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Interview with Former U.S. Ambassador To NATO Kurt Volker; Interview with Former Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard; Interview With Jeff Goodell; Interview With "No Ordinary Assignment" Author And Journalist Jane Ferguson. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired July 10, 2023 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I don't think there is unanimity in NATO about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Touchdown in Europe. President Biden meets with the British prime minister on the eve of a critical NATO summit. We look at how world
leaders are shoring up support for the war in Ukraine.
And a bid to leave Mexico. I talk to the country's former foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, about crime, immigration, and a possible run for president.
Then from catastrophic floods to record breaking heat. Author of "The Heat Will Kill You First," Jeff Goodell, lays out the stark reality of the
Also, ahead --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANE FERGUSON, AUTHOR, "NO ORDINARY ASSIGNMENT": It's not both side-ism and it's not (INAUDIBLE), but it's nuanced and it's detailed, and it's
helping people understand, you know, the difficult questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: "No Ordinary Assignment." Award-winning journalist Jane Ferguson speaks to Hari Sreenivasan about reporting in a war zone.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York City sitting in for Christian Amanpour.
As Russian airstrikes continue to claim lives of innocent civilians in Ukraine, NATO leaders are gearing up to hold their summit in Vilnius,
Lithuania. The obvious issue hanging over the meeting is the much-debated topic of Ukraine's succession into the alliance. But speaking exclusively
to CNN over the weekend, President Biden poured cold water on that happening anytime soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I don't think there is unanimity in NATO about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family now, at this moment,
in the middle of a war. For example, if you did that, then, you know, we -- and I mean what I say, we're determined to commit every inch of territory
that is NATO territory. It's a commitment that we've all made, no matter what.
If the war is going on, then we're all in the war. You know, we're at a war with Russia, if that were the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: The question now is, what other material support can the allies deliver to Kyiv? Before journeying to Lithuania, Biden stopped off at 10
Downing Street to meet with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, hailing their rock-solid relationship. The two leaders agreed the need to
strengthen their alliance amid support for Ukraine and the pursuit of a "just and lasting peace."
Now, while Biden says Ukraine is not ready for NATO membership, our next guest says the opposite is true. Not only that, but former U.S. ambassador
to NATO Kurt Volker argues that the bloc needs Ukraine. And he joins me now from Washington to discuss.
Kurt, it's good to see you. So, I just want to follow up on something that you wrote over the weekend on this issue, and you said, despite President
Biden's assertion in the CNN interview on July 9th, that Ukraine is not ready for alliance membership, the opposite is true, Ukraine is more ready.
It is the U.S. and perhaps one other ally who are not. Explain what you mean by that.
KURT VOLKER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: Yes. I think if you look at Ukraine today, it has one of the most capable militaries in Europe.
Certainly, more capable than a lot of existing NATO allies. And Ukraine is actually defending the frontiers of freedom in Europe right now. So, to say
that they're not ready for NATO membership I think is misstating it. It's the case that NATO itself is not ready to admit Ukraine, not the other way
Now, NATO is hesitating over that for a couple of reasons, the one that President Biden just gave, which is if that they were admitted today, then
NATO would find itself having to help defend Ukraine against Russia. We'd be at war with Russia. So, no one wants to do that. But that's not really
the question that's being asked at meeting them today. What is being asked is to make clear for the long-term that as these settles, Ukraine will be
brought into the alliance.
And this is critically important, because NATO's job is to defend Europe. It is collective defense of its members. And we've seen that NATO members
are not secure as long as Ukraine is not secure. Putin attacking Ukraine today, it's already doing damage in Europe. And if he is allowed to
continue, then you will be looking at other countries such as the Baltic states that are currently NATO members.
So, to actually have peace and security for the long haul in Europe, we're actually going to have to bring Ukraine in. It's not going to happen at
Vilnius, but we need to make a commitment to it.
GOLODRYGA: So, what we heard from President Biden, what I heard from John Kirby last Friday, was that it wasn't only the war that the U.S. was citing
as a reason that Ukraine could not join NATO right now, but it was also the fact that they hadn't met some of the other requirements needed to join the
alliance, corruption, a number of other issues. What is your response to that?
VOLKER: Well, I think those issues are real. I mean, you have to look at, you know, the state of the economy in Ukraine, the state of democracy in
Ukraine, but they're all over the place. I mean, look at Turkey, look at Hungary. We brought in Portugal when it was a dictatorship. We had a period
of a dictatorship in Greece as well.
NATO was principally a defensive alliance, about creating peace and security in Europe. So, while we all want to see every NATO ally improve as
a democracy, as a market economy, a rule of law country and so forth, we also have to look at the fundamentals about what is the best thing for the
defense of Europe.
GOLODRYGA: I'm glad you mentioned Turkey, because President Erdogan over the weekend met with President Zelenskyy, and he said point blank that he
believes that Ukraine is ready to join the alliance. But he is not prepared to say the same of Sweden, despite the fact that Sweden did make some
concessions and followed through on the demands that Turkey had listed, including combatting what they call it terrorism.
