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tv   HAR Dtalk on the Road  BBC News  November 26, 2019 4:30am-5:01am GMT

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new figures confirm that concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere have reached another record high. the statistics by the world meteorological organisation, collected over thirty years, suggest that rising concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases are driving the severity of climate change. there is no sign of any slowdown. hong kong's chief executive has acknowledged deficiencies in her government in the wake of sunday's landslide victory for pro—democracy parties in local elections. in her weekly address carrie lam also said she hopes students still occupying the polytechnic university will leave peacefully. she offered no concessions on the protesters‘ demands. the world anti—doping agency has called for russia to be suspended from international sporting competitions for the next 4 years for falsifying laboratory data. the committee found russian
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officials erased failed doping tests from a data base. there will be a vote on the recommendation next month. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk. here we are at this viewpoint, it's called the horseshoe falls viewpoint, but there are no falls? maybe one year there will be no fall completely, no water. we've lost at least 200 elephants. you mean, from starvation? from starvation, yes. trees are destroyed, vegetation is lost. those are the issues. after yea rs of political turmoil and misrule, zimbabwe now faces an existential threat from climate change. can it adapt before it's too late?
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victoria falls, one of the wonders of the natural world. the waters of the zambezi river plunge more than 100 metres along a fault line that divides zimbabwe from zambia. the british explorer david livingstone claimed to be the first european to experience this magic. it was, he said, a view for the angels. long before david livingstone got here and named this spectacular place victoria falls, local people knew it as the smoke that thunders. but right now, this smoky mist isn't so thick
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and the thundering roar, well, it isn't so loud. the falls are more than a kilometre wide. when the zambezi is full, the entire stretch is a wall of cascading water. but look at it now. for the last year, southern africa has been in the grip of a severe drought. the falls shouldn't be full right now, but nor should they look like this. zambia's president recently tweeted a shot of this expansive rock, calling it a stark reminder of what climate change is doing. elisha moyo is the zimbabwean government's leading climate change researcher. he is constantly monitoring the falls. of course, the falls are seasonal. but something is happening, it seems, which goes beyond seasonal change.
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yes, you will find that the victoria falls, although it is seasonal, where it peaks around march, from january to around march, may, where you have the peak amount of water falling through the falls. we find out that during the past recent years, there has been a change in the amount of water that falls, passed through the victoria falls. normally, we have an average of around 2,000 cubic metres per second that is passed through the falls, but for this year, 2019, the average has been 1,200 cubic metres per second. so, it's down by almost 50%. down by almost 50%. i've got to stop you, because here we are at this viewpoint. it's called the horseshoe falls viewpoint, but there's no falls. so, this is remarkable. where's the water? yes. steve, the change in the trend is that the low falls, they are becoming more frequent,
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and this is worrying. this is one of our tourist trump cards and also there are a lot of animals downstream and even upstream, and who knows? maybe one year there will be no fall completely, no water. wow. that's quite a thought. i mean, that's scary. if you can imagine victoria falls virtually dry, you think that is a serious possibility? it is quite a possibility, steve. if you look at the climate models, just two weeks ago, we recorded around 87 cubic metres per second, when around this time, it's supposed to be 300 cubic metres per second. goodness me, so that means... my maths isn't great, but that means you are getting barely a quarter, between a quarter and a third of the water that you would expect at this time of year? sure, and it is affecting electricity generation.
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because of the hydro power that both zambia and zimbabwe rely upon from the huge reservoir. yes, like for zimbabwe. zimbabwe draws about 60% of its electricity from kariba. two hours from victoria falls is another of zimba bwe‘s natural splendours, hwange national park. this park is the biggest park in the country, and it is the size of belgium. wow. that is pretty big. what about the elephants here — how many are there? this is where we have the biggest concentration of elephants in the world. tinashe farawo
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is the public face of zimparks, the authority that runs hwange. this vast, unspoilt stretch of western zimbabwe boasts africa's highest concentration of elephants. it is everyone‘s idealised image of wild africa. except for one thing — this land is dying of thirst. so, this is hwange park in mid—november. this should be the rainy season, but as you can see from the dry grass and the leafless trees, the rains haven't come, the drought continues. in other parts of africa, elephant herds have been devastated by poaching and habitat destruction. not here. hwange‘s elephant population is around 50,000. now, that's good news and bad. in prolonged drought, hwange lacks sufficient food and water for its elephant population. i don't know if you can see, but there's a group of elephants just over there. they're feeding. now, each elephant needs about 300 kilograms of food a day. they strip the trees and then they move on. and in a drought like this, and you can see how dry it is,
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that means they're constantly on the move in a desperate search for food. this is the all—too—familiar outcome — the carcass of a young elephant starved to death. the stench is still strong, but predators have already had their fill. the park's authority is using solar pumps to keep the waterholes from drying out. they are taking more drastic measures too — 600 elephants are to be shipped to areas less ravaged by drought. more than 30 young wild elephants were recently captured and sold into captivity in china, and every year, zimparks permits 500 elephants to be killed by hunters. how desperate do you think they become, these elephants, in these very unusual drought conditions?
