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Interview With Prime Minister Of Barbados Mia Mottley; Interview With Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon; Interview With European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen; Interview With Carolina Representative Ro Khanna. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 01, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: This is a moment of truth. And we really have to step up.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): My exclusive interview with the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, who tells me why the COP 26 climate summit
is make-or-break for planet Earth.
NICOLA STURGEON, SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER: It's hard to exaggerate rate the scale of the crisis we're facing.
AMANPOUR: A looming climate catastrophe. I speak to Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon about the troubling gap between rhetoric and real action.
MIA MOTTLEY, PRIME MINISTER OF BARBADOS: We want to exist 100 years from now.
AMANPOUR: On the front line of climate change in the Caribbean. Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley tells me she fears for her nation as the
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Had we started in the '70s and '80s developing alternative energy, the world would be in a better place.
AMANPOUR: California Congressman Ro Khanna talks to Hari Sreenivasan about his mission to hold big oil companies accountable for misleading the
AMANPOUR: I can hear.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in Scotland, where world leaders are gathered for the COP 26 climate summit.
The efforts are to confront the crisis of our civilization, indeed, of our times, and that is catastrophic climate change. An impassioned U.N.
secretary-general said that we cannot continue treating nature like a toilet.
Now, there is a sense of urgency like never before. Indeed, there's a sense that world leaders simply are realizing that they have not measured up to
this crisis at hand. Climate activists are warning that this is the world's last best chance if they want to address the crisis before it's too late.
And here's a glimpse of some of today's speakers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: If we fail, they will not forgive us. They will know that Glasgow was the historic turning point when history
failed to turn.
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL: We are digging our own graves.
MIA MOTTLEY, PRIME MINISTER OF BARBADOS: So, I ask to you, what must we say to our people living on the front line in the Caribbean, in Africa, in
Latin America, in the Pacific?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But, right now, we're still falling short. There's no more time to hang back or sit on the fence or
argue amongst ourselves. This is the challenge of our collective lifetimes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And President Biden also apologized to world leaders for -- and President Biden also apologized to world leaders for his predecessor,
former President Donald Trump, pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accord.
But, since 2014, clean energy pledges have, in fact, brought down the forecasted temperature increase by a degree. But it is still not enough.
And there is still much more to do. COP 26's goal is to limit warming to just 1.5 degrees higher than at preindustrial levels. But it may not be
However, many leaders are saying that number must be the objective over the next decade.
This global problem requires a global solution, especially from the countries which are the most responsible, . For instance, China, the United
States, India, the E.U., and Indonesia are the five biggest carbon emitters.
Ursula von der Leyen is the European Commission president. And that makes her a main draw at COP 26. You can see she was swarmed by the media as she
was telling us that this is the moment of truth. I sat down with her for an exclusive interview about just what's at stake.
AMANPOUR: President von der Leyen, welcome back to the program.
VON DER LEYEN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: What will success look like to you coming out of this summit, when, basically, everybody is going into it saying we're probably -- it may
just be a dream to keep the idea of 1.5 degrees alive, to keep just the idea?
VON DER LEYEN: So, for me, a success of COP 26 would be, first of all, concrete proposals how to limit to 1.5 degrees Celsius first of all,
concrete proposals, how to limit to 1.5 degrees Celsius, concrete, because we...
AMANPOUR: Of which there are none right now.
VON DER LEYEN: Well, we have to see what's going to come within the next two weeks.
These must be the negotiations, really a clear road map towards at most 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming.
AMANPOUR: But, with respect, even China and India and the others, they haven't even changed their pledges or ideas since Paris.
VON DER LEYEN: And, therefore...
AMANPOUR: I mean, there are no concrete plans in the last -- since COP 21.
VON DER LEYEN: Some of them have stepped up enormously.
But, indeed, let's see what's going to happen in those next two weeks, because this is the crunch time where you negotiate, finally.
Secondly, indeed, the $100 billion climate finance for the vulnerable countries has to be achieved. And this has to be set in stone. And the
third part is pretty complicated. It's the rule book. But it's important, because it is about accounting. It is about being clear about the figures,
so all these percentages and different years you compare to, that we have a clear accounting of what does really mean reduction of emissions and
cutting CO2 emissions.
And these three points, 1.5 degrees Celsius, $100 billion climate finance, and the rule book, would be a success.
AMANPOUR: And President Biden is obviously a completely different character than former President Trump, who pulled out of the Paris climate
And President Biden, like you, have basically built their policies on building back better, building back greener. And he is facing a lot of
pushback at home, even from within his own party.
How does that affect the eventual success of something like this, when, again, the world's now second biggest polluter, the United States, is
unable, despite two houses of Congress and the presidency, to actually get the most ambitious targets through?
VON DER LEYEN: Well, first of all, I must say that the United States are amazing, and President Biden and his leadership, really to push the topic.
So we, the European Union, are very happy about having this alliance for a topic that is paramount for our survival on the planet. And then the second
point is, I think citizens by now ask their governments for real action on the ground. Voters, citizens don't accept any more that we postpone action,
because they feel the consequences of global -- climate change.
The poorest feel it the most. And, therefore, we have a responsibility really to act now.
AMANPOUR: President Biden said that, basically, China and Russia didn't even -- not only didn't show up, but hasn't -- haven't even stepped up to
make the kind of concrete, executable pledges with actual plans on the climate issue. They haven't even arrived.
China obviously is the biggest polluter in the world. How does one get China to play ball? What's your opinion of where China is on this?
VON DER LEYEN: Yes, we have to get everyone on board.
So, what physical presence at the G20 and COP 26 is concerned, I highly appreciate, for example, that Prime Minister Modi from India did come. This
is a very important sign that he's engaging.