That having been said, now it seems we have yet another demand from President Erdogan before Sweden can join. Take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): First, come and open the way for Turkey at the European Union and then we will open the
way for Sweden just as we did for Finland. I expressed this to Mr. Biden last night, and I have to underline it again in Vilnius too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: So, now, he is saying that Turkey has to be admitted into the European Union, that is a process that they had started some decades ago
but had been frozen since we have seen the country really veer towards authoritarianism. What do you make of this new twist from President
Erdogan? You know, President Biden did express optimism that we would see Sweden join the alliance. Do you think he saw this coming?
VOLKER: Well, I actually have to say that I shared President Biden's optimism, because a lot of the things that President Erdogan has said since
winning the election have been on the right track, in terms of NATO, in terms of security in Europe. And so, it did seem that this was moving
towards accepting Sweden as a NATO member.
It's a bit surprising to hear him talk about Turkey and the European Union now, when for so long Turkey was not interested in pursuing a serious
application to join the European Union. A lot of things would have to change in Turkey for it to qualify, just purely about economics. So, I
think that that is a bit of a surprise now.
We'll see whether he is serious about it or not. And I think that if he is, I think the European Union can give him a serious response, which is to
say, yes if or rather than to say no. And I think that maybe is what he is looking for.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. And the European Union, that is obviously out of President Biden's purview and even out of Jens Stoltenberg's purview as they are
starting this summit this week.
GOLODRYGA: So, let's talk about what NATO is planning, according to reports, to offer Ukraine. It's not NATO membership, but it is an upgrade
to the council status, and that is meaning that on key issues, Ukraine will be able to sit with the other 31 states at the same table as an equal,
perhaps even codifying existing military supplies and making clear that they will pledge to continue to do so for as long as this war continues.
Also, training Ukrainian soldiers and intelligence sharing.
Do you think that that is enough of a, let's call it, consolation prize, for President Zelenskyy, given that he will not be walking away with any
more guarantees about NATO membership from this meeting?
VOLKER: Well, I think these are all good steps. And they're very practical steps that should accelerate the process of Ukraine being able to join the
alliance leader. But you do have to ask the question, what is the political meaning of these steps? Is it to actually avoid bringing Ukraine into NATO
for as long as possible or is it seen as a pathway? And I think it's very important that NATO made clear that this is a pathway.
GOLODRYGA: And how do you do that without a timeline? One senior NATO diplomat said this to "The Financial Times." He said, the sole task here in
Vilnius, and one that all allies agree on, is that we left gray areas on the map 15 years ago, and that was at the NATO summit in 2008 in Bucharest,
which Putin took advantage of, he says. And now, we need to make sure that there is no more gray. It is all about making crystal clear where the lines
And this references what happened in 2008, where you had the allies agree that Ukraine would join NATO, but there was absolutely no timeline given,
and that had infuriated both Vladimir Putin and obviously Ukraine and Georgia at the time. Is a timeline crucial, in your view, to come out of
this meeting today this week?
VOLKER: Yes. I don't think that you can set a date, because you're going to have to look at conditions. Right now, as President Biden said, with
Ukraine actively at war and actively trying to retake its territory that Russia occupies, that would immediately bring NATO into the fight if they
were brought in today. That situation could still apply a month from now, six months from now, even a year from now. So, you don't want to pick a
But you do want to make crystal clear that the outcome is known, the outcome is certain, when the fighting is done, they will be brought in, and
this will create exactly as that NATO diplomat was saying, create a very clear dividing lines in Europe again, so we know where the lines are, we
know who's safe and we deter any further war.
GOLODRYGA: How closely do you think the Kremlin will be following this week's events given what has transpired in Russia over the last few weeks,
and even today, following that failed mutiny by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group?
We've now learned that five days after that failed mutiny, Vladimir Putin actually met with him and some other members of the Wagner Group, this
coming not from sources, but from the Kremlin itself. What do you make of what is going on right now in terms of Putin's leadership and his confusing
take on this failed mutiny?
VOLKER: Yes. This is really remarkable turn of events that we've learned about today. Putin clearly is in a weaker position than he realized, or
that anyone else in Russia realized. So, he is now trying to figure out how to put himself back on top again.
Prigozhin gave him an opening by saying he wasn't seeking the overthrow of Putin, he was only seeking to change the leadership and the defense
ministry and the military. Putin is now trying to take advantage of that to try to create a facade of saying that, I'm really in control and Prigozhin
is willing to work with me. But it still exposes an underlying weakness for Putin that he has to do this. And we still can't assume that Prigozhin is
safe, just because he had a meeting with Putin.
GOLODRYGA: So, how do you square finding out about this meeting in the midst of Putin, as we know now, publicly admonished Prigozhin, didn't call
him by name, but publicly stated that what they did was treasonous, and now, we've seen video of raids on Prigozhin's home and his workplace,
exposing what they view as corruption, I would assume? How do you square that with how Putin seems to have addressed this issue by meeting him as a
-- you know, at least not a co-equal but as a respected figure?
