The thoughts that count - the best of global thought leadership (June 2023)

Public services & public policy

Great government: A new playbook for public service reform – IPPR (UK)

Public services in England have been worsening over the past decade, and across the board are not delivering for citizens. There are two principal reasons for this: increasing demand for public services, given population ageing; and a state constrained in its ability to deliver more and better services. But in addition to public spending constraints, the lack of public service reform in public discourse is responsible for limiting the state’s ability to deliver effect public services, and resolving this will be key to seeing services improve in future.

China’s quest for innovation: progress and bottlenecks – Bruegel (Europe)

With the Chinese economy steadily on track to keep decelerating, the authors of this paper evaluate the Chinese Government’s efforts to reverse this slow decline. Specifically, this report looks at investment in R&D and STEM human capital, assessing China’s progress so far and identifying three potential bottlenecks that may hinder these efforts.

2023 Lowy Institute Poll – Lowy Institute (Australia)

The latest instalment of the Lowy Institute’s yearly poll on Australian public opinion, covering a wide array of topics including foreign policy, climate change and the economy.

Economic policy & taxation

Tax planning – Resolution Foundation (UK)

In this paper, the Resolution Foundation argues that Britain’s tax system has gotten worse because politicians have not been consistent or honest in recognising the rising tax take. A good tax system would, the paper argues, boost efficiency by taxing externalities and land first, then maximise and share the proceeds of growth by taxing income and consumption fairly and consistently.

Economic integration during an age of geopolitical instability – Centre for European Policy Studies (Europe)

With international political instability likely to only grow in the coming years, this article examines what an adequate EU response should be, and what the strategic framework underpinning it could look like. The authors encourage the EU to continue on the path of strategic autonomy and pose serious policy questions about what level of government intrusion in the economy is to be tolerated if the 27 member states are to be successful in their approach.

Comparing Business Investment per Worker in Canada and the United States, 2002–2021 – Fraser Institute (Canada)

Business investment per worker in the US has outpaced that in Canada every year between 2002 and 2021, and this gap has widened since 2014. This is troubling, as Canada’s prosperity relies on the strength of business investment. The Fraser Institute calls on policymakers to recognise this, understand its causes, and prioritise policies to stimulate business investment.

Trading Up – Resolution Foundation (UK)

“This report finds that the UK’s initial post-Brexit trade plan has run out road and must be replaced with a far more ambitious twin-track trade strategy that protects high-value manufacturing while seeking out new markets for our world-leading services sector. That means a defensive approach on goods that protects high value added manufacturing firms struggling to retain their place in European supply chains; and an expansive approach on services that ensures the UK benefits from the global services trade tailwinds.”

Fair growth – Centre for Progressive Policy (UK)

“CPP’s new report, Fair growth: opportunities for economic renewal, considers how the UK can create fair growth by analysing its drivers at the local, national and international level.”

Beyond Boosterism – Resolution Foundation (UK)

Low levels of investment, not least business investment, are partly responsible for Britain’s weak productivity growth, which in turn is the main reason for the stagnation of living standards in the UK. The Resolution Foundation argues that, as corporation tax cuts and a return to policy stability are not sufficient (though important), policymakers will need to make wide-ranging reforms to the pension system and corporate governance, to focus the attentions of firms’ managers on long-term value and so boost their willingness to invest.

Dynamic capabilities: how Australian firms can survive and thrive in uncertain times – CEDA (Australia)

This report outlines how Australian businesses perform on key measures of dynamism and where they are lacking. It offers key lessons for business and government to improve business innovation and performance in times of volatility and uncertainty.

Industrial policy & levelling up

Investing To Be Competitive: The New U.S. Industrial Strategy – Center for American Progress (USA)

The US economy faces three significant challenges: building manufacturing competitiveness in the US; reducing carbon emissions; and elevating wages, training and equity for workers. Three pieces of legislation passed by the 117th Congress – the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS Act – aim to strengthen both US manufacturing and national security, and speak to a novel industrial strategy which have the potential to be transformative in key economic sectors.

Pot luck: What government needs to do to streamline local government funding – Centre for Cities (UK)

“Local government relies heavily on central grants to deliver economic policies, and the current system hinders its ability to respond effectively to economic change. The Levelling Up White Paper committed to streamlining the grants system for local government. However, a year on, no concrete developments have been made. This briefing proposes a way forward, identifying persistent issues with the current grant system before setting out proposals for a new streamlined grants system. It then builds on these proposals to outline what an allocation under this streamlined system could look like.”

