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Hard Truths On Climate, Education & Poverty, From the UN’s Secretary-General | GZERO World

Hard truths on climate, education & poverty, from the UN’s Secretary-General

(Portions of this full interview have also been shown as part of the GZERO World with Ian Bremmer episode, "How A War-Distracted World Staves Off Irreversible Damage," available to view here.

Global political division, a culture of impunity and a vacuum of consequences ... Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine making climate change a “kind of second-order issue” (even as 50 million Pakistanis have been displaced by flooding, and more than 1,000 killed) - with "irreversible consequences" and "irreparable damage" coming "very soon" - "a world that is facing destruction everywhere" ... the threat that the world may not have enough food in 2023 due to fertilizer shortages ... there's a lot of bad news in the world, as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres discusses with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Still, there are paths to solutions - as with the grain deal that Guterres helped to (discreetly) broker between Russia and Ukraine - if only the world's leaders will work together.

We Won’t Have Enough Food Next Year if We Don’t Get Russian Fertilizer Out | GZERO World

António Guterres: the world won’t have enough food in 2023 without Russian fertilizer

The UN- and Turkey-brokered deal with Russia to unblock Ukrainian grain exports stuck at Black Sea ports was a big success for the United Nations — and for Secretary-General António Guterres.

Look, he recalls he told Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky: this is a dramatic situation caused by the war because it is threatening the living conditions of most of the world.

The UN chief tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World that we need to find a way for Ukraine to ship its grain; and the UN hopes to negotiate with the US, the EU, and others to get some exemptions from Western sanctions against Russia so Moscow is able to export the food and fertilizer that the world needs right now.

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Reasons For Optimism Amid The Global Food Crisis | GZERO Media

Innovation: cause for optimism amid the global food crisis

How long will food prices keep rising? Will food itself become scarce? There's a lot of doom and gloom these days about the global food crisis, made even worse by Russia's war in Ukraine.

But there are some reasons to be hopeful, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman said during a livestream conversation about the global food crisis hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with the organization he leads.

The Gates Foundation, he explained, has long been investing in innovations that can massively increase productivity by smallholder farmers across the developing world. Think drought-tolerant seeds or flood-resistant rice.

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Why Do The World's Poorest Pay More For The Same Food? | Pula's Thomas Njeru | GZERO Media

Why do the world's poorest pay more for the same food?

Smallholder farmers in developing countries currently produce about 30% of the world's food. But they are way less productive than large-scale farmers in the developed world.

Thomas Njeru, who knows a thing or two about smallholder farming because he grew up on a small farm in his native Kenya before co-founding a micro-insurance firm for smallholders, says boosting the productivity of smallholders could up global food output by 30% — more than enough to cover the 10% deficit we now face.

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Global Inflation Shock | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Global inflation shock

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Going to talk about inflation. Why inflation? Well, because I posted something on Twitter that sort of exploded over the course of the last couple of days, which means people are clearly interested. And I'll tell you what the tweet was, I'll show you a little post here. It said, "US: left government, high inflation. UK: right government, high inflation. Germany: centrist government, high inflation. Italy: everyone in government, high inflation. Wild guess, it's not the government." Now of course, it is government in part, but it's not the government, which is the point. In other words, no matter who you decide to elect, if it was Trump, or Biden, or Merkel, or Scholz, or Johnson, or Starmer, or Bolsonaro, or Lula, you are getting high inflation, you're getting high inflation globally. I'll talk about why that is.

Now, a lot of people went nuts and said, "How can you call the US government left?" And certainly, from a global perspective, the entire US political spectrum is kind of on the right. And from the European perspective, you wouldn't call Biden a leftist, you'd call him a centrist. You might even call him center-right? Of course, Fox News on Primetime calls Biden and the Democrats a bunch of socialists. And if I said that the US was a left government, I mean a right government, then everybody in the US explodes, so it just shows how divided and screwed up everybody generally is anyway. But leaving that all aside, the point is the point. And it's an important point, which is that we are so divided in the United States and globally that when something that really upsets us happens that we haven't seen in over a generation, which is persistent levels of very high inflation, we get really angry, and we want to blame the government and blame the government hard.

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Ukraine's grain exports are being held hostage.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Hard Numbers: Ukraine’s food storage dilemma, American tourists behaving badly, Vietnam’s health minister in cuffs, British journalist missing in the Amazon

23.5 million: Ukraine is being forced to find storage capacity for a whopping 23.5 million tons of grain thanks to Russia’s blockade of Black Sea ports usually used to transport Ukrainian exports like corn and wheat. Kyiv is trying to up its storage capacity ahead of a summer harvest, wary that improperly stored grains can easily spoil.

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Workers carry boxes of bread loaves at a bakery in Beirut, Lebanon.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Hard Numbers: Lebanon’s bread crisis, US prices soar, Boris Johnson fined, Koreans start from zero

15.3: The Lebanese government will give about $15.3 million in assistance to importers to help assuage a growing bread crisis. As elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, rising costs for grains and fertilizer as a result of the war in Ukraine are straining the country’s already-battered economy.
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How coronavirus broke the food supply chain | Interview with Tom Vilsack | GZERO Media

Why is COVID-19 causing meat shortages in the US?

As the pandemic took hold in the US, consumers first reached for all the toilet paper they could find—when they could actually find it. Now, the nation is facing potential meat shortages as food supply chains are disrupted by processing plant shutdowns, rising infection rates among plant workers, and a system that was built to be too efficient for its own good. Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who served as President Obama's Secretary of Agriculture, joins Ian Bremmer on this week's GZERO World to examine the cascading impact of COVID-19 on meat processing and distribution, and why the surplus goods stuck on farms can't find their way to the food pantries that need them. This episode begins airing nationally on US public television today, Friday, May 15. Check local listings.

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