VOLKER: Yes. I think it's a recognition that Putin's position itself is a little weaker than we all thought, and that he actually needs Prigozhin and
the Wagner Group, particularly in Ukraine. Because the regular Russian military is being defeated in Ukraine. It's losing ground. This
counteroffensive is slow, but it is taking back territory. And I think Putin recognizes that the only capable fighting force he actually has been
able to rely on is the Wagner Group.
GOLODRYGA: So, there are reports that Valery Gerasimov may or may not have a job anymore, but it appears that the minister of defense, and this is the
person who Prigozhin was taking out his frustrations on, is still in place. Do you expect we could see changes on that front as well anytime soon?
VOLKER: You know, there are so many things going on behind the scenes that we simply don't know. I think it's quite possible that you would see a
period of time go by and then Shoigu show you to be replaced so that Putin doesn't look like he's doing it at Prigozhin's bidding, and yet, he needs
to deal with Prigozhin. That's quite possible.
It could be that this is part of the deal that he's making with Prigozhin. Say, OK, Shoigu stays in place and I won't go after you and we'll try to
find a way to rehabilitate Wagner. We simply don't know all the pieces in place right now.
GOLODRYGA: Well, listen, some modesty is warranted here, even for Russian watchers. You know, the past few weeks have been quite stunning and the
twists and turns continue here. Thank you so much for joining us, Kurt Volker. We appreciate your time.
VOLKER: Thanks for having me.
GOLODRYGA: So, as Ukrainian President Zelenskyy tries to drum up more tangible support from his allies in the U.S. and in Europe, most Latin
American countries are sitting on the fence. We have covered this on a few of the episodes. They're attempting to remain neutral. Mexico is one of
them, and with next year's election looming, Ukraine remains an important question mark facing the country.
I'm joined now by Former Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard who may be throwing his hat into the ring to succeed current President Lopez Obrador.
We'll talk about that in just a minute. But thank you so much, Mr. Foreign Minister, for joining me today.
So, let's pick up on the Ukraine war and how Mexico views its place in this war. Mexico voted against Russia on some U.N. resolutions, but it won't
join in on the sanctions list or send weapons. We know President Zelenskyy had addressed the legislation a few months ago, and that was in April, and
(INAUDIBLE) didn't even show up in the chamber to listen to his speech via video link. Can you explain what exactly Mexico's position is when it comes
to Russia's invasion of Ukraine?
MARCELO EBRARD, FORMER MEXICAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Sure. Sure. Thank you very much, Bianna. I should say in the first place that Mexico condemned
that invasion of Ukraine from the Russian -- in the -- since the beginning. So, we are against the invasion. This is the Mexican position.
And we have several difference positions regarding the -- all (ph) countries, for instance, when West decided to expel the Russians from human
rights, a commission in the United Nations, we don't support this decision because it's not a good idea to expel them because there are not going to
have any commitment with human rights.
So, we are against the Russian invasion. We are in favor of the independence of Ukraine, the respect of the severity of Ukraine, due to our
own history, but we cannot -- in our constitutional terms, Mexican law, we cannot send weapons, for instance, to Ukraine or impose sanctions against
other countries unless this is a decision of the United Nations Security Council, which is not the case, unfortunately.
So, we are against the invasion, but we have some restraints in our law that we should respect.
GOLODRYGA: We've seen other countries that seem to have similar restraints, South Korea is one of them, that have found ways, reportedly
they haven't acknowledged it publicly, to circumvent some of these restraints by going through third-parties and just being a bit creative, to
be honest, on the issue. Is there any way that you think there's an appetite in the current government of Mexico to do the same?
EBRARD: Well, we are in -- every day in communication with Ukraine and the representation in Mexico. Even there are some people and organizations in
Mexico supporting Ukrainian efforts right now. Not with weapons but in other ways. And I think that this dialogue with Ukraine is going to be
followed in the next months, all the time.
GOLODRYGA: Well, let me ask you about the situation at the border, because we've seen not only migrants from Latin America at the border, but since
the war began, we've seen Russians at the border, we've seen Ukrainians at the border, but the number of crossings overall have declined since Title
42 expired. Does that surprise you, because many experts have assumed that the opposite would happen?
EBRARD: Well, you know, we have an approach similar to the Biden administration in the past month in order to facilitate the arrivals from
Ukraine to the United States. It works correctly, I think. Another way -- on the other hand, we have an agreement about increased humanitarian
paroled permissions to people from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and I think it works. We have a reduction in the flows. So, I think that we are in the
correct path. This is my opinion regarding the figures that we have already.
GOLODRYGA: So, you're optimistic?
EBRARD: Yes, I have a very optimistic point of view. I mean, it's not an ingenious one, a naive, but I think that the path is the correct one.
GOLODRYGA: Well, let's talk about your path, because you stepped down as foreign minister from the government to launch your campaign for president
with the same party, the Morena Party, and that's ahead of next June's election. The party will choose a candidate by September.
And by the latest polls, it appears that you're running neck and neck or perhaps slightly behind another party candidate, and that is the former
mayor of Mexico City. Tell our viewers why you think you should be the future of Mexico in terms of leadership?
