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Connect the World
UN Secretary General: Report a "Code Red for Humanity"; Fires Ravage Greece as UN Issues "Code Red for Humanity"; The Role of Big Banks in Developing Cleaner Fuels; The Battle for Kandahar; World Bank Unveils Climate Change Action Plan; Saroj Kumar Jha: Lebanese Crisis is Self- Inflicted. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired August 09, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well this hour the alarm bells are deafening, and it's on us, welcome back to a world more connected than
ever, by one single issue.
This is how our world looks today burning or flooded in multiple parts of the globe. Extreme weather devastating Greece, Italy, California, Turkey,
the list goes on. And as a new landmark report from the U.N. shows us this could get a lot worse a lot faster than we had thought.
The U.N. Secretary General says it's a code read for humanity. Antonio Guterres warns the research leaves no time for delay and no room for
excuses. Well, one of the world's best known climate activists says this new U.N. report contains no real surprises.
Greta Thunberg tweeting what it does confirm is what we already know, from thousands of previous studies and reports that we are in an emergency. It's
a solid but cautious summary of the current best available science. And she went on to say, it doesn't tell us what to do.
It is up to us to be brave and take decisions based on the scientific evidence provided in these reports. We can still avoid the worst
consequences but not if we continue like today and not without treating the crisis, like a crisis.
Well, Bill Weir is our Chief Climate Correspondent and he joins us now from New York. And I want to start Bill with breaking down the report's findings
and then get back to Greta Thunberg's point. What did this report find?
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first, we have to start with the miraculous agreement that a report like this brings. This is
14,000 different peer reviewed papers studied by hundreds of scientists from 66 different countries.
And they had to come up with language that was lowest common denominator enough to get 195 countries to sign it.
And that's allies and enemies alike. And what they're telling us is the planet that we've built, the modern world on doesn't exist anymore. And
change is coming, whether it's in the form of tragic droughts and fires and floods and famines and storms, like we're seeing intensified in this new
But or to stave off the worst of it means reinventing everything we know about building and moving and growing food and coexisting so that is the
big takeaway is that it's solvable the worst. Fates are avoidable. But for that to happen, we need a mobilization unlike anything we've ever seen,
these since the World War II.
ANDERSON: You're right to point out this report comes as a prescient warning when you look at what's happening right now, from the fires. We've
seen rage around the globe, as well as these deadly floodings and rain.
So Greta Thunberg says there's nothing in the report that is a surprise and points out that this report doesn't tell us what we need to do as a climate
experts. What can we, what can humans do today to mitigate the effects of this climate crisis? And let's call it what it is. It's a climate crisis.
WEIR: It is a climate crisis. But an interesting part of this fight is the responsibility. OK, so you know, who knew that exactly where we'll be 30
years ago, were the top geologists at Exxon and other companies, internal memos have proven it.
And - who's a very sort of original climate activist in the United States just tweeted, the IPCC is best understood as a lighthouse, trying to pierce
the smokescreen thrown up by the fossil fuel industry. For a day, the light shines through the job for movements is to extend that light.
So what we're also seeing from this report, Becky, is that the science is getting so good. When it comes to accountability, you can now take a
specific event, a hurricane and say this was made 40 percent more powerful by the fuels we've burned since this year.
And as a result, someone could then sue a fossil fuel company for damages and that and that's happening in courts. So this conversation, yes, it can
happen as people do the best they can, in personal choices from how much meat you eat, or what kind of car you drive.
But much of the problem comes from these giant corporations, that it's not in their best interest to change their business model tomorrow. They want
to be the last company to burn the last barrel of oil whenever that is just because of the profit motive involved, right.
So it takes I think the average person mostly just talking about it, and making demands both of your lawmakers and the companies that you give your
money to, to say we need to talk about this now because we're going to be talking about it for the rest of our lives either in a sense of control and
knowledge or one of panic and despair.
ANDERSON: And I think you make a very good point here, because this is happening in courts, we are seeing activists. And to a certain extent, you
know, that perhaps we should stop calling people activists, because to some, that's a kind of dirty word.
ANDERSON: But we are seeing we are seeing people getting embedded onto these boards now. And we are seeing action being taken at the highest
level. We need to continue to see that action taken.
We need to see hard evidence that there's more than just, you know, these boards listening to, to these louder voices these days, you were recently
in Greenland. And what you were doing there, as I understand it was looking at sea level rises and the melting of glasses.
