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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 31st, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

March 31, 2017

Bloomberg says U.S. Will Continue to Lead on Climate Change

“Those who believe that the Trump administration will end American leadership on climate change are making the same mistake as those who believe that it will put coal miners back to work: overestimating Washington’s ability to influence energy markets, and underestimating the role that cities, states, businesses and consumers are playing in driving down emissions on their own,” writes former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the New York Times.

“By improving their air quality and becoming greener, cities turn into more attractive places to live and work. And where people want to live and work, businesses want to invest. That’s Economics 101, and mayors understand it even when Washington doesn’t.”
Biggest changes in 25,000 years. Climate change is “increasingly forcing species to migrate to cooler climes, pushing disease-carrying insects into new areas, moving the pests that attack crops and shifting the pollinators that fertilize many of them,” The Guardian’s Damian Carrington reports, citing a new analysis from scientists drawn from dozens of institutions around the world.
The shift of species – said to be the biggest in 25,000 years – “will leave ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in their wake, radically reshaping the pattern of human wellbeing…and potentially leading to substantial conflict,” the team is quoted as saying. “Human society has yet to appreciate the implications of unprecedented species redistribution for life on Earth, including for human lives.”


Fareed: Trump Was Right on Health Care

The collapse of the Republican plan is a reminder that the U.S. health care system is “by far the most expensive and inefficient in the advanced world,” Fareed writes in his latest Washington Post column. But President Trump has a chance to fix health care — if he can “get back to basics and to his core convictions on the topic.”

“Americans often assume that despite its costs, American health care provides better services than others,” Fareed writes. But he notes the work of Princeton’s Uwe Reinhardt, who has found that in reality, “Americans use less care than the average for developed countries when it comes to things such as seeing a doctor and spending time in the hospital. The problem with the free market is that there is little profit in prevention and lots in crisis care.”

“Trump was right on this issue for much of his life. He has now caved to special interests and an ideology unmoored by facts. He could simply return to his convictions, reach out to Democrats and help the United States solve its health care crisis.”


Germany to U.S.: Get Real About NATO Contributions

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel dismissed U.S. calls at a NATO meeting in Brussels for more member states to spend the NATO target of 2% of GDP on defense, Reuters reports.

“Two percent would mean military expenses of some 70 billion euros ($75 billion). I don’t know any German politician who would claim that is reachable nor desirable,” Gabriel reportedly told the meeting, which was also attended by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
A transactional relationship. Tillerson’s trip won’t have been enough to “overcome the uncertainty overshadowing U.S.-European relations. And it reinforced the increasingly transactional nature of the relationship,” Steven Keil, a fellow for security and defense policy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, emails Global Briefing.
“Tillerson’s presence was an important signal,” Keil writes. “But discussions with NATO members under the current administration sound more like contract negotiations than diplomacy between allies. They seem to lack an overriding emphasis on common of values and interests seen under previous U.S. presidencies.”

Keil says that while Tillerson’s vow of a “strong” U.S. commitment to NATO was welcome, “Ultimately, the most important signal will need to come from Trump himself. The May NATO summit could be the very place to reset and clarify his own positions and previous rhetoric on NATO, but it will need to be convincing.”

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