Speeding up Covid-19 vaccine production setup with automation and digitalization

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If we are to list remarkable innovations done in the century, Covid-19 vaccine production would be ranked among the top of the list, if not the very top.

Speeding up Covid-19 vaccine production setup with automation and digitalization

When the novel coronavirus outbreak was declared a global pandemic by WHO in March 2020, the vaccine became the one item that was suddenly and simultaneously needed by all. While pharmaceutical firms could produce hundreds of millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccine in the matter of a few months, the world needed billions and as fast as possible.

Winning the race against time: Acceleration from development to manufacturing

Shorter time-to-market in vaccine production is crucial to save lives.  Accelerating clinical trials in the timeframes required to combat Covid-19 and ramping up production in the quantities needed are two of the biggest challenges the pharma industry has ever faced.

Speeding up Covid-19 vaccine production setup with automation and digitalization

Ramping up Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing capabilities

The mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 (also known as COMIRNATY®) for Covid-19 by BioNTech, in collaboration with US pharmaceutical specialist Pfizer, was in extremely high demand even before it was available.

With such urgency, BioNTech converted its existing facility in Marburg, Germany, to further scale-up Covid-19 manufacturing capacity. Prior to mRNA vaccine, the Marburg facility had been producing influenza vaccines based on flu cell culture, then changed over to recombinant proteins for cancer treatments.

Besides a higher clean room class required than what existed in the facility, when working with mRNA, one of the challenges faced was the need to switch from rigid to mobile production, with many single-use components.

mRNA vaccine production processes involve several manual work steps. Weighing is one such example. Precise measurement and reliable recording of weights are vital to ensure vaccine quality. With batch system and process orchestration, the operators get a guidance from the Manufacturing Execution System (commonly known as MES) throughout the entire process on when and which actions are needed to be taken. This is enabled by the workflow management component of the software which orchestrates the various sections of the system, in ensuring the most efficient production.

Speeding up Covid-19 vaccine production setup with automation and digitalization

Paperless production for faster and more efficient process

Paperless production offers many advantages over traditional procedures in the pharmaceutical industry.  Electronic Master Batch Record Management enables users to create, execute, review, and release Master Batch Records (MBR). In addition, Electronic Batch Records (eBR) are made faster. Testing is based on the principle of “review by exception” – in other words, deviations are dealt with when the system recognizes them based on exception rules. That makes the testing process less labor-intensive.

This new system and end-to-end digitalization of vaccine production enabled a conversion to “paperless documentation of production” that can immediately fulfill all documentation requirements, which is a critical component to validating vaccine efficacy.

To automate the entire facility, all systems need powerful, flexible, and scalable distributed control system that steers and controls all processes in the plant and takes digitalization to the field level. Seamless integration of automation solutions makes it possible to develop, optimize, and manage production processes efficiently.

Speeding up Covid-19 vaccine production setup with automation and digitalization

All the improvements made at the Marburg plant are Industry 4.0 compatible.

The Marburg plant has been producing the vaccine since the end of March 2020. A digitalization and automation project of this magnitude normally takes about a year. With support from Siemens, the Marburg plant conversion was completed in just five months, with the main components of the new MES completed in only two and a half months. The Marburg facility at full operation can produce up to one billion doses annually.      

Siemens and BioNTech plan to intensify their collaboration for the rapid expansion and creation of production capacity for the Covid-19 vaccine. The aim is to establish new production sites for Covid-19 vaccine production worldwide based on the Marburg plant and its technology, starting with a production facility in Singapore. Within this cooperation, Siemens will provide the latest automation and digitalization technologies for BioNTech production sites, such as design, simulation, and engineering software as well as process control technology.

Published : January 10, 2022

By : THE NATION

Strong Partnerships are Key to a Sustainable Energy Transition

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Following the signing of several milestone agreements to support the safe transition of the Erawan offshore natural gas field to its new operator in April 2022, Chatit Huayhongtong, President, Chevron Thailand Exploration & Production, talks about how the lessons of the past can enable an affordable

Strong Partnerships are Key to a Sustainable Energy Transition

The energy transition is upon us. The challenge for governments, communities and businesses is in delivering a transition that delivers affordable, reliable and ever cleaner energy for all.

Of course, the energy system has always been evolving and the good news is we can learn from that. Long before Chevron Thailand helped pioneer natural gas development in the Gulf of Thailand, we were selling Kerosene fuel. Today Chevron is piloting electric vehicle charging stations at our Caltex service stations.

The existential challenges of the energy transition came to mind this week with the signing of several agreements to continue the safe transition of the Erawan concession to its future operator PTTEP ED, itself a significant milestone for Thailand’s energy sector.

These agreements – which enable PTTEP ED’s early access to Erawan, set out how operations will be handed over and ensure Chevron’s important decommissioning work continues post-handover – demonstrate the cooperation between Chevron and PTTEP ED. They also represent a reminder of the strong and enduring partnership between Chevron and the Kingdom of Thailand.

