Issue 28: China makes plans

Chinese carbon neutrality, the East's rise, Biden's demo-tech, vaccine patents and malaria vaccines

Dear reader,

Welcome to this week’s issue of the Anti-Apocalyptus newsletter. Each week I send you five links about some of the most important challenges of our time such as climate change, weapons of mass destruction, emerging technologies, mass causes of death and great power wars. If you haven’t done so yet, feel free to subscribe at the button below, hit the heart button or share this email with anyone who could be interested.

This week China’s leaders gathered in Beijing to announce their new five-year plan, besides some other, longer-term, plans. This is a crucial time for US-China relations, one of the key vectors of global instability in the decades to come. China is charting its way out of COVID-19, while the US is heralding in a new president, and still reeling from the previous one.

Hence in this week’s edition there’s more China-US stories than usual. At the same time, some vaccine articles caught my eye. Hope you enjoy them!


Vox - China aims to be carbon neutral by 2060. Its new 5-year plan won’t cut it.

This week the draft of China’s new five-year plan was released, and one of the key areas to watch is the country’s climate ambitions. China had previously mentioned it wanted to be carbon neutral by 2060, a very ambitious goal. But this five-year plan underwhelms on that front, although much can still change.

NY Times - ‘The East Is Rising’: Xi Maps Out China’s Post-Covid Ascent

If you want the broader picture of this week’s Chinese plans, this article by the NY Times is a good place to start. Post-COVID, China wants to rise, and push beyond the Western powers, particularly the US, the global hegemon for now. Yet to do so, it must confront internal contradictions.

Bloomberg - Biden Putting Tech, Not Troops, at Core of U.S.-China Policy

In the meantime, the US isn’t sitting still on the China front. Biden’s policies against the rising power are now taking shape, and we’ll most likely see more competition in high-tech fields, like semiconductors. Here Biden wants to contrast ‘techno-democracies’ against ‘techno-autocracies.’ Trump might have left the White House, the China-US nexus, and the technology behind it, will remain a key global risk angle.

Foreign Policy - To Democratize Vaccine Access, Democratize Production

Interesting article on why we should ease vaccine patents, and open up more production sites in the Global South. A debate is starting to take shape around the topic of how to scale up vaccine production, with pharma companies having problems keeping up with production targets. Some experts and pundits, who are sometimes associated with the pharma-industry and free-market liberalism, take the view that existing production sites need to be scaled up, and bottle-necks there are the main problem. Those in the social justice/left-wing camp argue for more production sites to be opened, particularly in the Global South, which would mean pharma lessening restrictions on their IP, and engaging in technology transfer. I would like to read a more in-depth comparison of the two camps, but this article is a solid contribution to the second.

Vox - Malaria is notoriously hard to vaccinate against. A new vaccine technology might change that.

Malaria is a very big global killer, that also has proven to be very hard to vaccinate against. The RNA vaccines that have arisen against COVID-19 at such record speed, however, might provide an answer, although much remains to be done.

I hope you enjoyed this newsletter. Feel free to send me comments or remarks by responding to this email. If you haven’t done so yet, please subscribe at the link below, hit the heart button or forward this email to anyone who could be interested.