And I know many of our viewers will have seen this before. And to a certain extent you get hardened by this. So I just want you to explain in no
uncertain terms, what is happening there. And how does that play into the larger global climate story?
WEIR: So the Arctic is warming up two to three times faster than the rest of the planet at the top. And so the ice caps are disappearing. And we were
on - there where when I was a boy, they would take dog sleds across the ice to hunt.
Now you need a boat that is that those days are long gone and the melt. And this is the glacier that gave us the iceberg that actually sank the Titanic
is now putting off icebergs, the size of cities, the size of stadiums, by the minute, so much ice melted on one day, last week, it could have covered
Florida and two inches of water.
And the people up there, you know, it's sovereign, they have their own sort of independence, but still under the Danes. They don't know what to make of
it. They know the existential threat. They don't want any more oil drilling, they ban that in their country, but at the same time, it's made
So depending on where you go on the planet, this is either a dawning screaming emergency if your house if your neighborhood is on fire, you're
living in drought, or in places like that. Things are improving Siberia, things are improving.
But getting back to what you said before about this is now ending up in courts and in corporations. The signs of hope are there that you know Ford
F150 pickup truck; the bestselling vehicle ever will be all electric, because the market forces are there.
Can governments nudge that along with different kinds of incentives and different kinds of subsidies? Absolutely, the biggest fossil fuel emitter,
one of them is the U.S. Military. And we talk about marshaling sort of a World War II style mobilization to get off of fossil fuels.
How do you get the U.S. Military to go green and how fast? There's a challenge for techno folks to you know, slobber over. So the science is
there. And this report says that the only X factor here is the will of the people and how fast people can work together.
ANDERSON: And should our viewers not think that I read every single social posting against my hash-tags. I do and somebody just written as we're
speaking governments and companies should be involved by making climate change a critical part of that they write corporate, but let's just say
It's better late than never, thanks back. You know, those are the sorts of comments that I know we get all the time across our social channels. And
the time is now. The time is now. Bill Weir is our Chief Climate Correspondent; you will increasingly see more of Bill, certainly on this
show and across our network.
We have a big desk against this climate crisis story, and rightly so because this is that single most important issue that connects the world,
thank you, Bill. This is new urgent warning from the U.N. then front and center on the website cnn.com for the latest news and analysis.
There you'll get the pictures the graphics that explain how quickly this is all happening and why what is known as whether whiplash will happen with
increasing frequency that is on your computer or through the CNN app on your smartphone.
However you get to that have a read there is a lot of good information there. And against this report, it's so critical that we all get better
informed. Well, across U.S. and California we can see evidence of a hotter planet with our own eyes the Dixie fire, now burning across nearly 2000
square kilometers, 2000 square kilometers.
Only one wildfire in the state has ever been larger. Around 100 fires are burning in the western U.S. so many that the smoke is making it dangerous
simply to breathe, along with record heat, a crippling drought.
ANDERSON: This is a man-made lake in California. Look at how much less water there is now, compared to last summer. CNN's Camila Bernal is in
Northern California where that huge Dixie fire is burning. Just tell us what you have witnessed and what you what people are telling you?
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well look Becky, first of all this fire is just growing and growing and containment is not increasing
and that's because the weather is not cooperating. So we saw a lot of the smoke clearing, but it got drier, it got hotter and the winds picked up.
And that's why we're left with more than 489,000 acres burned and containment still at 21 percent. We have not seen that number increase at
all over the last couple of days. This fire has actually been burning for about 26 days straight and we're seeing more people under evacuation
We got the alerts on our phones. People in this area are worried we've talked to people who have lost their homes who say that these alerts the
smoke, the sirens, it all triggers this trauma and anxiety.
And we specifically talked to Franci Lamb; she owned a home in paradise not too far from where we are and from where the Dixie fire is. And she says
she understands exactly what the people in Greenville, California are going through because they have lost everything. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCI LAMB, LOST HOME IN CAMP FIRE: I would take them in a heartbeat. You know, they need a place to shower. They need a place to get some food; they
need a place to sleep. And they need to be hugged. They need to be held and told them that the air will get better it will get better. It did get
better for us but it took a long time, a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERNAL: And the Governor of California Gavin Newsome also is spending the weekend in Greenville. We've seen the destruction there and he is using
this visit to talk about climate change and he was pointing to the Dixie fire as being a climate induced fire.