Small steps and gateways: England’s trailblazer devolution deals – UK in a Changing Europe (UK)

UKICE examines the ‘trailblazer devolution deals’ announced by the Government for Greater Manchester and the West Midlands in March 2023 – these promise only modest increases in powers for the two areas, but the author argues they are nevertheless of long-term significance, as they make a number of proposals for co-designing policy; offer the two areas a route into central policymaking; and propose a step-change in financial flexibility in the form of the ‘single settlement’.

Inflation, mortgages & the cost of living

Interest rate hikes could see 1.4 million people lose 20% of their disposable income – Institute for Fiscal Studies (UK)

Published ahead of the Bank of England’s decision to raise interest rates to 5%, this IFS study finds that those in mortgage-holding households will pay almost £280 more each month relative to March 2022. Those in their 30s will be hit harder, paying almost £360 more. This will result in mortgagors’ disposable incomes on average declining by 8.3% (nearly 11% among 30-39-year-olds) – and nearly 1.4 million households will see one-fifth of their disposable incomes wiped out by rising mortgage costs.

The Mortgage Crunch – Resolution Foundation (UK)

Average mortgage rates have been rising rapidly in the UK – the Resolution Foundation finds that annual repayments for households re-mortgaging in the next year are set to rise by £2,900 on average, up from £2,000. Three-fifths of the mortgage pain is still to come; almost £5bn is set to hit in 2024, with an election due.

Interest-Rate Shock Shows We Need Long-Term Fixed-Rate Mortgages – Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (UK)

This TBI report calls for long-term fixed-rate mortgages in the UK, which is unusual in not readily having these products (in Belgium, they account for 92% of mortgages). This would leave British households less vulnerable to interest rate hikes.

Employment & labour force

Left behind – Resolution Foundation (UK)

Economic inactivity due to ill health among 18-24-year-olds in Britain has nearly doubled over the past decade, and is strongly correlated with having low levels of skills (four in five young people too ill to work have qualifications at GCSE level or below). This report makes a number of recommendations to address these ill health issues, including better mental health support services at an early stage and action to help unwell young people catch up with their education at a later stage.

4 Ways States and Localities Are Improving Employment Outcomes for Reentering Young Adults – Center for American Progress (USA)

This policy brief builds on the Center for American Progress’ previous work on how to reduce barriers for young adults re-entering the community after incarceration, and makes four recommendations for policymakers to enact to allow these young adults to transition back into the labour force, reduce barriers for post-incarceration employment, ensure fair access to the labour market, and by so doing reduce reoffending rates.

A duty of care: In-work poverty in London’s public sector – Social Market Foundation (UK)

“In-work poverty is not just a problem experienced by workers in the private sector. In this report, we explore the experiences of Londoners who work in the public sector and are living in poverty.”

Health & social care

How does the NHS compare to the health care systems of other countries? – The King's Fund (UK)

This report by the King’s Fund finds that the British healthcare system has fewer key resources than in other countries. While the UK performs well in protecting people from the financial costs of ill health, it lags behind peers in life expectancy and deaths. This could be avoided through timely and effective healthcare combined with public health and preventive services.

The NHS productivity puzzle – Institute for Government (UK)

This report examines why NHS hospitals continually fail to deliver higher activity despite higher spending and staffing levels, and argues that politicians urgently need to focus on capital investment, staff retention and boosting management capacity. In particular, chronical undermanagement of hospitals, underinvestment in capital, and an exodus of senior staff are responsible for the NHS’ productivity stagnation.

The impact of junior doctor strikes on patient outcomes – Institute for Fiscal Studies (UK)

With junior doctors due to strike for five days in July 2023, the IFS has published a new study examining the impact of the 2016 junior doctor strikes on patient outcomes in England. It finds that patients treated in hospitals more exposed to the 2016 strike did not, on average, experience worse outcomes, and that in-hospital mortality rates and readmissions rates for emergency patients did not increase in hospitals more exposed to the strike. However, while this shows hospitals’ adaptability, the IFS cautions against applying conclusions about a strike in 2016 to the outcomes of strikes in 2023, amid record-high waiting lists, strikes across other staffing groups, and the lingering effects of the pandemic on the health service.

Medical Evolution – Policy Exchange (UK)

New analysis by Policy Exchange indicates that 15 million GP appointments per year are spent dealing with issues in care management between GP practices and hospitals; this illustrates that an effective and efficient interface between primary and secondary care has never been more critical to the NHS. This report makes 20 recommendations as to how the interface can be proactively managed in future. One of these is for the development of hybrid doctor roles who will be able to work more routinely across hospitals and GP practices, and to boost research activity in primary care.

