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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  September 27, 2021 3:30am-4:01am BST

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projected results from the german parliamentary elections show the social democrats ahead of the christian democrats by 2% of the vote. the general secretary of the social democrat said his party, led by the finance minister, olaf scholz, clearly had the mandate to govern. the british government is to suspend competition law in an attempt to ease disruption of petrol deliveries. a shortage of drivers sparked fears of disruption to fuel deliveries and thousands of petrol stations have run dry. ministers are also considering deploying the army to deliver petrol coupons. the united states have beaten europe to reclaim the ryder cup. the americans, led by steve stricker119— nine in wisconsin. it's the 27th time the us team has won the ryder cup.
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hello and welcome to our weekly brains trust, with bbc specialists and the correspondents who file stories, broadcast and blog to audiences back home from the dateline: london. this week, advance australia fair or foul? after angela — what will be the legacy of germany's longest—serving chancellor? and too little c02, too much hot air? boris johnson wrestles with the contradictions of keeping us fed and warm, but not too hot. joining us this week, latika bourke is an australian author and journalist, with columns in the sydney morning herald and the age. stefanie bolzen is uk and ireland correspondent for the german media site welt. here in the studio, our science
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editor david shukman. good to have you, david, and good to have both of you with us. thanks forjoining us. and indeed to have you at home as well. it was perhaps unfortunate that when borisjohnson came away from his audience at the white house with joe biden, he was touting an agreement to lift a decades—old ban on the import of british lamb. unfortunate because the governmment�*s been wrestling this week with the consequences for food supplies of a shortage of co2 — particularly important for the slaughter and storage of meat. ironic that ministers should be worrying about a lack of carbon dioxide when its abundance is a major contributor to global warming — the subject of borisjohnson�*s address to the united nations thursday. david, the food industry has been struggling to get co2 in the last week or so, until a deal the government did with an american company who supplies a lot of it, yet we've got too much of it in the atmosphere! can you explain this paradox? i mean, imagine the irony, and you have to pinch
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yourself, don't you? how on earth did we end up in this position? just when there's growing concern about the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere and driving up global temperatures and leading to new extremes, damaging weather and all the rest of it, the subject of the great climate summit in glasgow cop26 in november, just as that moment, a shortage of co2 for industrial processes, particularly the food industry as you mentioned, has struck. it's the result of rising gas prices. the fertiliser industry decided that it would not be able to sell its fertilisers to farmers if the prices were too high. and as a by—product of their production of fertiliser, there's c02, which is purified and goes into the various food processing industries, abattoirs and so forth, so, yes, the government has
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got its way out of this particular pickle by throwing some money at the companies that said the gas price was too high and they couldn't afford to keep the production going. longer term, of course, no one knows how long that's going to last. when will the gas prices start to fall? when will that government support no longer be needed? all in the countdown to cop26. stefanie bolzen, in germany — it's an issue that applies across the world, it is also particular affecting europe — i wonder if this question of keeping fossil fuels flowing has had an impact on german foreign policy, on thinks in particular in relation to russia? yes, of course it has, and we all know the controversy between the us and germany about the nord stream 2 pipeline, the gas pipeline between russia that provides directly gas to germany, and as it happens, it arrives on the baltic coast in the constituency of angela merkel. of course, this has been a very
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tense issue and this has been always also an argument to say the german government is far too pro—russian because of the dependence on russian gas. and it is, if you look at the numbers. so half of german households heat their houses or apartments with gas and half of this comes from russia. and actually it has been very interesting this week, because, in fact, gazprom, the russian gas provider, has been keeping contractual commitments, it's not like some blame russia that they are actually keeping it down to make it more difficult, but they are using the situation to say, "look, you should more quickly approve the regulations that are still missing to start the nord stream pipeline, so we can provide more gas". and this is a tricky