I've talked to many people over the last couple of weeks who say that it's hotter and drier. And there is this collective fear this concern over
what's going to happen over the next couple of days and weeks because this is a fire like none before many firefighters with 20, 30 years of
experience say they've never seen a fire like this one.
And it's a fire season longer than any other one that these firefighters are going through. There are 8500 men and women fighting these flames and
they say they will continue to work until it is under control. But at the moment that's just not the case. Becky.
ANDERSON: Thank you. Well, record heat also adding to the wildfire misery in Greece. Some of the people they're describing the flames as apocalyptic
houses turned into smoking ruins. Forests being scorched, nations across the world have stepped up sending firefighters an aircraft to help flames
and smoke turning the sky in Inferno orange above Evia, Greece's second largest island.
Ferries standing by to evacuate more people in the path of flames making it even worse, those dangerous climate conditions. Eleni Giokos is on the
island of Evia. What are you witnessing there, Eleni?
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, there are so many power fires raging on right now. And we see scenes like this one behind me just a
moment ago; you had planes and helicopters dropping water on a fire that they've been battling for a few hours.
People have started evacuating, but also some have stayed behind in their homes so close to ablaze so that they can protect their property. It's been
unbelievable to see just how many people have come together filling up anything they possibly can with water, bringing bottles to try and do their
part to fight this scenario.
Becky, almost half of Evia has been burnt. Those are the official numbers that we're hearing. The local firefighters have been working nonstop
relentlessly. But a vital part of getting this fire under control many fires on the island under control is the international assistance that has
come over the past few days.
We know that Greece has also requested more assistance from Russia. Russia is now sending in more aircraft. The firefighters that I've been talking to
say that they've dealt with wildfires before seasonal wildfires before but they've never seen anything, to this extent the aggressiveness, the
intensity, the scale, the sheer scale of these fires.
The local residents are shocked, they traumatized and of course as you say apocalyptic scenes that we've experienced over the past few days all of
this linked to climate change is what experts are telling us. You've had extreme weather and heat Becky, over the past week in the country, record
temperatures and temperatures in fact that haven't been seen in over 30 years.
GIOKOS: That compounding the problem here in Evia. Question is when will it be under control? The local residents are committed to working as much as
possible. But in the meantime, you have hundreds of homes that have been impacted hundreds of people that have been impacted.
ANDERSON: Eleni, thank you for that. And as you and I talk so our viewers are seeing a map of Europe and the sports that are experiencing such
weather extremes. Well, hundreds of firefighters and volunteers are scrambling in Peru, battling a wildfire.
Their official say the flames have consumed more than 1000 Hector's since this place erupted on Thursday, a regional governor requesting air support
from the national government. Thankfully, there have been no reports of injuries or deaths.
Now we're not just seeing fires around the world but also floods. Venice, the city known for its canals just hit a milestone. This is the spillover
from high tide reaching 100 centimeters that's the highest level in more than 25 years.
People waded through water up past their ankles in some Marks Square, though damage but this comes just weeks after some severe flooding in parts
of Europe as you may remember. And North Korea is also dealing with floods.
State run media says Leader Kim Jong-Un knows sent the army to flood hit villages in the nation's East. Reuters reporting that about 5000 people
were evacuated and this happened in a region crucial for rice production and state media says the focus will be on minimizing crop damage, as well
as repairing roads.
Well, coming up on "Connect the World" paying for cleaner air, we'll find out how a back lasted for investing in fossil fuels says it plans to help
provide a solution. We've heard the urgent warning today a code red climate emergency for "Our Earth" what the World Bank is planning to do to help
developing nations go green.
As the Taliban sees more areas of Afghanistan, it's often the youngest of Afghans who suffer the most. That story also ahead, this hour.
ANDERSON: Well, on the surface it seems like a simple equation with deafening alarms now about the environment ringing out nations must ease
their reliance on carbon dioxide emitting fossil fuels.
In reality, it's not so simple. In fact, the International Energy Agency says demand for fossil fuels could jump to record highs. That Demand
especially strong for economies like India and China. To counter this, the agency says work on cleaner energy is going to have to speed up.
ANDERSON: Well, the role of being big banks here couldn't be more crucial in this climate crisis. Last year, JP Morgan Chase topped the list of banks
financing fossil fuel industries.
