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G20 environment ministers meet in the summer of the climatic turbulence

Here's today's foreign policy: G-20 environment ministers meet in Italy, China rejects a WHO plan to further investigate the origins of COVID-19, and TanzaniaThe opposition leader is arrested.

Here's today's foreign policy: G-20 environment ministers meet in Italy, China rejects a WHO plan to further investigate the origins of COVID-19, and TanzaniaThe opposition leader is arrested.

Kerry joins the environment ministers in Italy

White House Climate Commissioner John Kerry meets with G-20 Environment Ministers today in Naples, Italy to discuss commitments to tackle climate change as recent extreme floods in China, India, Germany and Belgium make the need more pressing Underline measures.

Today's meeting will be followed by a joint summit of environment and energy ministers on Friday as the world's major economies try to plan a transition to clean energy before global temperature tipping points are reached.

The group could start exploring its own support for the production and consumption of CO2-emitting fossil fuels. A recent report found that G-20 members have spent more than $ 3.3 trillion subsidizing fossil fuels since the 2015 Paris Agreement, in breach of their broad commitments to fight climate change; Sixty percent of these subsidies went to fossil fuel companies, while the rest went to cheaper energy prices for consumers.

Tensions in China. Speaking to a London audience on Tuesday, John Kerry described a world stuck in a "mutual suicide pact" and said cooperation – even between adversaries – is the only way out. Even so, Kerry criticized Beijing's plan to peak emissions by 2030, saying it would force the rest of the world to achieve net zero emissions "by 2040 or even 2035," well ahead of the current 2050 target.

Political blockades. Kerry may be right, but his own government's climate goals are still struggling to get off the ground. A $ 3.5 trillion plan to advance Biden's economic agenda, which includes funding a clean energy transition, must first pass through U.S. Congress, where Republican support appears to be virtually non-existent.

What we are following today

China rejects WHO request. A senior Chinese health official has rejected a World Health Organization plan for a second phase of its study into the origins of COVID-19. Zeng Yixin, vice minister of China's National Health Commission, said, citing the plan's focus on assessing whether the virus may have emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, it was "impossible for us to accept such a tracing plan." lack of common sense. Zeng said China has "always supported the scientific tracing of viruses" but is "against politicizing tracing work".

Tanzanian opposition arrested. The Tanzanian authorities arrested several members of the country's largest opposition party – including its chairman – on Wednesday in fear of an authoritarian turn by the new President Samia Suluhu Hassan. The Chadema party said its members were arrested by police at a hotel for allegedly violating the country's coronavirus restrictions, which prohibit unauthorized meetings. Tundu Lissu, Chadema's candidate in last October's elections, has called for nationwide protests against the arrests.

Turkey pushes Cyprus plan forward. The US and the European Union have condemned a Turkish plan to reopen the abandoned city of Varosha on the divided island of Cyprus. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the move during a visit to the island on the 47th anniversary of the Turkish invasion that conquered the formerly Greek-dominated city. The city was once a popular tourist destination and has been in a military zone ever since. Erdogan's plan is part of a push to create a two-state solution for Greek and Turkish Cypriots on the island, a proposal that the European Union is rejecting.

Bolsonaro's shock. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is expected to rearrange his cabinet next week to gain the support of the influential lawmaker bloc “centrão” in the Brazilian National Congress. According to Reuters, Bolsonaro is likely to replace his chief of staff and the president's secretary general, while the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs may be revitalized after merging with the Economy Ministry in 2019, Bolsonaro has consistently behind ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula ahead of next year's presidential election da Silva took second place.

Sherman to China. Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is due to visit China next week, the highest-ranking visit by a US official since Climate Envoy John Kerry's trip to Shanghai in April. During her visit, Sherman is expected to meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in the coastal city of Tianjin. The visit was already hampered by protocol issues, with Sherman reportedly canceling their travel plans after they were offered to meet with Vice Secretary of State Xie Feng rather than Wang. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has announced that Sherman will “meet” Wang and have “talks” with Xie.

Launch of vaccines in Africa. South Africa will be the first African country to manufacture the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine after the Biovac Institute signs an agreement to complete the final phase of production, known as “Fill and Finish”, at its Cape Town facility. Biovac plans to produce 100 million cans annually, although production is not expected to start before 2022. It is the second vaccine deal South African companies have struck in the past few months after Durban-based Aspen Pharmacare reached an agreement to manufacture the Johnson & Johnson shot.

Two Swedish prison inmates attempted a dramatic escape on Wednesday, but instead had to make do with pizza (and potentially a longer prison term). The two prisoners held two prison guards hostage in a maximum security prison in Hallby, west of Stockholm, before making two demands: a helicopter to enable them to escape and 20 kebab-topped pizzas for their fellow inmates. The two guards were released unharmed shortly after the pizzas were delivered, but the helicopter was never used. The two prisoners, who are already in a maximum security prison, are likely to be charged with kidnapping.

That's it for today.

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