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Act together now, to prevent ‘raging food catastrophe’ next year

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Women carrying pearl millet harvest home in Mali. ICRISAT/Agathe Diama

Without coordinated action, this year’s “crisis of affordability” threatens to become a dire global food shortage in 2023, the UN chief told the G20 Summit in Indonesia on Tuesday.The world is on its way to “a raging food catastrophe”, Secretary-General António Guterreswarned leaders gathered in Bali, alerting them that “people in five separate places are facing famine”.

“Simultaneously, we are witnessing a crunch in the global fertilizer market”, he continued, highlighting once again the Black Sea Grain Initiative to export vital food supplies from Ukraine, and fertilizers from Russia.

Food and energy session

Speaking at the special session on the food and energy crisis, Mr. Guterres credited the European Union, United States, United Kingdom and others, for cooperating successfully with the UN to remove many of the obstacles preventing the free flow of Russian food and fertilizers to global markets.

He informed the participants that the first shipment of Russian fertilizers – donated by Uralkem and managed by the World Food Programme (WFP) – will be loaded up in the Netherlands on Tuesday.  

“Food and fertilizers are not subject to sanctions, but suffer indirect impacts”, explained the UN chief. We are working nonstop to resolve all remaining issues, chiefly around payments, and to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative”.

“I count on all of your to support these efforts”.

Step up financing

Many governments in the Global South, battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, unequal resources for recovery, and the climate crisis, lack the fiscal space to help their people deal with rising food and fertilizer prices accelerated by the war, the top UN official said.

He reminded that his call for a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Stimulus aimed to provide those countries with adequate liquidity by reallocating supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets called Special Drawing Rights; concessional financing to Middle Income Countries in distress; and effective mechanisms of debt relief and restructuring.

“Transformational investments in agriculture, particularly in Africa, are essential to prevent future crises”, he asserted. “But they need the resources, to be implemented”.

Environmental woes

The climate crisis is another factor pushing people into hunger, according to the UN chief.

“Changing weather patterns, droughts and storms are disrupting crop cycles and fisheries”, he told the G20, pointing out that “80 per cent of global emissions are sitting around this table”.

Mr. Guterres argued that a Climate Solidarity Pact between developed countries and large emerging economies is the only way to defeat climate change.

Developed countries must take the lead in reducing emissions”, he instructed.

“They must also mobilize, together with international financial institutions and technology companies, to provide financial and technical support so that large emerging economies can accelerate their transition to renewables”.

Just energy transition partnerships are an important first step to this end.

Prevent ‘energy scramble’

As many developing countries cannot afford soaring energy prices, the top UN official warned against “an energy scramble” in which developing countries “come off worst” – as they did in the competition for COVID-19 vaccines.

Moreover, doubling down on fossil fuels is no solution.  

“If, in the last two decades, the world had massively invested in renewable energy, rather than its addiction to fossil fuels, we would not be facing the present crisis”, he said.

Working as one for the good of all

In closing, the Secretary-General advocated for “unity, solidarity and multilateral solutions” to address the food and energy crises, and to “eliminate the trust deficit” that is undermining global action across the board.   

“Multilateral solutions can only be built on fairness and justice”, he said.

“I urge G20 countries to consider these fundamentals in your decisions”.

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Americans are outraged: US has given about $54B of assistance to Ukraine. The EU only 16B

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On a broadcast of the Fox Business Network’s “Kennedy,” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) said he will not continue to support aid to Ukraine until the European Union matches the aid already provided by the U.S.

We need a complete audit of the money sent by America. There should be assurances that the country hasn’t had an illegitimate relationship with FTX, and “the millions of dollars that were paid to the Biden family by Ukraine over the years isn’t influencing our foreign policy,” said Tom McClintock. (Through this crypto-exchange FTX the Democrats laundered huge amounts of money that were allocated by the US Congress for Ukraine).

McClintock stated, “I supported the initial assistance to Ukraine. Ukraine is primarily a European security issue. Now, you look at the numbers, the United States has given about $54 billion of assistance to Ukraine. And the EU had only 16 billion.

