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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  December 27, 2021 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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leaders from around the world have been paying tribute to desmond tutu — one of the heroes of the anti—apartheid movement — who's died at the age of 90. president biden praised his courage and the un secretary general, antonio guterres, called him an inspiration to generations. israel's government has approved a $300 million plan omicron is causing chaos for travellers — with 7,000 flights cancelled around the world over the christmas weekend. also, israel's government has approved a $300 million plan to consolidate its control of the golan heights. this area is regarded by most of the world as occupied territory. the israeli prime minister, naftali bennett, told a special cabinet meeting that the aim was to double thejewish population there within the next few years. and those are the headlines here on bbc news. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk.
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welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. when it comes to the global response to the climate change challenge, it pays to differentiate between words and deeds. at last month's cop26 summit, the chorus of concern from world leaders was deafening. but the actions? well, tough decisions on deeper emissions cuts to stave off catastrophic warming were put off until next year. my guest is the us special envoy for climate, former secretary of state john kerry. his mission remains — to restore american leadership on the biggest existential challenge facing our planet. is that mission impossible?
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john kerry, welcome to hardtalk. happy to be with you. thank you. you have had some weeks to reflect on what was achieved at cop26 in glasgow. is your overwhelming feeling one of disappointment, so much work still to do? no. and, infact, i disagree with your initial assessment in the introduction. a huge amount was accomplished in glasgow and it was not put off. in fact, 65% of global economic enterprise, global gdp, is committed now — publicly — with real plans that have beenjudged to be real to hold the earth's temperature increase to 1.5
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degrees centigrade. and the fact is that major steps forward were ta ken in glasgow, to wit the rule book that had been outstanding since paris was completed so that market rules, transparency, are now accountable. next year, there is a requirement that those who are not aligned with 1.5 degrees need to step up and produce new reduction plans, which have to be filed with the process. so, there's an accountability process. there is, in addition to that, a very significant set of commitments on deforestation, which has not been talked about enough. there is major doubling of funding for adaptation, which is needed in less developed, emerging economies of the world. i mean, i can go on. there's a major methane pledge. i understand, and everything you'vejust said is important and you talk about steps. and obviously that's an incremental approach. but the line coming from many
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people who watch this very closely right now is that it's too late for step—by—step, for increments, because... it's not...i don't think it's step—by—step anymore. as i said, you have — you have canada, japan, south korea, the united states, eu, uk, south africa all stepping up and saying, "we're on the 1.5 track." but we are not on the 1.5 track. that is the point. you talk about accountability. isn't the fundamental quality we need honesty? and we are not on the 1.5—degree warming track. we, as a planet, are not on that track. that is absolutely accurate. 65% of the global economic work of the world is on that track or can be on that track if they do the things they've said they will do. but everybody agreed that the next ten years, steve, are the critical decade. it's the critical moment for action. so, our hope is that by requiring countries to come in next year,
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those who weren't prepared to do it this year come in with an aggressive program and they will be measured by that. we now have new accountability in the world because we have satellite systems around the planet that give us instantaneous viewing of co2 emissions and methane emissions. we had 109 countries, steve, step up and make a pledge that they will reduce global methane emissions by 30% over the next ten years, and that would... do you believe all these promises? i believe it can be... no, i don't. because so much of what is promised is based then on self—assessment. why should we believe, for example, the brazilian government, which has signed up to what you referred to as the major initiative on stopping deforestation and actually beginning reforestation... the brazilians sign up to it, and yet they are led by a leader, bolsonaro, who refused to come to glasgow and who, over years, can bejudged on his record of supporting big business,
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continuing the deforestation. totally. there is a record that has raised very serious doubts and questions. but, you know, myjob is not to go back and judge what happened in the last few years, except that it informs me and it informs us. exactly. but we have a new approach with a great deal of international support. many countries that are involved with brazil, all of whom are prepared to help work out a new protocol by which we will have money put on the table in order to prevent deforestation. the measure will be in the next weeks and months. i'm not going to sit here... i'm not going to sit here and pretend this is done. it's not done. is there a lot of work left to be done? monumental. but we have laid the framework and the groundwork where it can be done. that's the measure of glasgow. what if people... until then, it wasn't being done. couldn't be done. now, it's a possibility. mr secretary, what happens if people no longer believe you? does that matter?
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of course it matters. if greta thunberg, for example, says that glasgow was a failure, it was nothing more than business as usual, "blah, blah, blah," covering itself up with new language... or what of the most important young activists, vanessa nakate from uganda, what if she says, "we are drowning in promises, we can no longer believe in these promises"? does that matter? of course it matters, and i completely and totally sympathise and understand and even share some of their frustration. not some. i have a lot of anger and frustration. i've been involved in this since 1988, whenjim hansen testified to us in congress. i was in rio when the first efforts were made to create the framework, which we're now operating with, and i've been to many cops in between, my friend. and i'm telling you it is frustration that brought me back to undertake this effort on behalf of president biden and the administration.
