Plan by wealthy nations to treat COVID vaccines as aid prompts backlash | EURACTIV.com


The question of how COVID vaccines donated by wealthy countries are classified and priced could artificially raise the European Union’s development aid figures by billions of euros, EURACTIV understands.

The unequal access to COVID vaccines has been one of the most hotly disputed topics during the last year of the pandemic, both within Europe and across the world.

In June, donor countries agreed to report their COVID-19 vaccine donations as Official Development Assistance, starting in 2020.

Source: Plan by wealthy nations to treat COVID vaccines as aid prompts backlash – EURACTIV.com

Europe proposes mandatory due diligence to stop deforestation in supply chains | EURACTIV.com


The European Commission tabled its plan on Wednesday (17 November) to introduce mandatory due diligence for products sold on the EU market to make sure they are not linked to deforestation or forest degradation.

Europe is one of the biggest importers of global deforestation, second only to China. In 2017, the EU was responsible for 16% of deforestation associated with international trade, according to WWF.

“EU demand for commodities like palm oil, soy, wood, beef, cocoa and coffee are strong drivers of deforestation. More and more citizens want us to put an end to this,” EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said as he unveiled the legislation.

Source: Europe proposes mandatory due diligence to stop deforestation in supply chains – EURACTIV.com

Europe cracks down on illegal waste exports, eases intra-EU trade | EURACTIV.com


The European Commission put forward new rules on Wednesday (17 November) to crack down on the illegal shipment of waste to foreign countries, while easing procedures to trade recycled materials within the EU’s borders.

The proposed rules, which still need approval from EU countries and the European parliament, are part of Brussels’ plan to reduce pollution and ensure that materials like plastic, textiles and metals are reused and recycled, rather than thrown away.

Source: Europe cracks down on illegal waste exports, eases intra-EU trade – EURACTIV.com

Down in a hole: Bosnia miners fear green revolution | EURACTIV.com


For years, life in Bosnia’s Breza revolved around its coal mine, but the global shift from fossil fuels to renewables threatens the industry that was once the pride of communist Yugoslavia.

Armel Jekalovic and other miners, once hailed as local heroes who brought home steady incomes, now fear theirs could be the last generation to earn a living from Bosnia’s coalfields.

“This situation around the energy transition worries us,” says Jekalovic, 36, who oversees the operations at the mine northwest of Sarajevo.

“Production is constantly decreasing, as are the number of employees. People don’t feel safe and are looking for an alternative.”

Source: Down in a hole: Bosnia miners fear green revolution – EURACTIV.com

Heating homes with hydrogen fails on economic and climate merit: report | EURACTIV.com


As homeowners across Europe worry about the fate of their ageing gas boilers, some have pinned their hopes on switching them to hydrogen – but this may not be the way forward, a new study suggests.

The new ’12 Insights on Hydrogen’ report published by German think-tank Agora Energiewende gives a closer look at the “enormous hype” around hydrogen over past two years and tries to determine whether it is here to stay.

“The role of hydrogen for climate neutrality is crucial but secondary to direct electrification,” write the authors, who forecast that hydrogen will account for 16-25% of final energy demand in Europe by 2050.

Source: Heating homes with hydrogen fails on economic and climate merit: report – EURACTIV.com

Globalisation, telemigrants and working conditions | Philippe Pochet


The potential risk of service-sector offshoring, against a backdrop of economic globalization, is nothing new. As early as 2007, the American economist Alan Blinder highlighted the risks offshoring posed to 46 occupations in the United States.

More recently, but before the pandemic, Richard Baldwin argued that ‘teleworking’, along with the emergence of artificial intelligence, would bring a major realignment with significant implications—a new wave of globalization, this time of the service sector. Baldwin used the term ‘telemigration’ to refer to individuals who would, as a result, be living in one country while working for a company based in another.

On the whole, though, these feared changes have yet to materialise—at least to the extent predicted.

Source: Globalisation, telemigrants and working conditions – Philippe Pochet

Modi vows to repeal India farm laws after prolonged protests


In a surprise announcement, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Friday his government will withdraw the controversial agriculture laws that prompted yearlong protests from tens of thousands of farmers and posed a significant political challenge to his administration.

The decision is a major climbdown by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party government, which enjoys a brute majority in Parliament but has been often accused by opposition leaders and constitutional experts of ramming through laws without enough consultation.

Source: Modi vows to repeal India farm laws after prolonged protests

House, Senate will go to conference on R&D proposals | Roll Call


House and Senate negotiators will soon go to conference in an effort to send bipartisan legislation aimed at advancing U.S. competitiveness in science and technology to President Joe Biden’s desk, Democratic leaders announced late Wednesday.

But it’s unclear exactly which pieces of legislation each body will bring to the conference.

Source: House, Senate will go to conference on R&D proposals – Roll Call

Defense bill stalled in Senate over amendment dispute | Roll Call


Republicans held up the Senate’s version of the annual Pentagon policy bill late Thursday night to protest Democratic leaders’ decision to exclude from consideration some of their amendments.

After a day of negotiation, Armed Services Chairman Jack Reed, D-R.I., put forth a manager’s package of 19 amendments to the fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.

But senators including Marco Rubio of Florida, Steve Daines of Montana, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, Ted Cruz of Texas and Dan Sullivan of Alaska objected to proceeding unless their amendments were added to the list.

Source: Defense bill stalled in Senate over amendment dispute – Roll Call

Rep. Glenn Thompson Seeks to Regulate Cryptocurrencies With New Measure

Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, intends to propose a bill that would regulate Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies by establishing clear federal jurisdictions, Bloomberg Law reported Wednesday.

“We have an opportunity and a responsibility to be leaders in the digital assets space to protect consumers, foster innovation, and reduce regulatory burdens,” said Thompson.

Source: Rep. Glenn Thompson Seeks to Regulate Cryptocurrencies With New Measure