We would have liked to have seen China and Russia being here. But, if I look at China, I think we should remind them that they have the ambition of
global leadership. That should match with global climate leadership. So, it is very important that they step up and show what they're going to do.
And what Russia is concerned, indeed, for Russia, if they want to have a future-proof economy, they have to rapidly engage in modernizing their
economy. And modernizing means decarbonizing. It was interesting to listen to President Putin, that he described how heavily climate change is already
effecting Russia, so, the fires, wildfires they have in the tundra, the flooding, the desertification.
So, China and Russia are aware that this is just the beginning of climate change. But now we have to show that, for example, our experience in the
European Union, you can prosper while cutting emission. This is so important.
AMANPOUR: That story is not getting around enough, it seems to me, the fact that one can prosper and also mitigate the climate, because all you
hear, whether it's Joe Manchin in the United States, whether it's whoever it is, they always bring up the money issue, the jobs issue, the behavioral
Why do you think that key story is not being told? And aren't people like yourself and all the other leaders failing to persuade not just people,
because people are actually -- they want it -- you can see it in elections -- but, like, the other industries who you have got to convince?
VON DER LEYEN: Well, for us in the European Union, it is very clear.
The European Green Deal is our new growth strategy. And we're heavily investing in innovation and development and research of clean technologies,
because we know we're not going to make it without it.
And, yes, it's going to be expensive. We have to invest in it. But not acting, just seeing the progress of climate change, with all the heavy
damage, is much more expensive. So, it's the right investment in technology and innovation.
And we have seen in the European Union, since 1990, the economy has grown by 60 percent, while we have been cutting emission by 30 percent. So there
is the proof that you can prosper, you can grow while cutting emission. I think the motto will be modernization is decarbonization.
AMANPOUR: You have hailed the lifting of tariffs, the steel tariffs, between the E.U. and the United States as not just a great thing, but also
very important in this mitigation of the climate catastrophe.
How do you mean? Why?
VON DER LEYEN: Because we have done two things, first of all, indeed, taken off damaging tariffs.
But, more important, we have an agreement on sustainable steel, which is green steel, so steel produced with renewable energy. And, there, we want
to put emphasis that this steel has priority.
Over time, I think the world will move towards products that are carbon- free, with a low carbon footprint, and those carbon-heavy, dirty products will have a problem on the markets, because there will be, if you put a
price on carbon, extra tariffs, extra prices on carbon dirty, heavy products.
AMANPOUR: When you say put a price on carbon, do you also mean like what is sometimes being discussed in the U.S. and elsewhere, a carbon tax?
VON DER LEYEN: Whether it is a carbon tax or, like in the European Union, the emission trading system, important is to put a price on carbon, because
nature cannot pay the price anymore.
So, with carbon being emitted, we destroy our climate and our environment, and thus, we pay a heavy, heavy price. Therefore, those who pollute have to
pay a price. And the good part is, then, research, innovation and industry is looking for new solutions. And these are the clean solutions. This is
the innovation we need.
AMANPOUR: What about the smaller nations? We have been hearing about this $100 billion per year to help them.
They're basically saying it's not enough. We also heard from Alok Sharma, the British president of this summit, who's been going around the world
trying to get commitments from everyone, that even that might not be enough.
Where are you on the amount of money that needs to be invested from the rich and developed world to the not?
VON DER LEYEN: Yes.
So, I'm -- I absolutely acknowledge that this promise has not been kept in the past years that we will pay $100 billion to the most vulnerable and
most -- least developed countries. And I must say, the European Union always paid its share. We're now at $27 billion. So, we pay more than our
share would be. But that is good.
We will reach the $100 billion in 2023. I would have preferred to have -- preferred to have it already in '22. And I think what we have to discuss
is, all these climate finance that has not been paid in the last years, we have make up for that.
So, in the future, I think we will have to pay more. We -- by we, I mean, the developed countries will have to pay more climate finance to the least
developed, most vulnerable countries than the $100 billion to really help them to adapt and mitigate.
AMANPOUR: You and President Biden have launched the Global Methane project.
What does that mean? Because I think methane is even more destructive than carbon dioxide.
VON DER LEYEN: Yes. Yes.
Methane is a greenhouse gas that is much more damaging than CO2. It is 80 times more contributing to global warming. And we have pledged that we want
to cut methane by 30 percent by 2030.
By now, 70 countries joined. This is great stuff. And it is so important because it's about flaring and venting, and so we can do a lot about
reducing methane emissions. And it's the lowest-hanging fruit we have. So, we should really address it now.
AMANPOUR: Ursula von der Leyen, thank you very much, indeed, president of the European Union.
VON DER LEYEN: Thank you so much.
AMANPOUR: The Scottish leader, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, is hosting.
And she finds herself at the center of all these top officials and climate leaders from all corners of the globe as they descend on her country. With
speeches and negotiations, there will no doubt be a lot of talk, but will it translate into action?
The Scottish leader told me that she's hopeful, but cautious, when we sat down earlier at the Glasgow conference center.
AMANPOUR: First Minister, welcome back to the program.
STURGEON: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, here you are. This is Scotland. You're the first minister. You must be proud to be hosting this, be the host country.
STURGEON: Of course. It's a big honor for Scotland to host a summit so important.
Glasgow is also my home city. So, I feel a bit of personal pride in the city that I live in and represent in the Scottish Parliament.
But I also feel a big sense of responsibility.
STURGEON: I'm not directly around the negotiating table, but, as a leader, I want to play my part in making this summit a success.
I think success is in the balance. It's not guaranteed. There is an enormous job of work for world leaders to do here over the next couple of
days, if we're not to let down the next generation.