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issue for germany as well because they need the approval of other european states and the european commission, but theoretically the german agency that's in charge of this regulation could already say, "oh, no, we open these pipelines," and it will be a new test coming to germany as well in terms of russia, and then on the other hand, other european partners. yeah, indeed. latika, one thinks of the last federal election in australia a couple of years ago, when many think australian labour's prospects were nixed by its commitment to reducing fossil fuel use. i wondered if the kind of freak weather conditions that australians have had to endure has at all changed that debate? yes, although i thinkl international pressure is really coming a lot more - than those weather conditions. polling is already very high i amongst the australian public to do more on climate change, and in fact in the last 24 - hours, there's been some big progress in australia - on this issue. the treasurer has come outi and backed australia actually cutting its carbon emissions, net zero by 2050, and that l is really significant -
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because the australian government has never said this before and the prime minister. has actively avoided making this sort of commitment - in the lead up to cop26, so now the expectationsj are that actually - australia might move to net zero before cop26. i think the international- friends of australia might — to borrow a line from emma bunton — say, | what took you so long? david, this will presumably go down well in downing street if this is the case, but borisjohnson has got enough problems at home with the effects of his energy policy — subsidising consumer prices, subsidising production costs. there's a price cap to limit how much they're going up for consumers, albeit they'll still go up, i think 12%, isn't it? i mean, is that the best way to square this circle? every government faces the dilemma of, how do you limit the rise in the cost of living for families — for voters, let's be blunt — while also trying to tackle climate change? if you were to take a really purest economist view, you would say the most logical thing to do is to apply a carbon tax if you want to limit the use of fossil fuels. there are already some carbon
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taxes on some fuels, but here in the uk, for example, on petrol and diesel, those taxes have not risen for years now because it would be so politically difficult to do so. and look what happened when emmanuel macron stuck a climate tax on fuel and diesel in france. the yellow vest protests, yeah. that lead to all kinds of trouble for him, so it's a balancing act. it's very, very difficult. governments are trying to pick their way through. stefanie, has it come up much during the election campaign in germany? yeah, very much. the question of climate change but also the question of what do businesses do with it, and this is going to be one of the big challenges after sunday night, when we'll have the results, and i think we are going to talk about this later a little bit, but who is going to form a coalition. and the junior partners in this case are the crucial parties to look at, and on the one hand you have the liberals, in the german case very pro—business. they are less ambitious when it comes to tackling global warming.
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and then on the other side, you have the green party. we heard before in the bbc report from katya adler about young people. so many young people in germany, this is their top priority. they will vote for the greens because they want this to be the number one challenge to be solved for the future, but of course german businesses are saying this is very expensive, who is going to pay this? in the end, the consumer will pay for it. and also as in the uk, this is the big question, who is going to pay for it? and how much can governments be courageous when it comes to cop26? ominous ahead of that summit, david. i think the pressures are numerous. i was talking to somebody yesterday and made a list of all the challenges the british government faces in relation to cop, and the listjust gets longer and longer. the headline is the science has never been clearer. i have been reporting on this topic for nearly 20 years,
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and we have switched from the scientists being relatively uncertain about exactly what is going on to now being categoric that if we want to avoid really dangerous climate impacts, particularly in the middle of the century and further on, we need to be cutting emissions globally by half by 2030, so it's a very, very tight timetable, and a few days ago the un totalled up what all the different governments are planning to do on climate and they came up with a projected increase, not a decrease, in carbon emissions by 2030, so that is the strategic landscape that borisjohnson faces going into cop26. there are many others. can they deliver the $100 billion promised to the developing world, which for them is absolutely critical for delivering this agenda?