More than 40 years ago, we helped launch the Kingdom’s modern oil and gas industry with the discovery and development of natural gas from Thailand’s first commercial gas field – Erawan. While success at Erawan was never guaranteed, the strong partnership between Chevron and the Kingdom gave Chevron the confidence to apply its innovative technology to the geologically complex Gulf of Thailand.

Strong Partnerships are Key to a Sustainable Energy TransitionIt was an ambitious undertaking, but Erawan’s start-up in 1981 marked a new era for Thailand, fueling economic growth and powering human progress with lower carbon, affordable and reliable energy and becoming a model for the way other fields were developed in the Gulf of Thailand. During the following decades Chevron invested $42 billion in Thailand. Natural gas and feedstock from the field also spurred the growth of Thailand’s impressive petrochemical industry, which supports thousands of jobs and yields important materials and products for domestic use and export.

Techniques developed here have also been exported globally. Chevron’s pioneering “well factory” approach developed in the Gulf of Thailand is being applied in some of Chevron’s key global operations, such as the Permian Basin in the United States. Erawan also saw an entire generation of skilled technical Thai workers receive unparalleled access to training and development – with a number deploying their talents internationally across Chevron’s operations. In parallel, the partnership with the Kingdom has seen Chevron invest heavily in health, STEM education and economic development to strengthen communities and provide opportunities for the next generation.

To me, the key to a successful energy transition will be in the creation and maintenance of these kinds of partnerships between governments and world leading companies that will enable innovative technology and investment to deliver the kind of future we want.

Strong partnership made the development of the complex Gulf of Thailand geology possible, changing the lives of a generation of Thai people. Partnership can also make the complex transition of the Erawan operation possible, ensuring that energy can continue to be provided safely and reliably for the next generation and that rights of concessionaires are maintained.

Strong Partnerships are Key to a Sustainable Energy Transition

Chevron partnered with the Kingdom to develop Erawan with the shared understanding that there is no industry more consequential – or more crucial to our lives – than energy. Access to safe and reliable energy powers economies, empowers communities and improves lives.

As we work together towards net zero, Thailand can build on a proven system, one that is already providing a lower carbon source of energy, while developing and scaling new technologies to facilitate energy transition. Natural gas, already the cleanest of the fossil fuels, can underpin energy transition and this is especially so in Thailand with many remaining domestic resource opportunities. Energy conservation will also play a role, renewables will become even more important and new forms of energy, including hydrogen and CCUS, must be developed at scale.

This will call for new and strengthened partnerships, new collaborations, new investments, and new innovation. The energy future of Thailand, and the wider region, will be defined by how partnerships, investments and innovation can be leveraged to find complementary, not competing, solutions.

Strong Partnerships are Key to a Sustainable Energy Transition

The development of Erawan over 40 years ago was an ambitious undertaking. The geology was complex, the solutions were unique, and the result was nation changing. That success was achieved because of the strong partnership between Chevron and the Kingdom, built on a shared understanding of the critical role energy plays in the development of economies and communities.

As we begin the next chapter in Thailand’s energy future, one where we will face the challenges of ensuring energy supplies today, and advancing towards net zero, partnerships are more important than ever.

Published : December 29, 2021

How to stop inflation from wrecking your retirement #SootinClaimon.Com

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Inflation is why the 4% rule never made any sense.

How to stop inflation from wrecking your retirement

I’ve always found it strange that we put one of the most complex and difficult financial problems on senior citizens. After you retire it’s very hard to know how to invest and how much to spend each year. You must plan around many unknowns, how long you’ll live, what you’ll need to spend on health care and what will happen to markets. Saving while working is the easy part, but spending down a retirement nest egg is much, much harder, and leaves much less margin for error. It also gets much less attention from the finance industry and policy makers.

Enter the 4% rule, the idea that if you spend 4% of your assets each year you’ll have enough to last you through retirement. It was a well-intentioned effort to reduce the complexity to one simple guideline. But it’s deeply flawed, and that’s become all the more apparent as inflation creeps up and poses another source of risk to retirement income.

The original 4% rule dates back to 1994, It dictated that a retiree invest their assets in a 50/50 stock/ intermediate bond split, take out 4% the first year, and adjust that amount for inflation thereafter. But 10-year treasury yields were more than 7.5% in 1994. As rates fell and stayed low, that 4% rule no longer seemed like a sure bet. At the time the rule was created, having such low yields for so many years was unthinkable. Up until several months ago many people couldn’t imagine high inflation either. This is the problem with simple rules for complicated problems. They don’t hold up well when the unimaginable happens, and in markets the unimaginable is to be expected.

That’s why Morningstar just announced 3.3% is the new 4%. The investment research firm assumes inflation will be low going forward, but is concerned that bonds will stay low and equities are over-valued. The new rule means that if you have $1 million saved, your income is cut to $33,000 a year from $40,000 – which is a significant drop in your standard of living. Accepting that markets are full of surprises, they suggest retirees adjust how much they withdraw each year based on how the market does: when the market is up, spend a higher percent, when it’s down, spend less. This is even worse than the old 4% rule, because it makes a basic and fundamental error.