AMANPOUR: You know, the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, he has said, if Glasgow fails, the whole thing is going to fail, in other words,
the whole effort to keep temperatures below 1.5, or at 1.5.
Do you feel that kind of edge?
STURGEON: Yes, I don't think he's wrong. But what I would then say is, let's make sure Glasgow doesn't fail.
Now, what does success look like? Already, I think we have seen expectations lowered a bit. A few months ago, we might have hoped that
Glasgow would deliver the hard commitments to actually set the definite pathway to keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees.
That's possibly unlikely. But we need to try to close the emissions gap, and come out of this summit with a clear process and time scale to
completely closing the gap over the next couple of years, because this decade is critical. If we don't see emissions start to reduce dramatically
by 2030, then net zero by mid-century, and 1.5 degrees starts to look unlikely.
And the consequences of that are stark. We've also got to see an increase in the delivery of the commitments around climate finance, because the
developed world that have done so much to cause climate change and benefited from that owe a big obligation to the developing world to help
them make the changes that are now required.
AMANPOUR: So, from my conversations, and also from what some of the officials are saying, it looks like the finance piece of this might
actually be improved, that they -- the leaders might come up with some more financing than they have up until now.
But the key is what you just touched on, which is not just promises and words and papers, but actual delivery on the cutting of emissions. The G20
did not produce that. And President Biden said -- I mean, he sort of threw the blame countries like China and Russia, which he said didn't even come
to play, didn't even come with any meaningful commitments at all.
When you say the tone is sort of being underplayed, so to speak, expectations are being lowered, do you think that's, like, what politicians
do in order to then surprise? Or are you really -- are you really concerned?
STURGEON: No, I'm really concerned.
STURGEON: So, I hope there's a bit of underplaying of expectations now in order to overperform over the course of the summit. I'm not convinced that
is what is actually happening. I think there is a genuine gap between the rhetoric and the delivery.
On climate finance, I hope that is right. But the U.N. report published last week showed that the commitment which was meant to be delivered in
2020 is only on track to be delivered in 2023. Can that be pulled forward? Big question. I hope the answer is yes.
But, crucially, it's about increasing the scale of near-term ambition to cut emissions. Emissions are still rising globally quite sharply.
STURGEON: They have got to reduce by about 45 percent by 2030 to keep that ambition of 1.5 alive.
So that's what we have got to focus on. Now, if that gap is not closed completely by the end of this two weeks, what happens after that? That's a
big question. Right now, countries are under an obligation to revise their nationally determined contributions every five years.
That surely has to become every year or every two years if we're to maintain any sense of momentum in the early part of this decade.
AMANPOUR: And, certainly, some of these countries, India, China, have not updated their commitments since Paris.
Well, China last week published -- or said what its commitments were. They were no different to what they had said previously. India's got a big
responsibility. Look, the big countries have got a massive responsibility here.
President Biden obviously has his own challenges getting his plans through Congress right now, but at least is setting an ambition that is greater
than what his predecessor had, obviously, which is perhaps not saying much.
But countries of all sizes have got an obligation. Scotland's the European co-chair of what's called the Under2 Coalition...
STURGEON: ... which is states and regions, devolved governments like ours.
We represent about two billion people. We have all got to play our part. And we have got to up that scale of ambition pretty quickly.
AMANPOUR: So let's talk about Scotland then. You have said, different than many of the major leaders, that you want to get to net zero by 2045, which
is five years earlier than the others are saying, ambitious, but several things. Scotland has missed its targets for the last three sessions, its
AMANPOUR: That's one thing.
Secondly, you have got this controversial Cambo...
AMANPOUR: ... oil and gas natural drilling. It's 75 miles off the Shetland Islands.
And the U.K. Scottish minister said the most incredible thing. He basically said, 100 percent, we should open the Cambo oil field. He said, it's
foolish to think that we can run away from oil and gas.
Surely, that's running in the face of what we're trying to combat.
So, just to be clear, I will come back -- I want to come back to Cambo.
STURGEON: But I want to answer your first questions about targets first.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Yes.
STURGEON: But he's not one of my ministers, just to be clear.
STURGEON: He's a U.K. government minister, one of Boris Johnson's ministers.
AMANPOUR: But you -- your government has failed to meet the annual targets, yes.
STURGEON: There's two related, but quite distinct questions there.
STURGEON: So, on targets, firstly, the context here.
Scotland has decarbonized faster than any G20 country in recent years. We are halfway to net zero. We have reduced our emissions already by 51.5
percent. So, that's further progress, faster progress than most other countries across the world. We have very stretching annual targets.
And in the last three years, we have marginally missed them, so 51.5 percent reduction against what should have been 55 percent. So put that in
We're also legally obliged, because of that, to publish catchup plans and overperform in years to come. So, marginally missing really ambitious
targets is not ideal. I don't want to miss the targets. But it's better than not being ambitious in the targets you set in the first place. And
don't lose sight of the context of the fact Scotland has already decarbonized faster than most other countries in the world.
On Cambo, the most -- all countries have their really difficult issues.
STURGEON: For a country like Scotland, oil and gas is that difficult issue, lots of -- tens of thousands of jobs dependent on that.
STURGEON: We have got to make a transition that doesn't leave people on the scrap heap.
But we have got to accelerate that transition. We have got to move away from fossil fuels quickly, and quicker than we are projected to do so. And
Cambo has a license. It's had a license for about 20 years. The question is, should it simply get the green light to start drilling for new oil?
My answer is, no, it shouldn't simply get that green light. It should only go ahead. It's not my decision. It's Boris Johnson's decision. But it
should only go ahead if it can pass the most stringent climate assessment.