Well, I sat down with Chuka Umunna, who's a former member of parliament here in the UK, who now heads that banks environmental and social
governments department. I started by asking him what that bank is doing to mitigate this climate emergency going forward.
CHUKKA UMUNNA, HEAD OF ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE PRACTICE, JP MORGAN CHASE: We are not denying that there is any climate emergency. And
you know, let's make no bones about this. If we don't address this issue, then the scale of tragedy that we have seen in the last 12 to 18 months
globally, with COVID could be happening every year if we don't do something about climate temperature rises.
We achieved operational carbon neutrality in 2020. And I've committed to doing so every year going forward. We source 100 percent of our energy
needs from renewable energy sources.
We have just made arguably the biggest commitment of any Banking Group in the world to finance or facilitate finance to the tune of two and a half
trillion dollars to deliver more sustainable solutions for the world. And a trillion of that is for climate, in particular.
ANDERSON: Let's talk about what JP Morgan contributes then, as towards fossil fuel industries, because in 2019, it was certainly more than any
other banker total of over 250 billion into coal, oil and gas firms.
I think over the four years previous to 2019, you say you have new targets. So talk to me about those targets. What happens next?
UMUNNA: With companies that derive the majority of their revenue from coal, by 2024, we will not be providing capital markets advisory or other
services to that type of company.
But now, if you look at the most difficult sectors where this is a challenge, electric power, for example, scope, one emissions on power
generation, very much the mainstay of the carbon emissions for that sector, relative to a 2019 baseline over the next 10 years.
So up to 2030, we will be looking to reduce the carbon intensity of that financing portfolio by 69 percent. We've also set targets in oil and gas,
and also automotive to reduce the carbon intensity of the financing portfolio there as well.
ANDERSON: Does this bank support a vision for no fossil fuels going forward to end our climate crisis?
UMUNNA: There won't be any fossil fuels. I don't believe that's the world that we're going to end up in and the Paris agreement, which is what we've
aligned you know, efforts to envisage.
What is - which envisaged is bringing down overall greenhouse gas emissions, not just carbon emissions, but greenhouse gas emissions and say
that we can keep temperature reductions to a minute to, you know, temperature reduction, to get it to the 1.5 degree maximum rise.
ANDERSON: Do you fear at this bank, the pressure from activist shareholders that you have clearly witnessed across other industries, for example, the
oil and gas industry? Is that a concern here?
UMUNNA: No. And I'll tell you why. I think activism often suggests a kind of black and white saints and sinners them against us view of the world.
But actually, in the end, what do our stakeholders want? They want us to be a profitable business, producing long term sustainable returns in a way
that is good for society as a whole. Because the two those two things are mutually dependent, you can't achieve one without the other.
ANDERSON: Let's talk about some of what we've heard from some of the key stakeholders in the fight against climate change of late John Kerry, a few
months ago, I spoke to you when he was in the UAE. And he said and I, "Concessional and private finance will be instrumental in fighting climate
change". In your opinion, how important is climate financing in winning this battle?
UMUNNA: Is enormous, you are not going to be able to green our economies globally without private finance that is absolutely clear. And in the
public sector, there's going to be a huge fiscal deficit overhang through the costs clocked up in needing to deal with this dreadful Corona - COVID
virus that we've been dealing with.
And so it's done as a reason that the private sector and business and finance is going to be looked to help raise the monies needed to affect the
ANDERSON: John Kerry also said, and I "This is going to be the biggest economic transformation since the Industrial Revolution". And that brings
with it a lot of fear and the cost of jobs. The industry is at risk.
UMUNNA: This is why just transition is vital. And I think that President Biden and his administration as a whole, right from the start from the get
go, when, you know, the administration, he started signing executive orders around the green agenda, were absolutely clear that they wanted to
transition to a NetZero world get the U.S. in the right place.
And their view on that, at the same time is continuing to ensure people have jobs and a livelihood.
ANDERSON: At COP 26 will JP Morgan, still continue to say that the solution is not as simple as walking away from fossil fuels?
UMUNNA: I tell you, it isn't as simple as walking away from fossil fuels. And let me just untangle that a bit. Because a lot of people say look with
fossil fuel companies or businesses, which heavy emitters of carbon, you should just dump the stock, you should abandon that business.
