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The world’s largest plastic waste pyramid is revealed in Egypt ahead of COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Zero Co/The Hidden Sea/Cover Ima via Reuters Connect

What to expect from COP27: “It’s pretty grim”

Last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, where central governments and the private sector worked together in unforeseen ways, gave us reason to hope for climate progress. Nearly 200 countries gathered to agree on details of the Paris Agreement with an eye toward limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C. This year was meant to be all about implementation.

But in the last 12 months, the world’s been rocked by war in Europe, soaring inflation, and deepening political and economic divides between rich and poor countries. As world leaders descend this weekend on the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh for the COP27 climate summit, climate warriors are wondering what can be done at this pivotal moment to save the planet.

We spoke with our very own climate expert, Eurasia Group’s Vice Chairman Gerald Butts, for a reality check on the goals and possibilities for this year’s COP27. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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A woman speaks on the phone outside a money exchange office in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Reuters

Hard Numbers: Mexicans benefit from US labor boom, UAE-Euro remittances surge, Egypt feels the Ukraine burn, Bangladesh’s cap

16.6: Remittances to Mexico in the year leading up to July rose a whopping 16.6% to $32.8 billion, in large part due to the US’ post-pandemic booming labor market. Unemployment levels remain very low in the US – a good thing for Mexican remittances – though that could change as the US Federal Reserve doubles down on its effort to quell inflation.

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Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani meets Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo, Egypt, June 2022.

Amiri Diwan via Reuters

Hard Numbers: Egypt-Qatar bonding, Thai activist jailed for dressing up, Hungary's ‘fetal heartbeat’ law, fatal kangaroo incident, Ken Starr dies

5: Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah-el Sisi visited Qatar on Tuesday for the first time in five years. In 2017, Egypt – along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain – cut diplomatic ties with Doha, citing its support for terror groups, which Qatar denied. Mired in an economic crisis, Cairo now wants to boost economic ties with Qatar and other wealthy Gulf states.

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Protesters rally agains the constitutional referendum in Tunis.

Mahjoub Yassine/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

What We're Watching: Tunisian referendum, Lavrov on African tour

Tunisia holds constitutional referendum

Tunisians go to the polls Monday to vote in a referendum over the new constitution pushed by President Kais Saied. The vote is scheduled on the first anniversary of Saied sacking the government and suspending parliament in the only country that emerged a democracy from the Arab Spring. At the time, he justified the move as necessary to prevent a bigger crisis, but his opponents called it a coup; since then, Saied has consolidated power by taking it away from any institution or group that challenged him, including judges and trade unions. The president's growing dictator vibes have upset many Tunisians who initially supported him, but he still has fans among younger people tired of corruption and dysfunctional parliamentary politics. Most opposition groups have boycotted the plebiscite, so the "yes" vote is likely to win (albeit with a low turnout). If the new charter is approved, Saied promises to hold legislative elections within six months. But they'll be less decisive under the revised constitution, which vastly expands presidential power at the expense of parliament and the judiciary.

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Bassem Raaof dressed in a Batman costume drives his "Batmobile" replica in Cairo.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Hard Numbers — An All Fours Friday: Egypt vs. Batman, Russian execs vs. death, Oz vs. variant, McFly vs. flies

4: The latest summer blockbuster features Egyptian strongman Abdel Fattah el Sisi vs. The Caped Crusader. Local authorities have arrested four Facebook users for planning a fake street battle in Cairo to determine which of them is the “real Batman.” Police charged the men with “planning a riot.” Egypt’s human rights record remains darker than the Knight.

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi upon his arrival in Cairo.

Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: MBS on tour, Lithuania vs. Russia, Spain’s moderate swing

MBS makes BFFs ahead of Biden visit

With barely a month until his controversial summit with President Joe Biden, the Saudi crown prince is on a regional tour this week to show that he’s hardly the “pariah” that America’s president once promised to make him. In Jordan, Mohammed bin Salman will look to patch up a monarchy-to-monarchy relationship that became strained last year over allegations of Saudi involvement in a plot to overthrow King Abdullah II. The Jordanians hope MBS’s visit leads to a resumption of lavish Saudi financial support. In Egypt, Crown Prince Mohammed will be highlighting Riyadh’s tight relationship with the Arab world’s most populous country. Egyptian strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi enjoys strong backing from the Saudis, who have gifted or invested billions of dollars in Egypt in recent years. But the most significant stop on MBS’s tour will be in Turkey, where always-dicey relations between the regional rivals nearly broke off entirely over the Saudi government’s 2018 murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. But with Turkey looking for financial help to right a listing economy, and MBS looking to shore up ties with a mercurial member of NATO, it seems that bygones are bygones.

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Egypt Wants COP27 To Be All About Implementation | Global Stage | GZERO Media

Egypt wants COP27 to be all about implementation

Later this year, Egypt will be hosting the COP27 Climate Summit. What does the gathering hope to accomplish at such an uncertain time for climate action?

It's time to go from pledges and commitments to implementation, Egyptian Minister for International Cooperation Rania al-Mashat says during a Global Stage livestream conversation hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with Microsoft.

"We want it to be an implementation COP," she explains. "And for that to happen, there needs to be a way for all the private-sector commitments that were made in Glasgow to make their ways to countries. And the only way to do that is if more climate finance ... is presented to actually de-risk some of the private-sector investments."

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Is Global Economic Inequality Getting Worse? | Global Stage | GZERO Media

Is global economic inequality getting worse?

Yes, said the majority of respondents in a recent GZERO poll.

What's happening in Ukraine has undone much of the momentum for narrowing the equality gap created during the pandemic, said Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media, during a Global Stage livestream conversation hosted by GZERO in partnership with Microsoft. The event was held on site at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington, DC , and was moderated by Jeanna Smialek, Federal Reserve reporter at The New York Times. The war has aggravated pre-existing problems like high inflation and supply chain disruptions. A cease-fire would help end all this, but don't count on it.

This week the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are holding their annual spring meetings. The conflict is top and center on the agenda, as is financial assistance to first help Ukraine keep the lights on and someday rebuild when the Russians leave.

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