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and the president, president biden, has been completely and totally serious about doing this. but with all due respect to those who say it was a failure, before it even started, before we'd even had the meetings, the meetings that took place in glasgow have produced a framework which has the ability of people do what they were going to say they'd do, to get thejob done. and the only tool of the trade that we have is the ability to sit face—to—face and work through an agreement. why did glasgow take place? it took place because in paris, six years earlier, people agreed and reached a framework, and that framework played out in a way that raised ambition in glasgow. and now we have to implement what we did in glasgow. so everything that we did there... yeah. ..everything we did, steve, is now going to be measured... it is., day—by—day, what we do, and we welcome that. i welcome that. your work as president biden�*s special envoy, the guy who has to prove and show that america
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can lead on this, yourjob now is to go around the world talking to governments, trying to persuade them to make good on promises made. let's talk about china, because many people say, given china now emits pretty much 30, more than 30% of the world's... it's about, yeah, about 29%, and rising. ..yeah, rising. and it's going to be 30% and more over the coming years. china matters more than any other country. you went there in the summer, had face—to—face talks with the key chinese leaders on this. and yet, when they got to glasgow, they ensured that the language on coal, for example, was watered down from "phase out" to "phase down." you are not persuading china to take the urgent, urgent actions necessary. well, again, with all due respect, my friend, we reached an agreement between the united states and china, which we made public in the days before the end of cop, in which china did three things that they haven't done ever before.
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they agreed to create a working group with the united states, with experts from china, from the united states, elsewhere, who will be part of this group, who will help formulate the policy to achieve the reductions that china needs to achieve. and china will be, obviously, held accountable to that process. number two — china agreed, next year, to produce a new plan, "an ambitious national action plan to reduce methane and deal with methane in china." number three — for the first time, china did not stick with its...with its peaking in its coal emissions by 2030. they said they will begin to phase down the consumption of coal by 2026 and, in very hard—fought—over words, they agreed that they will accelerate the effort and try and do it sooner than that. so, by working with the united states and others... well, it's interesting.
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you focus on the word... but you have to begin somewhere. no, of course you do. none of this is easy. i do get that. but diplomacy works in complex ways. sure. now, here's something that the chinese foreign minister said, actually, i believe, in reference to you and your work. he said, "the us side hopes that climate cooperation can be an oasis in china—us relations." "but if that oasis," he said, "is surrounded by desert, then it too will become desertified sooner or later." the clear message of that is you can't separate this from the wider us—china relationship. well, you have to, you have to. you can't. the us has just said that it's going to perform a diplomatic boycott of the winter games in china. these things matter to you. how unhelpful is that? but, steve, the point is, dealing with the climate crisis is not a favour that china will do for the united states orfor the world. dealing with the climate crisis
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is something china needs to do for its own citizens. and no country wins this struggle by itself. so, unless every nation is part of this solution, there is no solution. so, china has to step up, and i think china recognises that. is china ready to listen to lectures from the united states in the current political climate? we're not lecturing. what we're doing is something the united states has always done, which is stand up for human rights. but it's not a lecture. it's a statement of reality and a fact. but a diplomatic boycott of a winter games is a symbolic signal, which, to many in china, will look just like a lecture. well, it's not a lecture. when human lives are being lost and when there are human rights challenges in the world — you're about to go to oslo to celebrate people who won the nobel peace prize for standing up against oppression, for speaking out and for telling the truth,
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for having the ability to have the freedom to be able to do that. so, how does that come about? it comes about because nations fight for that freedom. and you can go back in the history of the last century and see the fights we had against fascism, a total war on the planet. and the united states believes that it's important to continue to fight for human rights. that said... but i guess what... wait a minute, one sec. it is a human right also to live with clean air and to live with a planet that is sustainable, and that human right is one that people are fighting for desperately all around the world now. there are 20 countries that are responsible for 80% of all the emissions. china and the united states and the eu and britain... and russia is other important one. ..are all part of that, and india and russia. and those nations must come together and they have been in these past months, and they even did — even though
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president xi didn't come — i'm not going to make excuses — but even though president xi didn't come, he had a delegation there with one of the most expert negotiators in the world on the issue of climate, xie zhenhua, and he negotiated in good faith and we came to an agreement. the test now is not to go backwards, it's to see whether or not that agreement is going to be fulfilled. i understand that, and you said this is probably the toughest thing you've ever done, but isn't the truth that you are a very experienced diplomat who knows that when you're trying to achieve stuff on this particular issue, perhaps the most important facing humanity, you have to deal with other diplomatic realities. we mentioned russia just briefly. i mean, the fact is that right now, biden and putin are talking about a situation in ukraine where there is a real possibility of conflict, and then a real possibility the us is going to put the most punitive sanctions on russia. in that context, is there any way at all in this real
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world of ours that you, talking to russia, saying, "you know what, you have to ramp up your commitments, "you have to phase out fossilfuel production" — that is not going to work. let me share with you that in the history of humankind, particularly in the last century and a half, there are plenty of examples of nations that have huge, deep differences and objections to each other�*s actions actually getting together and making good things happen. a great example of that is ronald reagan meeting with gorbachev in reykjavik. he thought it was the evil empire. there was no stronger opponent of what the soviet union was involved in. and yet gorbachev and ronald reagan came to an agreement where we took 50,000 nuclear warheads pointing at each other and turned that around. and now we have about 1,500 each. and we have mechanisms in place to try to guarantee they won't be used.