So that means abandoning the people who work in that business. But it also means well, just kind of washing your hands of any responsibility from
trying to help that business transition to operating in a different way.
It means that that business is quite likely to end up in the hands of will be financed by somebody who doesn't really particularly care about the
environment and helping to transition that company. So overall, what's that going to do? The environment is not going to do much at all.
ANDERSON: So how do you ensure that a decade from now, this bank is not considered by some, if not many, as the world's worst banker when it comes
to climate chaos? How do you ensure that?
UMUNNA: Doing what we have said we will do and delivering on the commitments that we have made, is the way that we will be able to prove
that we walk the walk, and we don't just talk the talk on these things.
And we've already got a strong track record on that, you know, having helped finance or facility you know, produce, you know, financed or
facilitated finance the $200 billion last year to help deliver on this agenda.
So, all I would say is, you know, measure us by what we do, and actions speak louder than words. So, we will deliver what we say we are going to do
and then that will be what will define us.
ANDERSON: We will continue to watch what these banks formerly oftentimes known as the dirty bankers actually do in this fight to end the climate
crisis. The Taliban made huge gains over the weekend.
But there's one city they have their eye on. One, the Afghan government can't afford to lose coming up an update on the situation there.
ANDERSON: Things are getting nasty that is the assessment from a Senior Afghan Official as the Taliban takeover more of the country. And after a
flurry of violence this weekend, the Taliban took over its fifth provincial capital you can see their gains on this map beginning back in April with
more and more dark red appearing, symbolizing the Taliban's land grab there.
And now huge swathes of the nation are in Taliban territory, or at least contested territory, which is in pink here on the map. Key cities and the
Capital Kabul do remain under Afghan government control. As usual, the youngest suffer the most.
According to UNICEF, the fighting over the weekend alone cost 27 children their lives and wounded more than 100 others. The reality is setting that
without the U.S., the Taliban will make quick work of taking over more territory.
And when the U.S. withdrawal is done at the end of the month, so is the vital air support that is provided to Afghan military. Once it in
particular is a priority it appears for the Taliban to overtake and one the Afghan government can't afford to lose and that is Kandahar.
The city is the birth base of the Taliban and as the fighters surround Kandahar, those living there say they have nowhere to go. Clarissa Ward
goes inside a makeshift base for Afghan commodities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They're on the road to Kandahar's front line there is still civilian traffic, even
as the Taliban inches deeper into the city. Afghan commandos have agreed to take us to one of their bases.
WARD (on camera): This used to be a wedding hall now it's the frontline position.
WARD (voice over): Most of the fighting here happens at night. But Taliban snipers are at work 24 hours a day from snipers.
WARD (on camera): From Snipers?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WARD (voice over): The men tell us the Taliban are hiding in houses just 50 yards away from us and they shoot from people's homes they should--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see this is all civilians whom we cannot use, you know, the big weapons, the heavy weapons.
WARD (voice over): Upon the roof. Major heavy - wants to show us something.
WARD (on camera): So you can actually see the Taliban flag just over on the mountain top there. It's been nearly a month since the Taliban penetrated
Afghanistan's second largest city. Since then, these men haven't had a break. U.S. air strikes only come in an emergency. The rest of the time
it's up to them to hold the line.
We feel a little bit weak without U.S. airstrikes and ground support and equipment he says but this is our soil and we have to defend it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bombardment using heavy weapons--
WARD (voice over): In a villa in the eastern part of the city Kandahar lawmaker - is hunker down and decades of war. He says he's never seen the
fighting this bad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Millions of people in this city are waiting for when they will be killed when someone will kill them, when their home will be
destroyed. And it is happening every minute. Just spell out for me here.
WARD (on camera): The Taliban is basically surrounding the entire city of Kandahar now, is that correct?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely yes.
WARD (on camera): Where is there to go?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No way. So there's only two options do or die.
WARD (on camera): Do or die?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WARD (on camera): And what does do look like?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the thing to convince different sites to ceasefire, to work on peace, to convince them to not to fight not to get.
WARD (voice over): But that is a tall order in a city where war has become part of everyday life.
WARD (on camera): You can probably see there's a lot more cars on the road than there were previously and that's because in just two minutes at 6 pm
the cell phone network gets cut across the city and that's when the fighting usually starts.