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i think the situation is very desperate. it's dire. because if you look at the distance that the animals are travelling in search of water, it is too much for them. and also, if you look at the animals who are succumbing to starvation, they are dying within 50 metres, 100 metres, as you can see. the carcass over there is within 50 metres from the water source. and that is the situation. and it is not only water we are having challenges with. there is no food. i can give you, for example, the data that we have collected between september and october, we have lost at least 200 elephants. lost, you mean, from starvation? from starvation, yes. what about the intense potential conflict now between the elephants and the human population all around the park? what is happening? so far we have lost at least 33 lives due
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to human—wildlife conflict. 33 people have died. you mean these are 33 people in local villages who have been killed by elephants? throughout the country. countrywide. and of the 33, more than 50% are human—elepha nt conflict. and that means that the communities close to this park are becoming increasingly frightened and angry about the elephants. of course. and they see you, from zimbabwe parks authority, whose job is to protect these elephants, and they actually are beginning to resent you too. of course. at some point, we were chased away from a funeral. we entered a funeral where a teacher in the eastern part of the country was killed by an elephant. the community chased us away. they almost stoned us. we had to go through a traditional leader to say we are here, these are the problems that we are facing, we must support together. if climate change is getting worse, the conflict between the wildlife, particularly here, the elephants, and the human population, is only going to get worse. it is only going to get worse if the numbers remain as high as they are.
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i'm saying the ecological capacity of this park is 15,000, we are talking between 115,000 and 53,000 elephants. that is not a small number. we have more than doubled the number. so that is why we are saying... but in a sense you are avoiding the hard truth, that what you are essentially telling me is that thousands of elephants in this park will have to be killed or transported away from here to make this park sustainable. they need to be moved from here to make this park sustainable — that's the future, that's the reality. the cynics will point to what you do and say you do not actually have the best interests of the elephants at heart. for example, recently, you sold more than 100 young elephants to china, sold them to china to go to zoos. that, to many people in conservation, is simply unacceptable. you know, this was not a once—off sale of 100 young elephants. people try to evoke emotions... can you justify it? no, hold on, let me explain.
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people try to evoke emotions, they use like baby elephants to evoke emotions. we don't sell baby elephants. we capture sub—adult elephants, those who are independent. look at your badge — you are the national park service of zimbabwe. is that what you should be doing? that's what i'm saying, people try to evoke emotion. we don'tjust wake up one morning and take the animals. there's a lot of research that is done. and that research now leads to the translocation of those animals. how much money did you and your organisation get for selling these elephants? over, from 2012—2016. we only did that thing from 2012—2016. how much money? $3 million. $3 million? us dollars? what happened to that money? the breakdown, we have used about $150,000 to buy new dogs — training dogs for our patrol units. we have also bought some vehicles for the patrols that we do for anti—poaching. we have put more money into anti—poaching. also, to purchase some tents for our rangers who spent 21 days in the bush looking after these animals.