Now, many people would say it couldn't possibly do that.
STURGEON: But, right now, the U.K. government want to let it go ahead without even doing an assessment like that. And I think that is wrong.
AMANPOUR: You have raised it. And you're right. Every leader has their difficult issue, whether it's Nicola Sturgeon here, whether it's Joe
Manchin in West Virginia...
AMANPOUR: ... or whether it's China or India, who say, hey, you rich countries, you have spent decades or hundreds of years industrializing. Now
it's our turn.
So, the question is, what do people like yourselves say or do to make the really tough decision? Because it might come back to hit you all in the
face in elections.
AMANPOUR: I don't know.
STURGEON: Hyperbole is a constant feature of political discourse, but, actually, right now, it's hard to exaggerate the scale of the crisis we're
This is literally about the sustainability of the planet...
STURGEON: ... and not we hundreds of years in the future, but in the relatively near term.
If we can't find it within ourselves to make the tough decisions now, then when would we ever do that? And also, yes, these decisions are tough. But,
in my experience, certainly here in Scotland, the public are already ahead of the politicians and want to see faster and stronger action.
AMANPOUR: That's true.
So, would you just say no to Cambo, even though you have got 71, 500...
STURGEON: It's not -- I would do...
AMANPOUR: ... jobs are dependent on it here?
STURGEON: No, so, I think there's a massive question over whether we should be drilling for new oil.
STURGEON: And, therefore, but at the very least, you have to do the rigorous assessment of that before you give it the go-ahead.
We need to accelerate the transition away from oil and gas, and do that in a way that gives new jobs for these people to move into.
STURGEON: So that means doing all sorts of things in tandem, reducing dependence on oil and gas, but just an energy demand, first and foremost,
and then building up the renewable and low-carbon technologies.
Now, we have got to accelerate the progress of that. Now, people in the oil and gas industry would say, well, we need oil and gas for however many more
years to come.
At the current rate of progress of the alternatives, that might be true. The challenge for us is, can we change the equation there and do it much
faster? We have got to do that. And that, for Scotland, is one of the difficult issues.
But if leaders just focus on the relatively easy things, and shy away from the tough things, we won't get where we need to be.
AMANPOUR: Is the independence referendum definitely going to go ahead in 2023, as you have -- as you want?
STURGEON: That's my plan. That's what I -- absolutely.
AMANPOUR: Will you go to court to make sure it happens?
STURGEON: Look, if we all accept the basic principle of democracy, then talk of court becomes completely academic.
I don't want to go to court. This is about democracy. It's about letting people in Scotland choose their own future when the time for that is right.
That's what I fought an election on earlier this year and won a historically high share of the vote on the back of.
So, Boris Johnson opposes independence. That's perfectly legitimate. What's not legitimate is for him to stand in the way of democracy.
AMANPOUR: Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, thank you very much.
STURGEON: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, you don't have to look too far to see the impact of the climate crisis. It's causing chaos and death and migration all around us.
In Senegal, west Africa, rising sea levels are triggering menacing storm surges and threatening the livelihoods of fishermen.
Correspondent Fred Pleitgen has their stories.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fisherman's lives have always been tough here in Saint Louis in Northern Senegal, fighting
for survival on the harsh Atlantic Ocean.
Now, because of climate change, the sea that has always provided for their livelihood is destroying their existence. Sheik Zarr (ph) and his family
live in what's left of their house half-destroyed by a storm surge, knowing full well the rest of the building could be washed away any time.
"We don't have anywhere to go," he says. "If we had the means, we would move. Where we are living is not safe. We are powerless."
Because of its geography, Saint Louis is known as the Venice of Africa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, once the capital of Senegal, now facing
attrition due to the global climate emergency, as erosion takes its toll on the historic buildings and the people dwelling in them.
(on camera): Fishing is a profession that spans generations here in Saint Louis, but thousands of fishermen and their families have already been
displaced by global warming as rising sea levels have destroyed many houses here on the coastline.
(voice-over): There is nothing left of where fishermen Abdullah Toray's (ph) house once stood. He says many who lost their homes have become
"There are a lot of young people who have already fled to Spain because they are homeless," he says. "They have lost their jobs. Many of them are
Others have had to move to this tent camp miles away from the ocean, living in poverty with little hope for improvement; 25-year-old Hadi Faal (ph)
says the situation is unbearable.
"We are really tired," she says. "There is nothing here. You see I'm washing my clothes now because I didn't have any soap before. That's why
I'm doing it now. Really, we are dying."
Rising sea levels are a threat to coastal areas around the world, already causing an increase in severe flash flooding and storm surges, like in the
New York and New Jersey area after Hurricane Ida in September.
The world needs to act fast or risk having to completely abandon some coastal regions in the future, especially in the U.S., says climate
scientist Anders Levermann.
ANDERS LEVERMANN, POTSDAM INSTITUTE FOR CLIMATE IMPACT RESEARCH: The entire East Coast of the U.S., because of changes in the ocean currents,
sea level is rising twice as fast as the East Coast of the U.S. than globally.
PLEITGEN: What is the dangerous projection for the world is already grim reality here in Senegal, where the ocean that has defined the lives of this
community for so long is now drifting them into an uncertain future.
AMANPOUR: Fred Pleitgen reporting there.
Like in Senegal, rising temperatures are a threat from the Atlantic all the way to the Caribbean. Earlier in the program, you heard a passionate plea
from the Barbados prime minister, Mia Mottley. Her tiny nation is amongst those bearing the brunt of climate change. And she's calling on the rich
major polluters to step up and help nations like hers.