WARD (voice over): Throughout the night, the sounds of gunfire and artillery pierce the darkness. Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban.
They are intent on taking it back and the government knows it cannot afford to lose it. By day an eerie calm holds.
The UN says more than 10,000 people are now displaced in this city. On the outskirts of town, we find 30 families camped out in an abandoned
construction site. He is saying that none of these children have fathers all of their fathers have been killed in the fighting.
35-year-old Rubina (ph) fled with her two daughters to escape the fighting after her husband was shot dead looking after but still it gets closer and
closer. Last night I didn't sleep all night, she says and the fear was in my heart.
In the short time we are there more families arrived. Street vendor - Ismail says they fled the village of - after an airstrike hit. Three dead
bodies were rotting outside our home for days, but it was too dangerous to get them he says.
The Taliban is attacking on one side; the government is attacking the other side. In the middle, we're just losing. Back at the base dust coats the
chairs were wedding guests would normally sit as the siege of Kandahar continues life here is in limbo with no end in sight. Clarissa Ward, CNN,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh is joining me from London with a look at the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan Nick, your perspective at this
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is clear we've had one of the worst periods over the last five days that we've seen for the
Afghan government backed by the U.S. in the last 20 years really, and reports are coming in that not only have five provincial capitals fallen in
that period of time, including - a key city also now it seems that possibly a sixth and maybe a seventh could be under threat.
One in the - province and also Ghazni a key city in Afghanistan too much of the same scale, frankly as Kunda, which fell just yesterday this is part it
seems of the growing momentum the Taliban have when it comes to getting into urban centers.
For so long much of the theory had been that they could be kept in the rural areas, so much of which is their heartland and U.S. airstrikes Afghan
security forces keep them out of urban areas. That's clearly not the case since Friday, when they took the first provincial capital.
And the concern, I think now is that U.S. airstrikes, which have been in evidence over the past days, are less effective when you're dealing with
close urban fighting with civilians caught in populated areas too add to that as well.
There is now a clock ticking on this U.S advantage that Afghan security forces have in airstrikes, the U.S. has been clear they'll stop at the end
of the U.S. withdraw on likely August the 31st. That gives about 21 full days left of airpower hasn't been that useful, frankly, for Afghan security
forces in the last five days.
But without it, there are deep concerns that things could deteriorate even more quickly. What does that look like? Well, the map is pretty bad as it
stands but cities like Herat in the West Lashkargah, Kandahar Afghanistan, as you saw there in the south, under great pressure too.
There was a lot of the U.S. Soviet Afghan Government chips have been laid to try and hold them without more advanced security forces. But if we see
issues there, there would then be of course, pressure on the capital Kabul the city of 6 million, deeply pro government heavily fortified with a lot
of the money in guns there over the last 20 years.
But this next few months period, while everybody suspected inevitably it will be awful after the U.S. withdraw might be slightly worse than those
ANDERSON: Yes. And we've got to be cautious here, haven't we? Because although the way that the Taliban has captured these provinces has been
extremely swift. I'd - like just to bring up the map that we've got, which shows the territorial gain made over the past couple of weeks by the
Taliban. This is by no means a done deal. So to your mind, what would be the tipping point, as it were?
WALSH: I think if Lashkargah and you can't see it on that map there. But it's next to Kandahar, a province way. If that falls, if Kandahar falls if
Herat fall, then you're talking in that gray area there where the City of Kabul on a very limited scope of government authority remaining.
Possibly something they could hold those large expanses of territory in red there are predominantly a lot of the time very sparsely populated, and
that's always been the issue when it came down to who controls what over the past 10 years or so of the more intense American presence that they
fought and held the cities. There seems to be changing.
WALSH: The question of course is does the Afghan security forces do they have any cards left to play in terms of reversing those cities being taken
by the Taliban? We've seen that in the past, but as I say, that was often dependent on U.S. backing U.S. airpower that isn't there in the same way at
the moment, and won't be there, it seems in the next three weeks very dark time in Afghanistan today, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh is in London for you today. You're watching "Connect the World". Thank you, Nick. Still ahead, addressing climate
change or the climate crisis or climate catastrophe takes more than political action, it takes money.
The World Bank says it is ready to help. I'm going to speak to the bank's Middle East Director up next and we will explain why after this.
