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Pump jacks drill for oil in the Monterey Shale, California

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Energy: The revolution continues

Quiz question for you: Over the past 15 years, which country has produced more oil and natural gas than any nation in history? Answer: The United States. That accomplishment is a result of the US “shale revolution,” a series of technological advances that allow new exploration and drilling techniques that provide access to once-impossible-to-reach energy deposits.
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Annie Gugliotta

Graphic Truth: Global fossil fuel subsidies on the rise

In 2022, the International Monetary Fund crunched the numbers and found that governments were spending a whopping $7 trillion on fossil fuel subsidies. The colossal sum spent on these grants and tax incentives was largely driven by the war in Ukraine and its ripple effect on energy prices. But it wasn’t an outlier; the trend had already been on an upward trajectory as economies surged in the Global South, which suggests it is likely to continue unless there is a global transition to green energy.

To put these numbers into perspective, government backing for fossil fuels represents over 7% of the world's GDP, dwarfing other crucial budget items like education spending, which amounts to a mere 4.3% of the global GDP.

According to the IMF, curbing these subsidies could not only realign humanity with climate goals but also save 1.6 million lives annually and boost government coffers by $4.4 trillion.

Russian reservists recruited during a partial mobilization of troops attend a ceremony before departing to the Russia-Ukraine conflict zone, in the Rostov region, Russia October 31, 2022.

REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov

What We're Watching: Russian draft goes online, abortion pill ruling, US inflation slows, Taiwan gets new presidential candidate, Biden bets big on EVs

Russia’s digital draft

If you’re a young male citizen of Russia, it just got harder for you to hide from the war in Ukraine. The State Duma, Russia’s parliament, approved legislation on Tuesday that allows the government to send a military summons online instead of serving the papers in person. The upper house swiftly passed it into law on Wednesday.

“The summons is considered received from the moment it is placed in the personal account of a person liable for military service,” explains the chairman of the Duma’s defense committee, though the Kremlin insists no large-scale draft is imminent. If the person summoned fails to report for service within 20 days of the date listed on the summons, the state can suspend his driver’s license, deny him the right to travel abroad, and make it impossible for him to get a loan.

The database that provides names of potential draftees is assembled from medical, educational, and residential records, as well as insurance and tax data. Thousands of young Russians have already fled their country. Many more may soon try to join them.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin


Russia’s economy (finally) feels the burn of sanctions

It took a little while, but Russia’s economy is finally starting to unravel thanks to hard-hitting Western sanctions, according to a new Wall Street Journal report.

For much of the past year, there has been a seeming disconnect between the state of Russia’s economy and the scope of punitive measures imposed on Moscow by the US and its allies. But the slow burn of sanctions – many of which only came into force over the past few months after lengthy negotiations among allies – is now finally being felt by the Russian economy.

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Podcast: European unity vs Putin, energy shortages, & economic pain


Listen: Europe is bracing for a tough winter ahead. An escalating Russia/Ukraine war has mobilized much of Europe to Kyiv’s cause, but it’s also rocked the region, bringing a plethora of economic, political, and social challenges that will last long after the war is over. How will the continent make it out of what looks to be a particularly bleak winter? On the GZERO World podcast, Ian Bremmer discusses all that and more with German diplomat Christoph Heusgen, who served as his country’s Ambassador to the United Nations and is now the Chairman of the Munich Security Conference.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform, to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Biden's gas prices woes

The Graphic Truth: Biden's gas price woes

Polls show US voters rank the economy as their No. 1 issue ahead of the Nov. 8 midterms. Many blame Democrats for today’s inflationary pressures despite a bid by the White House to dub increased prices at the pump as “Putin’s price hike.” But even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine sent global supply chains into a tizzy, Biden’s disapproval rating was way higher than he would’ve liked. We track the correlation between it and US gas prices since the beginning of the year.

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Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.


Why Washington is chatting up Nicolás Maduro again

You can isolate some of the oil-rich strongmen all of the time, or all of the oil-rich strongmen some of the time, but that’s about it these days, as Joe Biden is quickly learning.

Last week, it emerged that the White House is exploring ways to relax certain sanctions against the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro. Under a proposed deal, Washington would allow US oil major Chevron to resume exporting oil from the country while Maduro, for his part, would agree to restart talks with the opposition about free and fair elections.

As a reminder, a 2018 crisis brought on by Maduro’s repression and economic mismanagement drove millions of Venezuelans abroad. It also landed the country under “maximum pressure” financial and energy sanctions from the US, which were designed to squeeze Maduro — the heir to “21st Century Socialist” Hugo Chávez — from power.

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Gasoline pump out of gas following the strike of the employees of the oil refineries in France.


What We’re Watching: French fuel fury, China’s next premier, Putin's offer

France’s striking oil workers

Two weeks into strikes by French oil refinery workers over a pay dispute, the government has ordered some striking employees back to work to get petrol flowing. Workers are demanding wage increases to offset rising inflation, and the strikes have taken more than 60% of the country’s oil capacity offline. While ExxonMobil workers reportedly struck a deal for a 6.5% wage increase plus bonuses, unions representing Total Energies employees are demanding a 10% wage increase. On Wednesday, the unions voted to continue striking, defying the summons. The right to strike is protected in France, but a minimum number of workers needed to maintain a public service can be ordered to return to work … or risk a whopping 10,000 euro fine ($9,700) and time behind bars. Although Macron is keen to avoid further disruptions to the energy sector, he must tread carefully. The price of gas is a sensitive issue in France – fuel costs and economic inequality sparked the Yellow Vest movement that brought the country to a standstill in 2018. The last thing he wants to do is fuel more demonstrations, and there are already protests planned for Sunday in Paris over inflation and proposed pension reforms. Given the global energy crisis, heads of state worldwide will be watching carefully to see how Macron navigates the situation.

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