And she joined me for a frank discussion in Glasgow after her appeal to the plenary of powerful leaders.
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Mottley, welcome back to the program.
MOTTLEY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: This is a big deal for countries like yours. And you represent a lot of the front-line countries.
You, in Barbados, if I'm not mistaken, have less than a percentage point of emissions.
MOTTLEY: That's right.
AMANPOUR: And yet you say that you are on the front lines of the impact of everybody else's pollution.
MOTTLEY: That's right.
AMANPOUR: What exactly do you mean by that? What does it look like?
MOTTLEY: Well, to begin with, we have a serious problem with water.
We have effectively drought-like conditions for the better part of the last few years, where almost half the island is at risk of getting adequate
water. Secondly, we have an impact with respect to our coral reefs. A lot of the marine life that we saw as children are no longer there.
Thirdly, we have the possibility -- and we're seeing it already -- of saltwater intrusion into some of our aquifers, making the water situation
more dire. And then we have the sargassum seaweed as well on the east coast and of most of our countries from the very south in the region to the Gulf
And this affects people who have restaurants or hotels or whatever, because the smell is toxic.
AMANPOUR: And that's because of the heating...
MOTTLEY: That's because of the climate. That's right. And then...
AMANPOUR: ... of the water?
MOTTLEY: And you have not heard me say floods or hurricane, and those are the other ones as well. This year, Barbados had its first hurricane in 66
years. And before that, we had a freak storm for 90 minutes that had 46,000 lightning strikes in 90 minutes.
AMANPOUR: Mia, do you find it difficult to convince the people who you need to convince that this is all due to climate change?
MOTTLEY: I think people are getting there. The problem is that those who need to make the decisions are kicking the can down the road and they
believe that they can because they're not seeing us. They see themselves. And for them, they don't reach that period of peril probably for another
15, 20 years.
I mean, you heard this morning, 4 degrees to Shanghai and Miami to go -- to be eradicated. Well, it's 1.5 and 2 for us. So, there are a lot of us that
are going to be affected before Shanghai and Miami.
AMANPOUR: You gave a rip-roaring speech to the plenary.
MOTTLEY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And you notice that China is not there, you know, Russia is not there. Russia is a 5 percent polluter, but China is the biggest and, of
course, America second biggest.
AMANPOUR: What do you -- what was your message with your speech?
MOTTLEY: Well, if I had more time, I would have said, code red to China, to U.S., to Europe, to India, to all of the countries who are not just the
traditional emitters, but also the new ones. Part of the difficulty is that the new emitters argue that the tradition emitters have the largest stock.
Well, whether it's the largest stock or the smallest stock, we are literally like the ground on elephants' fight, we get trampled. And that's
exactly what's happening now.
So, we really hope that the message will go forth. And that's why I said that I hope that their populations, their people will tell them that they
need to act now and not later.
AMANPOUR: So, do you think, actually, I've asked quite a few of the leaders, surely the populations around the world, which are putting
pressure on their leaders all over, you know, should make them sit up and listen?
MOTTLEY: That's right.
AMANPOUR: But they don't seem to be as much as you say they need to.
MOTTLEY: Well, perhaps, because, as I said, they're waiting for it to hit them. And we really are hoping that a conscience will be pricked and that
they'll recognize that no one is safe until everyone is safe. And if the episode with vaccines hasn't shown us that, then we will never learn. So,
in my country, we have a saying, harderes (ph), you won't hear, onwe (ph), you're going to feel. In order words, those who don't listen will
ultimately pay the price.
AMANPOUR: So, you know, you talk about the vaccine, and I just wonder, you know, you're very large northern neighbor, the United States of America,
has, you know, a bit of a problem with conspiracy theories, whether it's about vaccines, whether it's about climate denial. Obviously, the political
You know, I wonder what you think in the Caribbean, accepting many American tourists and, you know, you're just very close. The most popular, the
highest viewed cable television program is Tucker Carlson's on Fox News, and he is going around the world trying to tell his viewers of the dangers
of mitigating climate change. In other words, saying that things like wind turbines and others, you know, are actually themselves, you know, vehicles
of death and destruction and that they are elitist and that they hurt the poor the most.
I guess my question is, what is your reaction to that and how do you mitigate that kind of story? How do you convince people of actually the
MOTTLEY: Well, there's a journalist that I know that made a statement a couple years ago about the importance of truth. I think you know her. Her
name was Christiane Amanpour. And the bottom line is, that's where we are. That regrettably, we live in a world now where there's no arbiter of truth
or fake news. And as a as a result, we get that kind of dangerous activity influencing and impacting on people and costing lives as it has with the
vaccines. It's going to cost lives with the climate as well.
And we need to make sure that those of us who can defend truth literally work with those who are the purveyors of our messages, whether it is the
Facebooks or whether it is the other big tech companies or the news companies. there has now to be a morality. And that's what I keep calling
for -- the last time we spoke, I talked about moral strategic leadership that is global. And that's what I mean by it. And unless we call out people
who are literally, literally misleading others, then it's going to cost lives.
AMANPOUR: One of the things this summit might achieve is upping the amount of money the rich countries give to those who are not so rich, to mitigate
climate. We heard from Ursula von der Leyen just now about, you know, what the world needs to do to step up its pledges. Tell me what you think.
Because even Alok Sharma's, who is the president of this COP, being the British official in charge, says that that's not even enough, the $100
billion a year.
MOTTLEY: That's the point. That's the point. And he's absolutely correct. And the truth is, a hundred billion is the floor, and we've missed that
floor, which is why I keep saying that we need to mine the gap just like the trains tell us to mine the gap, mine the gap. If we don't, we're going
to see the consequences.