The objective is not to avoid running out of money before you die, as the spending rule assume. The goal is to be able to finance your retirement with some degree of predictability. Not running out of money is the constraint, not the objective. The average worker puts a high value on stable wages, yet for some reason the financial industry assumes retirees are content to endure large swings in their income year to year.

If you are in a 50-50 stock/bond allocation, the Morningstar strategy may result in more than 30% income swings years to year, and that isn’t even accounting for the new inflation environment. Yet most retirees are on a fixed income and have large health expenses.

If predictability is part of the objective, it will take more than a 50/50 split and a simple rule, it requires actively managing market and inflation risk. One option could be buying an annuity that will pay you a fixed amount each year, leaving the insurance company to take on all the risk. But the annuity market is thin in America and it’s hard to find one that will adjust income for inflation. People also hate annuities. When the U.K. required people to buy them it proved so unpopular that the government backed down and left British people as lost as the rest of us. Another popular idea is spending the Required Minimum Drawdown (RMDs), which is how much retirees are forced to withdraw from their accounts each year to avoid a tax penalty. But these were never intended to be a spending plan and Morningstar estimates a spend-RMD rule can lead to 50% swings in income year to year.

A better option is to delay Social Security as long as possible so the government will pay you a bigger benefit. The government not only pays a certain amount each year, it will adjust it for inflation. For their remaining assets, retirees also need to be more proactive in their risk strategy and get serious about inflation protection. Instead of short-term or medium-term nominal bonds in their fixed income portfolio, retirees should seek out longer-term bonds that are inflation-adjusted with payouts that will match the income they need each year.

Such bonds are very expensive, so many retirees can’t afford this approach. That leaves taking a hard look at spending and thinking through needs and wants. One strategy is to finance needs – housing, gas, food – with safe assets such as Social Security and inflation-indexed bonds, which both offer protection in a high-inflation environment. This is critical because the price of the goods you need tend to be more sensitive to inflation. After that, finance wants – vacations or presents for the grandkids – by drawing down assets from your riskier portfolio that’s invested in stocks and might vary year-to-year based on asset performance.

Inflation is the new risk to retirement. It may change bond yield and equities in unpredictable ways, and erode the value of any assets that aren’t inflation-protected. Relying on the old rules, which were flawed to begin with, will no longer be sufficient.

– – –

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners. Allison Schrager is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. She is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of “An Economist Walks Into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk.”

Published : November 22, 2021

By : Bloomberg

What’s the link? Food, human health, livestock, environment, and antimicrobial resistance


Medicines which aim to relieve pain and suffering, may cure us of diseases and avert untimely deaths, are at increasing risk of becoming ineffective against disease-causing microbes. Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microbes such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites no longer respond to medicines. This makes common infections harder to treat, more expensive to treat, more difficult to treat, and increases the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

Antimicrobial resistance emerges naturally, usually through genetic changes in microbes. However, the overuse and misuse of antimicrobials (antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitic medications) have dangerously accelerated antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance is undermining a century of progress in medicine

Joseph Thomas who leads the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Antimicrobial Stewardship and Awareness, said “Antimicrobial resistance is undermining a century of progress in medicine, infections that were previously treatable and curable with our drugs are becoming (or at risk of becoming) incurable (as medicines are not working against infections). Even common infections are becoming risky and a problem. Surgeries are becoming risky. Cause of all this is found in the behaviour of human beings who are misusing or overusing antimicrobials. We must ensure that when we are sick we are only taking antimicrobials on medical advice and medical supervision.”

When we use antimicrobials irresponsibly or inappropriately – for example, taking antibiotics for a viral infection like a cold, or taking antimicrobials without a diagnosis from a medical professional – fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites have the opportunity to develop resistance to the medicines.

“Having good infection control is key to controlling antimicrobial resistance (AMR). So if infection control is good along with water, sanitation and hygiene – in clinical settings, veterinary settings and in food producing settings – it will help to stop the spread of infection and this in turn will reduce the use of antimicrobials to treat those infections. Use of poor quality drugs and/or unnecessary use of antimicrobials in humans, animals and in food production is also fuelling AMR” said Dr Haileysus Getahun, Director of the WHO Department of Global Coordination and Partnership on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). Dr Getahun is also the Director of Joint Tripartite Secretariat on AMR (comprising United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization – FAO, World Organization for Animal Health – OIE, and WHO) that coordinates the joint work of the organisations across the #OneHealth spectrum.

Covid-19 has brought antimicrobial resistance into spotlight. A systemic review found that while there were only 6.9% of 3338 covid-19 patients with bacterial infection, 72% of them had received antibiotics. The adverse impact of this irrational use of antibiotics in covid patients will manifest itself in future, warned Dr Getahun.

