Return to Transcripts main page
Global Climate Struggle; Interview With Bristol, England, Mayor Marvin Rees; Interview with "Race for Tomorrow" Author Simon Mundy; Interview Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O'Neill. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired July 20, 2022 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we just have to adapt, don't we? Our homes have to change. Our way of life has to change.
SIDNER: Europe sizzles, and the continent cannot cope. We take a close look at how our infrastructure is failing with climate expert Bob Ward, and
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees on how to take action a local level.
SIMON MUNDY, AUTHOR, "RACE FOR TOMORROW: SURVIVAL, INNOVATION AND PROFIT ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS": I will tell you what. Those people
are really feeling the impacts. They are in no doubt at all as to how serious this thing is.
SIDNER: the global climate struggle. Journalist Simon Mundy tells Hari Sreenivasan about what he's learned from his trip around the world and his
book "Race For Tomorrow."
Then: The fallout from Brexit in Northern Ireland continues, as the U.S. warns Britain about overriding trade rules. Is more chaos on the way? I
asked the vice president of Sinn Fein, Michelle O'Neill, on her visit to Washington.
Plus: fleeing Russian occupation. We hear the desperate stories of Ukrainian refugees as the war in Ukraine grinds on.
SIDNER: Welcome to the program. I'm Sara Sidner in London, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
Record-breaking temperatures and a wakeup call for the people of this planet. Europe is baking under intense heat. Thousands of people have died
in this heat, and firefighters are battling flames from France to Greece. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, traveled to Gironde today, where a
wildfire is burning an area twice the size of Paris.
As temperatures hit record highs here in the U.K., London's mayor says its firefighters were the busiest they have been since World War II, when
London was under bombardment, not heat advisories.
SIDNER (voice-over): Fire and stratospheric temperatures scorching millions around the world. The United Kingdom has never been this hot ever.
Parts of Britain hit 104 degrees Fahrenheit, a record.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have never had this kind of heat. So why would we be prepared?
SIDNER: In a place where no one and nothing is acclimated to this kind of heat, it is a true danger to people and infrastructure alike.
Climate scientists say this is not normal, not by a long shot. The new normal will be that it gets exponentially hotter for longer.
MYLES ALLEN, COORDINATING LEAD AUTHOR, IPCC SPECIAL REPORT ON 1.5 DEGREES: Well, as long as we keep dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the
world will continue to warm. And, as I say, it's warming at around a quarter-of-a-degree per decade.
SIDNER: In London, at Luton Airport, a runway buckled under the oppressive heat, stopping flights, but it's since been repaired.
Fear over buckling rail lines, one of the main modes of transportation in the country, led authorities to paint as many as they could with the
reflective substance to repel the heat. But, for safety, trains at one of the busiest stations in London were stopped for hours.
Trains that were running we're told to slow their speeds to lessen the friction on the boiling-hot tracks. Less than 1 percent of the homes in the
country have air conditioning. Inside, temperatures are like being inside an oven in this heat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, the world is burning, and we are doing nothing about it. We are just consuming. The industry is running. And nobody's
doing anything about the climate.
SIDNER: The land is literally burning, as London firefighters face one of the toughest days ever. The heat continues to fuel fires in France, Spain
and Greece. Hundreds of deaths are being attributed to the heat as well.
Europe is looking a lot like the United States, where more than 100 million people are under heat advisories from Texas to Kentucky. Fires are burning
thousands of acres in Texas and Oklahoma, where temperatures have reached over 110 degrees. And there is no immediate end in sight, as millions try
to find relief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we just have to adapt, don't we? Our homes have to change. Our way of life has to change.
SIDNER: Easier said than done.
With melting runways and buckling railways, it's abundantly clear that today's infrastructure was just not built to endure this kind of heat.
Here now are Bob Ward, communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and the mayor of Bristol,
England, Marvin Rees.
Welcome, Mr. Rees and Mr. Ward.
MARVIN REES, MAYOR OF BRISTOL, ENGLAND: Thank you.
SIDNER: All right. I want to start with you, Mr. Ward.
Are people living in cities -- usually, in a city, you think you have everything at your fingertips. Everything is close by and easily
accessible. But are people in cities more exposed and at risk in these huge heat waves?
BOB WARD, GRANTHAM RESEARCH INSTITUTE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ENVIRONMENT: Well, cities are more exposed to the heat because they're
made of lots of dark manmade surfaces that tend to absorb the sun's energy and turn it into heat, rather than reflecting it.
And so you find that cities like London are several degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside. And so it's a real problem, particularly in a very
concentrated area, lots of people and lots of infrastructure. Small things that go wrong can have massive disruption for millions of people.
SIDNER: Yes, when you talk about that, you can -- you almost feel like you're baking when you're walking on the street because you're having heat
come up from the asphalt and then heat coming from the sun above you, and you're kind of stuck in the middle.
Mr. Rees, when you look at what's happening, climatologist have been saying for decades now that this was coming.
Do you think that the U.K. is prepared for such heat waves?
REES: No, it's not.
And by the state of the national debate around our incoming prime minister, it doesn't like national politicians are gearing up to get prepared or
prioritizing the need to be prepared.
But it's one of the reasons that we have -- city leaders, mayors around the world have been placing such an emphasis on shifting this conversation to
the city level of leadership, where most people live. It's where we can put the mitigations in place to support people, with most of the world living
in cities now, and that increasing.
But, also, while cities are the problem, they can also be the solution if we can transform city systems to be more efficient, decarbonized.
SIDNER: I think Bristol was the first British cities to declare a climate emergency. That was back in November 2018. What does that actually mean in
REES: Well, it's always the challenge.
