Daily Briefs

Photo : Alberto Pezzali/AP

21 September 2023, Thursday | NIAS Europe Daily Brief #626

PM Rishi Sunak to go slow on net zero commitments


EM In Brief
By Rishika Yadav

Novo Nordisk partners with Aspen to produce insulin in Africa
On 20 September, according to Euronews, Novo Nordisk, Denmark’s pharmaceutical company, joined forces with South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare. This aims to manufacture human insulin for diabetes patients in Africa. This partnership aims to address the urgent need for insulin treatment on the continent, where diabetes is on the rise. Production is set to begin in early 2024, with a projection to supply insulin for 4.1 million diabetes patients annually in Africa by 2026. The WHO estimated that by 2045, the number of adults living with diabetes in Africa would rise to 55 million, underscoring the critical importance of this initiative. (“Denmark's Novo Nordisk and South Africa's Aspen to produce insulin for African patients,” Euronews, 20 September 2023)

Global leaders emphasize on urgent climate action
On 19 September, leaders of the High Ambition Coalition called for immediate climate action, stressing the urgency of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. They highlighted the need to cut global emissions in half this decade and phase out fossil fuels. The leaders emphasized financial reforms to support climate action and resilience-building, advocating for a just transition. They call for solidarity, inclusion of marginalized voices, and a turning point at the Global Stocktake to close ambition and implementation gaps. (“High Ambition Coalition Leaders’ Statement – UN General Assembly 2023,” Elysee, 20 September 2023)

President calls for fairer EU migrant distribution
On 20 September, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed concern over the strain of migrants, asserting that Germany and Italy are reaching their limits. He advocated for a permanent European solidarity mechanism in addition to the current voluntary system to alleviate the burden. Steinmeier cited that Germany had received over 1,000 refugees from Italy and highlighted the recent surge in asylum applications, with over 162,000 in the first half of the year. (Laura Hulsemann, “German president says country at ‘breaking point’ over migration,” Politico, 20 September 2023)

Ocean-based climate solutions as key to limiting global warming
On 20 September, an updated report from the High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy was presented at UNGA. It reported that ocean-based climate solutions can contribute to a 35 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050. These solutions, already available for implementation, could equate to four times the annual emissions of EU countries. Jonas Gahr Store, Norway’s Prime Minister, co-chaired the meeting of the Ocean Panel during the UN General Assembly High-level Week. He emphasized the importance of ocean-based solutions in achieving climate goals. Store also welcomed Seychelles as a new panel member and signed the international marine biodiversity agreement. (“Many climate solutions to be found in the oceans,” Government.no, 20 September 2023)

President Alain Berset addresses the UN on Ukraine and global challenges
On 20 September, President Alain Berset attended a UNSC meeting on Ukraine.  He urged Russia to respect the UN Charter and withdraw from Ukraine’s territory. In his UNGA speech, Berset emphasized global challenges, including inequality and the climate crisis. He focused on advocating for strong institutions and a renewal of the cooperative world order. Switzerland welcomed the New Agenda for Peace presented by Guterres and pledged continued commitment to peacebuilding. Berset also held bilateral meetings discussing various issues and global challenges with heads of state and government, including Moldova, Brazil, and South Korea. (“President Berset speaks at UN Security Council debate on Ukraine,” The Federal Council, 20 September 2023)

PM Rishi Sunak to go slow in adhering to country's net zero commitments
On 20 September according to the BBC, Rishi Sunak, UK’s Prime Minister, was reportedly considering a significant policy shift. It may involve postponing the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales and scaling back the phase-out of gas boilers. It is aiming for an 80 per cent reduction by 2035. While Sunak maintains the commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, he suggests a “more proportionate way” forward. He emphasized the need to be realistic about costs. Critics argue this could harm the UK’s environmental credibility and economic growth, while supporters see it as a pragmatic approach. The Chancellor is expected to outline these changes in an upcoming speech, marking a potential divide with the Labour Party’s stance on climate policy. (Henry Zeffman & Chris Mason & Brian Wheeler, “Rishi Sunak considers weakening key green policies,” BBC, 20 September 2023)

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