Agrees Dr Ishwar Gilada, Secretary General of OMAG (Organized Medicine Academic Guild) which brings several associations of medical experts on one forum in India: “The Covid-19 pandemic has provided another example of how irresponsibly and inappropriately antibiotics as well as antivirals were used. We need collective and urgent action to stop indiscriminate use of antimicrobials (be it antibiotics, antivirals or antifungals).”

Dr Getahun added: “Antimicrobial resistance is a complex problem that demands a comprehensive, multisectoral response. It is to be addressed through different mechanisms -including regulations and also by enhancing the robustness of the human and veterinary health systems to make sure that antimicrobials are prescribed based upon the needs and not due to oversight of the trained medical professionals. Antibiotics should not be sold over the counter.”

Why we need food, veterinary, human health and environment sectors to join forces for combatting antimicrobial resistance?

“We need different sectors- food sector, veterinary sector, human health sector and environment sector- to work together and coordinate for the One Health approach. Humans are abusing antibiotics not only in the human health sector, but also in agriculture and livestock. The more we use antimicrobials in any sector, the greater are the chances that resistance will develop and the drugs will become ineffective. In humans, antibiotics are often used as substitutes for decent infrastructure, decent hygiene measures and for proper diagnosis and treatment. Over 30% of health facilities do not have running water supply- so it is difficult to practice good hygiene in such environments. So antibiotics are used as a cheaper substitute. There is widespread use of antibiotics for prevention of infection and in treating infections that will not respond to antibiotics- like flu, where antibiotics will not work (as it is a viral infection)” said Dr Elizabeth Tayler, Technical Lead for WHO in the Tripartite Joint Secretariat for AMR, supporting the collaboration between FAO, OIE, UNEP (UN Environment Programme) and WHO at global, regional and country levels. She has led the development of the Tripartite Strategy and the development of the AMR multi-partner Trust Fund.

In animals, there is a push to intensify livestock production, very often in unsanitary facilities with poor biosecurity. So antibiotics are used to prevent infections. Sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics are used for growth promotion in livestock and also for blanket prevention in animal herds. In many countries more antibiotics are being fed to healthy animals than to sick humans and sick animals.

Dr Tayler underlined that antimicrobials are increasingly used in plant kingdom – 440,000 kg streptomycin and tetracycline sprayed on citrus tress (like orange trees) in California, drug resistant Aspergillus has been linked to use of the anti-fungal Azole (used to treat fungal infections in humans) in tulip industry. Anti-fungals are used in flower production that leads to resistance in humans.

Antimicrobials leak into the environment. Significant antibiotic residues have been found in effluents from intensive agriculture and from hospitals- all ending up in the river waters used by people to bathe and drink. In some cases levels of antimicrobials compounds in waters around medicine manufacturing sites have been found to be higher than therapeutic concentrations in the blood of patients taking those medicines.

WHO has declared antimicrobial resistance as one of the top 10 global health threats

This year during the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18-24 November), Go Blue campaign is the new initiative to raise awareness, stop resistance. By Going Blue, individuals, workplaces, landmarks, and communities will be helping spread awareness about antimicrobial resistance, said Dr Lianne Gonsalves, WHO Technical Officer for AMR Awareness and Campaigns.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) being a One Health issue needs to be addressed by different sectors, emphasized Dr Gonsalves. During the Week of Antimicrobial Awareness, all of these different sectors, especially food, veterinary, human health, and environment, among others, are working together to raise awareness about antimicrobial resistance.

By Shobha Shukla, Bobby Ramakant – CNS (Citizen News Service)

(Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant are part of Editorial team at CNS (Citizen News Service) and Asha Parivar. Follow them on Twitter @Shobha1Shukla and @BobbyRamakant)

Published : November 20, 2021

By : THE NATION

Welcome to the crypto metaverse, where its all too easy to lose #SootinClaimon.Com

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Facebook and Microsofts stuffy corporate idea of the Metaverse – think virtual offices packed with creepy Dorian Gray-like avatars – is nowhere near as dystopian as the cryptocurrency-fueled metaverse that already exists today.

This latter realm is the real head-spinner, as my Bloomberg News colleagues recently depicted. It’s a place that runs on decentralized finance (DeFi), a hi-octane $100 billion web of largely unregulated platforms that lend and exchange crypto for fees.

It’s a place where parents fret as their kids pocket real money on blockchain games like Axie Infinity; a place where virtual museums display art sold by real auction houses for eight-figure sums; a place rife with inflated prices, insider front-running and myriad frauds and forgeries. It’s a place where, for every interesting financial innovation, there’s a hack, rug-pull or wipeout just around the corner – the Squid Game token is only the most recent example.

The question now is how much longer this place, where real and virtual fortunes are made and lost, will stay a Wild West. Probably not very long.

We know from history that speculative frenzies have a habit of eventually fading, while rules and standards are never too far away from fast-growing financial technology. There was a time when peer-to-peer lending and instant online payments weren’t as supervised as they are today, for example. Regulators are already taking a closer look at DeFi.