The challenge is making the connection between declarations, T-shirt and banners and actually getting things done. What it does mean for us is that
we looked at what we could do with our existing abilities, looking at housing, our transport options, and making sure that all of our policies
reflect that need to work, with an eye towards the climate emergency.
But the point we have been making is that cities need finance. In the U.K., we're a very centralized country. To decarbonize Bristol's economy is about
10 billion pounds, and Bristol doesn't have that money. There's increasing -- increasingly high-profile work happening across the U.K., across Europe
and around the world trying to connect the trillions of dollars we are told is out there with the mayors who want to rebuild their cities so that they
are more efficient, respect the climate emergency, and support the recovery of nature.
But making that connection between those -- those trillions of dollars that's out there and the city leaders who will actually deliver that
decarbonization is proving to be quite a challenge, with national governments getting in the way.
SIDNER: Mr. Rees, when you bring this up, I had a conversation with Myles Allen, the climate modelist and professor at Oxford University.
And I want you both, you and Mr. Ward, to listen to what he said, particularly when it comes to money, money that's been poured into the
fossil fuel industry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: With the additional money that we are pouring into fossil fuels between last year and this with the new high prices of fossil fuels, you
could take that money and capture every single molecule of carbon dioxide that's being generated by burning those fossil fuels, compress it and
reinject it back on the ground and stop that carbon dioxide causing global warming.
But, of course, that's not happening because there's no regulation that requires it to happen. But if that regulation were in place, we wouldn't be
able to stop global warming. We'd be able to stop it within a generation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Mr. Ward, first of all, do you agree? And, second of all, what needs to happen now, if that is the case?
WARD: Well, the driving factor behind climate change, which is what's leading to these more frequent and intense heat waves, is indeed our
burning of fossil fuels and carbon dioxide.
Now, I don't agree with Professor Allen that the right way is to capture it. There are lots of solutions here, but the main thing is, we have got to
get off fossil fuels as quickly as possible. And we know how to do that. We have got renewable energy. We have got nuclear power.
If we electrify our cities in particular, so they run on electricity, you can then electrify the transport system, and most of our systems can then
run on clean electricity, and that will go a large way to stop the driver.
But we also have to adapt to those impacts, because we -- the world will continue to get warm until we get to -- effectively to zero emissions
around the world. The earliest that's being discussed for that is 2050. And that means, for the next three decades, it's just going to get worse and
we're going to have to learn to cope better with these kinds of extreme events.
SIDNER: You know, when you see the pictures -- and I lived many years in Los Angeles -- the pictures in London yesterday looked like what you would
see in California on a regular summer now, where it's hot, it's fast, fast- moving fires that are really destructive.
And I want to ask you, Mr. Rees, do you think that the government has the - - not only the capability, but the heart to go after this as the number one issue that could affect the most number of people?
REES: I don't know.
I mean, I find it very difficult to make any claim as to be able to see into anyone's heart and what their desires are. What I can say is that the
urgency of debate within our own government does not match the urgency of the situation.
And I think what we are finding is that national governments are proven to be a bottleneck on change. As we went into COP 26, over a year before COP
happened, I spoke on a parliamentary panel and said that what we need to come out of COP with is real money, real deadline dates, and real places.
Abstract commitments with no dates and no measures set against them would be a problem. And that's what we came out of COP with. There was a growing
conversation around finance, but it wasn't locked down. As we go into COP 27, I'm really concerned that it will just be another kind of collection of
But if you come to the mayoral level, dare I suggest, they're not the only place to work, but what you will find is a group of dynamic leaders who
want to get it done. And can I also suggest, by the way, that we shouldn't just be thinking about the Northern Hemisphere.
When we think about the opportunities and challenges of urbanization, we have to think about the global South. And that's real politics, because we
have got to be talking about transferring investment to cities that are in countries that are not our own countries, and perhaps a bit of a
rebalancing of financial power.
SIDNER: Yes. And you talk about the fact that it's a very centralized government, and they have to act as well, because the smaller towns don't
have the funds for this.
Do you think that the next prime minister, who hasn't quite yet been decided, will have the will to do this, will be able to push this forward?
REES: Again, I don't know what their will is, but listening to the debates that are happening at the moment, I don't hear evidence of it being made a
In fact, it was only a few days ago that all five candidates seemed to be moving away from commitments to tackle climate change towards a focus on
growth. I recognize the need for growth. We have got to build homes. You have got to have jobs for people, but you got to have the right kind of
growth. You can't have growth that actually destroys the planet.
And at the moment, it seems like we're looking at a slow-motion Hollywood disaster film, and no one seems to have the will or the urgency to tackle
it, which is a concern.
SIDNER: It sounds like you're saying that -- and this is governments around the world, whether it's here or America or India -- that the
immediate things, such as inflation, or fear of not having enough fuel, is fueling a response that isn't exactly worrying about climate change while
they're responding to this.
Bob, I want to ask you about this decision by the E.U., European Union. They voted on July 6 to allow natural gas and nuclear energy to be labeled
as green investments. First of all, is that a good idea? And, second of all, what kind of impact might that make?
WARD: Well, natural gas isn't a green energy. It produces carbon dioxide. It produces less carbon dioxide than when you burn coal, the most polluting
But it is -- it points to the problem that we have in Europe, in particular, at the moment, that the massive increase in the international
price of fossil fuels is causing a lot of economic hardship, together with the reduction in the supply of gas from Russia, following its illegal
invasion of Ukraine.
