Author: the_bridge_tank

The Bridge Tank and the French Development Agency launched a joint seminar series on blue economy in the Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka)

The Bridge Tank and AFD are co-hosting three workshops to understand the way in which Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka organize their blue economy strategies, adapt to the physical impacts of climate change of the fishery resource and to identify the priorities, the opportunities and the needs for action. Along with the research and operational departments of the French Development Agency (AFD), we engage with marine, coastal and fisheries resource management bodies and influential national or regional think tanks.

On November 26th 2021, the online inaugural workshop gathered strategic thinking of the participants ahead of developing a growing interaction between them and institutes and policy makers in the following workshops, planned for January and February 2022.

This first workshop aimed at earmarking new blue economy priorities for various actors and nations in the Bay of Bengal, bringing shared understandings and diagnostics, identifying opportunities and needs in socio-economic projects. It aimed to identify the regional context and issues related to the blue economy, in particular the improvement of living standards of coastal communities and resource users through sustainable management of fisheries and integrated coastal management to adapt to climate change, through two panels.

This virtual event brought together 12 speakers from 10 key organizations working on the blue economy in the region, gathering over 100 attendees.

Two panels shared speakers’ understanding of the different local issues related to the value chain of fisheries resources.

  • Panel 1: “Resilient coastal ecosystems as a crucial prerequisite for sustainable economic value chains?”

Speakers:

Dr. Arnab Das, Director, Maritime Research Centre, India

Dr Srinivas Kumar, Director, Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)

Ms Hasamini Sweenie Thilakarathne, Project coordinator and international affairs officer, Marine Environment Conservation Society of Sri Lanka (MECS), Sri Lanka Dr Chime Youdon & Dr Saurabh Thakur, Associate Fellows, National Maritime Foundation

Mr. Mashiur Rahaman, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock

  • Panel 2: “Sustainable fisheries and enhanced livelihood: actions on fisheries for food security, job access and climate change adaptation in the region”

Speakers:

Mrs Afifat Khanam Ritika, Research Officer, Bangladesh Institute of Maritime Research and Development (BIMRAD)

Mr Md. Abdul Wahab, EcoFish Team Leader, WorldFish, Bangladesh Wing

Mrs Runa Khan, Founder & Executive Director, Friendship NGO

Dr M.F.M. Fairoz, Dean, Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences, Ocean University of Sri Lanka

Dr. Md. Sharif Uddin, Department of Fisheries, Bangladesh

To watch the workshop online, click here: Panel 1 & Panel 2 

To read the minutes report, click here

“Profiteering & pandemic: WTO, pharma industry must introspect”, tribune by our board member Pranjal Sharma

In the ongoing context of the Covid-19 pandemic, our board member, Pranjal Sharma, wrote the following OpEd, published by The Daily Guardian, on the benefits of waivering the IPR (intellectual property rights) on vaccine production, particularly for low-income countries such as India and those of the African continent.

Read his tribune here: https://thedailyguardian.com/profiteering-pandemic-wto-pharma-industry-must-introspect/

Special Report – Moving ahead of COP26 & COP15: finance & coalitions for hydrogen & the blue economy

In the context of international negotiations on climate and biodiversity (COP26 and COP15), The Bridge Tank has developed analyses on global priority topics, these international conferences of which are considered as some of the most urgent.

This report aims to contribute to the global and diplomatic discussion on climate change and biodiversity challenges. Through deep academic and scientific review, we designed method, foresight, and recommended solutions, divided into 4 chapters. The first two chapters put forward positions, structuring and global elements on adaptation, finance and governance while forcing action at different scales. The second two chapters develop scientific, industrial and technical theories on operational subjects.

The first chapter addresses the ADAPTATION FINANCE mechanisms with a specific focus on blended finance as an efficient tool to finance emerging economies. Our analyses allow us to identify various tools for scaling up climate action.

The second chapter deals with the innovative approach of COALITION into the climate change negotiations toward bottom up and regional coalition by involving non state-actors.

The third chapter focuses on the place HYDROGEN can take in the energy transition as an upcoming energy vector. It underlines the specific economic and political dynamics that characterize the hydrogen ecosystems and puts forward possible bottlenecks that could impede its effective scale up for industry uses in the coming years.

The last chapter explores the need to work towards a transition to a BLUE ECONOMY in coastal territories worldwide and more specifically in the Indo-Pacific. This chapter highlights the fact that the ocean industrialization needs to be limited and coastal ecosystem and blue economy value chain should be better integrated.