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and at the moment, we are still not at that level. david, thanks very much. boris johnson wasn't too busy stateside to find time to tell "some of our dearest friends" — the french — to get over it. the "it" being aukus. that deal between australia, the uk and the us, gives the government in canberra access to nuclear—powered submarines. it wrecked a $37—billion contract for france to supply subs of its own to australia, and president macron, for one, was pretty sore about it. latika, this is perceived as being, really, a kind of china—containing agreement between the us, the uk and australia? it was not that long ago china was australia's biggest trading partner, which kind of makes you wonder what exactly is australia getting out of this? australia and china remain... china remains australia's i largest trading partner and this is part of the anxiety. the australian economy - is so heavily reliant on china, but its security and its safety and defece posture - is so heavily reliant . on the united states, china's strategic competitor. australia for the last decade i or so has found an increasingly aggressive and confrontationalj
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china, and ever since australia came out and asked for- a who inquiry into the origins of coronavirus, china has i sought to make an example of australia and punish australia with billions i of dollars in trade tariffs, just unilaterally slapped i on wine, barley, l coal, you name it. for the moment, the australian economy is propped up- by iron ore sales to china. should and when that end, australia will find itself - in a very precarious position economicallv _ they know that, defensively, their future is with _ the united states. that's what this - submarine deal is about. latika making a very interesting point about the whole economic backdrop to this, david. it is interesting, though, how the americans have played this. i remember a speech lloyd austin, the us defence secretary, gave back injuly in singapore where he more or less said to the british, "we don't need you in the pacific, guys. very grateful if you do a bit more in europe". was thatjust basically putting
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the chinese off the scent? it might have been that. it's certainly not what the british government wants to hear. the whole "global britain" agenda post—brexit is precisely about being everywhere, particularly in the fast—growing pacific region, and coincidentally or not, the royal navy's new aircraft carrier hms queen elizabeth is right now in the pacific. it's just been visiting japan, it was in the south china sea, rather publicly, as a show of presence. talk about a contested space! absolutely right. it's certainly the agenda of the royal navy to have what they call a blue water ability, the ability to go anywhere in the world, particularly a region that is contested, that's strategically significant, where britain itself perceives interest, so i don't think the americans suggesting britain keeps its nose out is going to go down very well.
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stefanie, the french were certainly put off the scent. they say that only on the day aukus was announced, the message came back from canberra, "yeah, we are very happy with progress so far on this deal". how is it going down in the rest of europe? what impact might it have? i think europe definitely was a bit of collateral damage. it was interesting to see, as far as i know, that the fact that this was a really secretly negotiated deal was not rejected, that allegation, in sydney. so the french president obviously, he is also in a very awkward space because he's facing election next year, and the french also felt let down by the europeans, because the european commission for a day or a two did not say a word, and then finally ursula von der leyen came out and said, also, this is a disappointment for europe. at the same time, i think, interestingly, it helps france, because we know that emmanuel macron's very ambitious and he has been pushing the agenda of a european defence union, however you want to call it,
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for quite some time, and he can now even stronger make the argument that europe needs to step up, that they need to really strengthen their defence capabilities and co—ordinate more, and this obviously goes very much to the german government as well. we will see what the next government will be like and where this will lead. while it has been very painful for france, in a way, the government in paris can feel confirmed. latika, the forced multiplication argument is clearly apparent, allowing the us to get more bang for its buck to share some of the burden around the pacific region. how do australians feel about the prospect of potentially being drawn into conflict, not necessarily armed conflict but conflict of some kind, by this deal if it is really driven by us strategic objectives towards china?
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australian attitudes towards . china are at their lowest ever, and in fact they view xi jinping only more| favourably than kim jong—un, so australia feels very much. that china is pushing - australian to this position, where it is needing to seek stronger security and seekl a stronger alliance - with the united states and the united kingdom. so australians do not think this is about going to war, | but this is about saying . to china, "we can and we will protect ourselves, i and we are also not going to be bullied". and that is a big, big theme, it is a big narrative _ in the australian psyche right now and has been for- the last few years. australia has been trying... china, sorry, has been trying to retaliate - against australia for huawei. we were one of the first - to block huawei from building
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our national broadband network and our 56 and we got americal and the united kingdom to do the same thing. . china is very bitter- towards australia, and most view china's behaviour. as unreasonable and that the actions are justified here somewhat and... i tensions within the region? this is a really fascinating relationship to watch. - new zealand has taken a very different course | to australia on china. new zealand is part of this intelligence sharing... - the three countries that . contribute are australia... what you're seeing here, canada and new zealand| are largely considered - the freeloaders of the five is. what has angered australia is jacinda ardern's public. posture, where she was seen to undermine australia - when china was retaliating with these trade sentientsj after the who inquiry dust up. there is anger- towards new zealand.
