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Accounting for about one quarter of global primary energy supply, coal is used mainly for power generation, heating, and in industries such as iron, steel and cement manufacturing. It provides almost 40 % of global electricity production and is responsible for over 40 % of energy-related CO2 emissions. While the global use of coal is driven by emerging economies in Asia, the West – and Europe in particular – is seeing a sharp decline in coal use because of air pollution, climate policies and, in ...

Recent events again demonstrate that governance must take account not just of desired outcomes, but also of worst case scenarios. The challenge of identifying and responding to high-level and interconnected risks can be assisted by close examination of private sector routines on risk management, and of the insights of risk monitoring reports. This is a concise summary of a review of risk literature conducted as part of the inaugural EPRS Future Shocks report.

'Speak up for democracy.' That was one of the conclusions of a wide-ranging discussion on threats to democracy at the 2021 ESPAS conference. Insecurity about rapid changes has undermined trust, and inequalities – also across generations – have been further accelerated by the pandemic. Remedies discussed include stronger civic education, efforts to reinforce the social contract and improve social cohesion, and measures to protect the integrity of elections. There were also calls to strengthen the ...

Serious and organised crime inflict huge costs on both the EU economy and society. Organised crime is an increasingly dynamic and complex phenomenon, as it has become more interconnected, transnational and digital. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in cybercrime, fraud and counterfeiting. Police and judicial actions and the effective implementation of existing EU instruments are critical in tackling this challenge. New strategies to disrupt the business models and structures of criminal ...

The future of climate migration

En bref 24-03-2022

Climate change is threatening to displace millions of people, creating new migrant flows also across borders. The EU has a leading role in reducing global warming, mitigating its effects, improving knowledge about consequences for vulnerable populations, and working with partners to build resilience. Success depends not just on adopting forward-looking strategies, but also on adequate resources and effective implementation.

The modalities of financing the green transition, the need to maintain social justice, and the particular challenges facing Africa were among the themes addressed in a wide ranging discussion on how to 'build back better', at the 2021 ESPAS conference.

Since 1970, Japan has developed a world-leading capacity for foresight. At the outset, the focus was on technology and socio-economic development. Broader geopolitical and security aspects have become more pronounced in the past decade. Concerns about global political changes have given rise to an enhanced strategic partnership between Japan and the European Union. Common challenges include shifts in global economic power, the emergence of China, and uncertainties around the United States' international ...

This foresight analysis identifies trends, uncertainties and potential disruptions around urban farming. Access to investment funding, careful risk management and a supportive regulatory and policy environment are critical to future development, especially at local or sub-national level.

The main Chinese news service, Xinhua, has steadily expanded its coverage on the European Union over the past decade. The main challenges facing the Union have featured strongly, from the refugee crisis to Brexit to the impact of Covid 19. The tone of the coverage in this period has been neutral, rather than negative, and has not become more critical during the pandemic. Internal EU policies are often put in a favourable light, although internal divisions also feature in Xinhua's reporting. Xinhua ...

What future for democracy?

En bref 11-12-2020

A panel at the 2020 ESPAS conference discussed the future of democracy in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. Participatory democracy was seen as a potential remedy for polarisation, while digitisation brings a need for careful governance. Misinformation and disinformation needs to be addressed through education. A poll of attendees identified tax equity as a key innovation for successfully rebuilding democracy.