Just now, I said, look, the world has spent $25 trillion in that last -- since 2008 (INAUDIBLE) of money quantitative (INAUDIBLE) of which 9
trillion has come in the last 18 months. If we can get the world to set aside $500 billion a year, not in cash, but in their special drawing rates
from the IMF and do that for 20 years, we can create a trust that can help those countries between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn because
regrettable, it's not only small island developing states that are affected now, it's all of those countries in there.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you. We've just seen the report from Fred Pleitgen talking about the plight of the Senegalis (ph) in terms of climate
change. The seas. The fact that it's, you know, cutting into fishing and jobs and being a push factor to migration. And, of course, migration is
another great big contentious topic around the world. What are your concerns about climate-forced migration?
MOTTLEY: Well, clearly, the North Atlantic countries and the countries of the world want migration because that's the natural consequences of their
not reaching agreements in this meeting. You're going to have all of these countries that are effective. We just heard the young lady from Kenya say 2
million Kenyans are at risk of hunger. We've heard our pleas across small island developing states.
And the truth is that we know that there's a possibility of failed societies or societies that have to be evacuated. We saw it with
Montserrat, with the eruption of the volcano. We saw it with Barbuda with Hurricane Maria. So, if we don't accept that it has happened, can happen
and will happen, then we will see the migration and then, those who are uncomfortable with migration will have to accept, that is the consequences
of their failure to act regrettably. But that sounds all academic because at the end of the day --
AMANPOUR: No. It doesn't sound academic. We're seeing migration right now.
MOTTLEY: Exactly. And there's families who really don't want to leave their homes.
MOTTLEY: And that's the tragedy of it.
AMANPOUR: Every politician has their problem, that is, yes, we want to do the best, but what about our, I don't know, coal workers, what about our --
et cetera, what about your tourism industry?
AMANPOUR: Your nation depends very heavily on long-haul flight tourism. That is a huge problem when it comes to polluting our atmosphere.
MOTTLEY: That's why we need the scientific research to see how best we can move both planes and cruise ships and not rely only on fossil fuels for
their movement and propulsion. I believe that if we can solve male baldness, if we can do all of these things in the world, it's true, then I
believe we can solve the problems of how to fuel the movement of people across the world in planes and in ships. But we have not put our minds to
AMANPOUR: Just finally, if the leaders of Russia or most especially China were here, and the leader of India is, what would you say to them right
MOTTLEY: That we're in this together. And that if you haven't learned from the pandemic that all of us are suffering, then you will not learn from
anything. And we need to move together, even if we slow down a little bit. We need to move together. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Mia Mottley, thank you for joining us.
MOTTLEY: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And now, to the responsibility of corporations. Last Thursday's House oversight hearings in Washington included six major fossil fuel
companies and trade associations testifying to their part in climate change and whether they have misled the public about the reality of the climate
California representative, Ro Khanna, helped lead this historic hearing and here he is talking with our Hari Sreenivasan about the disconnect between
what these companies say and what they do or don't do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, thanks. Congressman Ro Khanna, thanks for joining us.
I want to ask, what was your interest in having the hearings in the first place with the heads of all of the fossil fuel companies and the head of
the American Petroleum Institute, which is kind of a lobbying group for all those companies?
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): The big oil executives have never testified under oath to the United States Congress to explain their role in climate
disinformation. There were two things we wanted to get at. First, what did they do in terms of misleading the American public and down playing climate
change? And second, what are they continuing to do if funding third-party groups to lobby against climate legislation and to spread climate
disinformation? And we had some admissions, as well as, unfortunately, some denials that may not hold up to be true.
SREENIVASAN: You know, when you launched these investigations, I want to read back something that you said. You said, these companies and their
allies in the fossil fuel industry have worked to prevent serious action on global warming by generating doubt about documented gangers of fossil fuels
and misrepresenting the scale of their efforts to develop alternative energy technologies. What do you see is the most dangerous examples of
KHANNA: In 2002, the Exxon CEO says, I don't think there's any scientific consensus between the link of burning fossil fuels and climate change. And
Exxon has a report from 1978 that says there's scientific certainly that burning fossil fuels causes climate change. So, the CEO is out there in the
early 2000s purposely casting doubt, which gives there a reason to be inaction. And so, there's still fossil fuel subsidies, there's not enough
investment in alternative energy. There's -- has a real cost.
Had we started in the '70s and '80s developing alternative energy, the world would be in a better place. Frankly, these companies could have been
in a better place. They could have started transitioning then. They purposely chose not to do that and to doubt the science. And they continue
now to green wash. I mean, they talked about algae. They probably spent a significant amount on the algae advertising. But they have a less than 0.2
percent of actually company spend on clean technology.
They are still using -- peddling this false carbon and capture, even though the carbon they're capturing from the technology is being used for further
oil extraction. So, there are a lot of basically misrepresentations that need to be addressed and exposed and hopefully, the hearing is a start to
SREENIVASAN: Do you see a parallel between big follows fuel and big tobacco? It seems like they are playing from a similar playbook. And I
wonder if -- does that mean that the logical end is similar? Is there some grand settlement where companies contribute to the equivalent of a climate
KHANNA: I do see a parallel. But big oil is much savvier now. They -- you know, they didn't make the same gross mistakes as big tobacco. They're
trying to at least tout the lines about climate. And so, my view is that two things will happen, I do think they're going to have some
accountability for the past and make some amends for the damage that they've done and the litigation will run its course and -- as well as
But the biggest thing is that there's going to have to be some commitment to change. And you're seeing some change with the European companies, and
that's because of the European courts and European regulation. The question is, whether the American companies will change it, whether Congress will
have it in as to regulate the requirement of that change. I mean, we can't get up here and say we're for the Paris Accords and then, ignore all of the
recommendations of how to comply with the Paris Accords.