Now, the real -- what policymakers really need to understand at the moment is that the solution to both these problems, climate change and this cost
of living crisis, is to get away from our dependence on fossil fuels.
If everybody had domestic clean energy power generation, it would not only help us tackle climate change. It would help relieve this economic stress.
And so the answer is very clear. It's not one or the other. Economic prosperity now depends on rapid and increased investment in clean domestic
SIDNER: Do you think that, from your perspective, that the governments here in the U.K. and in Europe and then, when you look across the pond and
you look at some of the other governments, the United States, for example, are really doing enough or talking about this enough?
Or are we just going to let things go as they are?
WARD: I'm afraid that they recognize that there's a problem, but not the urgency and scale of action required.
And it looks, unfortunately, as if we will have to have several more of these disastrous scenes that we have seen in the U.K. and in Europe, in
particular, and in other places around the world before we will get the level and scale of action.
Unfortunately, there's a lag between us creating a problem and us realizing the consequences. And, as I said, we have already committed, we think, to
another 30 years of things getting worse. That's going to be an awful lot of suffering, an awful lot of damage the lives and livelihoods.
So politicians need to wake up now and act much more strongly, much more urgently.
SIDNER: As we heard from the professor, the numbers are going to get exponentially higher when it comes to the climate and how hot it gets.
What is that going to look like as -- I mean, 30 years is a very long time. And if this is exponential, it's not just one bit here, one bit there, but
we're seeing this doubling and tripling of things, what are we going to be dealing with? What are governments going to be dealing with?
WARD: Well, we're going to end up spending lots of money and dealing with the consequences of climate change. And that's not going to be cheaper.
That's going to be more expensive than avoiding creating the problem in the first place.
What we have seen in England over the -- in the U.K. over the last two days is a glimpse of a kind of horrific future that we're heading towards. Those
kinds of wildfires, we're used to watching on TV happening in other parts of the world, but now it's on our doorstep. And it's dangerous. It's
killing people. It's damaging lives. It's damaging livelihoods.
There cannot be any excuse for turning a blind eye to it. It's here and now. And it's an emergency. And we have to act.
SIDNER: And perhaps it needs to be talked about it more as not climate change, but climate emergency.
Mayor Rees, I want to bring you in for a controversy that you have been facing in your own -- in your own city. There is a quite a few groups of
journalists that have decided to boycott you. Are you concerned about hurting the democratic process with basically telling some members of the
press that they are not allowed to come to some of your press conferences?
REES: No, because it's a misrepresentation.
And I'm sure all journalists would say before I take a story, as it's presented to me, let's find out actually what's really going on. What we
have is a situation with an advertising platform, Reach PLC, that doesn't employ enough journalists and uses publicly funded journalists to make up
for its shorter -- shortfalling work force and send them to my press conference.
So we find that a problem. Dare I say also, as a black man that's grown up in a city that's been misrepresented, and as myself has been misrepresented
by that very media outlet, they are not necessarily a clean bastion of democratic engagement.
And I think that the election of the first African heritage mayor in Europe has something to do with the democratic process that that local outlet
fails to understand, as does our media profession that has an appalling record in employee working-class and minority ethnic people.
SIDNER: Can you clarify whether or not you banned this group of journalists? Or was it that they just weren't invited? What happened there?
REES: No, that's a media headline to generate clicks for the advertising platform.
I -- during COVID, I decided to start running a press conference in which I invite -- and if you look at the YouTube films, you can see it -- I invite
journalists to ask me any question they want. I say it every time.
I'm not required to do it. I did it to give journalist access and to make it easy. We did it every week. Now we do it every two weeks, because, on a
sense, many of them started to run out of questions. It was simply the publicly funded journalists who we think are doing -- ain't doing a
necessarily a great job that we said weren't invited to that.
But the major journalists, the long-serving BBC journalists, the actually fully employed journalists by those news outlets are all invited to attend
and can ask me any question they want.
And, as I said, no one has been banned. I just didn't invite them to my press conference. And, in fact, the editors of that newspaper had already
agreed to that arrangement.
SIDNER: All right, fair enough.
I want to ask you a yes-or-no question to the both of you.
SIDNER: Mayor Ward -- Mayor Rees, let me ask you this.
Yes or no, there is hope in dealing with climate change.
I will start with you.
REES: Well, I'm not an optimistic person, but I have to say there is hope, because hope is something that exists in the face of the odds.
But I think there is hope in our cities. And if we begin to get the resources into the hands of city leaders, I think you will find a layer of
politics that is focused on action, not just on statements.
SIDNER: All right, thank you. Fair enough, Mayor Rees.
And, Bob, yes or no, that we should have some hope that change can happen?
WARD: Well, there has to be hope, but what we need a lot more of is political will.
SIDNER: Political will.
Thank you both so much, Bob Ward and Mayor Marvin Rees. I appreciate you both.
SIDNER: I will give you a chance the next time. We are running out of time.
I appreciate you both being here. This was a fantastic conversation.
Our next guest traveled to 26 countries to discover how those on the front lines are adapting to the climate crisis. Simon Mundy documents their
innovative response to the challenges in his new book, "Race For Tomorrow."
Simon spoke to Hari Sreenivasan as the mercury hit 40 degrees Celsius -- that's 104 degrees Fahrenheit -- here in the U.K. yesterday.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Sara.
Simon Mundy, thanks so much for joining us.
Let's have this conversation take place in the here and now. You are sitting, fortunately, and so am I, in an air-conditioned room, but it is
the hottest day on record in the U.K., in case anyone needed to know that climate change is having an impact.
