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Kerry: Putin Has Bigger Problems Than Ukraine | Global Stage | GZERO Media

Kerry: Putin has bigger problems than Ukraine

The escalating crisis in Ukraine deserves the world’s focus right now, former US Secretary of State John Kerry told Ian Bremmer at the Munich Security Conference. “But the key is to remember here that Ukraine, one way or another, we’re going to resolve it ultimately over X number of years,” he said. “But the climate crisis remains existential, just as it was before the Ukraine crisis came up.”

Kerry, who now serves as President Joe Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, also warned that the biggest concern for Russia’s economy right now is not its expensive military operation in Ukraine, but rather the country’s melting permafrost, crumbling urban infrastructure, and how they extract their natural gas. “Russia has a profound climate problem,” Kerry added.

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War in Europe | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Ukraine war: Has Putin overplayed his hand?

After weeks of military buildup and lies, Russia has attacked Ukraine. We are watching a worst-case scenario — a full invasion by land, sea, and cyberspace — play out in real time. With diplomacy dead, Western allies are now turning to sanctions.

The mood was somber at the recent Munich Security Conference, where world leaders were scrambling to avoid exactly this outcome.

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer talks to former CIA boss David Petraeus to discuss the "porcupine" Vladimir Putin has eaten, and to John Kerry, former US Secretary of State and the Biden administration's current climate czar, about Putin's other big problem with climate.

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COP26 Climate Deal: Reasons for Hope | Quick Take | GZERO Media

COP26 climate deal: Reasons for hope

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Just about to head to Singapore, but before I do, I thought I would give you guys a quick recap on the COP26 summit, couple weeks long in Glasgow.

And I understand that it's fashionable and important to talk about just how immediate and immense the climate crisis is, and that we didn't do enough, and we have more work in front of us, and all that is true, but actually I come away from the last two weeks fairly optimistic in the sense that the acceleration of effort that we're seeing from all corners, I mean there's even more from the central governments than you would've expected, and they were the underperformers, certainly more from the private sector, more from the banks, more from the corporates. And as a consequence, right now, I mean the big headline is that we are still on track for 2.4 degrees centigrade of warming if all of the countries make good on their existing pledges, which is itself unlikely. So we're not really on track for 2.4, it's higher. And that's double where we are right now, 1.2.

Having said that, there are a number of positive things that I think are also getting baked in, not just how much carbon is in the atmosphere. One is that they have decided, the participants of COP26, that they're going to come with new goals next year, as opposed to every five years, which had been the process. So as we're seeing more effort, as we're seeing more progress, we're also seeing stepped up urgency. And the very fact that you will now have a one-year, an annual summit that becomes an action-forcing event, even if it's marked by half measures, will end up getting you a lot more progress. I think that's significant and everyone agreed to that.

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Climate change trade wars

The COP26 climate summit in Glasgow is almost done and dusted, with some ambitious commitments and breakthroughs from governments and corporations to more aggressively tackle the climate disaster. Yet, though there seems to be broad agreement on what needs to be done to stop the planet getting hotter — like getting to Net Zero emissions over the next few decades — big disagreements remain on how to pull it off.

As countries try to turn jobs green while also boosting exports to keep foreign cash flowing in, reliance on protectionist economic policies is becoming an increasing point of friction between governments. Here are two juicy examples where this dynamic is playing out.

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In the Long Run, Making Plastic Industry Sustainable Is Corporate Self-interest | GZERO Media

Making plastic industry sustainable is corporate self-interest

Plastics are essential for Asia, but for Ian Bremmer the way the industry works right now is incompatible with the region's targets to fight climate change. Very soon, though, he predicts there will be "immense gravitational pull" to do things differently. Once the way Asian companies use plastics now becomes outdated, he says, it's only a matter of time before they change out of their own self-interest. Bremmer spoke during the second of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory.

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon.

REUTERS/Ammar Awad

What We're Watching: American missile defense, Chilean impeachment scandal

The US ups its missile defense game. Israel has used for years a precise missile defense system — known as the Iron Dome — as a bulwark against short-range rocket attacks from terror groups. In recent weeks, the US has been using the same technology — jointly developed by Israeli and American defense contractors — in the US Pacific territory of Guam to test its own defense capabilities against Chinese weapons, according to the Wall Street Journal. This comes after Beijing, as part of a military drill, recently sent sophisticated hypersonic missiles into space that could reach Guam, about 1,800 miles from mainland China. The Pentagon is not messing around in anticipating potential threats from Beijing right now as bilateral tensions continue to rise. However, the DOD says this tech isn't a long-term fix because Iron Dome isn't meant to be used to thwart cruise missiles, which are capable of transporting a nuclear warhead long distances. Meanwhile, the US military has requested more than $200 million to develop a new missile defense system for Guam, but Congress has yet to deliver.

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Why We Need to Put a Price on Carbon: University of Tokyo’s Naoko Ishii | Global Stage

Why we need to put a price on carbon: University of Tokyo’s Naoko Ishii

If we are serious about doing the right thing on climate, only incentives to cut emissions simply won't cut it. Naoko Ishii, Director of Center for Global Commons, and Executive Vice President of the University of Tokyo, wants the carrot to be backed up by a stick in the form of a price on carbon that incorporates natural capital into economic policy. Once politicians do that, it'll be a lot easier for companies and individuals to see that further pollution will hurt our pockets as much as it harms the planet.

Ishii spoke during a live Global Stage event, "Climate Crisis: Is net zero really possible?" Watch the full event here.

"What's It Worth to Save Everything We Have?" Asks Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe | Global Stage

"What's it worth to save everything we have?" asks climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe

Why do governments and corporations set Net Zero goals when the science just says to just cut emissions ASAP? For atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist at The Nature Conservancy and Director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University., it's too easy for humans to procrastinate on doing stuff 30 or 40 years from now. That's why she says we need more near-term goals with "everything on the table," given what's really at risk is not the planet — but rather us. "So the question is not, 'Could we possibly spend too much trying to fix climate change?' No. The question is, 'What's it worth to save everything we have?'"

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