SREENIVASAN: What were the admission that you got from the executives?
KHANNA: Well, one, they may not seem like a big deal but they all acknowledge that climate change is happening. They all acknowledge that
climate change is human-caused. They all acknowledge that burning fossil fuels cause climate change.
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): Mr. Woods, CEO of Exxon, do you agree that climate change is real?
DARREN WOOD, CEO, EXXON: Yes.
MALONEY: Thank you. Mr. Lawler, CEO of bp America, do you agree that climate change is caused by human activities
DAVID LAWLER, CEO, BP AMERICA: Yes.
MALONEY: Mr. Wirth, CEO of Chevron, do you agree that burning fossil fuels is a significant cause of climate change?
MICHAEL WIRTH, CEO, CHEVRON: Chairwoman, we've been clear on where we stand and we accept the current scientific consensus that the use of
follows fuels contributes to climate change.
KHANNA: These are statements that past CEOs of oil companies have been unwilling to make. They also acknowledge the falsity of some past
statements where they were belligerent is that they said that the false statements were in the context of the science of the time. I don't think
that will hold up. They also refused to condemn third-party groups that were lobbying against electric vehicles, lobbying against the methane tax,
lobbying against policies that they themselves support.
SREENIVASAN: You know, you were pressing the executives on their support of these third-party groups, and none of them took the opportunity to say
that, we will not support these groups in the future.
KHANNA: Here's what's so frustrating, because I actually think -- I don't think -- I really don't think they're as bad as the CEOs of the past. I
don't. I think you have tough jobs. You got there. You got a horrible record on stuff. You're figuring out how you don't get into litigation,
trouble, while really trying to tell the truth. It's a tough act. I mean, I don't envy you.
And I don't believe you purposely wanted to be out there spreading climate disinformation. But you're funding these groups and they're really having
an impact. You know, they're spending millions of dollars in Congress to kill electric vehicles and they're spending millions of dollars against the
methane gas. And you could do something here. You can tell them to knock it off for the sake of the planet. You can end it. You could end that
lobbying. Would any of you take the opportunity and look at API and say stop it? Any of you?
KHANNA: What I was asking wasn't that difficult. I mean, Total, the French company, for example, has said that they're not going to participate in
American Petroleum Institute because of some of American petroleum institute's climate denialism and policy positions. You had these CEOs
saying, says, we don't agree with what American Petroleum Institute is doing, but they weren't willing to tell them to stop, they weren't willing
to publicly embarrass them. And so, you have this disconnect between what these companies are saying to look good, to say they're sustainable and
yet, they're funding these groups that are going exactly the opposite.
And, Hari, it's relevant because right now, as we speak, we're trying to get a methane tax in the president's bill and API is spending half a
million dollars lobbying it against it. We're trying to get electric vehicle tax credits in the bill, API is spending millions of dollars
against it. And these oil CEOs are basically saying, it's OK. Don't stop.
SREENIVASAN: There's an exchange that I want to pull up here. This is with Congressman Sarbanes talking exactly about what the fossil fuel companies
say, for example, on their website versus what they do. Let's take a look.
REP. JOHN SARBANES (D-MD): Your company claims that the Paris Agreement is among your highest priorities. The first sentence of Chevron's climate
policy page says, "Chevron supports the Paris Agreement." I notice that you also touted Chevron's support for the Paris Agreement if your written
testimony to the committee. Since the start of negotiations on the Paris Agreement in 2015, Chevron has reported 986 total instances of federal
Mr. Wirth, do you know how many times Chevron reported lobbying on the Paris Agreement?
WIRTH: Congressman, that is information that I don't have in front of me. But it's --
SARBANES: OK. Well, let me tell you what it is. Not once, not a single time, not one of those 986 instances of lobbying mentions the Paris
Agreement. Now, when I compare that to an issue that we know your company really cares about, corporate tax breaks. Mr. Wirth, do you know how many
lobbying reports your company filed that reported lobbying on tax issues?
WIRTH: Congressman, I don't have that in front of me.
SARBANES: 144, that's the answer.
SREENIVASAN: Right now, there doesn't seem to be any disincentive for them to stop this behavior. What force to bear can you bring on companies from
testimony like this that says, all right, you have to stop funding these third-party companies, you have to become -- you know, you have to start
spending money like you say your priorities are?
KHANNA: Well, Hari, it's taken almost 40 years to get them in front of Congress and to testify under oath. I mean, that was a huge deal just to
have them there. And then, Chairwoman Maloney and I announced we're going to subpoena for further documents, which we rarely do as a committee. We
didn't find them responsive enough. So, this investigation is going to continue and we will have an investigation and a report and then, some of
these agency actions may begin.
But it's going to be a long process. I mean, this has been going on for decades of misinformation and we're just starting to hold them accountable.
I don't want to underestimate how hard this is going to be with the battalion of their lawyers. But we are committed to doing it and it's going
to be a multiyear process to bring this kind of change.
SREENIVASAN: You know, one of the things that we noticed over the six hours yesterday is that the other side of the aisle, the Republicans
consistently make this, in a way, about jobs, American jobs going away. They even had a person who was personally affected. He was a welder, I
think, who lost his job after the end of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project. But I want to play a clip from Representative Jim Jordan. And he makes this
about American consumers. Let's take a listen.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I'll tell you what's frustrating, is a member of Congress telling American oil and gas companies to reduce production at the
same time the president of the United States is begging OPEC to increase production. That may be the dumbest thing I've ever heard. But that's the
scenario we're in. God bless Chevron for saying they're going to increase production. What does the gentleman want? $8 gasoline? $10 gasoline for the
very families that we all represent? This is craziness what they're talking about. I yield back to the gentleman. Thank you for yielding me 30 seconds.