I think, in my opinion, something about the national approach to climate issues is changing this week in the U.K. Traditionally, in this country,
when there was a heat wave, this was something people got excited about. Everyone thought, let's put on our swimsuits, go to the park, have ice
cream. It was almost a sense of celebration.
Something's different this time. People are worried. People are thinking, 40 degrees Celsius in England? That's not normal. That's not healthy. Our
homes and infrastructure are not built to cope with this level of heat. I think something's changing. And I hope that it translates into a more
serious sense of determination to do something about it.
SREENIVASAN: I want to try to have this conversation, maybe start from the solutions end of things, because so many people are automatically turned
off to conversations about climate change when they hear problem after problem first.
We will get to some of those. But you spent a great deal of time in this book going around the world and finding the ways that countries, companies
are trying to solve for some of these things. You have people who are literally sucking carbon dioxide out of the air, adding water to it, and
shoving that soda water down into the ground to turn it into rock.
You have got so many different ways that people are trying to tackle this. What stood out to you.
MUNDY: Well, there are so many things that it feels almost wrong to single out a few, but I will try anyway.
And the example that you gave, actually, that was one of the most extraordinary ones to me. This is a company in Iceland that, literally,
they're sucking carbon dioxide out of the air, turning into stone on the ground. This is not science fiction. This is not something they're
planning. This is something they're doing.
Companies are paying them for this service. This is one example of the extraordinary advances that are happening in technology, being driven by
entrepreneurs all over the world. And that in itself is just one angle that I was able to pursue on my travels, seeing how people are reacting to
climate change, because often when we talk about climate change in terms of the future.
We talk about terrible things that will happen many years hence. But actually, all over the world, there are people who are engaged in what I
consider the single greatest race of our time. And that is the race to respond to this challenge. People are not just sitting around waiting for
disaster to strike. People are taking action.
And it's a fascinating story for me as a journalist.
SREENIVASAN: There's a segment of the population watching that will say, well, we're going to innovate our way out of this. The technologies are
coming. And we really don't have that much to fear. And we don't have to change our personal behavior.
And you crawled into a cobalt mine. And I want you to tell us why cobalt is important, especially as we think of an electric car future.
I think it's important to say we do need to move towards electric cars, zero emissions technology. It's really important. But just having something
being low carbon, that's not enough. You need to think about the wider impact of the products they use.
So, electric cars, a key ingredient that goes into the batteries is cobalt. Two-thirds of the world's supply of cobalt comes from the Democratic
Republic of Congo, which is a huge and very poor and very troubled country in many ways.
So I visited there because I wanted to understand what's going on in the supply chain of these products. And what I saw was quite troubling. A large
proportion of the cobalt production in Congo comes from informal mines, which are often very dangerous. There have been problems with children
working inside them.
As you said, I climbed down inside one of these mines. It was 40-feet-deep. It's very dangerous just getting down there. And then once you're down
there, it could -- they frequently collapse on the miners inside them. It was pretty scary being down there for just 15 minutes.
The men that I went down there with, they're down there all day every day. And the answer to this is, of course, not just to get rid of all informal
mining. The reason why Congo is so poor is because the wider economy has such problems with corruption, often involving foreign companies. We need
to think much more deeply and broadly about how we fix these issues.
And that's why I really feel that, as we try to change our economy to make it lower impact in terms of carbon emissions, we have a much wider
opportunity to make it a better economy in many other respects too.
SREENIVASAN: A lot of the cobalt that goes into our electric cars is in the batteries. And the batteries, many of them, if not the bulk of them,
are made in China.
And you take several pages and chapters really in the book to lay out in different ways how this greening landscape or this green economy landscape
is sort of the next big battlefield for global dominance, especially between the United States and China.
MUNDY: This was so interesting to me, because, as you say, this is the great contest of the 21st century between the U.S. and China, the two great
economic superpowers of this era.
And one of the major theaters of that contest is going to be the battle for supremacy in clean tech. So, in China, I visited, just to give one example,
a company called BYD. It's in a town called Shenzhen, which, by the way, back in the '70s, was a tiny village of a few thousand people. Now it's got
13 million people.
And BYD is one of the biggest companies there. And they're making enormous amounts of money now from clean tech. They have 40,000 people living on
their campus producing electric cars, solar panels, batteries. The scale and speed with which Chinese companies can move was very impressive.
But then, when I got to the U.S., I saw some companies that were very, very impressive in different ways, to give just one example, Commonwealth Fusion
Systems, based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
So this is a bunch of nuclear physicists who have been researching fusion power. And fusion power, people have been researching this for decades. And
these guys say that they could be the first ones, this start-up of scientists could be the first ones to actually get fusion power on the
market. Why would fusion power be so important?
The input, the main input is just hydrogen. It's the most abundant atom -- element in the universe, and minimal pollution, minimal dangerous waste, an
incredibly potent source of energy. And I spoke to the CEO of this company, Bob Mumgaard, a scientist at MIT.
And I said, look, Bob, people have been working on fusion power for decades. People have been saying it's around the corner for decades. Why
should we believe that you really are getting close? He said, well, people were saying the same thing to the Wright brothers the day before they took
their first flight. I believe it's going to happen.
And you know what? A few months later, he raised $1.8 billion from investors, who also seem to believe what he had to say.
SREENIVASAN: One thing I found interesting is that, while in one part of the Earth, say, in Nigeria, where there are efforts to try to fight sea
level rise by literally building above or raising your house on stilts, you also go to places where it's already too late.
I mean, you went to the middle of the Solomon Islands, or you saw people in the Philippines who are climate refugees today.
MUNDY: Yes. And this was upsetting. This was deeply disturbing.