A New U.S. Foreign Policy for Global Health – Council on Foreign Relations (USA)

This report argues that the United States must treat pandemics and climate change as major threats to its national interests, security and economic power. It examines US global health policy before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, finding that the US was unprepared for a pandemic and is unprepared for climate change. A new strategy for US foreign policy on global health is needed “to address the security, capability, and solidarity failures that Covid-19 and climate change have exposed”.

All is not well: Sickness absence in the NHS in England – Nuffield Trust (UK)

The NHS continues to grapple with above-average sickness absence rates – the average reported rate across 2022 was 29% higher than in 2019, and resulted in 27 million days lost across 2022. This is bad for NHS staff, healthcare providers, patient care outcomes and costs to the taxpayer, and is also associated with a higher likelihood of staff leaving the health service.

Finding hope: The final report of the IPPR health and care workforce assembly – IPPR (UK)

In 2021/22, IPPR convened a workforce assembly across the NHS, social care and unpaid care sectors, to set out a new vision for health and care work. This is the final report of that assembly, developing the participants’ deliberations into a 10-point policy plan.

How much planned care in England is delivered and funded privately? – Nuffield Trust (UK)

With waiting lists in England continuing to climb, there has been increased interest in the role of the private health sector – already there is evidence that more people are turning to private provision. This Nuffield Trust explainer sets out a complete picture of how planned care is delivered and funded across the NHS and private sector, and collates data from both sectors to set out the scale and implications of private sector involvement in elective inpatient care.

Economizing on Medicaid Nursing Home Costs – Cato Institute (USA)

“Federal and state governments paid over $60 billion for nursing home care through the Medicaid program in 2019. While nursing home care is costly, its quality varies and can often be quite poor. Through policy change, it should be possible to both improve outcomes for seniors and disabled individuals who require long‐​term care, while reducing the cost to taxpayers.”

Leading for population health: clinicians’ perspectives – The King’s Fund (UK)

Population health, or a whole-system approach to improving health outcomes and reducing inequalities within a population, is a national, regional and local priority in the UK health and care sectors. Clinicians have an important role to play in this – as direct care providers, they are in a position to be familiar with the needs of their patients and their local areas. Ten clinicians share with the King’s Fund what helps and what hinders their efforts.

Did lockdowns work? The verdict on Covid restrictions – Institute of Economic Affairs (UK)

This IEA meta-analysis finds that lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic ultimately reduced mortality by 3.2% relative to less strict policies adopted by countries such as Sweden. This stands in contrast to the Imperial College of London’s modelling exercises in March 2020 which predicted lockdowns would save 400,000 lives in the UK and 2 million lives in the US.

Digital, tech & AI

The Great Enabler: Transforming the Future of Britain’s Public Services Through Digital Identity – Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (UK)

The Tony Blair Institute calls for transformation of public services, to bring an end to ‘slow and cumbersome’ services. The ‘great enabler’ to facilitate this, the think tank argues, is digital identity, a ‘digital wallet’ that vastly simplifies how we interact with public services and allow us easily to access our documents and our data across all national and local government platforms.

The Unregulated Regulator – The Centre for Policy Studies (UK)

The CPS argues that the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers (DMCC) Bill currently making its way through the House of Commons would give the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) excessive and unchecked powers to reshape digital markets and regulate outcomes while undermining parliamentary sovereignty and allowing ‘quasi-legislative’ powers to accrue to bureaucrats. The Government should therefore scrap the Bill and learn from the results of the EU’s Digital Markets Act.

The EU Data Act: The Long Arm of European Tech Regulation Continues – Center for Strategic and International Studies (USA)

EU regulatory practices are rising to challenge those of the US, long dominant in the global tech sector – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law is shaping data protection laws well beyond Europe, and Brussels has inserted discriminatory provisions in the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act which take aim directly at US platforms. CSIS argues that Europe believes erroneously that heavy-handed regulation, in stark contrast to the US’ successful light-touch environment, will allow European tech champions to flourish.

The nuclear governance model won’t work for AI – Chatham House (UK)

With AI increasingly discussed as an existential threat on par with nuclear war and climate change, Chatham House argues that this parallel should not extend to regulation of the sector.

The three challenges of AI regulation – Brookings Institution (USA)

With AI chiefs increasingly calling on government to regulate their activities, Brookings identifies three challenges within AI regulation: meeting the velocity with which AI is developing; deciding the components of what to regulate; and determining who regulates and how.

