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Connect the World
CNN Talks to Portugal's Environment Secretary of State; OPEC Countries Under Pressure to Shift Away From Fossil Fuel; Changing the Trees to Help Cut Down on Fire Damage; People Born Today Most Affected by Climate Change; Pavilions at Dubai Event Contrast with Realities of 2021; Climate Week at Dubai Expo: A Call for Action. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired October 06, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Dubai. This is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello and welcome to a very special edition of "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson. And the very
first theme week here at the Dubai Expo dives into the topic on everyone's radar the climate crisis from droughts, floods and fires to soaring energy
People across the world are feeling the impact every day; humanity's most pressing issue front and center. At the recent UN General Assembly, take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Every nation needs to bring their highest possible ambition to the table when we meet in Glasgow for
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And when Kermit the Frog, Kermit the Frog sang. It's not easy being green. You remember that one? I want you to
know that he was wrong. He was wrong. It is easy. It's only easy. It's lucrative and it's right to be green.
XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT: China will step up support for other developing countries and developing green and low carbon energy and will
not build new coal fired power projects abroad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, it's become fashionable for everyone to talk the talk on climate but the world's best known young climate activists says talk is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: There is no planet B. There is no planet blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Right now the cold hard fact is that the world is moving in the wrong direction. The science says carbon emissions must be reduced by 45
percent from 2010 levels by 2030 to head off catastrophic climate change. A recent UN study forecast levels will actually rise by more than 16 percent
above those levels by the end of this decade.
We're affecting real change is difficult. It is messy, and it is expensive. And Europe's energy crunch is a sobering example of the challenges ahead.
Natural Gas prices on the continent are soaring pushed up some 500 percent this past year by a supply shortage as economies dig out from pandemic
restrictions. And this is happening ahead of winter.
Now if the weather is colder than normal, it's fed gas supplies could run out in what you could call an energy irony. Short term measures to respond
to the gas crisis are putting a crimp into the longer term plans to transition to clean energy.
And that is because governments are leaning on fossil fuels in the form of increased production tax breaks for providers and subsidies for consumers,
less wealthy nations for the changing course to focus on green energy to throw families into poverty.
Well, even wealthier nations can't avoid the impact of the climate crisis like Portugal, where a recent survey found it was the most worried rich
nation regarding climate change. In recent years Portugal has indoors raging wildfires. Now its government wants to turn the country into a big
player in lithium mining as it sits on an estimated 10 percent of Europe's lithium deposits.
But the effects of climate change are making those plans difficult to enact. Well, joining me now is the Minister for Climate Change. And thank
you from Portugal and thank you for joining us Ines Dos Costa. Before we talk about and your portfolio as it was long term.
And Portugal sits at the forefront of the pivot to green energy and it has fantastic opportunity to look to renewables going forward. This short term
energy prices must be a concern because the irony is that we are looking at incentives for fossil fuels at this point. Just how concerned are you?
INES DOS SANTOS COSTA, PORTUGESE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ENVIRONMENT: Well, first of all, thank you Becky, for having me. I'm not a Minister I'm the
Secretary of State, the Minister is quite bolder than my than myself. It's OK. Yes, it is a cause for concern of course, but it's not like Portugal
hasn't done, you know, walked the walk.
COSTA: I mean we have been pushing for renewable investments for several years, even before people were thinking of it as a in a fashionable way, we
were pushing for investments. We put move forward in starting to remove fossil fuel subsidies from, for example, in electricity production.
And so we have been, with this government moving towards increasing our input in terms of renewable energy in electricity. We even in February
reached 88 percent was like, the first time in many, many years that we have reached that.
And this crisis, I believe in my - in my understanding is that it needs to push us further into moving into renewable energy as quickly as possible,
because all the assessments that we've done in the renewable energy in the past renewable energy in the electricity has showed us that it's much less
expensive that we need is roughly fought. And we have been able to offset the costs much more rapidly than previously expected.
ANDERSON: Yes, but it is about mitigating those costs and the cost to consumers the cost of jobs better. Look, I mean, I have to put this to
Portugal says it is on the front lines of de-carbonization and yet earlier this year, Lisbon challenged a proposal by Brussels to scale down natural
gas investments that that position is starkly in contrast with EU climate neutrality goals. How do you justify that position?
COSTA: Well, probably I'm not the best, the best Secretary of State to talk about - to talk about that position. In my understanding, I believe that we
are still moving forward in the renewable energy integration, we are moving forward on hydrogen, green hydrogen as well. Actually, this week, this past
week, we launched the 62 million euro call for hydrogen green hydrogen production in Portugal.
So I believe that as the group, the European Commission, of course, it's not just for tool that is there is working on this transition. There are
other countries which are moving towards that as well. But they are moving slower probably than others.
ANDERSON: Let me put this to you. Because you know, there is a risk that, that Europe won't pass its stress test when it comes to carbon neutrality.
And look, you know, we've got to give it to the Europeans, they are out front of, you know, very much so when it comes to sort of regions for --.
But look, I mean, let's be quite clear about it. When you see things like this - regulation, as it's known, which has been described as your critics
as a test, stress test, you know, is there a risk that the Europeans who are at the forefront here could fail at this point?
COSTA: I believe that it all turns into what we think about the underlying policies that support this transformation. I believe that we are listening
to the sort of the swan song of the types of policies that used to support this type of technology development.
I usually say we are pushing for hardware, which is top of the line inoperative but we are still running it on Windows 95 policies. We are
still running with policies that are basically based on a linear, economical neoclassical style of the - of economic development.