I mentioned, here in London, people are just waking up to the fact that, wow, it's pretty uncomfortable in London today, actually. The environmental
changes are making life tougher for us, more uncomfortable.
Well, in places around the world, principally developing countries, where people are already relatively less well off, those have been already
getting hit, many of them, for quite some time, and in some very severe ways. In Bangladesh, in the Philippines, in the Solomon Islands, as you
mentioned, in Ethiopia, I saw the ways in which people are contending with these things.
And in some cases, it's droughts. In some cases, it's storms. In some cases, it's rising sea levels. But those people -- and you still have some
people in rich countries who like to play around as though the science is not clear, as though climate change may or may not be real.
I will tell you what. Those people who are really feeling the impacts, they are in no doubt at all as to how serious this thing is.
SREENIVASAN: At one point, you're standing in what was the village center up past your knees in water.
And what was intriguing was, it's not just the fact that they physically have to be moved away, but then the kind of social ripple effects also
about how a community stays a community and the kinds of costs when, well, I guess you have to paddle into church, instead of just walk across the
MUNDY: Yes, the Solomon Islands was a very powerful story in many ways.
So, one thing that really struck me was, as you say, the sense of social all divisions arising where they were not before, so in terms of an
individual community becoming less and less close because people have been scattered over a larger area.
So, these beautiful community traditions are becoming weaker and weaker, in some cases, dying out. I also saw how tension, conflict was arising between
different communities that were competing for land where they didn't have to in the past.
But one thing that everyone in the Solomon Islands, including these different communities who are arguing between each other over territory,
the one thing they really agreed on was, it's pretty crazy that we are the ones who are suffering the worst impacts here when we have been
contributing almost nothing to global carbon emissions.
And the countries that have been driving this, disproportionately the richer countries in the world on a per capita basis, those countries have
promised and promised and promised to come up with serious financial support for the poor countries that had been feeling the worst effects. And
time and time again, those promises have been broken. And for me, as a citizen of a rich country, one of those countries that have been making and
breaking those promises, I felt very, very uncomfortable because they had a strong point.
SREENIVASAN: Yes, and where are we in that conversation when it comes to developing nations? I mean, there's different kinds of funds. There's
different agencies that are trying to go through. But ultimately, when you talk to somebody on the ground who saying, well, who's going to pay for me
to, you know, have extra hay because my goats out in rural Mongolia here, can't find the grass under all the snow?
MUNDY: Absolutely. I was struck by this COP26, the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow last year, I was there for the full two weeks. It was the first
time I'd gone to a conference, at the parties as they're called of these big international climate conferences every country in the world has a
presence. Because I had previously been a foreign correspondent, not an environment correspondent.
I was very struck by the overrepresentation of rich countries, the overrepresentation of big companies, for example. I think it's good that
big business is paying attention to these issues, that's good in itself. But I couldn't help but think all these sorts of people that we've been
mentioning, who I met on my travels, herders in Mongolia or in Ethiopia, islanders in the Solomon Island or in the Philippines, these people were
not there. You had various sorts of leaders from those countries. You had various sorts of relatively prosperous people from those countries. And to
be clear, I think it's good that those people are there.
But I couldn't help but think most people in the world, a few thousand dollars a year or less. And at that climate conference, on the ground, I
didn't meet anyone who is earning a few thousand dollars a year or less. So, is the voice of those people, the kind of people many of whom I
profiled in the book. Are they really being heard? Are their interests really being reflected in what comes out of those climate conferences? I'm
not sure they are.
SREENIVASAN: What was also interesting for a lot of people watching in the west from those conferences was perhaps reinvigorated youth movement around
climate. And survey show that there is much higher level of anxiety depending on the generation that you ask about how significantly they feel
that climate change is a threat to them.
MUNDY: Absolutely. And this is -- in the book, I featured a few people from that movement. One person in particular, Joanna Sustento from the
Philippines. She lost her entire family -- almost her entire family to a typhoon. And I met her when she was protesting outside the office of Shell,
a huge oil company. And she made the point that Shell had paid out more money in dividends to its shareholders, than any other company in the
world, $20 billion. Its chief executives earn $62,0000 per day. And this was possible only because the costs of Shell, the pollution from Shell's
product is not being paid by its shareholders or its CEOs. It's being paid by these people in these developing countries.
And she makes this argument so powerfully. And she's just one member of this growing, real global movement of young climate activists. Again, I saw
them on the ground in a big way at COP26. I think, you know, it was positive to see them there. They were shaking up the conversation.
SREENIVASAN: So, if President Biden declares a climate emergency this week, I wonder, from your vantage point, as a reporter in the Financial
Press, as a Brit. I mean, the U.S. doesn't seem to be able to figure this out politically. What are the consequences?
MUNDY: It's a big deal. It's a really big deal. The U.S. is still the biggest economy in the world. Without American leadership, on this issue,
it gets much, much more difficult for anything to happen at a global level. You know, to be honest with you, I talked about this contest between the
U.S. and China. A lot of people I speak to from a global climate point of view, this is not to say that one country is better than the other in any
But from a global climate point of view, a lot of people I speak to are more worried about the U.S. than they are about China. This is not because
Xi Jinping is some sort of hero who's trying to save the world. But China does seem to have a clear strategy aimed at decarbonizing its economy. It's
still a huge emitter for the moment, they're still building coal-fired power station. But it seems pretty clear that their direction of travel is
towards lower carbon emissions. Is to pushing forward quite -- like a recipe on that front.
