Everything’s dumber in Texas- POLITICO – POLITICO

source https://www.politico.com/newsletters/global-insider/2022/08/26/everythings-dumber-in-texas-00053899

Everything’s dumber in Texas

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PROGRAMMING NOTE: Global Insider won’t publish from Monday, Aug. 29-Monday, Sept. 5. We’ll be back on our normal schedule on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

FOOD SECURITY — EUROPE’S FERTILIZER CRISIS IS ESCALATING: A wave of shutdowns at major fertilizer plants across the continent has been causing disruption for farmers, food manufacturers and — to the horror of bar owners everywhere — brewers of beer.

On Thursday, the world’s largest fertilizer company — Yara, based in Norway — announced a 50 percent cut to its ammonia-based urea and nitrogen fertilizer production in Europe, citing “record high prices." The decision came less than 24 hours after Britain’s largest fertilizer producer, CF Fertilisers, said it would “temporarily halt” production at its Billingham plant. Carlsberg Polska, the third largest brewing company in Poland and subsidiary of the Danish multinational, told POLITICO it plans to stop beer production almost immediately — and that other brewers are bound to follow suit.

Europe’s corn crop plummets, down by nearly one-fifth.


Today — Chicago Council on Global Affairs: From 11 a.m. EST, I’ll be joining the Council’s weekly World Review panel discussion with Ivo Daalder.

Sept. 2 — International Monetary Fund: Global Insider will interview IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva, Nigeria’s Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed and U.N.-Women Executive Director Sima Sami Bahous on ways that empowering women can help the global economy. Watch online 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. EST.

Sept. 28-30 —Milken Institute Asia Summit: From Sept. 28-30, Global Insider will be coming to you from Singapore, with exclusive coverage and insights from this gathering of more than 1,200 of the world’s most influential leaders from business, government, finance, technology and academia.

THAILAND COUNTING TERM LIMITS: Thailand’s prime minister, Prayut Chan-ocha, is sus­pended from duty by the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tional court as it rules on whether he has exceeded his term limit. The question is whether the former army chief hit his allowed eight years this week.

It’s the eighth anniversary of Prayut becoming prime minister after a military coup in 2014. But should the clock only start in 2017, when the term limit clause was added to Prayut’s rewritten constitution, or perhaps 2019, after the first election he contested under the new rules?

He still remains defense minister, for the time being.

ANGOLA — RULING PARTY SQUEAKS TO VICTORY: MPLA, Angola’s governing party since independence in 1975, won 51 percent of the vote, down from 61 percent in the previous election, defeating the opposition UNITA party on 44 percent.

ALGERIA — MACRON PROMISES INVESTIGATION INTO COLONIAL-ERA CRIMES: French President Emmanuel Macron is in Algeria today, hoping to improve tense relations with the gas-rich nation, so he can both diversify French energy supplies and shift President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s allegiances away from Russia.

Algiers is a longtime ally of Moscow, with which it plans to hold joint military exercises in November.

The French president announced the creation of a joint commission of French and Algerian historians to examine the archives of the colonization of the war of independence “without taboo.”

RUSSIA — TRACKING OWNERSHIP OF THE OIL TANKERS: The Institute of International Finance announced Thursday it has built a database tracking tankers shipping oil out of Russia. “Our database tracks tanker ownership from shell company to shell company, which helps us tag the ultimate owner of oil tankers taking crude out of Russia,” the IIF said in a statement.

What did they find? Greek fingerprints everywhere: Greek-owned ships are 55 percent of total tanker capacity, up from 35 percent before Russia’s latest Ukraine invasion.

Predictably, there are some ships flying under Russian and Chinese flags, and a small but still relevant number of Norwegian, Finnish and Singaporean tankers … a fact at odds with the government position of those countries.

RUSSIA — PUTIN ORDERS ARMY RECRUITMENT: Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a decree posted on the Kremlin website, has ordered a 137,000 troop boost for his army. If successful, that would bring Russia’s active duty armed forces to over 1.1 million. The move indicates Moscow expects a costly and protracted war in Ukraine.


CHINA — XINJIANG DISINFORMATION WAR: The U.S. State Department released a report on Wednesday highlighting China’s attempts to manipulate global public opinion on Xinjiang and discredit independent reporting on crimes against humanity and possibly genocide against the Uyghur population.

UNITED NATIONS — HIGH SEAS TREATY CRUNCH TIME: Diplomats expect to reach a deal on the text of a new international treaty to protect biodiversity in the high seas.

Why does this treaty matter? It’s the culmination of 20 years of global debate and negotiation around what constitutes sustainable use of marine resources.

BY THE NUMBERS — 76: The number of countries where former prime ministers and presidents have been jailed or prosecuted since 2000, per Dave Lawler. Among them are G-20 nations including France, South Korea, Brazil and Argentina.

Oh, and the affidavit for the FBI search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence is due to be unsealed (though redacted) at 12 p.m. EST.





Here’s my contrarian take on efforts by Republican-led Texas (and some smaller U.S. states) to ban or limit companies that follow ESG guidelines in their investment practices.

Think of it as the upside-down version of what the European Union tries to do — use its market power to shape practice. The EU does this either by adopting rules which they encourage others to subsequently adopt, creating a global ripple effect to implement their world view; or the EU uses the threat of blocking access to its massive market (450 million relatively rich consumers) to force behavior change on a company, for example via chemicals rules or antitrust regulation.