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they are seen as riding i on australia's coat—tails. on the other hand, that relationship is so close, it is like family. you can bicker, you can have a disagreement. l we know australia is - a partner with new zealand. it is notable new zealand| is not part of this alliance. it does not want nuclearl submarines in its waters. and it has already said to australia, do not. consider parking them here. interesting. drew thompson, a former pentagon official, was quoted as saying, this created an escalation with china, but the other question is, how might china seek to retaliate if it does...?
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this is the kind of thing you might expect. the fascinating thing we have not yet really seen is whether. .. i've got cop26, the climate summit come in mind, because china is the world's big polluter. you cannot consider tackling climate change without the involvement of the chinese. one of the successes, one of the few successes in all of the years of climate negotiations, the paris agreement, one reason that worked is because china was voluntarily, eagerly part of it. if you are coming up to the glasgow summit, what is the mood music going to be if this spat with china escalates? historically, the chinese have tended to compartmentalise different aspects of their relations with the outside world. in particular, climate, tended to be separate from whatever else is going on. we do not know and we will know whether that will continue. watch this space, david. thanks very much.
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angela merkel may yet leave office as germany's second longest—serving chancellor in the country's isa—year history — outlasting her predecessor, helmut kohl. although sunday's elections should identify her successor, mrs merkel may be around for a few months longer, as acting chancellor, whilst the political parties wrangle over the make—up of a new coalition government. stefanie, is it going to be a case of angela's ashes already scattered within a few months to the political history books? or is there a lasting legacy we can point to on german politics and indeed may be on european politics? because there seems to be some very different views on, really, whether she has had a significant political difference. we might have seen the title of the economist this week, which is the headline the mess merkel these behind. increasingly, people look at her legacy and they think it's not very impressive.
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she has been managing one crisis after the another. first, the euro and financial crisis ten years ago, the refugee crisis, and the last one was the pandemic, so therefore i am quite convinced that germans will miss her. some people in public life say they miss her already, because, this is a bit silly, i think, term of "the mother to the nation", she gave the country stability and she was always very, very cautious. and she never took any risks. personally, i am disappointed. 16 years is a long time. and if you look at her record in terms of reforms, structural reforms, and when it comes to climate change, i think because she took some snap decisions like in 2011 after the fukushima disaster, she decided to phase out nuclear energy.
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there is so much fossil fuel needed, and it will take germany a long time to leave the coal— burning sector. and also when it comes to other things like pension reforms or the labour market reforms, like her predecessor, he did these reforms — she never did those. saying i bet you germans will miss her, and also if we have a messy outcome of the election on sunday night, if she stays until the 17th of december, she will be longer in office than helmut kohl. i am sure she will enjoy that. i am sure she would! she is a politician with 80% approval ratings and as stefanie said, there may be a reason for that. she has not confronted any sacred german issues and things that perhaps needed to be changed, but how big a globalfigure has she become, if at all?
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one wonders these days how much europe or indeed the uk included matter in the pacific region? in terms of a german—australia relationship, not so much. - and in fact, in the recent- years, there has been criticism and concern about perceived softness towards china - that has been german—led - and german—driven, and stopped the eu taking a stronger stance towards china. i that is gradually changing. ithink, though, she is| a titan of world politics and she will be dearly, - dearly missed on the world stage, not least for her- calming effects on negotiations when things have become prickly. i she is so unfussy, - she is so down—to—earth, she has a great sense of humour she brings to these things. - from australia's point i of view, they will greatly miss her connection, - her ability to communicate with russian president vladimir putin. - that is a relationship - we can't manage on our own, for instance, since mh—17. she is well—liked in australia.