EBRARD: Well, I think because of my experience and skills, I can make it different for my country in the next two years, mainly. We have a great
opportunity in order to reach another situation, a Mexico economic situation in the first place, expand our middle-classes and solve the
security in our country, which is a very important one.
GOLODRYGA: Do you have the support of AMLO, the current president?
EBRARD: Well, I was part of his cabinet. He is not going to decide directly or he is not going to support any candidate until the survey,
which is the Mexican primary, which is going to be in September, early September.
GOLODRYGA: Because we should let our viewers know, by constitution, each president is only allowed one term limit. AMLO has accused the Electoral
Authority Group of being biased against your party and has been criticized for what people view as trying to weaken the autonomy and authority of this
Electoral Authority, and critics say his goal was to really tip the scales to his own favor, to the party's favor, by seeding power to local
There had been mass protest, people in the streets back in February. And just a few months ago, we heard from Mexico Supreme Court, striking down
some of those reforms that he had implemented. And the justices ruled, "That serious violations and legislative procedure had taken place in
passing the measure." Do you support the decision by the Supreme Court?
EBRARD: Well, I think that we had discussions with the -- or different points of view about the Supreme Court resolutions, but we respect them.
So, we have right now a Supreme Court which is deciding many, many things against the government proposals, but we need to respect them. I mean, they
are the Supreme Court of the country. It doesn't mean that we agree with them, but we respect their decisions, which is very important for our
GOLODRYGA: Important for your constituents is the economy, but also violence, which according to some polls, even tops the economy as a primary
concern. You've announced some of your security plan. A few years ago, you had sued the U.S. gun manufacturers, but that suit is stalled in the U.S.
courts and similar suits before it have been dismissed. So, aside from that, what other policies do you have specifically to address this
important issue of concern for voters?
EBRARD: The security issue is the most important one. I was chief of police of Mexico City in the past when we had a very high crime rate in the
city. We had a successful plan by then. And then, I was in the -- as mayor of the city, I don't know, maybe 50 percent of the time, we've gotten the
So, what about the future? What about, well, we have new technologies that we can use, starting with artificial intelligence, and we have a lot of
things to do, as far as we have national corps, police corps, new corps with more than 300,000 people there, formed by the military. And now, we
are going to provide them the technology in order to be more and more effective against the crime in our country and the organization that
promote the crime in our country.
I think this is the main proposal that I can make. I made something similar several years ago when we started that camera system, surveillance cameras
in Mexico City. We installed more than 10,000 and it works several years ago. So, why not in the rest of the country?
GOLODRYGA: And final quick question in the few seconds we have left. Why should women specifically trust you to protect them and their safety?
Because we know that Mexico is one of about a dozen countries in the world that distinguishes femicide from homicide. And femicide is the murder of
women simply because of their gender. There are some accusations that AMLO is not doing enough and taking this issue seriously enough. What will you
do protect the women of Mexico?
EBRARD: Well, we need to increase rapidly the investigation capacities of our institutions against any kind of crime of gender. So, this is a key
issue for next years, not only technology, but the top priority for investigation authorities.
GOLODRYGA: All right. Mr. Foreign minister, thank you for time. We appreciate it.
EBRARD: Thank you. Thank you very much.
GOLODRYGA: Well, now, hardly a day goes by without yet another dire reminder of how the climate crisis is impacting our planet. Vocal climate
change advocate King Charles and President Biden discuss this existential threat just today at Windsor castle.
Now, it comes as monsoon floods in India have killed at least 22 people with daring rescues, like this one you see here, using the ziplines to
usher civilians to safety. And Delhi recording its wettest July day in more than 40 years. The globe is also seeing record-breaking temperatures. And a
new report, shows 62,000 people died from Europe's summer heat wave last year.
"The Heat Will Kill You First," by Jeff Goodell looks at the terrifying long-term effect of these soaring temperatures, and he joins me from
another hot spot on the earth, and that is Austin, Texas. Jeff, good to see you.
You described as heat as "first order threat" that drives all other impacts of climate change in the climate crisis. Explain how.
JEFF GOODELL, AUTHOR, "THE HEAT WILL KILL YOU FIRST": Well, I mean, you know, we're seeing pictures of the flooding around the world, we -- you
know, pictures, and we all know about droughts and sea level rise and things like that, and all of those things are driven by the extreme warming
of our planet. Those things are all sort of second order effects of life on a hotter planet. These extreme heat waves are the sort of clearest
manifestations of that. But heat is really the primary driver of all these extreme changes we're seeing right now.
GOLODRYGA: You don't let the term global warming, you consider it too soothing. Would a more alarmist term actually lead to more effective
GOODELL: Well, I don't think it's a question of alarming, I think it's a question of coming to grips with the reality that is happening around us. I
mean, my problem with the phrase global warming is that it sounds like, you know, a better day at the beach kind of thing, and that is not what we're
dealing with right now. We are dealing with a planet that is changing rapidly because of the burning of fossil fuels that is adding CO2 to the
atmosphere that is pushing us towards these extremes.