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so you can work with countries with whom you have grave differences. even while ukraine was happening under the 0bama administration, i was working very closely with foreign minister lavrov and we worked to get chemical weapons out of syria. we worked on the iran nuclear agreement, the paris agreement, we worked on environmental issues like making the ross sea the largest marine protected area in the world. so we found a way to agree. and that's what diplomacy is about. war is the failure of diplomacy. diplomacy solves those problems under the most exigent circumstances and that's what we have to do now. let's turn the microscope inward to the united states for a moment and talk about the credibility of the us leadership. when you were serving as secretary of state under the barack 0bama administration, the us was actually massively expanding its fossil fuel production in terms of fracking for oil and gas right across the united states, becoming a majorfossilfuel
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producer in a way that frankly, the us still appears intent on being, despite all of the work you're doing in a very different direction. fossil fuel is still in the financial system of the united states, still subsidised massively across the country. and those subsidies have to end and president biden knows those subsidies will have to end and he calls on them to end. but you don't have a political system to which ensure those subsidies do end. it is one thing to call for it, it's another thing for it to actually happen. you're absolutely correct. and that's what politics and elections are about. so how credible is us leadership? you don't speak your credibility, you act it, and president biden has put forward a doubling of money, to put in an extra $11.1; billion to get the hundred billion we need. yet the poorer countries in the world say that the us
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committing 11 billion a year to mitigation, adaptation and tech transfer to us as a result of climate change is not enough. given the us�*s responsibility for this as the richest industrialised country in the world, you should be putting far more than 11 billion into this. this is the argument that i make and i have made publicly and, yes, i agree. we should put more in. it is not your fault. but the us is not. but you have to look at this the way the real world works. donald trump ended the funding, donald trump pulled out of the agreement, and president 0bama rushed to get1 billion of the money we have committed into the system and it happened. the problem is he did not control the next budget and president biden does not control the first year of budget he has. it is the carryover trump budget. so the first budget that president biden has had, he has quadrupled the amount of money that we were putting into this. we will do more and we should
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do more and the president also put forward a programme to help less—developed countries be able to prepare more effectively for the damages that occur today, a programme called president's emergency plan for adaptation and resilience. he put $9 billion into that plan over the next five years, so the president is leading. he is stepping up. mr biden is president forfour years, that is how the system works. and what we have learnt as a result of us politics over the last eight years is that stuff can change very quickly. we talked earlier about the importance of honesty. is it important to recognise, as a former friend and colleague of yours nick byrne said recently that the united states�*s credibility on climate change has plummeted as a result of the donald trump years? of course. that is self—evident. that is what president biden is now reversing.
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my point is that president biden is there because he was elected and he may well be not elected in three years�* time. that is the way the us system works. what the world has seen with the trump administration and his decision to withdraw entirely from the paris process is that, in the united states, you cannot assume that a position taken by a leader will be consistently maintained. you simply cannot assume that. actually, steve, on this particular issue, at this moment, yes, you can. this may be... what, you're abandoning democracy? this may be the most important thing i share with you today. it is not evident to everybody, but the reality is that what is happening in the united states now is happening happening in the united states now, what is happening on a global basis is bigger than any prime minister or any president or any current administration. trillions of dollars an hour
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are moving into the energy sector, into dealing with the climate crisis, literally trillions. i worked with the six largest banks in america — they have committed that over the next ten years, they will invest a minimum of $11.16 trillion in climate—related acceleration and activities. let me just finish now. so while donald trump pulled out of the agreement, governors, republican and democrat alike, 37 of them, continued to stay in the paris agreement and the fact is that a massive amount of what is happening on climate in the united states happens at the state level. not the national level. so, yeah, you could have a future president... you could have a future president donald trump and you tell me that won't matter a jot? i didn't say it won't matter, i said that this will continue, notwithstanding. just as it did in the last years of donald trump. an example, 75% of new electricity that came online under donald trump last year came on through renewable energy.
