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NEW SHOREHAM, RI - SEPTEMBER 22: The GE-Alstom Block Island Wind Farm stands 3 miles off of Block Island on September 22, 2016 New Shoreham, Rhode Island. The five 6-megawatt wind turbines are expected to produce more energy than Block Island needs. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

The US Excels in Cleantech, but Is It Innovative Enough to Meet Global Emissions Goals?

The United States continues to progress in clean energy innovation — even after announcing its intent to pull out of the Paris Agreement. The U.S. ranks fourth among all countries (behind Norway, Finland and Japan) in terms of its contributions to the global clean energy innovation system on a per-capita GDP basis according to the ITIF Global Energy Innovation Index. Still, “without more and faster clean energy innovation, it will be virtually impossible to meet global climate emission goals,” write the index’s authors.

Among other trends, the index considers the growth of high-impact startups, which can help incubate emerging clean technologies. On that front, “the global system is dependent on a few countries, led by the United States in absolute terms, to perform this function.” Still, a lack of public funding for demonstration of capital-intensive technologies “appears to be a major weakness in the global energy innovation system.”

Global Flight Activity Rose in June, But Has a Long Way to Go to Full Recovery

Source: Flightradar24

The global aviation industry saw a rise in activity in June, yet total flights are still down 42% this year compared to 2019, as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Commercial flights are down by 62% compared to last year, however they did increase by 32% in June 2020 compared to May, according to Flightradar24, a global flight tracker.

A recent report by Airlines for America predicts that it will take until 2023 to see a return of pre-COVID passenger volumes within the U.S. The pandemic has already forced the airline industry to cut tens of thousands of jobs — and more layoffs are expected to happen in the upcoming months.

American Airlines plans to add 2,000 flights a day starting in July, while United Airlines will be adding 25,000 flights in August. American Airlines is facing criticism for allowing full-capacity flights, despite the recent uptick in coronavirus cases in the U.S. The U.S. administration has not mandated mask-wearing, social distancing or temperature checks at airports or on flights.

New Models Show Dramatic Impact of Proper Safety Protocols on COVID-19 Death Rate

Source: Goldenson Center at the University of Connecticut

Wearing a mask, along with other basic precautions, results in a significant drop in the number of coronavirus cases and number of deaths, according to a new simulator from the Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research. The simulation shows how individuals’ actions can directly impact how long the pandemic will last and comes at a time when the U.S. is reaching a record high in case numbers.

The graphic above show a hypothetical model of events after 100 people out of 1,000 become infected with the virus. When only 10% of the population wears masks, observes social distancing and sanitizes, there is a dramatic increase in case numbers and deaths.

The other hypothetical model below shows case results when 80% of the population follows safety protocols. In the second instance, after two months, almost zero percent are infected. It also shows that if a state follows proper safety measures for at least three months after reopening, COVID-19 could be eliminated from the area. 

Over Half of Europeans View the US Less Favorably Than Before COVID-19

Source: European Council on Foreign Relations

The U.S. is viewed more negatively now compared to before the coronavirus crisis in the eyes of nearly 60% of Europeans. Over 70% of Danes and Portuguese respondents and 65% of Germans say their views of the U.S. have worsened — with views on China showing similar trends, according to a poll conducted by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) in June 2020.

The ECFR surveyed over 11,000 citizens in nine countries across Europe. The respondents said if cases continue to rise in the U.S., “many Europeans could come to see the U.S. as a broken hegemon that cannot be entrusted with the defense of the Western world.”

The EU is currently seeing an overall decline in COVID-19 cases, while this trend is only being recorded in two states in the U.S. The EU is preparing to open its borders, but most American travelers are expected to be banned, along with those from Brazil and Russia.

Africa Is Polio-Free, After Nigeria Reports No New Cases

Source: The World Health Organization

The WHO has declared Nigeria to be polio-free after the country reached its three-year mark of reporting no new cases. Just eight years ago, Nigeria accounted for more than half of all cases worldwide. This means that Africa is reportedly finally free of the wild poliovirus, although the continent awaits official certification from the Africa Regional Certification Commission, which is expected in August

Although the region is free of endemic transmission of the virus, it continues to struggle with some transmission via vaccine, with Niger recently reporting a vaccine-derived outbreak. The WHO warns that immunization and surveillance activities must continue to prevent the risk of the virus re-emerging.

As the region struggles with coronavirus, “mass immunizations … have been postponed,” according to the WHO, but countries in the region are “planning the resumption of immunization and outbreak response in compliance with the guidance to stop COVID-19 transmission.”

Now, only Pakistan and Afghanistan are left in the fight to end endemic transmission of polio.

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