ANDERSON: Politics and poverty arguably the biggest factors getting in the way of what the United Nations today calls a code red climate emergency for
planet Earth. The World Bank aiming to address the second of those issues unveiling a climate change action plan to pump in financing for green
projects to the nations that need it most.
I want to talk more about the World Bank initiative and specifically issues in the Middle East with the Bank's Middle East Regional Director Saroj
Kumar Jha, who's joining me today via Skype from the Lebanese Capital.
And we will talk about what is going on there and how the World Bank believes it might help get Lebanon out of its political and economic
catastrophe? But I do want to start with today's UN Climate report and talk about that with regard the Middle East and of course, you know, Lebanon
included in that. So let's get your response. Firstly, what did you make of what we saw in that UN report today?
SAROJ KUMAR JHA, WORLD BANK REGIONAL DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST: Becky, first of all, thank you very much for having me on the show. And we welcome the
report that has come out today by the IPCC. As we know that countries in this region are facing extreme climate events.
We have protracted heat wave, we have droughts and floods. We have desertification --, of course, the storms in various parts of the region.
Climate change is a threat multiplier. As far as the Middle East is concerned, a region which is already in the midst of very high levels of
fragility conflict, violence, lack of good development climate change essentially poses a huge risk.
JHA: It will deepen the crisis and result in more poverty, more unemployment, more water insecurity, food insecurity, and of course,
overall, the achievement of sustainable development goals are going to be very unlikely for countries in the region.
And therefore, we all need to pay attention to climate change as the crisis of today and need to accelerate action by all the countries. And this is
reason, as you mentioned, the World Bank Group has adopted a five year action plan, which essentially aims to support developing countries to
reduce emission, increase adaptation and align our financing with the Paris development goals.
During the five years, we are going to provide an average 35 percent of our financing is going to support climate related programs. 50 percent of our
financing will support adaptation actions in our countries, which is especially in agriculture in water, water, better building better food
systems that are more smart energy systems.
So there are programs in the pipeline as part of the action plan, and certainly countries in the region will benefit from this action.
ANDERSON: Well, I hope so because and just to remind our viewers, while today, this show is coming out of London, we are normally based in the Gulf
in Abu Dhabi, and the Middle East region, is the region that I specifically want to focus on with you this hour.
The reason to get you on and this is, and it's really important to get some more detail from you. Particularly worrying, of course, in the region is
the scarcity of water. We've seen that lead, for example, to deadly protests in Iran, and in Sudan, of late.
So I just want to drill down a little and what you mean, specifically within the body of this climate financing report, what specifically, are
you highlighting as the most urgent needs when it comes to this wide, Middle East region, which you have so adroitly put at the heart of what is
this climate crisis?
JHA: While I agree with you that the water certainly needs to be the focus of our climate engagement in the region, let me also highlight the
importance of energy sector. And the reason I say this is that the Middle East is highly hydrocarbon dependent.
The energy sources in the region for electricity for cooling, essentially, transport is all coming from fossil fuel based energy sources. Take the
case of Iraq. Iraq annually, flares about 18 million - 18 billion cubic meters of gas every year, of which a very significant part is methane.
Methane is responsible for 80 percent more lethal than the CO2 as far as the global warming is concerned. So I think energy obviously provides us an
entry point for us to focus on reducing gas flaring immediately and use that gas for generating clean energy focus a lot more on--
ANDERSON: Right. I'm sorry to bud in here. I've been - we are hearing a lot of noise, particularly from the Gulf region about a pivot to green energy
from its traditional fossil fuels, oil and gas industries. In the UAE we absolutely see the evidence of a push through nuclear power through
renewables towards that cleaner energy future. Are you confident that those pledges, those promises are realistic at this point?
JHA: I think as this IPCC report also reminds us today that the parts of the emission targets that we have, we need to be much more ambitious
because the 1.5 degree world that we're anticipating by the middle of the century is going to happen much, much earlier than that.
And therefore, I think our ambition in terms of cutting the emission has to be much, much higher. And therefore, I would hope that the political
leaders in the countries in this region will prioritize their emission targets and move aggressively towards zero emission in these countries.
Iraq is a good example. I mentioned before that Iraq can essentially capture this gas process the gas, use it for power generation, and provide
the power to at least 3 million people just by capturing that gas.
So I think Iraq, Iraq can take immediate action, all the other countries can do the same, then definitely the World Bank Group stands ready together
with his private sector on the International Finance Corporation, to really help countries move towards what we call just transition in the energy
sector because we know that the whole process of transition will be painful.