 

Edited by: Malaurie Le Bail and Joël Ruet

Contributors: Baudouin Becker, Clarisse Comte, Florian Dommergues and Malaurie Le Bail

Proofreading and graphic design: Jacqueline Duan

Read here our report: Final report_climate change and biodiversity_TBT_Nov21

OpEd: G20 Must Help Low Income Countries Get Out of Debt Crises

On the occasion of the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Washington DC, our Policy Brief on the modernization of the African Banking sector was mentioned in an OpEd in Diplomatic Courier by Joel Ruet. This paper suggests that, in addition to sovereign aid, commercial banks in Africa get a fairer rating of their (low) risks and (high) profitability and thus ease their refunding costs to deliver levers of growth and employment.

Read our policy brief here

Read the OpEd here

“Transatlantic Talks: Reflections for Europe with French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin

On 21 September 2021, The Bridge Tank and the France-Amériques Circle inaugurated the “Transatlantic Talks”. The objective of these meetings is to bring together decision-makers around a personality in a closed format, and aim to feed into proposals ahead of the French Presidency of the European Union.

This first meeting gathered around Jean-Pierre Raffarin some fifteen political personalities, former ministers, parliamentarians, industrialists, senior civil servants and representatives of civil society.

During this meeting following the “Chatham House Rule”, after several ideas launched by Mr Raffarin, the participants exchanged analyses and proposals on the following themes: 

  • EU-China-US relations and their growing role in various domestic policies
  • Internal relations within the European Union
  • The issue of European strategic autonomy, including data autonomy
  • Multilateral cooperation and cooperation with Germany in Africa and democratisation in Africa
  • The question of a European defence and its financing
  • Energy and environmental issues in the face of ecological destruction
  • The modernisation of democracies
  • The risks of European deconstruction and solutions

The Bridge Tank and the France-Amériques Circle plan to organise a next session of the “Transatlantic Talks” around a new political figure.  

The Bridge Tank participates the 2021 edition of the Summit of Minds

The 2021 edition of the Summit of Minds forum took place at Chamonix, from the 17 – 19th of September. This year, the Summit was focused on two main ideas: key macro issues and wellness and wellbeing, with a particular spotlight on natural capital (nature as a productive asset). In a context where the climate crisis is becoming a more and more central concern initiating many high-level discussions, the Summit of Minds gathered prominent political, economic, scientific, cultural, and business figures from all over the world, including the Armenian president Armen Sarkissian, to debate these key topics.

The Bridge Tank’s president, Joël Ruet, intervened on the panel: ‘Energy Transition (2) – How to Invest in it? dedicated to the current trend of transition towards net zero carbon emissions, its subsequent opportunities, and risks for businesses. Led by Nik Gowing, Managing Partner of Thinking the Unthinkable, UK, the discussion was structured around three essential questions: 

  1. Where is the ‘smart’ money going?
  2. Is the current ESG excitement sustainable?
  3. What assets run the risk of becoming stranded?

During his intervention, Joël Ruet elaborated on the evolution fo classes of assets for energy transition finance, highlighting the diverse risk factors involved, from profitability dispersion to a lack of cohesion in some national transitions, going through unstabilised hydrogen ecosystems across the world. Joël Ruet also highlighted the importance of differentiating megatrends from mega-ambition, stating that there is no one-size-fits-all energy which could alone resolve current climate issues.

Other panelists included: Martin Fraenkel, Vice Chairman of S&P Global, UK, Eoin Murray, Head of Investments of Federated Hermes International, UK, Franklin Servan-Shreiber, Co-Founder & Chairman of Transmutex, Switzerland, with the special appearance of Mafalda Duarte, CEO of Climate Investment Funds, USA.

Our board member, Pranjal Sharma, was also present during the Summit. He intervened on two panels: ‘AI & Democracy – Do We Have Anything to Fear?’ and ‘Tech – How Far Will Innovation Go?’

During the forum, Joël Ruet also notably exchanged with Lord Adair Turner, chairman of the Energy Transitions Commission, UK on how the COP26 could transform systems of negotiation for future COPS to come, instigating climate change action within the public finance sectors at regional, national and international levels.

Watch the sessions on our youtube channel: 

The Bridge Tank co-organises the conference “Central Asia: between Russian and Chinese covetousness, what place for the European Union? “

On 17 September, a conference on Central Asia “Between Russian and Chinese covetousness, what place for the European Union?” was held at Sciences Po Strasbourg with the support of The Bridge Tank, the Think Tank Paris-Berlin-Moscow, Sciences Po Forum and the Alumni Association of Sciences Po Strasbourg. The aim of this conference was to discuss Central Asia and more specifically to study the Russian, Chinese and European influences in the five Central Asian countries of the former USSR: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, thanks to the expertise and experience of practitioners of international relations and the region.