SREENIVASAN: So, what is structurally false about that argument? What he's saying and what so many members of his party are saying is that this is
going to cripple portions of the economy that depend on keeping these Americans employed?
KHANNA: Here's what's false, Hari. First of all, let's start with the science. It's not my view or a Congressional view. The U.N. view, the Paris
Accord view, the IEA view says, we have to decrease oil production 3 percent to 4 percent every year if we have any hope of keeping temperatures
rising less than 2 degrees. Not just less than 1.5 degrees.
So, Shell takes that seriously. They're decreasing 1 percent to 2 percent. Bp is reducing 40 percent. I'm glad, actually, Representative Jordan got
Chevron to admit that they're increasing production because words was dancing around that. But the reality is Exxon and Chevron are increasing
Now, you can decrease production by 3 percent or 4 percent a year and increase renewable energy, increase electric vehicles, increase cafe
standards and bring the price of gas down. Because you're going to increase the demand for gas and that is the answer that Democrats have and the power
that you bring the price of gas down. Temporarily, if the president has to tap the strategic petroleum reserve or get OPEC to increase production
right now for immediate relief, that doesn't mean we can't hit the yearly goals of reducing oil production. But obviously, he's trying to obfuscate
these issues, scare people. The real solution, though, is to decrease the demand for gas and to increase renewables.
SREENIVASAN: I want to play you two separate clips and kind of -- and I'll talk a little bit in between and then, we'll ask you a question. The first
one I want to play is an exchange between Representative Grothman and the head of the American Petroleum Institute. And the Representative Grothman
had essentially started by asking him about how much cleaner the skies are today than they were decades ago and we're going to pick up in the middle
of the answer and let's take a look here.
MIKE SOMMERS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE: Additionally, the emissions that have come from the electricity sector are at their
lowest level since 1978. And that is because of the fuel switch that has gone on from coal to natural gas --
REP. GLENN GROTHMAN, (R-OH): Holy cow. Just a second here. You mean despite the fact the population of this country has gone through the roof
and the amount of economic activity has gone through the roof we have less pollutants coming from the energy sector than 40-plus years ago?
SOMMERS: Congressman, in fact, obviously, the United States population has continued to increase and world population has expected --
SREENIVASAN: You know, what's strange about that to me is it seemed like the entire exchange was scripted. That the head of the API at times was
reading a response and then, I want to play a second clip here and then, I'll ask you about both of them. And this is with Representative Porter
from California and this is her kind of talking a little bit about the amount of available permitted land that already exists for oil and gas
exploration versus opening up new lands. So, let's take a look at that clip too.
REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): If each grain of rice were one acre, that would be 479 pounds of rice. The American Petroleum Institute even opposed
pausing (ph) more leasing on our lands. They even sued to stop it. Because apparently, this acreage wasn't enough.
SREENIVASAN: Now, I'm a guy who appreciates props, a good prop, a good analogy to help people understand. But I want to ask, between those two
kinds of examples, one kind of the scripting of things or pre-scripting on one side and then, really the props on the other, are we getting to a place
where this is a little bit more just theater and that we're not spending the time doing exactly what it was that you wanted to do which was hold the
fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in disinformation?
KHANNA: You know, Hari, obviously, Representative Porter is very skilled interviewer and her clips often go viral. And it's not unusual that members
of Congress, staff sometimes give advance questions to a sympathetic witness or that takes place. But here's the thing, if you look at the big
tobacco hearings the night that they took place, the nightly news carried them, they carried clips. They actually didn't carry the clip that became
most relevant. It was by Senator Ron Wyden, who isn't the flashiest guy. He was in the House at the time.
And he asked them, is nicotine addictive, and they all said no. And the media didn't even cover that, really, at the time it took place. It was
only months later that documents came out and showed that that statement was a lie under oath and that's what turned sentiment. So, it may be that
one of the less flashy questions in that hearing is actually what is most consequential as we get more documents, as the investigation continues.
It could be something like what Sarbanes asked. And it may not be right now what we think is the flashiest moment than long-term actually is the most
substantive. I'm confident over the years that the investigation goes on, what will be most substantive are two questions, did these executives lie?
And, two, what is the evidence of the -- their support for third-party groups with misinformation?
SREENIVASAN: How long do you think this investigation lasts? I mean, is something that is dependent on how the -- who controls the House after the
KHANNA: Sure, it is. I mean, we saw that in the dichotomy of the questions yesterday. But I think within a year, which is well before the next
midterms, we can get a lot established. And there have been people waiting decades to finally understand what these executives were going to say under
oath. This is going to advance a lot of their research. It's going to advance the climate movement. We're going to have a very detailed report
with new documents that, I think, will help inform the public and this climate community about what these oil companies have been doing.
SREENIVASAN: Congressman Ro Khanna, thanks so much for joining us.
KHANNA: Hari, thanks for the in-depth to look at this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Such an important inquiry in Washington. Of course, right now, while all the delegates and climate activists want to make sure that they
get all constituents on site, including the fossil fuel companies, to do what's necessary to keep this temperature rise to 1.5.
And finally, tomorrow on this program, our coverage from COP26 in Glasgow continues as we hear from the British prime minister, Boris Johnson. Once a
climate skeptic, he's now sounding the alarm for change. And for the U.S. perspective, I speak to climate envoy, John Kerry, the former secretary of
That's it for now. You can always catch us online, on your podcast and across social media. Thank you for watching and good-bye from Scotland.