We want to make sure that the transition is just it protects the poor and vulnerable. It provides adequate support to the countries. We are ready to
provide our technical and concessional financing to the governments to move aggressively on this agenda.
JHA: And Becky, only last week, our board of directors approved a new country partnership strategy for the five years, next five years for Iraq,
which essentially includes a very strong set of policy actions and financing support to Iraq to move towards this more climate friendly
development agenda in the country.
We are launching what we call an "Integrated Country Climate and Development Report", which will essentially provide a set of ambitions
which can add through transformations that can really help countries to adopt those policies, which will help them to address the challenges of
both admission as well as the adaptation to the changing climate.
Because countries are experiencing, even now in Lebanon, in Iraq and Jordan, in Iran, everywhere you see the heat wave has been going on for
quite some time. And I think it is quite evidence that the policymakers need to act now. And we would like to step up our support to these
JHA: Becky, only two months ago, we convened a meeting of all the ministers in the region, to talk about climate change as to embark on a very strong
political agenda to address the climate change issues as part of their long term development process.
Well, as this show will keep a keen eye on the work that is being done with regard the climate crisis in the region. We care enormously about this
region and of course, the rest of the world. But we are based, as I say in the region, and we care enormously about it.
We will work with you to provide some platform for whatever the work is that needs to be done and indeed is being done. I can't let you go from
this interview before we drill down on what is going on with Lebanon because this is a catastrophe in the making.
The World Bank as I understand it is part of a framework called "The 3 RF reform, recovery and reconstruction for Lebanon". This is along with the UN
and the EU, where you will engage with Lebanese officials with international donors and with civil society.
From the World Bank's perspective, what do you want to see done? What must be done now, in order that the cash that is available, but is at present
locked, can be unlocked, to Lebanon to get it to those who so desperately, desperately need it?
JHA: Thank you very much, Becky. First of all, I think the Lebanese crisis is self-inflicted. In our economic report last year, we call the Lebanese
crisis; a result of deliberate depression by the combined political class in the country is a collective failure of the political leadership in
Now, having said that, what we need now is a credible reform minded government as soon as possible, because unless you have a reform minded
government here, it is impossible to embark on a set of reforms, structural reforms, macro stabilization programs, which are extremely essential to
bring back the confidence in this economy.
Now, till that happens, what we will be doing together with a UN, EU and other partners is to focus on what we call the immediate needs of the most
vulnerable and poor people in this country. And therefore our focus has been on saving lives in Lebanon.
One of the first vaccines that we were able to finance globally was in Lebanon. So far, we have vaccinated more than a million people in this
country, most of which is financed by the World Bank Group and Lebanese public hospitals, health workers, Red Cross volunteers, they have done a
tremendous job in making it happen despite everything is going on in this country. And we are very happy to be part of such an effort.
The second is protecting the poor and vulnerable. You're quite right the level of poverty is absolutely unprecedented in the country.
JHA: There are several reports which point to access to food is problematic for more than 50 percent households in the country.
JHA: We have a - program called "Provide cash to poor and extremely vulnerable households". We are working with the caretaker government to get
that program to start immediately, which will provide cash to poor households.
So through your channel, I want to convey that the World Bank Group stays fully committed to the needs of the Lebanese people. We will stay with them
despite what's going on in the country. And we look for helping - ways of helping the people whether it is the COVID-19 pandemic or the extent of
poverty in the country.
ANDERSON: And with that, I wish we had more time but we don't today, but we'll have you back. Thank you very much indeed for joining us, Folks we're
going to take a very short break back after this.
ANDERSON: It's a story that has captivated scientists and social media alike; a wandering herd of elephants in China, finally making its way home.
The group of more than a dozen left the Wild Elephant Valley as it's known in Southern India - Southern China.
Last year, they traveled more than 500 kilometers the outskirts of Kunming, the Capital of Yunnan Province. Scientists say they were likely seeking
more space to feed and roam. Well ever since China has been trying to steer them back south tracking them with drones and trying to keep villagers
AFP reports that when the elephants near a village people are told to stay inside, preferably upstairs. And then bananas and other elephant treats are
used to lure the herd to the other side of town. The lost herd headed into a forest and is now headed in the right direction home. That's it from us.