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Annie Gugliotta

What We’re Watching: Australia’s climate bill, Ukraine’s progress, Sweden’s election

Australia passes climate bill after a decade

The Australian parliament has passed its first piece of climate legislation in over a decade just months after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of the center-left Labor Party came to power vowing to prioritize climate change mitigation efforts. The bill – supported by the Green Party and independents but not by former PM Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party – passed the Senate (and is all but assured to be passed by the lower house). It includes a commitment to slash greenhouse emissions by 43% from 2005 levels by the end of the decade. For context, the US emission reduction goal for 2030 is 50%, Canada’s is 40%, and the UK’s is 78% by 2035. Although the new target is an improvement from the former conservative government’s 26%, critics say the bill doesn’t go far enough to offset Australia’s large carbon footprint. Australia is the world’s second-largest exporter of coal and relies on coal for 75% of its electricity consumption. The Albanese government has notably not banned new coal and gas projects – lucrative Australian exports – which some say could make this 43% target hard to meet. Still, after years of government foot-dragging, many Aussies are hailing this progress four months after a general election that was seen in large part as a referendum on climate (in)action.

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Former US President Donald Trump

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

What We’re Watching: Mar-a-Lago  "under siege," US pitches Africa, Italy’s left falters, Greek spy scandal

Trump claims FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago

Former US President Donald Trump said Monday that the Feds were searching his sprawling residence in Palm Beach, Florida. In a statement, Trump complained that his swanky Mar-a-Lago estate is "currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents." If his claim is true, the raid would be a big escalation in efforts by the Department of Justice to investigate the former president for trying to overturn the 2020 election result and inciting the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol building in Washington, DC that resulted in several deaths. It could also be related to a separate DOJ probe into 15 boxes of classified documents that Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago after leaving office. Although federal law prohibits moving classified material to unauthorized locations, Trump might argue that, in his final days as president, he got to make the final call on declassifying the files. Either way, the raid — which has not yet been confirmed by the DOJ — will surely cause political ripples in the coming days: the former president and his fans will cite the search as proof that the so-called "deep state" is trying to stop him from running again in 2024, while Democrats and never-Trump Republicans likely hope that the FBI was indeed looking for evidence linked to the Jan. 6 committee hearings that could help indict Trump.

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Grading the US Response to Ukraine | GZERO World

Grading the US response to Ukraine

Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia, is satisfied overall with how America has responded to Russia's invasion of Ukraine so far — with a couple of caveats.

First, the Biden administration needs to ratchet up sanctions so they don't pile up like parking tickets. And by that he means going after positions, not individuals, as well as offering a way a way to get off the list.

Also, the goal of the sanctions should be to stop the war, not hurt Russia beyond that, McFaul tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.
Third, the US should definitely share intelligence with Ukraine — but keep it under wraps.

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Russia-Ukraine: Diplomacy Is Still on the Table | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Russia-Ukraine: Diplomacy is still on the table

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here, kicking off a pretty intense week. Yes, we are talking about Russia once again, with the world on the precipice of major power confrontation in a way that is both more imminent and more dangerous in frankly, anything we've seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union back in 1991. I don't say that lightly.

Fortunately, diplomacy is still happening and as long as diplomacy is still happening, that means President Putin has not made a decision to invade. But having said that, the sides are still pretty far apart. I think essentially what President Biden has been able to accomplish over the last four, six weeks, number one, he has convinced the European allies that the Russians are indeed very serious about a military invasion and that as a consequence, the NATO alliance has to be as solid and as unified as humanly possible and I think that is indeed much more true today than it was a month ago. Diplomacy, as a consequence of that alignment, has a greater likelihood of working. But it also means that if diplomacy fails the level of escalation we are likely to see, both from the US and NATO and then in return in retaliation from the Russians is also much more dangerous.

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Russia Cares More About Ukraine Than the US Does | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Russia cares more about Ukraine than the US does

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and kicking off the week with more concerns about rising tensions between the United States, NATO, and Russia over Ukraine.

We saw from the Biden press conference last week, which feels already like a month ago, that he believes the Russians are "going in." That doesn't mean full invasion and overthrow of the Ukrainian government, which would impose massive costs on the Russians. But some form of direct Russian escalation that the United States would respond sharply to and wants to convince its NATO allies that they need to as well.

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Boris Johnson's Resignation Looming | Blinken's Visit to Ukraine | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Boris Johnson's days are numbered as UK PM; Blinken, Biden, Putin & Ukraine

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week, discussing Boris Johnson's tenuous status as UK PM, US Secretary of State Blinken's visit to Ukraine, and the volcano eruption in Tonga:

Will Boris Johnson resign?

It certainly looks that way. He's hanging on by his fingernails. He's losing members of Parliament. He's giving shambolic media interviews. In fact, I think the only people that don't want him to resign at this point is the Labour Party leadership, because they think the longer he holds on, the better it is for the UK opposition. But no, he certainly looks like he's going. The only question is how quickly. Is it within a matter of weeks or is it after local elections in May? But feel pretty confident that the days of Boris Johnson are numbered.

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Gabriella Turrisi

What We’re Watching: G7 warns Russia, Israeli PM in UAE, Blinken in Southeast Asia, Nicaragua ditches Taiwan, Poland may stiff EU

Russia’s big plans for Ukraine. G7 foreign ministers warned Sunday of “massive consequences” if Russia invades Ukraine. It was the first joint statement by the group of rich democracies since recent satellite images revealed a significant buildup of Russian troops and military equipment on the border with Ukraine. Indeed, according to reports, the force that Moscow is massing near Ukraine is larger than the one it used to annex Crimea in 2014. This comes after the Pentagon said that Russia could have 175,000 troops on the border by the end of January in order to invade the former Soviet republic. In an attempt to lower the temperature last week, President Biden and Vladimir Putin held a long video call, but the Russian president was not deterred by Biden’s threat of more economic sanctions if Russia escalates further. Putin says he wants NATO not to expand membership any further into the former Soviet Union, and to stop military cooperation with Ukraine. Moscow will reportedly send a proposal for a security arrangement this week. But Putin, who has already indicated his willingness to threaten European energy markets, also knows all too well that while Washington talks a tough game, it is not willing to send in troops to defend Ukraine.

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Blinken Starts Mending Fences With France Following AUKUS Rift | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Antony Blinken mending fences with France following AUKUS rift

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

How is US Secretary of State Antony Blinken doing with his talks in Paris?

Well, seems to be fairly okay. He had a lengthy discussion with the Foreign Minister Le Drian and he was even received by the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron. There's a lot of fence-mending to be done, but a start has been done. And that's good.

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