The backstory: Texas is barring 349 investment funds from doing business with the state, and 10 other financial services companies, mostly European. The claim is that these companies are implementing fossil fuel boycotts. The 10 companies are: BlackRock, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Danske Bank, Jupiter Fund Management, Nordea Bank, Schroders, Svenska Bank, UBS.

The move puts companies like BlackRock in an awkward position: forcing them to publicize their extensive fossil fuel investments as a defense against Texas’ move, while exposing them to criticism from green groups, given their public commitment to accelerate a transition to a net zero emissions economy.

The state said in a fact sheet that it is not targeting all ESG funds, but rather “the subset of funds that include a specific prohibition or limitation on oil and gas investments.” But the indicators used by the state used to determine if a fund or company was “boycotting” fossil fuels was quite broad, and included “a score which measures a companies’ management of and exposure to key environmental risks and opportunities.”

Texas’ strategy problem: It’s not the EU, or even California. The state’s slogan may be “everything is bigger in Texas,” but the EU’s population is 16 times greater and the Lone Star state has none of the EU’s six decades of experience playing market-bending games.

Note: It’s also not barring companies from doing business in Texas — it’s merely barring them from doing business with the government of the state of Texas, which Republicans pride themselves on trying to keep as small as possible.

The final complication: Blue states like California and New York have the biggest pension funds, which hold more sway with investors. So, overall, while Texas may steal some headlines this week, it’s unlikely to reshape these companies, or the trend toward better ESG.

For that it would need to try something like California’s law to end the sale of combustion engine cars by 2035.

EUROPEAN LEADERS TO SKIP CLIMATE FINANCE SUMMIT WITH AFRICA: While seven African leaders are heading for the Netherlands Sept. 5, campaigning for Western leaders to deliver the cash promised to help them cope with the destructive forces of climate change, their European counterparts largely plan to skip the meeting.

The host, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte — whose country is partly below-sea-level and which hosts the Global Centre on Adaptation — will be there, but that’s about it. Rich countries promised to double their financial support for climate-proofing projects in poorer countries to roughly $40 billion per year by 2025.

COPENHAGEN MISSES THE MARK: Copenhagen is giving up its goal of becoming the world’s first CO2 neutral capital by 2025. Mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen said the Danish capital has already reduced its CO2 emissions by 80 percent, making it a global leader for a large city. But to become completely neutral it would need to eliminate the emissions generated by the city’s largest incinerator, which is proving impossible because the facility was ruled ineligible for funding from the Danish government’s Carbon Capture and Storage fund.

“It’s a shame we won’t reach it by 2025,” said Hæstorp Andersen. “But that’s not the same as saying we won’t make it by 2026, 2027, or 2028.”

SYDNEY BANS FOSSIL FUEL ADS: “We need a new narrative that counts the costs and works out what Australia should really be exporting to the world: solutions, not climate destruction,” said Jess Scully, deputy lord mayor of Sydney, announcing the move.

A PUTIN CRITIC FELL FROM A D.C. BUILDING. WAS IT REALLY SUICIDE? Police say they don’t suspect foul play was behind Dan Rapoport’s fall from a luxury apartment building Aug. 14, but Kremlin critics call that naive. Rapoport was a wealthy Latvian-born U.S. citizen who ran afoul of the Russian government. His many D.C. elite connections included being the previous owner of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner‘s Kalorama mansion.

“He was also an open supporter of [the jailed opposition leader] Alexei Navalny. And he had all these connections in the elite of Washington, D.C. The immediate response of the Washington, D.C., police, I think, is a premature and unhelpful conclusion,” said financier Bill Browder, himself a noted Kremlin critic.

DIPLOMAT ACCUSED OF RAPE FLEES NEW YORK: Charles Dickens Imene Oliha, a South Sudanese diplomat posted to the United Nations — who is accused of raping a 24-year-old woman after he forced his way into her apartment Sunday afternoon — has fled the U.S. He had been taken into custody but not charged.

South Sudan’s foreign ministry said in a statement it has immediately recalled the diplomat. “The leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation took the decision to immediately recall the diplomat in question, pending a full investigation from a specialized committee,” a statement seen by Sudans Post said.

I WENT TO THE "MOST CELEBRITY-STUDDED RESTAURANT ON EARTH" … Global Insider wasn’t planning on writing this, but since Vanity Fair went very Vanity Fair about Carbone, a hyped Italian restaurant in Manhattan, some perspective is needed.

We ate with Irish friends, including the former Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, so maybe there is something to the see-and-be-seen restaurant, but four weeks after the meal the lobster ravioli ($39) is the only dish I can remember.

Says one Global Insider reader who’s both eaten in Carbone and purchased their fancy takeout: “It’s over-priced Italian. If the West Village had an Olive Garden, this would be it.”


Banker, princess, warlord: The many lives of Asma Assad. Read The Economist’s take on how Syria’s first lady won the country’s brutal civil war.

SHORT READ: Your doppelganger is out there and you probably share DNA, by Kate Golembiewski.

PHOTOS: Drought reveals secrets of world’s riverbeds: from 113 million year-old dinosaur prints to Nazi shipwrecks.

RESEARCH:Strategic Bias How Journalists Respond to Antimedia Populism, by Ayala Panievsky, as quoted by former BBC star journalist Emily Maitlis in her Edinburgh Festival lecture.

TV: Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton have a new show, Gutsy, featuring interviews with big names such as Kim Kardashian, Gloria Steinem, Megan Thee Stallion and Jane Goodall.

Thanks to editor Ben Pauker, Melissa Merz and producer Hannah Farrow. 

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source https://www.politico.com/newsletters/global-insider/2022/08/26/everythings-dumber-in-texas-00053899