Catch up on GZERO's coverage of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 78)
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by ian bremmer

Clean energy sources amid a futuristic landscape.

Jess Frampton/ GZERO Media

World leaders are flooding New York this week for the 78th United Nations General Assembly and Climate Week NYC, less than two months before the landmark COP28, the UN Climate Change Conference, is set to begin in Dubai. With climate being at the top of the agenda and top of mind, I thought I’d use today’s newsletter to debunk a myth that pervades an annoying amount of climate doomerism.

Most climate change discussions frame the issue in cost-benefit terms. Would we rather save the planet or keep our living standards? Save the planet or increase profits? Save the planet or lift people out of poverty? In other words, how much are we willing to sacrifice to stop climate change?

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Chinese President Xi Jinping.

GZERO Media/ Jess Frampton

After forty years of extraordinary growth, China’s economy may be entering an era of stagnation.

Youth unemployment just hit a record high of 21%. Manufacturing activity is contracting. Exports have declined on the back of sticky inflation and soaring interest rates in the US and Europe. Foreign investment has stalled. Capital outflows are accelerating. The property sector, which makes up a fifth of the economy, is crashing. Property development behemoth Evergrande Group filed for bankruptcy last month. China’s largest homebuilder, Country Garden Holdings, is on the verge of default. Headline growth has come in lower than expected, and the overall economy is flirting with deflation amid persistently weak consumer spending, faltering private investment, and mounting financial stress.

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Artificial intelligence


That’s the question I set out to answer in my latest Foreign Affairs deep dive, penned with one of the top minds on artificial intelligence in the world, Inflection AI CEO and Co-Founder Mustafa Suleyman.

Just a year ago, there wasn’t a single world leader I’d meet who would bring up AI. Today, there isn’t a single world leader who doesn’t. In this short time, the explosive debut of generative AI systems like ChatGPT and Midjourney signaled the beginning of a new technological revolution that will remake politics, economies, and societies. For better and for worse.

As governments are starting to recognize, realizing AI’s astonishing upside while containing its disruptive – and destructive – potential may be the greatest governance challenge humanity has ever faced. If governments don’t get it right soon, it’s possible they never will.

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Trump, robot, tank, ect. on top of colorful flags

Jess Frampton

Best guess on what the war in Ukraine will look like 12 months from now? (Michael Riley)

A frozen conflict with both sides exhausted, US and Western support starting to erode, Russia fully isolated from the G7 and behaving like a rogue state with asymmetric attacks against NATO, and the risk of dangerous accidents higher than ever.

What will be the impact of the suspension of the Black Sea grain deal? (Nia Bello)

A lot of new antagonism toward Russia from the Global South, in particular sub-Saharan countries like Kenya (which accused Moscow of “stabbing it in the back”), because global food and fertilizer prices are going to go up and, this time around, Russia will find it harder to deflect responsibility for it. Initially, it seemed possible that some grain ships would still be able to get out of the region (with Turkish escorts and/or NATO/UN guarantees), but recent Russian strikes on Ukrainian port infrastructure and grain storage as well as stepped-up threats against commercial shipping signal that the supply disruption will be extensive. On the other hand, in the past year Ukraine has meaningfully reduced its dependence on Black Sea routes for its agricultural exports, half of which now reach global markets either overland or by river through Europe (compared to just 10% before the invasion). That, combined with a record wheat crop from Russia and export increases by major producers elsewhere in the world, should keep the impact on global food prices from reaching extreme levels.

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Jess Frampton

Joe Biden is a historically unpopular president.

Two and a half years into his term, Biden’s average job-approval rating is a dismal 39.1%. His net approval – the difference between his approval and disapproval ratings – is -16.3%, the second lowest of any modern US president at this point in their term (the top spot goes to Jimmy Carter). Even former president and current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump was more popular than Biden.

Biden is struggling not just with Republicans (duh) and independents (whom he won by double digits in 2020), but he’s also unusually weak among Democrats and Democratic-leaning constituencies. More than two-thirds of Americans – including a majority of Democrats – say they don’t want the president to seek a second term. About half of these cite Biden’s age and mental fitness as major reasons why. Already the oldest president in history at 80 years old, Biden would be 82 on Election Day and 86 at the end of a second presidential term.

Biden’s unpopularity threatens to hurt his reelection bid. While he’s still the narrow favorite against Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis – the top GOP contenders –Biden’s lead seems to be shrinking, and Democratic elites are increasingly worried that the president’s age, deteriorating health, and weak public standing will lose them the White House.

It follows that Democrats will nominate someone else to replace Biden at the head of the Democratic ticket and maximize their chances of winning in 2024. Right?


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Jess Frampton

It's summer in the Northern Hemisphere, which means: you get to ask me anything.

That's right — it's the time of the year when I take your best questions on anything politics, geopolitics, and personal. Want to know what I think about the 2024 US elections? The war in Ukraine? The meaning of life? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and look out for future AMAs if you want a chance at getting your question answered.

I picked 10 questions this time. Some of them have been slightly edited for clarity.

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Jess Frampton

What was Prigozhin thinking?

Anyone who watched Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin over the past few months knows that he had grown progressively unhinged in the run-up to his mutiny, just as his political position had become increasingly untenable.

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