AI in the EU and UK: two approaches to regulation and international leadership – UK in a Changing Europe (UK)

AI is increasingly touching upon all aspects of our lives, and amid warnings of the technology’s risks, governments have scrambled to develop regulations for the sector. This UKICE comment piece examines how the UK and EU have taken diverging regulatory approaches to AI.

Key enforcement issues of the AI Act should lead EU trilogue debate – Brookings Institution (USA)

The European Parliament this month passed the AI Act, setting the stage for debate on the bill between the European Commission, Council and Parliament, a stage known as ‘trilogue’. Given the European Commission intends to finish the AI Act by year’s end, before the 2024 European elections, this process will likely be expedited – however, Brookings observes that several points about the details of implementation and enforcement of the EU AI Act have been underdiscussed thus far, especially as these differ across the proposals put forward by Council, Commission and Parliament.

The Eight Great Technologies 10 years on – Policy Exchange (UK)

A decade ago, the ‘Eight Great Technologies’ initiative was outlined in a report by Policy Exchange – the strategy identified eight key areas, including AI and semiconductors, satellites and space, robotics and autonomous systems, and more. Former Universities and Science Minister David Willetts reviews in this report the progress made in the UK since then. While the UK has made significant strides in areas including AI and space (including being ranked second in the world for AI start-ups, developing its own launch capacity in space and producing a significant proportion of commercial satellites), it has underperformed in others, particularly robots, advanced materials and agri-science, due to inconsistent government support.

A New National Purpose: AI Promises a World-Leading Future of Britain – Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (UK)

This joint report by Tony Blair and William Hague sets out what the UK will need to do to be a world leader in the development of AI, ‘a matter becoming so urgent and important that how we respond is more likely than anything else to determine Britain’s future’. Britain will need to speed up and scale up the welcome initiatives already announced by the Government, and review major spending commitments to divert funds towards science and technology infrastructure as well as financing the talent and research programmes needed to be a global AI leader.

Beyond devices and connectivity: the human factors of digital health care – The King's Fund (UK)

Examining digital services in a health context, this article argues that devices and internet connectivity are just one part of digital services – effective design of digital tools and services is also crucial for uptake, as hard-to-use digital technologies can lead to exclusion and disengagement of users, ultimately harming care. This article calls for co-development of digital services in tandem with communities and with voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations to ensure digital health and care services are designed that exclude no one.

AI: a game-changer in sustainability – RSA (UK)

“As we confront the intricate environmental dilemmas of our time, there is a growing need for innovative strategies and cutting-edge tools to safeguard our planet’s resources. At the helm of these tools is artificial Intelligence (AI). With its potential to reshape sectors, from energy efficiency to resource management, AI is emerging as a torchbearer in the journey towards sustainable development. However, its transformative power also brings unique challenges that demand attention.”

California's Digital Divide – Public Policy Institute of California (USA)

In this fact sheet, PPIC finds that, although 95% of households in California had internet access in 2021, racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities between households’ broadband access persist.

Defence & national security

How to end Russia’s war on Ukraine – Chatham House (UK)

Chatham House publishes a report on how to end Russia’s war in Ukraine, which concludes that the only outcome to the war which can safeguard European security is Ukrainian victory over Russia. As such, the West should redouble military support to Kyiv before it is too late.

A deterrence response monitoring capability for the US Department of Defense – Brookings Institution (USA)

Deterring China from initiating war is not sufficient – the US must also be prepared to respond safely to Chinese operations which threaten local and regional US interests and which erode the behavioural standards necessary for continued US leadership in the Western Pacific. This will involve deploying sensitive and comprehensive indications and warnings (I&W) chains, as well as designing deterrence strategies which successfully and unambiguously convey US intent without provoking escalation.

Keeping America close, Russia down, and China far away: How Europeans navigate a competitive world – European Council on Foreign Relations (Europe)

An article urging European leaders to coalesce around a better-defined foreign policy built on the following pillars: accepting the increasingly conflictual geopolitical stage as a matter of fact, not a counterfactual to their traditional cooperative world view; recognising that China is a threat but decoupling will take time and public opinion support which is yet to fully win over; remain united on the current approach to Russia.

Prigozhin’s Rebellion: What We Discovered, and What We Still Need to Know – Royal United Services Institute (UK)

This RUSI post sets out what the attempted coup by the Wagner mercenaries has taught us about Russia’s system of government, its efficacy, how decisions are taken, and possible ramifications further down the road, including implications for President Vladimir Putin’s control over the country.