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the same noise that they were making when you took ten young elephants to china. they must also make the same noise that climate change is real. trees are destroyed, vegetation is lost. those are the issues, not... ten young elephants in hwange — that is a drop in the ocean. it will not be felt. even if you take thousands, because there are just too many. as we left hwange, this is one of the last things we saw — vultures feasting on another young elephant felled by starvation. hwange‘s elephants are in a battle with their ecosystem, and right now, they're losing. from hwange, we drove down rough dirt tracks to meet the communities who farm the neighbouring land. right now, we are heading
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down an extremely bumpy, difficult track to get to a village which has become one of the front lines in the confrontation between people and wildlife. gamba village is home to subsistence farmers from the nambia tribe. at the best of times, life here is hard. no electricity, no paved road. a long walk to school for the kids. the dry riverbed — one sign of a farming community in deep trouble. the drought has forced elephants out of hwange in the search for food, and this is the gruesome result. pictures of local farmers trampled to death, defending their crops and livestock. madelina shoko is preparing her plot for sorghum planting, though nothing will grow without rain. last month, her brother was out
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here when elephants passed through. a lot of people watching this, madelina, will worry about the security and the future for the elephants here in the drought, but you seem to be
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saying that the problem really is for the human beings more than the elephants. the flight across zimbabwe to harare reveals a parched landscape. this is a national crisis for humans and wildlife alike. drought has pushed zimbabwe's infrastructure over the edge. hydro power is down by 90%. harare‘s reservoirs have shrunk dramatically. zimbabwe's prolonged drought has stretched this country's infrastructure to breaking point. this dam and the reservoir behind are supposed to provide hundreds
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of thousands of people with their drinking water. but right now in harare, 2 million people have nothing coming out of their taps. the reason — this vast lake has been reduced to a trickle. how can zimbabwe, weaken by prolonged economic crisis, how can zimbabwe, weakened by prolonged economic crisis, cope with this looming environmental catastrophe? drums beat. do you believe your country has a strategy to cope, to adapt, to manage the drought and the wider issue of climate change, which does appear to be affecting sub—sa ha ran africa and zimbabwe in very alarming and damaging ways? i believe it's a work in progress. i believe that we have quite a number of climate sustainable programmes.
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we still need to have a comprehensive — as i'm new in this ministry — we are working on a very comprehensive climate adaptation strategy. but suffice to say that what is more important currently is climate—proofing our practices, smart agriculture, renewable energy — these things are coming into being. as a country, i don't believe... but, minister, i know you travel the country, i travel the country. they're not working, are they? i mean, for example, right now, your electricity system, very dependent on the power, the hydro power coming from kariba dam — the lake is very low, 13% of capacity. there are power outages all over this country all of the time. most people do not have electricity most days of the week. also, the water supply — your water supply is failing the people of this country. millions have no running water in their taps.
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you're not coping. 0k. um, i like the time you came. this is at the height of the effects of the drought last year. yes, indeed, i will agree with you, the majority of the power, most of our power is hydro, coming from kariba, and because of that, the water levels have gone down and this is just what we experienced in the last few months. so, how can you tell your people you're coping? ok, let me — ijust want to give you a clear explanation. we have had to intensify our drive on solar power generation, we have removed duties of importation of solar power, but i want to admit that it has been more reactive... very late — very, very late, minister. and unless i'm wrong, you're still putting a great deal of faith in coal and thermal power, and that would seem to me, at a time when the entire world is committing to decarbonisation, to be an extremely short—sighted strategy.
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you're the environment minister. would you agree with me? that is a very contentious issue. we believe that... what is contentious about it? doesn't zimbabwe acknowledge that it too has to be part of the decarbonisation story? fossil fuels will easily be used to curtail industrial growth for african countries. are you planning to bring more coal—fired power stations on stream? we are planning to bring more solar farms onto the... i didn't ask you about solar. i asked you about coal. no, we are planning to bring more solar power streams. coal — we will not move out of a faster pace out of fossil fuels because we still believe that our emissions are a very insignificant amount compared to the developing nation. you will agree with me that the major emitters have moved slowly out of that because they know that it's benefiting their economies. i think we need also to give africa a chance. i think africa can still benefit from its resources.
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so my view is... so, that's your way of saying, yes, we're committed to continuing with coal because we have coal and we'll use it? yeah. yeah, let's be clear about that. and let's also be clear that you have to cope right now with an increasingly intense battle for resources between the growing human population of zimbabwe and the very rich, wonderful asset of wildlife that you have in this country. i'vejust come from hwange national park. in the last few months, we've seen, according to your officials, 200 elephants die of starvation. there's nothing for them to eat because of the drought. we also see the human population, the farmers in the area struggling to survive because of the drought. when it comes to a battle of resources between, let's say, elephants and people, whose side, as environment minister, are you on?