In the U.S., it's just not clear what path it's taking. Some people might try to characterize this is a problem with democracy. I don't agree with
that. I think, you know, in Europe, you're seeing the fact that democracies can tackle this problem quite aggressively and relatively effectively.
What's unfortunate is that in the U.S., this thing has been polarized in a way that several other issues such as guns and abortion are polarized in
the U.S., in a way that they're not polarized in other developed countries.
Unfortunately, the same thing has happened with climate change. And speaking to some -- I had spoken to old-school Republicans who were just
really bewildered by this. And think hold on, there's no particular reason why our party, why the Republican Party should be against action on climate
change. This is the party of Teddy Roosevelt. It was Richard Nixon who set up the EPA and pushed through the clean air act.
There's no particular reason why the Republican Party should be taking the position that it's taking on climate action. But that is where we are. And
frankly, I'm concerned about, I think anyone who's really concerned about the climate should also be concerned about it.
SREENIVASAN: Simon Mundy, author of the book called, "Race for Tomorrow: Survival, Innovation, and Profit on the Front Lines of the Climate Crisis".
Thanks so much for joining us.
MUNDY: Thank you so much for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: So, while Britain is grappling with an intense heat wave, the continued COVID pandemic, and a cost of living crisis, there is one part of
the UK that doesn't have a functioning government in place right now. That place, Northern Ireland. Irish nationalist party, Sinn Fein, won the most
seats in the recent elections, beating unionists for the first time in history. But the largest unionist party is currently refusing to enter into
a power-sharing government because of issues around the post-Brexit trade rules and the Irish border.
Brexit has caused chaos in Northern Ireland in a variety of ways. And some fear it could even put the 25 years of peace increasingly at risk. Sinn
Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill is in Washington in an effort to shore up support and she joins me now.
Thank you so much for coming to the program.
MICHELLE O'NEILL, SINN FEIN VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Sarah. Thanks for having me. It's my pleasure to be able to talk to you this afternoon.
SIDNER: Can we first talk about Brexit? And the message that you have been delivering to those in the United States, Senator Schumer -- Senators
Schumer and Murphy. Can you give me a sense of if there is any compromise that you may make in the Sinn Fein with the Unionists? What kind of
compromise might you offer?
O'NEILL: I think the first thing to say is that Brexit is not compatible with our peace accord. It never was. We said that from the very outset of
the Brexit mass. Brexit has been about the Tory Party, about the conservatives in London, it's been about the interest of those people
there. And all it was going to be detrimental to the people who live on the island of Ireland.
However, those of us who are practical -- unreasonable try to find mitigation. And the mitigation that was found against the worst access of a
hard Brexit and was actually the Protocol. And the Protocol is working. I mean, we just had a very historic election at home where for the first, as
you've just said, we have been returned as the largest party.
I am now the first minister-elect and I am determined to work with other parties to find ways to make the Protocol work because that is what's
required. In the recent election, the majority of those without being returned by the public are actually people who favor the Protocol because
they said its necessary to order to stave off the hardest impact of Brexit.
We've now been afforded a huge opportunity. Who wouldn't want the access that we now have to both markets, to both the British market and to the EU
market? But you have to know, we're sitting three months post-election. The Democratic Unionist Party are denying the formation of a government. At a
time whenever people are struggling to put food on their table, they're struggling to hate their homes. They're struggling that they're worried
about the cost of living crisis. And we still have not formed a government.
But I believe that you have to continually give people hope. And I'm determined to try to form a government despite the actions of the DUP who
are being supported by the conservative government in London and their efforts to thwart progress and actually block the formation of a
SIDNER: Can I ask you what kind of reception you are getting from your counterpart and people in the United States in leadership roles, political
leadership roles. What kind of reception are you getting and are there any, I don't know, promises being made?
O'NEILL: I think that there's no doubt in my mind that the support here for a peace accord and everything that's been achieved over the past 24
years, next year will mark our 25th anniversary. And whatever the leaders here, the people that I've been engaged in who've been very involved
throughout all of that 24 years. Whenever everybody looks at the progress that's been made how our society is being transformed, it is amazing to
watch and I'm very privileged to be a political leader in this context and in this time.
But I think that there's no doubt in my mind after my engagements over the past couple of days that at every level here, there is strong support for
the peace accord. There's very strong support to ensure that they -- everything that's been achieved is protected. And there's actually, I
think, a determinant resolution to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is not undermined because that is actually what is happening. The British
government (INAUDIBLE) at every turn, undermining everything that's been achieved in their actions despite their warm words of support for the Good
Friday Agreement. Everything that they've done of late has been to undermine it at every turn.
So, I'm very confident coming away from my trip to Washington over the past number days. That we still enjoy that resolute support. That America still
feels very strongly because never forget that the U.S. were actually part of brokering the peace deal itself and they've never stood back. They've
always been very forthright. And I think that some of the actions of the British government that have been absolutely disgraceful over the course of
recent months, recent years. In particular in relation to Brexit.
There's not been one pressure point in that British government the whole way through, not has been with the United States. Very strong statements
from people like in the Western means committee, Nancy Pelosi, and others. The president, himself, have always been very forthright in talking about
the fact that there won't be trade deals with Britain if they continue to undermine the Good Friday Agreement.
So, that's something that we hold very dear. We very much value this Irish- American relationship. And I believe that it's very alive, it's very acute. And people are very in tune, actually, with what's happening at home
because there is a lot of change happening. And people are voting for change. And people want to see the island to continue to be transformed.
And I feel like the efforts here at this -- in America have been just immense and we hope to enjoy them in the years to come.