In supervisors’ sights are crypto assets like stablecoins, which are managed algorithmically to avoid wild fluctuations in price. These serve as the fuel for some of DeFi’s raciest projects, like locking up crypto in trading pools offering ludicrous (and short-lived) 1,000%-plus annual yields, but also some of its most bank-like ones. These might involve an issuer buying real-world loans and bonds, backed by consumer debt or real estate, and securitizing them as tokens on the blockchain offering 5%-10% yield. (The issuer gets more crypto in return.)

You can glimpse the opportunity for old-school finance here: More automated and transparent processes, with fewer middle-men, might save money and help avoid the kind of shenanigans that led to the collapse of financial services company Greensill Capital.

But the reality today is that even these DeFi projects still come with significant risks. Sift through the fine print and it’s clear that a lot of things could go wrong. The counterparty chain is complex – one offering, for instance, features an India-based entity, connected to a Delaware-based entity, connected to a pool of crypto assets managed by another entity.

There also appears to be limited legal recourse for investors, and little power over issuers, who earmark the proceeds for general funding of “business operations.” If something goes wrong with the algorithmic management of an event like a loan default, there don’t seem to be many answers.

The more bank-like the DeFi project, the more likely it is that bank-like rules, and costs, will follow. On top of regulation, regular banks – so-called “TradFi” – are wading in. French bank Societe Generale is proposing to refinance a tokenized portfolio of covered bonds by borrowing from a DeFi platform. It would be the first such move by a major lender, and a sign the financial sector would rather co-opt than be disrupted by crypto-anarchy.

Whether directly or indirectly, sheriffs are moving into town.

Now, to be sure, the cavalry is still playing catch-up, and the ingenuity of fraudsters is still very much on display; the philosophy driving today’s dabblers should remain “buyer beware.” This is the Wild West phase of DeFi after all, fintech consultant Peter Lugli says. “I wouldn’t bet the farm; maybe the sickly horse.”

In the meantime, the corporate world’s interest has been piqued. Even Facebook, which is in the regulatory spotlight, is chasing its own stablecoin ambitions with a pilot digital-payments project in the U.S. and Guatemala. Maybe the irony is that, in the future, those stuffy Metaverse offices envisioned by Mark Zuckerberg will end up being backed by metaverse money – half-real, half-virtual, but fully regulated.

– – –

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners. Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the European Union and France.

Published : November 07, 2021

By : Bloomberg

‘Germany’ views technology changing net zero emission #SootinClaimon.Com

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Climate Change and Climate Action played an important role in the recent general elections. The floods in summer with more than one hundred deaths were a reminder of the dire consequences of extreme weather.

Georg Schmidt, German Ambassador to Thailand gave special interview with Nation Thailand

1. The German Commitment to Achieve Net Zero:

Climate Change and Climate Action played an important role in the recent general elections. The floods in summer with more than one hundred deaths were a reminder of the dire consequences of extreme weather. Germany pulled forward its climate neutrality target to 2045 while more than 110 countries including the EU committed to reach net zero emissions by 2050 (i.e. the amount of emissions added to the global atmosphere is no more than what is taken out). Globally, Germany is one out of eight countries with such ambitious goals. By 2030 Germany aims to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 65% in relation to 1990 levels. This involves a shift of paradigms in transport, production and consumption patterns. The pandemic might have served as a wake-up call for some to change their ways. The German government borrowed heavily in order to support its citizens. It can also use the money to push for modernization in fields such as digitalization and infrastructure.        

As Germany is a highly industrialized country decarbonizing the economy is an enormous challenge. Germany began its “Energiewende” (energy transition), the shift to more renewable energy, already some time ago and it is a goal shared by all relevant political parties. The Energiewende is an integral part of our climate policy. We are switching our energy system to climate-friendly solar, wind and hydrogen. Less carbon, more renewables and more value added and jobs created. In Germany half of the electricity is already generated from renewable sources (2020: 50.5%), mostly from wind and solar. More than 300,000 people work currently in the generation of renewable energy. To reach our ambitious climate goals, 270,000 new jobs could be added in the next 10 years.         

But it is not about producing energy alone. It is about storing it and distributing it in a stable and economically viable way. The unveiling of Germany’s new national Hydrogen Strategy underlined the importance of going new ways in that field. However, we cannot afford to destroy our industrial base – we can also not afford to destroy our planet. The new German government will have to master the task to steer this transformation with the right mix of incentives (subsidies, tax breaks, increased procurement) and disincentives (higher prices, taxes, prohibitions). The experience so far has shown that the incentives work much better. A sweeter carrot outweighs a bigger stick.

2. The German assistance to developing countries to help them comply with the COP26 pledge:

It does not help at all if Germany alone works to reduce its carbon footprint. Every country has an important role to play. COP26 in Glasgow is crucial in order to mobilize global actions towards to combat climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says we have only until 2030 to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 45-50% if we all really aim at limiting global warming to 1.5 C.