And whether you use the phrase climate crisis or I don't know what the sort right phrase is to capture the scale and the immensity of these changes
that we're facing, but global warming is just sort of a little too gentle and a little too cute.
GOLODRYGA: Well, we know that there is nothing cute about the heat wave that millions of Americans are facing, including where you are in Texas.
And listen, I sympathize. I grew up in Houston, my parents are there. We are well accustomed to hot temperatures, even, you know, over 100 degrees.
And yet, when you have a heat dome sitting over you for weeks with no end in sight, I listen to the forecast and it doesn't appear that that's coming
to an end anytime soon, what does that tell you? I mean, how rare is it to experience a heat dome like that when you are right now?
GOODELL: Well, you know, I mean, obviously a place like Texas has been -- it's always been a hot place, but what we're seeing now is sort of a
movement towards new extremes, and these heat waves that are hotter and hotter and lasting longer and longer. And they're also, you know, kind of
appearing in places that we didn't expect heat waves to occur before, like the heat wave in the Pacific Northwest in 2021 was a great example of that.
You know, we had -- at British Columbia, it got to -- a town at British Columbia got up to 121 degrees, and basically kind of spontaneously
combusted. We have heat waves in the ocean that have profound implications for our weather systems and for marine life there.
So, one of the things that's happening now, what people always say, oh, is this a new normal? But it's not a new normal. We're moving into a new
climate regime and no one quite knows what the rules are and how hot it can get, how fast, and where that heat will strike.
GOLODRYGA: The fossil feel industry is a lifeblood for the Texas economy. And yet, what's striking is that renewable energy production is actually
credited with saving the electricity grid and the electric grid from collapsing given this heat wave. Renewables reached, according to some
figures, 35 to 40 percent during peak usage last week. Is this the sign that perhaps the tide is turning? Your focus on fossil fuels and the need
to really tackle this issue. Are we seeing real-life examples of a state that relies so heavily on them actually making change?
GOODELL: Yes, I think it's been a really, really important example of that, you know. Because one of the great fears -- you know, a lot of people
say, oh, heat wave, so it's hot, so just turn up air conditioning and everything will be fine, right? So, first of all, there's a couple of
problems with that, one is that, you know, billions of people on the planet don't have air conditioning. You know, we're not going to air condition the
wheat fields and corn fields where food is grown, we're not going to be able to air condition the ocean.
But there's also the problem of when you have extreme heat and people are cranking up their air conditioning of a power grid failure. And if you have
a power grid failure during an extreme heat wave, a lot of people are going to die. And one of the things we saw on Texas was because we have so much
solar power on the grid now, and solar power works really well in hot weather, obviously with hot sunny weather, not only is it more reliable
than fossil fuel generation but it's also cheaper. So, not only do we have a more -- that it increased the stability of the grid, but it saved Texans
a lot of money and their electricity cost also.
GOLODRYGA: Do you see this as just a temporary measure that perhaps once cooler weather comes finally that things will go back to usual or do you
think that this is a learning opportunity for some of -- even these oil companies, these fossil fuel companies to move in a different direction
GOODELL: Yes. I mean, I think this is, you know, one of many kind of wake up moments that we're having, that the fossil fuel industry is having, not
fast enough. But I think that, you know, these changes that we're seeing and these extreme climate events have gone from something sort of
theoretical to something that's happening in real-time.
And not only is it happening in real-time, it's accelerating, it's getting more extreme. And I think that, you know, there could not be a clearer call
in our world to radically reduce fossil fuel emissions and keep us from pushing this climate even further, not just for ourselves, but for our
GOLODRYGA: Well, another consequence of all of this is migration. And we are seeing that in record numbers. The World Bank expects there to be 260
million climate displaced people by 2030, that's just in a few years, and up to 1.2 billion by 2050. Just economically, talk about the impact that
could have on the world.
GOODELL: Well, migration, is, you know, a huge issue when we think about these temperature changes that are happening and these other extreme
events. You know, every creature, humans, and it's not just, you know, humans that are moving, but animals and plants and everything else, we all
search for our sort of thermal comfort zones. And when our thermal comfort zones change, we move.
And you know, that has profound implications throughout the world, both in the sense -- the obvious sense of people fleeing hot areas and moving into
other countries, the whole problems that migration and immigration are causing. We see it on the Mexican border, here in the U.S. We see it, you
know, in the Netherlands, in Europe, throughout that.
But there's also the questions of, you know, as animals move, animals that carry diseases are moving into new areas. So, we have something like
mosquitoes, which are very temperature sensitive, carrying diseases like malaria and dengue fever and Zika, moving into places where they had never
been before. So, these extreme heat events are increasing the risk of another pandemic and another virus being sort of unleashed on our world.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. We've seen clusters of malaria actually pop up in states like Texas and Florida. So, I'm glad you made that correlation there
between the two. In terms of what can be done to rectify the situation, a lot of companies are investing in renewables and carbon capture. You've
written about geoengineering and the opportunity there, perhaps, to address this issue head on as well. Is there hope? Is there actual science showing
that at scale we can geoengineer our way out of global warming?
