As global health seems threatened by an unknown SARS-like virus, leaders in China and the UK start the new year with important measures for the environment. This week’s Development press review highlights the past few weeks’ most striking news.
China has revealed a five-year plan to ban single-use and nonbiodegradable plastic by late 2025. Starting with Beijing, Shanghai and wealthy coastal provinces, as early as 2022. A challenge for one of the largest consumers of single-use plastic in the world.
“ China says it will ban plastics that pollute its land and water ” , The New York Times, January 20, 2020
The British government will no longer provide funding for fossil fuel power plants, announced Boris Johnson this week. Instead, this money will be directed towards supporting the transition to lower or zero emission alternatives.
“ Boris Johnson urged to stop UK aid for fossil fuel projects after announcing ban on coal funding ” , The Independent, January 21, 2020
Could a virus save lives? As estimates show antibiotic resistance will cause ten million deaths a year by 2050, finding alternative methods for treating bacterial infections is paramount. Current research is looking into bacteriophages: viruses that infect bacteria.
“ Antibiotic resistance: scientists are reengineering viruses to cure bacterial infections ” , The Conversation UK, January 20, 2020
The virus was first detected last month in the central city of Wuhan, and already more than 440 new infections have been reported in different provinces of China and neighboring countries. Human-to-human transmission is confirmed as authorities fear major outbreak with Chinese New Year travels.
“ China confirms human-to-human transmission of coronavirus ” , The Guardian, January 21, 2020
The illness is in the same family as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and it has now spread to the United States. At least fifteen health workers have been infected. The WHO has booked an urgent meeting to decide whether the outbreak should be declared a public health emergency of international concern.
“ WHO calls emergency meeting over Wuhan virus as it infects health workers. Here’s what to know ” , TIME, January 22, 2020
For Director of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services at UN Environment Maxwell Gomera, the masses of data on climate change is leaving people overwhelmed, detached and paralyzed. To trigger action, science needs to be translated into meaningful stories. As Plato wrote, storytellers rule the world.
“ Scientists must learn to translate data into stories ” , Devex, January 20, 2020
About this publication
Discover each month on ID4D the “Development News”, with a brief overview of a topical issue, and the “Press review”, with a selection of web articles, reflections and analyses.