Warming beyond this will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and sea-level rise, and will exacerbate poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Thailand has seen this: Currently, many people in Thailand are hit by a heavy flood. Last year, Thailand experienced its worst drought in forty years. Thailand is among the ten countries most impacted by extreme weather events linked to climate change

Germany is one of the most active countries globally to support other countries in their combat against climate change. Most of the projects are funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Ministry for the Environment. IKI is a key element of Germany’s climate financing mechanism and the funding commitments were made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Climate change mitigation, adaption to the impacts of climate change and the protection of biological diversity are focus areas. To date, IKI has approved funding for more than 750 climate and biodiversity projects in over 60 countries worldwide, with a total funding volume of 4.5 billion euros (2008–2020). Add to that Germany’s contribution of the European Union and you see that we put our money where our mouth is.

But public sector is only one side of the coin. The transformation cannot be done against business. German companies are world-wide leaders in high-technology. It is their know-how and engagement that enables us to achieve sustainability. With the right national, European and international framework companies can develop and apply products and services compatible with our race for sustainability.

3. The German Cooperation with Thailand to help Thailand achieve the Bio-Circular-Green Economy.

Germany has been Thailand’s largest bilateral climate partner for more than ten years with more than 140 million euros spent. We are happy to share our experiences as well as technical and management expertise on renewable energy, resource efficiency and sustainable production and consumption. This includes policy advice as well as model projects such as on waste management, flood prevention, the production of energy efficient refrigerators or low-emission rice farming as well as the development of standards for sustainable rice. For the next phase we will focus on sustainable urban transport und renewable energy.

4. Examples of German green technologies in Thailand:  

During the last years as German Ambassador I had the privilege to visit many of the projects: To begin with, NAMA rice in Suphanburi reduces green-house gases and increases the yield of farmers. Smart farming also includes the use of drones on rice fields – German companies are active in offering technological solutions here.      

We regularly award buildings in Thailand constructed according to German energy efficiency standards. It is possible to save a lot of money by better insulation, circulation and changes in cooling methods. Cooling is one of the main consumption points for electricity. Check out the RAC Nama Cooling program offering air conditioning with reduced ecological footprints. And to round the examples up, the German-Thai Chamber of Commerce runs a Clean Air Initiative focusing on ways to improve the air quality in Thailand.          

Change is possible, but it starts from change in individual behavior. By now many people know about my personal penchants for electric scooters – much faster in the tight traffic of Bangkok than any cars. That does not mean we are not using cars anymore. We are proud of our electric and hybrid vehicles at the German Embassy. Our small BMW is powered by the electricity generated by our solar panels on the rooftop of the Embassy. We get a lot of support for these measures. Believe me, a vehicle with a small carbon footprint will soon be much cooler than a 400 hp. sports car !

I feel that there is already lot of good will to do things differently in order to protect our environment. Once people have more information about the ecological impact of their behavior, they can make choices accordingly. Of course, prices do play an important role. A combination of government nudging – so that prices reflect externalities –  with companies offering affordable alternatives could pave the way. For instance, if people are aware of the carbon footprint of their food, they might change their behavior to taste the delights of sustainable food. After all, a sustainable lifestyle should be not only cool, but also comfortable.   

Published : November 04, 2021

By : THE NATION

US Commits to Net Zero Pledges. #SootinClaimon.Com

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Leading up  to COP26,  Michael Heath, Chargé d’ Affaires of the U.S. Embassy, Thailand  talks about the U.S. commitment to protect environment and collaboration with Thailand to save the planet during an interview with Nation

1.U.S. commitment to achieving Net Zero 

President Biden has put climate change at the center of his domestic and foreign policy and designated former Secretary of State John Kerry as his Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.  The United States is leading by the power of our example, convening a Leaders’ Summit on Climate on Earth Day earlier this year, which included leaders from Thailand.  During the summit, we announced we would increase our nationally determined contribution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 50-52 percent by 2030.  In addition, the United States has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.  We are investing in new technologies to achieve these bold targets, including alternative energy and electric vehicles.  The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to mobilizing a whole-of-society approach that enlists states, cities, businesses large and small, civil society groups, and others to create a net-zero clean energy economy that benefits all. 

2. U.S. assistance to help developing countries comply with the COP26 pledges.

No country can solve the climate crisis alone, and the United States has committed significant resources to help developing countries address climate change.  During the United Nations General Assembly in September, President Biden announced that the United States will double our previous commitment to assisting developing nations to address climate change – to $11.4 billion per year by 2024.  The United States also has robust development assistance programs through our U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), including programs in Thailand focused on both climate change adaptation and mitigation.  We advocate for all countries to increase their climate change ambitions and targets ahead of COP26 in November this year.  

3. U.S. cooperation with Thailand to help Thailand achieve the Bio-Circular-Green Economy model.

The United States applauds Thailand’s efforts to assume a leadership role in addressing climate change, including the bio-circular green economy model.  Our diverse bilateral engagement covers several areas related to sustainable development, including agriculture, energy, transportation, and other sectors.  The United States provides technical assistance to Thai government agencies, for example, a program with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand helping to better integrate renewable energy into Thailand’s power grid.  We also facilitate connections with U.S. companies through our U.S. Foreign Commercial Service and provide access to financing through the United States International Development Finance Corporation, which has a regional office in Bangkok that provides yet another set of tools for advancing sustainable development.

