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Taliban takeover embarrassing for Biden; political impact of wildfires

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on the Taliban's rapid territorial gains, the politics of climate change and two court cases gaining political attention in Canada and China.

Is the US drawdown in Afghanistan going as planned?

Well, yes, in the sense that the US is quickly wrapping up military activities on the ground in Afghanistan, the longest standing war in American history will be over in just a few weeks. Not going as planned in the sense that the Taliban is retaking territory much faster than it had been expected. And the US State Department recently told all Americans living in Afghanistan get the hell out because the Americans can't protect them. This is embarrassing for the US, but ultimately, a much bigger problem for the Afghans, and of course for other countries in the region, China, India, Pakistan, Iran. I think it will be an embarrassment for Biden on his administration, but on balance, not going to affect him very much politically. Remember, under both Trump and Biden, even Obama, overwhelming majorities in the United States wanted the Americans to get out of Afghanistan.

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Will politics destroy the planet?

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a happy week to you all. I want to talk about the latest report, a very significant one from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. They release them every few years as sort of the state of the world on climate, on global warming, on sea level rise, on changes, and extreme storms, and droughts, and precipitation levels. And no one should be surprised that this is not a particularly happy piece of news. I mean, of course, so many headlines around major wildfires in California, and Oregon, and Turkey, and Greece, and others around the world and major flooding challenges.

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What We’re Watching: Hong Kong a year later, Brazilian troops in the Amazon, Mexico’s marijuana moves

RIP Hong Kong as we knew it: Exactly a year ago on Wednesday, China imposed a draconian new national security law on Hong Kong. The measure gives Chinese authorities broad leeway to punish political dissent. It came in response to a massive pro-democracy movement on the semi-autonomous island that was touched off by Beijing's attempt to subject Hong Kongers to the jurisdiction of courts in mainland China, where the judicial system is more politicized. Since the new security law went into effect last summer, almost all vestiges of Hong Kong's once-vibrant civil society and relative political openness have been snuffed out. Opposition leaders have been jailed, pro-democracy lawmakers sidelined, and the free press largely shuttered. Meanwhile the US has revoked preferential trade and investment ties with Hong Kong, a number of European countries have cut extradition agreements, and most (but not all) countries around the world have condemned China's policy. And yet, from the perspective of Chinese President Xi Jinping, this is all arguably a win. He has suppressed one of the biggest popular challenges to China's authority in recent years, and made real the idea that there is only one system of government in China: his.

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Episode 10: Can private companies lead the way on climate action?

Listen: With bold commitments coming from both political and business leaders around the globe, 2021 could be a critical year in the fight against climate change. As sustainable investing moves from being a nice idea to a necessary move, what does it mean for your bottom line?

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Podcast: Can we fix the planet the same way we broke it? Elizabeth Kolbert on extreme climate solutions

Listen: In a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer, Pulitzer Prize-winning climate journalist Elizabeth Kolbert assesses the current state of the climate crisis and answers a simple question: how screwed are we? And as the climate continues to warm at a record pace, she unpacks some of the more extreme climate solutions that some increasingly desperate nations are starting to consider. Such measures may sound like stuff of science fiction (see: injecting sulfur particles into the atmosphere or shooting millions of tiny orbital mirrors into outer space) as times become more desperate, their appeal is growing. Can we fix the planet the same way we broke it?

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Climate, Biden, and signs of hope for 2021: World Bank's David Malpass

We're only a few weeks into 2021 and that 'fresh new start' that so many had been hoping for at the end of 2020 has not exactly materialized. But what gives World Bank President David Malpass hope for the coming year? "The promise of humanity and of technology, people working together with communication, where they can share ideas. It allows an incredible advance for living standards." His wide-ranging conversation with Ian Bremmer was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Mountain of masks: Growing environmental problem emerges amid Covid-19 pandemic

January 09, 2021 5:00 AM

It is estimated that billions of masks are used daily across the globe.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef status lowered to critical and deteriorating

December 04, 2020 8:48 AM

The World Heritage-listed site off Australia's north-eastern coast has lost more than half its coral in the past three decades.

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