SIDNER: Ms. O'Neill, let me talk to you about what happened with the election. You talked about the historic nature of the election. But some
people looking at this would say, wait. The major gains were actually for a more centrist cross-community alliance party. And that party is going to
matter because it has quite a few seats now. What do you think of that? Is this a shift saying, hey, we don't want extremes? We don't want the
fighting. We want to try to find solutions. And that means your party, not as much support, and the unionist party, not as much support. What do you
make of that?
O'NEILL: Well, I think it was a very much-change election. And I very much congratulate the lands party for their successes. Likewise, I congratulate
our own party for what we have achieved. We have been returned as the largest party. And we've returned because I had a very clear message
throughout the election campaign that I wanted to work for all the people in our society. That I wanted to do with the cost of living crisis. That I
want to invest in our health service. That I want to do my very best for the public and I think the public endorsed that message and that's why we
have been returned.
But just for your viewers' interest, I mean, the historic nature of the election is this, our country was divided. The northern part of the country
was actually devised in a way that was to ensure that forever, that there would be a unionist majority. A political unionist majority. That has now
shifted. That is now gone and it won't return. So, that demonstrates the change, the hugely significant and historic nature of this election.
But the political scenario has changed. We now have three, sort of, larger political groupings. But I want to work with everybody. That's the only way
that we will be able to govern together because the nature of our political situation is one that is special, it's unique, it's a peace agreement. It's
par sure which means that everybody needs to work together. Albeit that that can be very challenging at times.
But we are in a very new change in political dynamic. But the change that people have voted for in the recent election is being denied to the public.
We can't form a government because of one party and because of their friends and their allies in the Conservative Party in London. Now, that's
Next year will mark our 25 years of our peace agreement. That needs to be a time of grit celebration. That needs to be about forward-looking. It needs
to be about the next league of the journey. It needs to be about what comes next. It needs to be about fulfilling the promise and the hope and the
vision that was brought about in 1998.
SIDNER: Certainly, nobody wants to see, particularly the United States, have been very clear about that. They want this peace accord to stay in
place. You already have a war that is on the doorsteps of Europe happening between Russia and Ukraine. The last thing anyone wants to see is
I want to ask you about your personal history that maybe some folks in the world are not familiar with. Especially as Northern Ireland's next leader,
how does your family history play a role in the decisions that you make?
O'NEILL: Well, I am 45 years of age. I'm actually -- I represent the Good Friday Agreement generation. All of my adult life has been about --
bringing about peace and securing the peace. About securing progress, about continually moving forward. And as I said, I like the transformation that
we've seen in society has been immense. And I'm very proud to have played my part throughout all those years.
Of course, I was born in '77. So, you're born in the height of conflict. You're born into a society which was not designed in your interest. I'm
someone that was born as an Irish national, born into a community that -- which was actively -- with discrimination every day in every turn in terms
of housing, in terms of employment, in terms of our rights. And, you know, that's something that clearly will have an impact on who you are and shapes
your life and your output and your outlook on life.
But I've turned, I think. I've used all of my experience to try to do better for everybody. Because I do genuinely believe in a society that's
fair and equal. One that would practice equality, that we deliver on the quality, that we are actually every day trying to find practical ways to
work together with people from different backgrounds.
I said throughout this campaign that I will be the first minister for all and I mean that. I have no desire just to represent those of the similar
political (INAUDIBLE). Of course, I want to represent them, but I want to represent everybody in our society because I believe constitutional change
will happen in our island. Because part of our peace accord talks about the principle of consent. And the only time that our constitutional question
will ever change on the island of Ireland is whenever the people themselves vote to change that.
So, I know that I have work to do to convince people that there's something better. That the protection of our country actually failed us all equally.
But let's grab our opportunity. Let's grab our future. Let's own our future. Let's plan our future. But let's do it together.
SIDNER: Let me ask you this, your party has refused to sit. What's it going to take for you to join this government? Because you could,
ostensibly, you know, vote down something if you engage -- I mean, right now, so many people are depending on all of the parties to come together to
make life better for the citizenship. For the citizenry.
O'NEILL: So, I think you're talking about two separate things. So, we have a locally elected assembly and executive, which I am just been returned as
the first minister-elect, and I want to be that executive. There's one party that's blocking the rest of us from being able to work together and
they're being aided and abetted by the Conservatives in London.
I think the second point you make is in relation to Westminster itself. So, what happens in London. (INAUDIBLE) abstentionist from the parliament. Our
interests never have and never will be served in Westminster. I mean, that Brexit is a very good case in point. The Conservatives with any of the
State majority, who were carrying a lot of turmoil themselves. But their mess is spilling out into our political situation at home. And that's not
And that's why I do believe that over the course of the next 10 years, we will -- this decade that we will be voting for constitutional change. And I
think the Tories are making a case every day. The Conservatives in London are making a case every day that they will never prioritize the peoples'
interests at home. That those of us of Irish identity, and those of British identity, we're thrown on the side, if you like, of what they -- their
plans are for for England.
So, I think that I am very proud of the position that we have adopted in terms of abstentionism. But when it comes to our locally elected
parliament, when it comes to Stormont itself, I want to be there. That's my determination. I told the public that's where I want to be there. And I
believe that's where the public want, all of the political parties to be there.
So, I encourage everybody to work together and actually get around the table and let's start to fix what's wrong in our society. Start to build a
better future for everybody and let's do that together.
SIDNER: Did I hear you right? That you're saying, basically, there's a 10- year or a decade -- a timeline that's a decade?
