Headline: IASS Blog April 2021

The IASS blog contains contributions from employees in all IASS departments and covers a huge range of themes. In addition to discussing the latest research findings and events, the blog authors comment on political developments.

 

The Information War. Misinformation as a Resource for Political Mobilization

“Stop the steal!”, “Plandemic!”, “Climate hoax” – these three examples are representative of an ominous shift in contemporary politics that has seen misinformation emerge as a key resource for political mobilization. Verifiably false information, held by a group to be valid, has become a linchpin of political debate. Whatever the issue at hand, the strategy is always the same: reliable knowledge is called into question and relativized by the deployment of competing and contrasting narratives. Challenges to the validity of these are subsequently branded as attacks on the freedom of opinion and proof of a “dictatorship of opinion”. Combining social media activism with street protests, this strategy has gained considerable momentum in the last years and an adequate response is yet to be developed.

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A bank for the ocean and a sustainable future

Thirty years ago today, world leaders came together to launch the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a bold initiative to foster change in an economic system that was degrading both the environment and indeed entire societies. Today, with the ocean facing unprecedented threats, a similarly bold initiative is required.

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Is Mitsubishi’s withdrawal from the Vinh Tan coal power plant a signal for Vietnam’s energy transition?

In late February 2021, Japanese trading company Mitsubishi Corporation decided to pull out of the Vinh Tan 3 coal-fired power plant project in Vietnam after facing considerable pressure from investors and activists over the company’s fossil fuel investments. This decision follows in the footsteps of HSBC’s withdrawal one year previously. Scheduled to go on-grid in 2024, the 2-gigawatt plant was expected to feature ultra-supercritical technology. This is the first time that Mitsubishi has pulled out of a coal development project. Work on Vinh Tan 3 will now continue under the aegis of China Southern Power Grid, which is also a major investor in the Vinh Tan 1 power plant. However, this outcome will not serve the interests of Vietnam in terms of job creation, air quality, and achieving climate targets.

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