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something he opposed, laughed at, scoffed at, but that is what happened in america, notwithstanding donald trump. and i am saying to you that this effort now is adopted by corporations around the world and the boardrooms of the world. you have corporations that have said, "we're going to be net zero 2050." all of that energy will continue. but it strikes me that that is such wishful thinking. you're saying, "you know what, never mind the problems we have got with politicians all around the world, never mind those problems, the market will somehow shift." with all due respect... technology in the marketplace will ensure... it is happening and it will happen. i talked yesterday with bill gates, who has put $500 million of his own money into an effort to come up with a next—generation nuclear capacity that is not threatening, that does not have the problems of waste, does not have the problems of proliferation, and if they are successful...
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"if" — that is the problem. we began the interview by talking about the urgency of now, because greenhouse gas emissions year—on—year right now are still rising when they need to be cut by 7% a year. so, steve, come back to what i said originally. already, already, we are seeing the ability to produce energy much cheaper than with fossil fuel. we have solar and wind, we have geothermal, we have hydro, we have all kinds of renewable capacity, and there are countries now moving, right now, to cleaner production of their heating and power through renewable, up to 70 or 80%. we have to end, i'm going to end with a quote from an interesting guy called john kerry. he said this just before glasgow. he said, "we need to reduce our dependence on coalfive
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times faster than today. we need reforestation five times faster. we need to transfer 22 times faster to electric vehicles. we are way behind." all of the above. so how do you get ahead? we get ahead by banging on the table, working, by doing the diplomacy, by pushing, and by citizens all around the world are going to hold the politicians accountable. this is happening. and people see what is happening. fires, floods, mudslides, droughts, extraordinary changes in climate right now. food production interruptions. 10 million people a year die because of pollution that exists every year now. that is happening at a rate and pace where populations are rebelling. it is part of the anger people feel about government generally, and i believe it is only going to grow and we are going to see us move in this direction. will we get there in time? i don't know the answer to that. that's what makes these next ten years absolutely critical,
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and we do have the opportunity, because of glasgow, we now have the opportunity to make that happen. the question is, will we? john kerry, i wish we had more time, but we don't. thank you very much for being on hardtalk. hello there. a few of us got to see a white christmas, but for many more, it was too mild for snow. we had a lot of mist and murk and we had some outbreaks of rain. this stripe of cloud on the satellite picture brought rain and some hill snow in the north during boxing day. there's more cloud and rain waiting in the wings down to the southwest, but the big story, i think, for this week will be this
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surge of very, very mild air wafting up from the south, affecting all parts of the uk as we move towards the end of 2021. it will be turning increasingly mild this week, but with some wind and rain at times. now, many of us will start off monday with some cloud, some mist and fog, some quite murky conditions again. rain into the southwest of england, which will push northwards towards parts of wales, the midlands and east anglia through the day, tending to weaken as it goes. elsewhere, some of the mist and fog and cloud will tends to lift and break and we will see some spells of sunshine in the far north of england, northern ireland and scotland, albeit with some showers in the far north. temperatures ranging from 6 degrees in aberdeen to 12 in plymouth through the afternoon. and then through monday night, a bit more rain potentially down towards the south, another lump of wet weather starting to push into northern ireland, parts of northern england, southern scotland. the winds will start to pick up down towards the south and the west as well. very mild in the south, a little bit chilly up towards the north.
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and then as we go through tuesday, this area of wet weather will spread out of northern ireland, into southern scotland, northern england, parts of wales, perhaps into the midlands as well. we will see some sunny spells to the far north and to the far south, but it will be really quite windy across parts of england and wales. some of these western coasts could see gusts of a0 to maybe 50 mph. quite mild in the south, 12 degrees. further north, a little bit cooler, but those temperatures still quite respectable for the time of year. however, there is even milder weather on the way. as we move out of tuesday into wednesday, we see this next frontal system pushing in from the southwest, a band of rain that'll drive its way northeastwards. some snow for a time over high ground in scotland, but this will mostly be rain, because that mild air will be working its way in. temperatures down towards the south on wednesday afternoon up to 16, maybe 17 degrees. still a little bit chilly for some northern areas, but as we move towards the end of the week and the end of the year, that mild weather spreads to all parts. there will still be some rain at times.
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this is bbc news. i'm david eades. our top stories: we will be free! the tributes flow for archbishop desmond tutu after his death at the age of 90. he was a man of unwavering courage, of principled conviction and whose life was spent in the service of others. the israeli government approves a plan to double the number of settlers in the golan heights — regarded by much of the world as occupied territory. 0micron causes chaos for travellers — as infections among pilots and crew sees seven thousand flights cancelled globally over the christmas weekend.


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