GOODELL: Well, I certainly wouldn't call geoengineering a hopeful technology. Geoengineering is the idea of putting -- you know, using higher
altitude airplanes to put small particulate matter up in the stratosphere that act as sort of little mirrors reflecting the way -- just a small
percentage of sunlight, 1 or 2 percent, and then cooling things off.
And it's a very controversial idea. It's an idea that a lot of people think we shouldn't even be talking about. It's, you know, messing with the
planet, you know, on a grand scale. You know, the best and most urgent thing for us to do is to cut fossil fuel emissions radically and quickly so
that we don't have to even think about this.
But, you know, I do think that it's something that is, you know, becoming more and more on the table because of these extreme events, and it's a very
dangerous idea. But it's one that, I think, you know, deserves at least some sort of serious scientific study so that we better understand the
risks of doing this kind of thing in the catastrophic inevitability that we might have to do something like that.
GOLODRYGA: But as you noted, it doesn't come -- it comes of consequences as well.
GOLODRYGA: This wouldn't be your first option to turn to.
GOODELL: This would be a very last option.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. Well, Jeff Goodell, it is an important topic, it's an important book. We hope things cool down for you there in Texas, and this
is something that obviously is affecting millions if not billions of people around the world. Thank you for the time.
GOODELL: Thanks for having me on.
GOLODRYGA: Well, now, we turn to another threat endangering the lives of many, and that is war. This time through the lens of a journalist who was
on the ground. From the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan to the famine in Sudan, award-winning correspondent, Jane Ferguson, has covered countless
conflicts on the front lines.
In her new book, "No Ordinary Assignment," she writes about navigating feelings of helplessness while remaining confident in the impact of her
work. And she joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss what it's like being a female war reporter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jane Ferguson, author and journalist, we are so happy to have you here.
And I have to say, in full disclosure, we work together before. You are a correspondent with PBS News Hour, a program that I'm very familiar with.
And it has been remarkable to read this book, "No Ordinary Assignment," because it not only taught me a lot about you, things that I didn't know,
but also, just kind of made me look at our storytelling in our profession a little differently. So, let's kind of get into it here. First of all, when
did you know that this is what you wanted to do?
FERGUSON: It's a question I always have a very clear answer for, which is pretty much as early as I can remember. I don't even really remember
thinking of it in the early days as a child as a career, as a job, I just remember looking at it with the sort of wanderlust, the ability to travel
the world and tell stories seem to me like an incredible life. And that, you know, I would grow up.
I would talk about this in the book, I would go up reading about adventures and watching the television and starting to really sort of understand that
there were women out there in the world doing this kind of work. And the idea that I could, you know, join the ranks was something that I was caught
with very, very early on. And I never really let it go.
SREENIVASAN: You know, you didn't have the kind of Ivy League American sort of pedigree that we associate with some of what is traditional network
television's foreign correspondent work. And tell us a little bit about where you grew up, what life was like.
FERGUSON: Well, I grew up in very rural Northern Ireland. And it was during what we call The Troubles their, which was a time of great violence
and social unrest, as well as uprisings. So, you know, I was very lucky to be able to access an education that was state funded, that was pretty good.
But I -- and I was also lucky enough to grow up in an environment where education is everything. You know, the lower middle classes and the working
And it was very much so an important part of our culture, was to try to get educated to raise your kids to become professionals in that sense. But I
didn't go to Oxford or Cambridge, or any of the elite American universities and I had no idea when I started off becoming a journalist that that would
be a difficulty, that that would make it a lot harder to get in the door, as you would say.
I managed to get my first few jobs in journalism, and I moved to the Middle East. But then the financial crisis happened, and that tended to compound
that same problem for young people coming up trying to get into the business, trying to move ahead and find paying work as journalists. It
became incredibly difficult because it became apparent that there really is a filter for young people trying to get in where if you haven't gone to an
elite college or an elite university or you don't have connections in the industry, it can be extraordinarily difficult.
And I'm actually glad I didn't go there when I started out because it would've been so intimidating. So, my own naivety was very helpful along
SREENIVASAN: You have reported from some of the most dangerous places, some of the most difficult places for journalist to get into, much less
report from. Now, one of the quotes that you have in the book kind of makes us think a little bit about war coverage, it says, I have known since long
before covering wars as a reporter how there are no good and bad sides and that reality is a complex and harsh collection of truths, morality bans.
Give us an example of a place that you went to where perhaps there was kind of a dominant narrative, but when you get on the ground you see the
complexity of things.
FERGUSON: I think Afghanistan is a very good example. I mean, there are examples all over the world. But, you know, in covering the sort of post
9/11 world, we really did see, you know, the limitations on reporting on "the war on terror." You know, what is a terrorist? You know, what -- you
know, do -- are people pro terrorism? Anti-terrorism? The reality is that when you really spend time in places where, you know, you might have been
raised thinking of things as black and white, people as good or bad, you do tend to see things much to simplistically and too morally.