4. Examples of the U.S. green projects in Thailand and why they are significant

The United States is supporting green projects in many sectors in Thailand.  One is electric vehicles (EV), where the leading U.S. engineering firm Black and Veatch is helping to electrify SCG International Corporation Co., Ltd.’s 14,500 vehicle fleet with support from the USTDA.  In addition, USAID is assisting Thailand’s electricity regulatory agency in establishing EV charging rates, and the U.S. State Department is helping the Metropolitan Electricity Authority develop an EV readiness plan.  The United States also has broader policies that support green development in the region.  One is the Mekong-U.S. Partnership, which supports projects related to quality infrastructure, national electricity market development, cross-border energy trade, cross-border transport facilitation, renewable and clean energy acceleration and deployment, and other topics. 

Published : November 04, 2021

By : THE NATION

Metaverse, the technology that will change the world #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/perspective/40008161


Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg officially changed his company’s name from Facebook to Meta on Thursday. This plan had been announced for a period, and the idea is understandable. Some Businesses normally decide to rebrand when it is bigger or want to change their identity. The interesting point of Zuckerberg’s organisation is that it focuses on metaverse technology, which is expected to change our world completely in the future.

Rebranding is a small point

Facebook was a social media giant, with over a billion users around the world. It became well-known among the public for around ten years, making the founder Zuckerberg one of the top richest people in the world from the social media success.

Previously, Facebook had bought other social media – Instagram and Messenger. The rebranding maybe means Zuckerberg wants to remind people that there is more than Facebook in his kingdom.

Moreover, the Meta underscores the direction of his company toward metaverse technology.

Metaverse

Metaverse is relevant to technologies and inventions that create a virtual world that runs along with our real world. Daily life under this technology will be more connected to the digital world, and a person can live in two worlds at the same time.

Despite the word is not well-known among the public, the metaverse is a hot issue for those persons in the tech sector. If Zuckerberg is successful in developing the metaverse, surely he will be more influential than today and this world will be completely changed.

Changing the world

Under the metaverse technology, people will connect to the digital world more than for playing a video game or consuming entertainment. Digital currency will be more reliable, similar to hard currency in our daily life. Also, human beings will be connected to other borderless, whether in aspects of economy, society or culture.

Presently, several activities are done on the internet and supervised by authorities or institutions. The metaverse will change this, as significant activities will be done in a virtual world, where a relation to the real world is fragile.

This also raised a big question on how governments in the future can collect taxes from economic activities in the virtual world. Moreover, some observers question what will happen to important organisations and institutions in the world, if the virtual world becomes more touchable as Zuckerberg dreams of.

Published : October 29, 2021

By : THE NATION

Employment Led by 11% Quarter on Quarter Rise in Job Opportunities Within Technology: Michael Page Thailand #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/perspective/40007992


With consistent employment demand, Thai professionals with the right combination of technical and behavioural competencies will continue to be in demand and command a higher ratio of salary. Additionally, competition for talented professionals is intensifying and companies are increasingly adopting a candidate-first mentality and paying more attention to the overall candidate experience, to help improve their brand, their process and their overall ability to attract talent.

Employment Led by 11% Quarter on Quarter Rise in Job Opportunities Within Technology: Michael Page Thailand

The number of jobs within the Thai Technology sector rose by 11% in Q3 from Q2 2021. “This is partly led by a buoyant tech startup community which is experiencing very healthy private equity and venture capital investments. A resulting demand is seen for professionals skilled in data citation, project and program management as well as software development,” observes Kristoffer Paludan, Regional Director of Michael Page Thailand.

Hiring in the Thai Engineering & Supply Chain landscape saw similar levels of heightened activity at a rate of 9% in Q3 2021 compared to Q2. According to Kristoffer Paludan, this upward trend is driven by the significant uplift in food production and packaging, chemical manufacturing as well as electronics and electricals.

“We have seen a number of new players entering the Thai market in the above-mentioned sectors. That combined with the expansion of the domestic marketplace has driven the uplift in hiring activity. In addition, the decline in the Thai Baht is fueling the export market which in turn has seen an increase in vacancies across both procurement, supply chain, engineering as well as manufacturing,” comments Kristoffer Paludan.

Also earmarked for further growth within Thailand’s employment market is the healthcare industry. Thailand being the second largest healthcare market in SEA accounting for roughly 20% of the region’s healthcare expenditure is in urgent need of a talent infusion across most disciplines. As demand for hiring grows, so will the competition for talent.

Source: Michael Page Thailand proprietary data

Published : October 26, 2021

By : THE NATION

Can the Great Powers avoid war? #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/pr-news/perspective/40007928


Is war inevitable?