Fighting into the Bastions: Getting Noisier to Sustain the US Undersea Advantage – Hudson Institute (USA)

China and Russia have, in the past decade, begun fortifying their undersea defences – this could undermine the US’ undersea warfighting capabilities. To sustain its undersea advantage, the US Navy will need to begin supporting submarines with systems designed to suppress or overcome enemy undersea defences. Hudson makes several recommendations as to which lines of effort the Navy should pursue to achieve this goal.

EU-UK cooperation in defence capabilities after the war in Ukraine – Centre for European Reform (Europe)

After Brexit, EU-UK cooperation in defence matters has not been formalised in any fora or institutional setting. This article argues that, given the war in Ukraine inevitably brought the EU and the UK in close collaboration on defence matters, positive momentum must not be lost, and the UK and EU should work to set up a joint defence agency to foster and formalise needed defence ties.

How the rumble in Russia reverberates around the Middle East – The Middle East Institute (UAE/KSA)

This piece of analysis focuses on the recent Wagner Group mutiny in Russia and what effects this may have on the Middle East. Specifically, the author draws attention to Iran’s position as a close ally of Russia. Instability in Russia may reverberate in the Middle East, where an increasingly alienated and threatened Tehran may push for a more drastic foreign policy, including accelerating on its nuclear programme.

Assessing the Impact of Diverse Intermediate Force Capabilities and Integrating Them into Wargames for the U.S. Department of Defense and NATO – RAND Corporation (USA)

“The authors of this report describe how to measure the impact of intermediate force capabilities (IFCs), which cause less-than-lethal effects, and how to better integrate them into wargaming, modeling, and simulation for U.S. and NATO-wide forces.”

RUSI State Threats Taskforce: ‘Assessing the Responses’ – Royal United Services Institute (UK)

“In line with the UK’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, RUSI set up a State Threats Taskforce to support the UK and its partners in detecting, understanding and responding to such challenges in February 2023. As part of this work, RUSI has held two expert workshops on different aspects of state threats. This report provides an overview of the key themes discussed in the second workshop in May 2023, which focused on the challenges faced by the UK national security architecture in responding to state threats, and potential approaches and actions which might improve the UK’s response.”

Integration of Missile Defense – American Enterprise Institute (USA)

This study into the roles and responsibilities of the Department of Defense (DoD) components in relation to missile defence is the product of a contract between the DoD and the National Academy of Public Administration. The study includes a comprehensive assessment and analysis of existing DoD responsibilities in missile defence, identifies gaps in component capability, and develops recommendations for legislative and administrative action.

Dogs of War: Russia’s Corporate Warriors in Armed Conflict – European Union Institute for Security Studies (Europe)

This paper looks at the role of mercenary groups and private military companies (PMCs) in Russian military operations. The authors highlight how the use of these private companies – though private is a misnomer considered most of them operate under the auspices of Ministry of Defence agencies – is steadily growing and offers appealing plausible deniability and impunity from international law to the Kremlin. A prescient piece of analysis given recent developments in Russia.

Strengthening Baltic Security: Next Steps for NATO – Center for Strategic and International Studies (USA)

The Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, are particularly vulnerable to Russian aggression, in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ahead of the NATO summit next month in the Lithuanian capital, CSIS concludes that the Baltics are in need of assistance from the entire Western alliance, and makes recommendations for shoring up Baltic security and for implementing the new Strategic Concept as agreed last year in Madrid.

An American View on Germany's National Security Strategy – Hudson Institute (USA)

This Hudson Institute article analyses Germany’s national security strategy (NSS), the first in its history. Though it contains many compromises as a result of negotiations between the three parties who make up Germany’s government, the article notes that the NSS is not unambitious in its scope, calling on Germany to protect the ‘free democratic order’, ‘free trade routes’, and the ‘rules-based international order’. However, it does not contain explain how Berlin might reach these goals, and therefore reads more as an aspirational treatise rather than a security strategy. Additionally, the NSS views the world as multipolar, and does not seriously engage with the idea that the world is entering an era of Sino-American bipolar competition – the Hudson Institute warns that Berlin viewing Beijing as an ‘indispensable partner on global challenges’ is likely to lead to German disappointment.