Among the speakers were Mrs Sylvie Bermann, former French Ambassador to China and Russia and President of the IHEDN Board of Directors, Mr Gilles Rémy, Director of the CIFAL Group, Mr Thierry Kellner, Professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and China specialist, Mr Michaël Levystone, Researcher at the Russia/NEI Centre of IFRI and Mrs Malaurie Le Bail from The Bridge Tank.

This event brought together around 150 people: Mr Ivan Soltanovsky, Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Mr Anuarbek Akhmetov, Consul General of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Strasbourg, Mr François Loos, Former French Minister, Mr Pierre Andrieu, Former French Ambassador, various experts who have worked in the region and many students.

The Bridge Tank, co-organiser of the event, was represented by analyst Malaurie Le Bail. She deciphered the climate and environmental situation of the region through a scientific reading of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (IDNC) of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan a few weeks before the COP26. According to Malaurie Le Bail, many analyses, both in academic and institutional literature and in the media, highlight Kazakhstan’s climate leadership in the region. However, when comparing the INDC of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, their greenhouse gas reduction targets are almost identical. Her presentation put Kazakhstan’s leadership into perspective and highlighted the way in which the climate ambitions of states should be studied according to the notion of “differentiated common responsibilities”. Malaurie Le Bail suggested two recommendations:

  • The development of a tool to measure the degree of ambition of a State and to compare the climate ambitions of States with different and/or equal contexts.
  • The importance of creating a Central Asian climate coalition during the climate negotiations to fight against common environmental problems, such as the lack of water irrigation or desertification.

Finally, Malaurie Le Bail concluded her intervention by presenting a vision of The Bridge Tank on new Silk Roads (BRI – Belt and Road Initiative). The BRI is a Chinese-Chinese solution to a Chinese-Chinese problem and responds to low domestic market demand and high exports of goods, which caused the accumulation of Chinese currency in the years 2000-2010. The BRIs are therefore not an initiative to promote investment but to develop Chinese loans abroad that generate trans-border economic activity. The idea for China, especially for Chinese companies, is to create infrastructure and activities abroad financed by debt to rebalance the domestic economic situation and to develop infrastructure in the western provinces of the country. The Bridge Tank argues for a reading of the BRIs from within China, rather than from simply a regional and global influence perspective. From a Central Asian perspective, the BRIs allow these countries to benefit from the infrastructure and technologies developed and used in this project, but also to integrate a global market and to be at the heart of a strong geopolitical system.

When bad controversies drive out the good ones: rehabilitating scientific controversy

At a time when Covid variants are multiplying, what is known genetically about this virus, from the processes of its emergence, to the role of virology in the analysis of its current evolution, to the genetic origins of its transformation into a pandemic, as well as the hypothesis of the possible role of humans and virological laboratories in its rise? What are the hypotheses supported by facts and debated by scientists, the controversies based on scientific protocols?

From the emergence of a pathogenic virus to the pandemic and variants: virology’s point of view

To shed light on these questions, this dossier presents our exchanges with Sterghios Moschos, researcher, virologist, with Gabriel Gras, former virology researcher and biosafety expert, and with Professor Jacques Cohen, physician and scientist, professor of immunology.

Sterghios Moschos introduces the panorama of the scientifically debated theses, Gabriel Gras tackles the questions linked to the origins of the virus and the functioning of the biological security laboratories and finally Jacques Cohen tackles the questions linked, starting from the virus, to the emergence of the disease and then to its transformation into a pandemic, in order to draw some lessons on a better coordination between disciplines, between science and the public authorities.

Finally, in a current situation where the International Conference for the Conservation of Nature is being held, we open the question of the relationship between humanity and nature.

When bad controversies drive out the good: rehabilitating scientific controversy

When a new epidemic erupts into the world, virology and epidemiology are initially blind to the DNA of the virus, its capacity to spread and contaminate, as well as its origins. Eventually, these scientific fields become more astute, able to see more clearly the DNA of the virus, its family of possible reservoirs and hosts, becoming potentially clairvoyant later on its capability to spread, transform as well as its origins, resulting eventually in the creation of a vaccine.

However, science takes time and a certain protocol, during which hypothesises need to be raised and de-bunked, or confirmed, fully or partially. This is a classic process of science in the making, well established since modern science developed, well understood by the epistemology of sciences including Gaston Bachelard and others; in this context, “scientific controversy” helps unearthing the truth from gathering, accumulation and minute interpretation of facts.