As tensions over the Taiwan Straits mount, everyone needs to think through whether war is inevitable.  Leon Trotsky once said “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”  And if we slip into war by what World War One historian Barbara Tuchman called the March of Folly, can the Great Powers step back from mutual nuclear annihilation? 

When the world’s unipolar power incurred more pandemic deaths (at last count 752,000 deaths) and got defeated in Afghanistan by tribal warriors, no one should be surprised to ask whether America (and by extension Western civilization) is in decline.  The prestigious US magazine Foreign Affairs devoted three issues this year to: “Can America Recover?”, “Decline and Fall – can America ever Lead Again?”, and “Can China Keep Rising?”.  For those reading the endless barrage of invectives against America’s rivals, it certainly feels like the Cold War has returned with a vengeance. 

However, for Greta Thunberg and fellow climate activists, surely the world leaders’ priority is to work together to address our looming climate disaster?

Why are Alphas fighting in a Burning Planet?   Shouldn’t we call “Time Out” to see how to address collectively the urgent and existential issues of human and planetary distress?

Next month, the World Economic Forum is meeting in Dubai with an agenda to move from a Great Reset to a Grand Narrative Initiative “to shape the contours of a more prosperous and inclusive future for humanity that is also more respectful of nature.”  Grand Narratives may sound like a media story, but the reality is that the masses are unlikely to buy an elite-driven dream until they are part of the conversation. 

Take Harvard historian Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations narrative. Written in 1996, Huntington seemed prescient in predicting the clash between Western Civilization and the rest, namely, Sinic, Japanese, Hindu, Islamic and Latin American.  He asked poignantly, “The central theme for the West is whether, quite apart from our external challenges, it is capable of stopping and reversing the internal process of decay.  Can the West renew itself or will sustained internal rot simply accelerate its end and/or subordination to other economically and demographically more dynamic civilizations?”

Huntington basically reflected the worry of British historian Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) that since civilizations are born out of primitive societies, the key is whether the elites can respond effectively to new challenges, internal or external.  Toynbee saw clearer than other Western historians like Gibbon (Decline and Fall of Roman Empire) that collapses are not necessarily due to barbarian invasions, but whether the ruling elite can overcome their own greed or interests to address the new challenges.

In pure economic, financial, technology and military terms, few question that the West remains superior in almost all aspects, except in population numbers.  According to the Maddison projections of population and GDP, the rich countries (essentially Western Europe, plus Western Offshoots (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) and Japan would be 947 million people and 36.3% of world GDP by 2030, whereas Asia (China, India and other Asia) would have population of 4.7 billion and 49.6% of GDP.  This reverses the 2003 position when the West (including Japan) accounted for half of world GDP, compared with one-third for Asia.  This dramatic reversal is due to the rise of China, India and rest of Asia to  higher middle income levels by 2030, mainly through trade and catch-up in technology.  

In coming decades, roughly one billion rich West must contend with the rising powers of China (1.4 billion), India (1.3 billion) and Islamic countries (1+ billion) which have cultures and ideologies very different from the West.  If the planet heats up as expected, expect more Latin Americans, Africans and Middle East poor arriving on the West’s borders to migrate.  At the same time, with the American demonization of Russia and China pushing them closer together, the United States is confronting at least three fronts (including Middle East) amidst a fractious domestic arena, where political polarization prevents policy cohesion and continuity. 

This current situation reminds Islamic countries, following their great historian Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406 AD) of the cycle of dynastic and empires that Islam went through.  When the social cohesion or bonds (asabiya) is strong, there is state legitimacy and empires rise.  When it is weak, dynasties fall and empires are lost.  After the January 6, 2020 insurrection in Washington DC, many are inclined to believe that fratricidal tribalism is happening now inside America. 

Similarly, Chinese macro-historians Sima Qian (Records of the Grand Historian, 146-86 BC) and Sima Guang (Comprehensive Mirror for Governance, 1019-1086 AD) also recorded that empires fall not so much from external invasion but internal decay.  In Yale historian (Rise and Fall of Great Powers) Paul Kennedy’s terminology, has the United States arrived at the point of “imperial over-reach”, when her global ambitions and responsibilities exceed her financial and industrial capacity?  After all, the US government debt has reached as high as the end of the World War Two level without even starting World War Three. 

But all historians know that rise, decline or fall is never pre-ordained.  The past is not a scientific linear predictor of the future.  The unipolar order has weakened, without any Grand Bargain between the Great Powers on what the new order should even begin to look like.  Any Grand Bargain requires the incumbent hegemon to admit that there are equals and peers in power that want the rules of the game reset from the old order. This does not mean that anyone will replace the United States soon, because everyone wants to buy time to set their own house in order after the pandemic.

In short, before any Grand Narrative, we need a whole series of conversations with all sides, from the weakest to the most powerful, on what individually and collectively, the post-pandemic order should look like.  There can never be one Grand Narrative by the elites, until there are enough dialogues between the many. 

When the meek are weak, they suffer because they must.  But when the strong are insecure, that is when war begins. 

By Andrew Sheng for Asia News Network

Published : October 25, 2021

By : THE NATION