I think it's really important, as a reporter, to not view our stories through a moral lens. And so, spending a lot more time in Afghanistan,
having the luck to be able to live there and really starting to understand the more complex nature of the war there, you know, certainly the Taliban
have, you know, used terror tactics again and again. They've been more than willing to sacrifice civilian lives and to kill civilians as part of their
tactics, but at the same time, you know, whenever you go into Taliban- controlled areas, and this is before they took over the whole country, you know, you talk to people who feel terrorized by some of the government
soldiers. You talk to people who feel like they and their own ethnic groups and families and on broader communities are very much so marginalized.
So, you do start to see the gray areas in between, and that's really where you want to be as a journalist. You want to be in those gray areas, helping
people understand a much deeper of Taliban versus government. You know, talking about the multilayered ethnic tensions in those areas, the various
tit-for-tat war crimes that both sides are guilty of. It's not both side- ism and it's not (INAUDIBLE), but it's nuance and it's detail, and it's helping people understand that, you know, the difficult questions that
people don't really want to acknowledge.
SREENIVASAN: And you write about this in Mogadishu, you had a quote there, "To stand in a hospital with a camera and not a stethoscope, to offer no
tangible help the person suffering in front of you to voyeuristically witness their suffering, all of this is grotesque."
And you said this was your first such experience. But you're describing a sort of helplessness that you can't physically, you know, improve the
situation of that one person. And you've got a camera, not a medical kit.
FERGUSON: I talked to a lot of my friends in the industry about this. You know, this is our -- people often think, oh, my goodness, the worst part of
your job must be the exhaustion and, you know, the food poisoning and the danger and -- nothing of the sort, you know. The worst part of this work is
that dangerous whispered doubt, am I making a difference here, you know?
We're not water engineers, we're not doctors and were not pilots. And so, yes, there's often, when you're there, this sense of helplessness. And
sometimes guilt and shame attached to it, if you're not careful. Because, yes, on a broader scale, we know that we are helping, that we're playing an
important role. And I do believe, to my core, the journalism, especially reporting from conflict zones and major crises around the world is
important, it plays an important role. But the problem is, I can't help this person sitting in front of me.
I can generally help these people, and, you know, there are moments when you see the impact, when it comes to diplomacy and aids, and major, major
awareness within populations. But I can't help this person who I'm filming, and that's a very, very tough reality to accept. And compounded by the fact
that many of us journalists get asked for help all the time because people think we are doctors and nurses and aid workers or, are you from the U.N.
or the Red Cross? Can you help me find my child? It's really appalling when you have to say, I'm so sorry, I'm just a journalist, and you waive your
notepad around. And those moments are tough to take.
SREENIVASAN: You know, you said at the fall of Kabul in 2021 that a switch flipped for you, you described it as, I didn't want to be a spectator
anymore. I refused to just watch this happen. So often, as journalists, there's this tension that we should not get involved. But in that scenario,
what happened that led you to be, well, the last American journalist, you and Eric, your cameraman, but part of, what, maybe eight people that were
the last journalist to get out of there on evacuation flights?
FERGUSON: I think it really is a buildup for me. I think the book, hopefully, conveyed how this was a sort of moment at the end of a very long
string of moments where I have grappled for years with, am I making a difference? Am I helping people? Should I be helping people? What is my
But when I was in Kabul, I found a unique moment whereby all of the rules were collapsing. The -- there was no real system. People spoke English, and
so, I was able to work with them back and forth, and helping people get out was something that I was able to do. I was in a privileged position of
being able to advise them on what paperwork they needed, negotiating for them with the soldiers, pulling them out of the crowd. And that was some
small, small way that I could help, and I could do it and do my work and file every night a story. So, that was one moment where I just felt like I
couldn't live with myself if I can't actually do what is clearly possible right in front of my eyes.
And, you know, there are things, Hari, that are just so much bigger than your career and your work. And so, they become moments in your life where
you're aware that you'll remember this forever.
SREENIVASAN: I want to talk a little bit about the role that gender has played and how it has affected your reporting. Because at times, you
highlight there was a period when you were in Al Jazeera, and one of your bosses basically just said, I don't want a woman on that story, and there
are other times where you are made to be very conscious of the fact that a woman in this profession has a whole list of other challenges that a man
does not, when it just comes to succeeding, especially on camera.
FERGUSON: I always say, Hari, when people ask me, and they ask me a lot, you know, what must be like working in such conservative countries as a
woman? And I always say that, yes, there are challenges. There are certain meetings, social events. There are certain ways of socializing with men in
power that culturally it's harder for me to do. It's harder for me to get in certain rooms sometimes where there's more informal networking and, you
know, male journalists might have often better access.
That is very often balanced out by the fact that I do actually get access to women. And so, I'm lucky that I can spend time with women in
Afghanistan, I can spend time with women in Yemen where my male colleagues -- for my male colleagues, it's often a total no, no.
However, there have definitely been moments in my career where it's very often the news organizations that are -- that women end up having to
contend with. And, you know, sometimes, I mean, there was that moment Al Jazeera, which is very on the nose, which was very, very in my face. But
very often, it's more just inferred. It's the fact that we work in television. It put so much pressure on women to look a certain way in the
field. And that pressure -- you know, it's a particularly ageist industry for women, you know, that -- having the pressure to look good and then
having this ticking clock going on at the same time. The sense that, you know, you must make it by this stage for your career to ever ascend to
this, you know, these are pressures that female journalists carry around with us all the time.