O'NEILL: Well, I'm just saying that I think that so many things have happened. Brexit, has been a real catalyst for change. People can see now
that they have been against their wishes. Because, remember, the majority of people at home actually voted against Brexit. But yet, no has been
voiced upon them by the British government. So, that --
SIDNER: Ms. O'Neill, can I jump in here. Can you tell me what it's like the fallout from Brexit in your country? What is the fallout? What has
happened to people?
O'NEILL: Well, we're being -- we -- our European citizenship has been stolen from us. We've been pulled out of Europe against our wishes. And it
is never going to be compatible with the Good Friday Agreement. But what we did, the practical parties, those parties that were against Brexit actually
came together. We worked with partners in Europe and we found ways to mitigate against the worst access of Brexit and that's called the Protocol.
And the Protocol does a number of things. It protects the all-Ireland economy. It protects the Good Friday Agreement. And it ensures that there
is no hard border on -- no physical border infrastructure on the island of Ireland because that was the big achievement of the Good Friday Agreement
itself. So, the Protocol affords us medication. It's not perfect, far from it.
But I can say to you that the majority of representatives who've been elected for the Protocol. The majority of the business community is for the
Protocol. We can say the opportunity that it affords us, to give us access to both markets. We can say that it actually provides us some shelter from
the worst access of Brexit. And we can say that, actually, our economy is flourishing even more superior to what's happening in London.
So, I think it speaks volumes in terms of the fact that this British government are now taken unilateral action. They're railroading through
legislation that will breach international law. We didn't ask for that. The public at home didn't ask for that. The business community didn't ask for
that. But they are perceiving regardless.
So, I think that's why this has been the catalyst for change and why more and more people will be open to the idea of actually returning to the
European Union because there's something, perhaps, that your viewers may not know was that the European Union have said that in the event of a
successful unity referendum on the island of Ireland, the North of Ireland will join the rest of the island back within the EU. So, that becomes a big
factor in people's determination around how they would vote on a future constitutional question.
SIDNER: All right. Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill joining us from Washington. I appreciate your time.
O'NEILL: Thank you.
SIDNER: And now to Ukraine where the war grinds on and civilians continue to pay the price. Even as the U.S. announces it will send four more high-
mobility artillery rocket systems weapons to Ukraine. Systems key to slowing the Russian advance. Correspondent Ivan Watson has been trying --
been in the city of Kryvyi Rih in Southern Ukraine and brings us testimony from Ukrainians forced to flee their homes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Trudging down dirt roads, Ukrainians escaping zones of Russian occupation. Elderly
women on foot with little more than the clothes on their backs. The invading Russian army closed many roads to Ukrainian-controlled territory,
forcing people to improvise. Hundreds of discarded bicycles left behind by displaced people, who use them to reach the village of Zelenodolsk. Andre
Halilyuk (ph) fled 10 days ago, walking down roads past unexploded land mines.
WATSON (on camera): He traveled on foot, and then on a rubber dinghy across a river, and then on foot again, and then in a car, and then in a
bus to try to get here.
WATSON (voiceover): Halilyuk says he lived for more than four months in his village under Russian military occupation.
WATSON (on camera): Andre says that the pro-Russian militia from Donetsk broke into empty departments and were living in there. Broke into
businesses as well. He calls them barbarians.
WATSON (voiceover): Since Russia invaded Ukraine, more than 61,000 people fled to the City of Kryvyi Rih where they were all initially welcomed at
this reception center.
WATSON (on camera): Natalia says, there are about 400 new arrivals, fleeing the conflict zone, who come here every day.
WATSON (voiceover): At the center, I meet Maxim Ovchar (ph).
WATSON (on camera): They detained you?
MAXIM OVCHAR (PH), UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: Yes, yes. Twice.
WATSON (on camera): Ovchar (ph) is a medical doctor who lived and worked in the Southern City of Kherson, which was invaded and occupied by Russian
forces in early March. He says he fled with his grandmother on July 7th, after armed Russian officials tried to convince him and other Ukrainian
doctors to work for them.
WATSON (on camera): When you and the other doctors said no to working with the occupation, how did the Russians react?
OVCHAR (PH): They reacted very hateful for us.
WATSON (voiceover): In the first weeks of the occupation, some Ukrainians in Kherson protested. Until the Russians opened fire. The occupation had
since cut off Kherson's communications with the outside world. But the Ukrainian government claims there is local resistance.
OVCHAR (PH): 90 percent of people of Kherson --
WATSON (voiceover): 90 percent of people in Kherson hate the Russians, Dr. Ovchar says. He says he saw Russian troops wounded by a local resistance
attack, then brought for treatment at a Kherson hospital. At the welcome center, volunteers organized temporary shelter for displaced Ukrainians.
OVCHAR (PH): I've lost my job. I'm lost --
WATSON (on camera): Your house?
OVCHAR (PH): My house.
WATSON (on camera): You have a car?
OVCHAR (PH): Some of my friends, I will also say, murdered by the Russians.
WATSON (voiceover): The charity provides free food, medicine, clothing, and counseling for traumatized adults and children.
We lived well before the war, Dr. Ovchar says. And now, I'm ashamed to ask for help. Russia's deadly invasion of Ukraine has forced millions to rely
on the kindness of strangers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: And finally, one man proving that you are never too old to achieve your dreams. Giuseppe Paterno has beat his own record as Italy's oldest
graduate at 98 years old. You can see him there receiving his bachelor's degree two years ago. But he did not stop there.
Now, he's gained a master's in history and philosophy. Again, getting top marks. Giuseppe only had a basic education as a child, he fought in World
War II, then graduated high school at 31. Next, he plans to write a novel on what else, his trusty typewriter.
That is it for now. Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.