and companies have announced numerous ambitious hydrogen plans. Hydrogen is indeed considered to be a useful tool to achieve both national climate targets (especially in hard-to-abate sectors) and a key driver for the economic recovery.