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fourth—most liked foreign politician, number one . isjacinda ardern. her big moment was accepting so many syrian refugees. - many so that has a big risk| they do see from a german leader and a titan in europe and the world. _ i do not see her as an entirely risk—free chancellor. - i see her as somebody- who has endured in a very unstable time, at a time - when my own country politics has been riven by instability, and she has dealt with far. greater crises than some - of the politicians who have not managed to see out stable terms in their countries and _ in their governments. david, we're not quite there on the climate question. interestingly, i think internationally she will be credited with the calming effect we have just been hearing about, and there
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were two moments in particular — the four years of donald trump. he pulled america out of the paris agreement, and angela merkel was among those who provided a steadying hand to keep the process on the road. and then thinking further back, the disastrious summit in copenhagen, it fell apart without agreement. again, i was there, and we were all aware of her steadying influence. but domestically, a more mixed record. we have heard about the continued burning of fossil fuels. i've been to one of these unbelievably big open cast coal mines in germany — machines on a staggering scale, gouging out dirtiest of the fossil fuels. germany is still very, very dependent on that as a source of power, and if that is one of the legacies, that will look a little bit negative in the coming years, i think. stefanie, just a brief thought in terms of what may come afterwards, when she eventually
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leaves office. if the social democrats are top of the poll, is that because they are particularly successful or does it tell us something more broadly by german politics? it is a bit of a surprising development in the campaign. the spd, like other social democratic parties in europe, have been struggling. nobody expected them to poll so well. currently, they are leading. it is a much tighter margin, this is because of the... it is because the finance minister, the candidate, he presents himself... stefanie, we are going to leave it there. a good point. to stefanie and latika and david, thank you very much. goodbye.
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hello. last week we had the equinox, the astronomical start to autumn. this week, the weather is catching up. last week and through the weekend we saw above average temperatures. but this week, back to average figures and it's going to be looking a lot more unsettled. through the weekend we sat in a southerly air stream, warm air being pulled up from the continent literally overnight though into monday, we flip round to an atlantic air stream and a westerly or north—westerly breeze and a very different feel and look to proceedings. monday will start wet across the eastern side of the uk. the rain pulling away into the north sea by around midday leaves many long spells of sunshine to get through the afternoon, but the westerly breeze will add to that cooler feel. sunday we saw temperatures in the low 20s across northern scotland and we are lucky to get the low teens in some areas on monday afternoon.
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the westerly breeze continues to feed showers into western exposures overnight monday, on into the early hours of tuesday. some of them getting driven quite a way eastwards, particularly across central scotland. a cooler night as well, nothing especially chilly temperatures typically in single figures. and then for tuesday, low—pressure to the north of the uk swinging through bands rain and showers. a blustery day, i think the heaviest of the rain not getting into eastern england until perhaps after dark but some pretty wet weather to contend with across the south—west, wales and northern england. northern ireland and western scotland, a mixture of sunshine showers. temperatures, mid teens typically across the uk. so nothing like the figures we have seen in recent days. more wet weather to come across the eastern side of the uk into tuesday night and then by wednesday, things just slow down briefly and it looks like we will see a little ridge of high pressure.
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some showers still getting in on the north—westerly breeze to the likes of western scotland. but actually, quite a lot of sunshine around on wednesday. but despite that, the coolest day i think of the week ahead, highs ofjust14 or 15 degrees. then for the end of the week, the ridge gives up the ghost and the low pressure is back running the show. plentiful showers and strong, blustery winds.
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this is bbc news. welcome if you're watching here in the uk or around the world. i'm rich preston. our top stories. neck and neck in germany, a tight result in the country's general election but the centre—left spd are marginally ahead. here in the uk as concerns continue over the country's fuel supplies government ministers consider asking the army to step in. a church in the palmer collapses after being engulfed in a river of lava, the spanish island's volcanic eruption goes on ——la palma. and a huge when the united states engulfed's ryder cup as they regained the sport's ultimate team prize.
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—— a huge win for the united states.

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