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we are a government that prides itself on its conservation programmes. we have these large numbers, particularly of elephants, but also giraffes and more, because over the years, we have been doing a very good deal in our conservation methods. minister, you have advocated for very specific things. you've advocated with cites, the international organisation committed to protecting species. you've advocated for the resumption of ivory sales. you've advocated for the sale of wild elephants, including babies and young ones on the international market. you've just sold, in the last few months, 30 young elephants to china, and the latest information is they are now being kept in small metal cages, being prepared to be an entertainment asset for a theme park in china. is this really the way zimbabwe feels it can conserve its wonderful wildlife? stephen, these are just distortions. yes, they... with respect, minister,
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everything i've just said is true. no, they are not kept in steel cages. before we sell... the standard newspaper showed some leaked pictures from china of these young elephants... trust me... . . in chinese captivity just a few days ago. these pictures, you need to verify. i saw a video that terrified me of an elephant being loaded in a car, a type of car we don't have in this country. it was all over. but let me give you this assurance. we will never sell our wildlife outside the provisions of cites. minister, let me ask you a bigger picture question as environment minister. we look closely at the flow of the zambezi river. of course, the most easy place to do that is the marvellous victoria falls. we were there with one of your climate change analysts. he said that the figures show this year, as a whole, the flow of water over the falls, it is almost 50% down, and you can see dry areas of the falls, which normally, at the beginning
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of the rainy season, would be beginning to show water. there's no water there. how can zimbabwe cope with the long—term change in climate, which will see the waters of the zambezi drastically reduced? climate change is a global phenomenon and zimbabwe, as part of the family, will have to up its game. admittedly, the flows have gone down quite significantly. i'm just told, though, that over the last two or three days, there have been improvements. but, again, it's because of the drought that we suffered last year, and we might not necessarily take this as a perpetual phenomenon. we are expecting fairly average rains, but it has given us a wake—up call that we need to come up with more robust climate change measures and, again, we will be moving much, much closer to renewable energy, particularly solar and not to rely more on hydro. this is part of what
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we are looking at. but, again, we have a very ambitious reforestation strategy. next year alone, we plan to plant not less than 20 million trees just as measures to cope with climate change. drought is a killer. if the rains don't come, zimbabwe's people and wildlife will compete for resources, for survival. and it won't end well for either. hello there, there's a big change in the weather for all of us by the end of this week, but before then we have got more mild weather, more cloud, and some further rain and perhaps in some parts, strong to galeforce winds, with the worst of the weather through tuesday and wednesday
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expected across england and wales. the reason for the wet and windy weather, another area of low pressure, this one contains remnants of ex—tropical storm sebastian and that is going to stick around for the next couple of days. ahead of that, we have still got mild conditions by the morning, a lot of cloud, some further pockets of rain and drizzle but the wetter weather and windier weather will be toward the south—west, where the winds are up picking up in the morning. gusts of 40mph or perhaps 50mph. that will push that rain band northwards throughout the day, could be quite heavy at times, it will push its way northwards across england and wales into northern ireland and the central belt of scotland, some patchy rain and stronger winds for northern scotland. behind the rain band may get some sunshine but watch out for some heavy downpours, particularly toward the south—east of england later on in the afternoon. but with this tropical air heading away, but with this tropical air heading ourway, it could be quite warm in the sunshine, 1a or 15 degrees perhaps.
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but some wet weather for the south—east of england, east anglia into the evening, and our area of low pressure comes back towards the south—west of england and wales, picks up the rain here which will be quite heavy, and also strengthens the wind, and we will see gales pushing through the english channel coastal areas into the channel islands too. so, more rain for england and wales, could be heavy at times, and we are still going to have some wet weather across the far north of scotland. but mainly it's south—east scotland and north—east england that will see the rain turning heavier and more persistent as we head into the afternoon, bringing the threat of more localised flooding. temperatures widely in double figures. as we head into thursday, we start to see some changes because the low pressure is going to take a lot of that rain away into the near continent. our wind direction is going to change from that milder south—westerly to a much colder northerly wind, and that will drag down the cold air across the whole of the country. we have still got some rain to clear away on thursday and there is more of it now across england and wales, a little bit slower but we should see it brightening up for northern ireland and particularly across scotland with some sunshine knocking those temperatures down in that northerly wind. still some mild air across the south
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but only 11 or 12 degrees. as we move into friday morning, there may well be a frost around, perhaps all the way down toward the midlands as well. that's a significant change. we are also looking at drier weather to arrive on friday, that is going to mean more sunshine for a change, but those images will be lower, typically 5—8 celsius.
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this is the briefing. i'm sally bundock. our top story: hong kong's chief executive acknowledges the results of sunday's election reflected people's discontent, but offers no new concessions. a us court rules that a former white house counsel must testify before congress, rejecting the trump administration's argument that white house officials cannot be compelled to do so. the world anti—doping agency calls for russia to be suspended from international sporting competitions for the next four years. open sesame! alibaba shares jump in their blockbuster hong kong debut.


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