“So, they’ve got about half of our GDP. But they’ve only given about a third of the assistance that we have. Now, given the fact that’s happening right on their doorstep, not on ours. It seems to me they need to at least match what we’ve already done.

“And then I also believe there needs to be a full audit of where our money has gone and we need assurance that Ukraine’s relationship with FTX is entirely legitimate, as Ukraine contends. And I think the American people would also like to be assured that the millions of dollars that were paid to the Biden family by Ukraine over the years isn’t influencing our foreign policy,” said Tom McClintock.

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Europe accuses US of ‘profiting from war’

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Top European officials are furious with Joe Biden’s administration and now accuse the Americans of making a fortune from the war, while EU countries suffer. “The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the U.S. because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons,” one senior official told POLITICO.

Washington announced a $369 billion industrial subsidy scheme to support green industries under the Inflation Reduction Act that Brussels went into full-blown panic mode. “The Inflation Reduction Act has changed everything,” one EU diplomat said. “Is Washington still our ally or not?”

“We are really at a historic juncture,” the senior EU official said, arguing that the double hit of trade disruption from U.S. subsidies and high energy prices risks turning public opinion against both the war effort and the transatlantic alliance. “America needs to realize that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries.”

The biggest point of tension in recent weeks has been Biden’s green subsidies and taxes that Brussels says unfairly tilt trade away from the EU and threaten to destroy European industries. Despite formal objections from Europe, Washington has so far shown no sign of backing down.

As they attempt to reduce their reliance on Russian energy, EU countries are turning to gas from the U.S. instead — but the price Europeans pay is almost four times as high as the same fuel costs in America. Then there’s the likely surge in orders for American-made military kit as European armies run short after sending weapons to Ukraine.

Officials on both sides of the Atlantic recognize the risks that the increasingly toxic atmosphere will have for the Western alliance.

“The U.S. is following a domestic agenda, which is regrettably protectionist and discriminates against U.S. allies,” said Tonino Picula, the European Parliament’s lead person on the transatlantic relationship.

Cheaper energy has quickly become a huge competitive advantage for American companies, too. Businesses are planning new investments in the U.S. or even relocating their existing businesses away from Europe to American factories. Just this week, chemical multinational Solvay announced t is choosing the U.S. over Europe for new investments, in the latest of a series of similar announcements from key EU industrial giants.

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American view: ‘Putting an end to Volodymyr Zelensky’s follies!’

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“Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true,” – writes Philip Giraldi from Ron Paul Institute.

One week ago, he reminds, the Ukrainian government may have deliberately attacked neighbor Poland in an attempt to draw the NATO alliance into its war with Russia. The incident involved a missile that hit a grain processing site inside Poland and killed two farmers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately blamed Russia for the incident even though he surely must have known that the missile had been fired from Ukraine, meaning that he may have been using a so-called “false flag” to create a false narrative of what had occurred.

Given the fact that Zelensky has been saying and doing everything possible to draw the US and NATO into fighting Russia on his behalf, I believe that the missile strike was quite plausibly a deliberate “false flag” attempt to start a much broader war.

That such a war could easily turn nuclear reveals just how reckless Zelensky can be. One NATO country foreign diplomat based in Kiev told “The Financial Times”, that “This is getting ridiculous. The Ukrainians are destroying [our] confidence in them. Nobody is blaming Ukraine and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile.”

There has been considerable speculation that the unregulated and unmonitored flow of billions of dollars of US taxpayer provided money through Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government provided a perfect mechanism for large scale money laundering.

Even assuming that the Ukrainian missile strike on Poland was due to some malfunction, Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true.

He is using his contrived narrative to dramatically expand the war by creating a situation which would bring NATO directly into the conflict and which could easily go nuclear.

Indeed, he is attempting to compel NATO participation.

Beyond that, the US and NATO, burdened with such an “ally,” should take immediate steps to disengage from supporting the fighting and call for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.

To be sure, Zelensky is capable of anything and no lie is too mendacious for the former comedy actor who is now basking in the glow of his celebrity, writes Philip Giraldi.

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