NATO and the North Sea: Securing the Green Energy Transition – Royal United Services Institute (UK)

During the Cold War, the North Sea was a key strategic front – now, again, it is on Europe’s security agenda, with escalating concerns over Russian interference around its critical infrastructure. This is especially as the North Sea’s importance is rapidly growing as a lynchpin of Europe’s energy security, offshore wind industry, and green transition. To safeguard North Sea security, states in the region must develop new ideas and strategies for collaboration, perhaps in the framework of a regional strategy forum and other information-sharing mechanisms. 

Immigration

The Economic and Social Impacts of Lifting Work Restrictions on People Seeking Asylum – NIESR (UK)

The UK’s restrictions on the right to work for asylum seekers is very strict relative to other European nations. NIESR finds that allowing asylum seekers to work would increase tax revenue by £1.3bn, save the Government £6.7bn, and increase the country’s GDP by £1.6bn.

The Whole of the Moon: UK labour immigration policy in the round – Social Market Foundation (UK)

With labour immigration to the UK having faced considerable disruption in recent years, this report focuses on the structure, operations and outcomes of the challenges of labour shortages for UK immigration policy. The report then assesses the causes of recent labour shortages in the UK, the extend to which immigration policy has been both cause and remedy to these shortages, and calls on government and business to work together to meet the economy’s shorter- and longer-term needs and craft an approach which uses immigrant workers as part of an overall better-trained and better-protected workforce which also benefits British workers.

Rwanda policy unlawful: unpacking the Court of Appeal’s decision – UK in a Changing Europe (UK)

UKICE unpicks the Court of Appeal’s ruling that the Government’s policy of removing asylum seekers to Rwanda for their claims to be processed is unlawful, and what implications this could have for the Illegal Migration Bill currently in the House of Lords. It highlights that the Court has found that Rwanda is not a ‘safe third country’, but observes that under current law, the UK Government has the power to designate countries as ‘safe’ – if Parliament passes the Illegal Migration Bill, including the schedule listing Rwanda as ‘safe’, there is an argument that Parliament will have approved Rwanda as a ‘safe third country’.  

Transport

A smooth ride: Electric buses and the route to a fairer transport system – IPPR (UK)

Buses are a crucial part of transport connectivity in the UK, and of an effective transition to a net zero economy. This report examines what it would mean to ‘level up’ England’s bus network by bringing London levels of bus service provision per capita to all of the country’s metropolitan areas.

How U.S. Aviation Infrastructure Works – Council on Foreign Relations (USA)

Civil aviation is central to the US transport network and economy, but the country’s air infrastructure is ageing. Financing and operation of aviation infrastructure is a tapestry of public and private efforts, with some experts saying more investment is needed – this is complicated by high-profile air traffic control crises, new technologies, and climate concerns. CFR provides an explainer on the state of aviation infrastructure in the US, how it is funded, and what’s next in the regulatory space.

Energy & net zero

Planning for net zero and nature: A better, greener planning system that empowers local places – IPPR (UK)

This IPPR report sets out “how the planning system needs to change to deliver net zero and restore nature in England, while also delivering the services people need, including well-connected communities and housing, and supporting the development of renewable energy”.

Renewable energy should not be the next semiconductor in US-China competition – Brookings Institution (USA)

The Inflation Reduction Act provides $300bn worth of subsidies over the next decade to speed the US’ low-carbon transition and to onshore renewable energy manufacturing. It is, however, unclear whether this can be achieved without disrupting the global supply chain in which China is a massive player. Brookings calls on Washington and Beijing to examine the lessons of the ‘disruptive decoupling’ of the semiconductor industry to weigh the costs and benefits of possible decoupling before making decisions driven by strategic competition.

Circular economy in the GCC: status, challenges and opportunities – Gulf Research Centre (KSA)

A report examining what the concept of circular economy (CE) means for the GCC states. Using case studies from successful circular economy models in Gulf countries, the authors reflect on the main challenges of implementing CE systems to achieve a clean energy transition.

Getting off gas: why, how and who should pay? – Grattan Institute (Australia)

The authors of this report make the case that Australia needs to get off natural gas if it is to have any hope of achieving net zero by 2050. The report recommends that each state and territory set a date for the end of gas usage, and that governments should pay for public, community and indigenous housing to be updated to all electric.

Rebooting the European Union’s Net Zero Industry Act – Bruegel (Europe)

This paper analysis the EU’s legislative response to the US’ Inflation Reduction Act: the Net Zero Industry Act (NZIA). The authors argue that the NZIA is ineffective and expound on its faults, including lack of a governance structure and poorly designed objectives to incentivise strategic public procurement.

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