I am aware of how absurd it is that I'm standing in a refugee camp combing my hair and, you know, applying makeup. I don't think that's normal. I also
think it's silly. But is often necessary because we still work in a competitive industry that is very often run by men. And very often, women
are -- in fact, I would say always women are, to a certain extent, judged by their looks as well as their other attributes, their other skill sets,
and that is something that women in the industry, I think whenever we really think about the things that are -- that challenge us as women,
that's what sort of -- that that is what has the most impact on our careers and therefore, causes us the most stress.
SREENIVASAN: I wonder about whether you just feel lucky sometimes. I mean, there -- you describe a couple of scenarios that are just kind of eerie. I
mean, you -- the place that used to live in Beirut, for example, if you had been there a couple months longer, it might have been affected by that
enormous explosion that we all remember or more tellingly, that you were kind of behind the lines in Syria with activists. And after you left, the
next crew in there -- when they were in there, Marie Colvin, a journalist, was killed in a bombing attack. And I wonder -- I mean, what does that make
you think of when you realize, I was standing in the same place that she was and had it not been for timing?
FERGUSON: I think it makes you extraordinarily grateful. You know, all I can -- when I answer questions on that all I can say is, I can't explain
it, you know. I do think living in particularly spiritual places where, you know, people do have a very strong close affinity with religion has made me
much less obstinate -- obstinately atheistic as a kid. I have certainly come to respect something that is much bigger than me. However, people want
to put that into words. I find that hard to deny.
But I also just think, all you can do is recognize grace when you see it, if you have been spared, for whatever reason, you'll never know. If you
have been spared, it's just another even greater reason to be very grateful for your life.
A lot of people ask me if I'm an adrenaline junkie, if I loved risk, I certainly don't. I, you know, would -- I have a good life and I fear death.
But I'm also aware of how extraordinarily blessed my life is. And, you know, whenever you look back and realize there were moments in your life
when it all could've been over, you do look at the quality of your life and your relationships and all the blessings you have.
And I think that I've been lucky to have clarity in those moments afterwards. And just, you know, trying not to take my life for granted.
SREENIVASAN: You know, finally, I see that you are an optimist. I mean, I guess, reading your memoir, it's hard not to see why it wouldn't be one,
considering what you've lived through already. But I wonder what your thoughts are about kind of the state of journalism and foreign coverage
FERGUSON: You know, there's no doubting that television news in its current format is dying and will die very soon. Opinion is cheap. It's so
cheap to just have talking heads and people just shouting at one another. I mean, you know, they don't need airline tickets and hotel rooms and
cameramen people and drivers.
But I also believe firmly that journalism will survive, it'll survive the jump online. I mean, you know, people are still watching and reading
quality journalism. The challenge is trying to figure out a business model around it, how do we make it work so that we can keep doing our work. I
don't really care where watch my stories so long as they watch them.
You know, I want to know that journalism is going to survive. That -- and I do think it will, whenever you look at the amount of people who are reading
quality newspapers and who are watching, you know, things like -- even, you know, "60 Minutes" still gets a massive viewership. And so, I don't doubt
that things will go online and people will continue watching.
The difficulty will be seeing what also takes the space as well, whether it's extreme opinions on both sides, a lot of talking, a lot of punditry, a
lot of, as you say, misinformation going on social media. I grew up watching the BBC. I believe in public broadcasting and non-corporate media
will, I think, continue to play an even more important role in holding the ground on quality journalism.
SREENIVASAN: The book is called "No Ordinary Assignment." Author and journalist, Jane Ferguson, Thanks so much for joining us.
FERGUSON: Thank you, Hari.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: And finally, Ukrainian tennis star, Elina Svitolina, was the victim of her own success, when playing at Wimbledon meant she had to
forfeit tickets to see Harry Styles. Oh, no. Svitolina, who became a mom last October gave away her tickets to see the British popstar in Vienna
after she made it to the fourth round of Wimbledon where she beat Belarusian Victoria Azarenka.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are supposed to go to a concert, a Harry Styles concert, yesterday. You gave the tickets away. This is a bit better than
that, isn't it?
ELINA SVITOLINA, UKRAINIAN TENNIS STAR: Well, I hope Harry's watching and maybe -- I am just a big fan of his. So, you know, just like --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we are all --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: What a brilliant answer. Well, I would hope that another later date concert will be in her future. Harry Styles saw her post about missing
out online and wrote back saying, we have four shows to go. Here you go. You're welcome any of them. Good luck with the rest of the tournament. So,
it does look like she might get to see her idol after all. And congratulations to her.
But not before she plays Poland's Iga Swiatek in the Wimbledon quarter final tomorrow. Best of luck there. We'll be watching.
Well, that is it for now. You can always catch us online on our podcast and across social media. Thank you for watching and goodbye from New York.