In the post-media age, however, politicised as it is, scientific controversies often escape the preserve of science, leak or get leaked by the media, and can even be intentionally diffused as propaganda by all sides or state/philanthropy/media machines. The current pandemic most likely has not escaped this trap.  

To this, time may still clarify the debate, but an interesting tool is provided through “Mapping” controversies (MC). As defined by Wikipedia: MC is an academic course taught in science studies, stemming from the writings of the French sociologist and philosopher Bruno Latour. MC focuses exclusively on the controversies surrounding scientific knowledge rather than the established scientific facts or outcomes. This “mapping” helps sociologists, anthropologists and other social scientists get insights not into scientific knowledge per se, but rather into the process of gaining knowledge. MC sheds light on those intermediate stages corresponding to the actual research process whilst pinpointing the connections between scientific work and other types of activities.”

“Mapping of Controversies” goes against political controversy, and controversy in the right sense ought to be re-appropriated by those it belongs to by sheer design of science: the scientists.

To read more on this topic, Joël Ruet, President of The Bridge Tank, has published an article in french on the website La Tribune : Coronavirus _ un analyseur de la complexité des relations hommes-animaux _

The Bridge Tank also wrote a note on scientific controversies and a literature review: The Bridge Tank COVID19 – A note on scientific controversies and a Literature review

Read the transcript of each interview here: Verbatim – Interview Sterghios Moschos_FINAL; Verbatim – Interview Jacques Cohen_FINAL; verbatim – Interview Gabriel Gras_FINAL

Sustainable Energy transition trajectories in large countries

By Baudouin Becker, Antoine Goutaland, Xieshu Wang,  Joël Ruet, Laure Elise Wargnier and Malaurie Le Bail.

The ecological emergency has caused a sharp pressure on policy makers to concentrate their efforts on elaborating public policies to organize the passage from the existing fossil fuels based system, that is unsustainable, to another system, whose contours are unknown in details for the time being, but whose ambition is to be durable. Unlike previous energy transitions that were achieved through industrial investments, the decarbonization of national economies is directly led and orchestrated by public authorities through incentives, constraints and policies. The presented documents are methodologies that aim at assessing the ability of governments to coordinate key actors and systems in order to achieve their climate goals and to identify the structural characteristics of the countries’ ecosystems.

 These studies identify trajectories, that we define as the coordination of variables that allow a system to remain balanced while being in motion. A systemic understanding of these trajectories is proposed, including both major responses of public policies to climate issues and the possible integration of the new technologies within the existing system, including an analysis of industrial systems and their capacity (or disability) to meet these challenges.

 In order to understand energy transitions across sectors, we have developed a detailed and replicable methodology that fully integrates the role and potential impact of actors (political and industrial). This has enabled us to understand energy transitions in an original way, freeing us from siloed macroeconomic studies and overly specific energy studies that do not allow us to understand the energy stakes as a whole.

In the following documents, you will find this methodology applied to over 20 economies.

The full report : Energy trajectories in main markets

Specific focus : Energy trajectories in main markets

The making of Hydrogen – Definition and acceleration of a sector

By Joël Ruet, Baudouin Becker, Antoine Goutaland and Xieshu Wang.

Hydrogen is a subject in trend and announcements of breakthrough hydrogen technologies have been multiplying in the last couple months. Indeed, it seems hydrogen, as an energy vector similar to electricity, has imposed itself in most government’s eyes as an indispensable tool in order to transition to climate neutral economies by the end of 2050. Indeed, a number of executive bodies have published hydrogen national strategies in the last 15 months, among which notably the EU, the US, France, the Uk, Germany, and many others (even if mostly Europeans so far).  

            Hydrogen is not a new molecule and has been known and used for decades. Currently, it is mostly utilized as an industrial composite for the production of ammonia, of steel or for refining oil. However, in the context of the energy transition, it is mostly considered useful as an energy vector that would complement electricity. Indeed, in hard-to-abate sectors, meaning sectors where electricity isn’t a solution or an unsatisfactory one, hydrogen appears as a viable replacement to fossil fuels, for example in long-distance transport or shipping where oil is hard to substitute.  

These two documents provide an overview of hydrogen developments and increasing importance in the energy transition as well as a prospective analysis of its prospects of evolution towards 2030. It notably identifies an unexpectedly faster pace of development of the molecule. Country that are mostly likely or unlikely to decarbonize their current hydrogen production are also identified. Finally, the documents provide a specific lens on hydrogen use for mobility and on hydrogen ecosystems.

 

Main report : Main Report – The making of Hydrogen – Definition and acceleration of a sector over 2017-2021

Executive summary : Executive Summary – The making of Hydrogen – Definition and acceleration of a sector over 2017-2021

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