And until we change that software, until we are able to reach an understanding that there's, there's more to life than then looking into for
instance, GDP that we need to find different understanding of what growth means, for example, that's where we need to look to go and that is what we
need in order to shift the perspective around.
ANDERSON: Very briefly because we're running out of time and cop 26 is less than a month way this is the road to cop as it were. Lots and lots of
promises made ahead of the Glasgow meeting. This is going to be a real game changer. What needs to happen? Tell me I'm asking all my guests this week.
What do you want seeing done at cops going to convince the next generation This is more than blah, blah, blah.
COSTA: I believe that everyone wants to change to happen, but not enough people want to change themselves. And I think this COP needs to be clear
for countries to say we want to change, Portugal is changing. We need other countries to change as well.
Not just say, oh yes, we want change, but only so far as our next door neighbor changes themselves will stick as we are. No we you need every
country to change every country to change the software as well as its hardware.
ANDERSON: We thank you very much in deed.
COSTA: Thank you very much Becky.
ANDERSON: I'm not sure if I inflated your position or not earlier on. And please apologize to the -- thank you.
COSTA: Thank you very much.
ANDERSON: Well, the UAE which is hosting Expo 2020, in its climate invite - - let me say that again. The UAE is hosting the Expo 2020 and this week is climate and biodiversity week, maybe leaving the Middle East in shifting
away from fossil fuels.
But this country is also OPEC's third largest oil producer, which it will continue to sell and that raises questions over whether its climate targets
are really doable. Still, the technology is cutting edge. Have a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice over): Deep in this - desert lies an ocean of silicon and steel. No Abu Dhabi is the world's largest single site solar power plant,
stretching over three square miles. It's at the heart of the UAE's pivot from fossil fuels to clean energy sources.
OTHMAN AL ALI, CEO, EMIRATES WATER AND ELECTRICITY COMPANY: It reaches up to 49 to 55 - in the summer.
ANDERSON (voice over): Othman Al Ali, the CEO of Emirates, Water and Electricity Company in Abu Dhabi is one of the people leading this energy
ALI: We are on an ambitious path to increase the solar capacity connected to the grid by eight gigawatts by 2030. That will mean it delivers 50
percent of our energy in Abu Dhabi from clean and renewable sources.
ANDERSON (on camera): Is that realistic that target?
ALI: Definitely realistic and definitely achievable. Our plans are already to be implemented.
ANDERSON (voice over): Back in 2017, the nation pledged that half of its energy would be clean by 2050. The UAE is also investing in nuclear, and
when fully operational, the four reactors here at the - plant will supply up to a quarter of the country's electricity needs.
ALI: Nuclear energy is a fundamental part of UAE energy system. It will provide about 40 to 50 percent of the UAE base load requirement, and that
going to be an absolutely carbon free energy.
ANDERSON (voice over): The shift to clean energy around the world won't be cheap. The UN's partner Renewable Energy Agency says to meet the global
push to keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees, the world will need to - up more than $130 trillion before 2050.
Significant sums have already been pledged but convincing governments and markets that this all makes economic sense will be a big challenge.
GAURI SINGH, DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY AGENCY: What analysis also shows is for every million dollars spent in the
energy transition technologies would lead to three times more jobs getting created. So it's not just make sense in terms of climate action, but it's
also make sense in terms of economics and the politics of it.
ANDERSON (voice over): While the UAE is yet to set a net zero goal, the Emirates sees the opportunities laid out by the International Renewable
Energy Agency as key drivers for its future economic growth as it winds itself off its heavy reliance on fossil fuels.
And while OPEC's third largest producer will continue to sell oil. This solar plant is evidence it has not just the ambition but the means to chart
a cleaner future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, joining me now is Mustafa Al-Rawi. He's an Assistant Editor- in-Chief at the National Newspaper here in the UAE; he has worked
as a journalist and broadcaster in the UK, the UAE and the wider Middle East. He's probably forgotten more about the energy beat the most of us
will ever know.
We are in an era in this region, where the UAE is taking a lead in a region which has effectively been built on the revenue of hydrocarbons. And there
will be people watching this show say really? Is this really the pivot to clean energy that this country and others are so enthusiastic about at the
moment? Just explain what's going on here in the wider region, if you will?
MUSTAFA AL-RAWI, ASSISTANT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE NATIONAL: Good evening, Becky. Hope you're well. It's true that there is a lot of focus here in the
UAE in the wider region on the energy transition. It's the languages of an opportunity at the moment.
If you think about the UAE As a third largest OPEC producer sixth largest energy reserves in the world, oil and gas, Saudi Arabia is well in this
AL-RAWI: But it's not just about oil and gas and selling that they can see the trends with climate change action, with the idea that every energy mix
should be as much focus on clean as other sources of energy, they see it as an opportunity and that's the language.
So they're focusing on innovation investment in hydrogen and other types of sustainable fuels. They're looking at natural gas; a nuclear plant is
online here in the UAE, for example. There are different projects going on, that allude to the fact that the trend going forward to 2030s, 2050, is
that there cannot be an over reliance on oil and gas at the moment.
ANDERSON: And Mustafa, you're here and you speak to key stakeholders here, you genuinely, genuinely believe that there is a sort of a pivot going on
here. And you can see, I mean, you can see with your own eyes, I mean, the pivot to clean energy.
The UAE says is an economic opportunity, and it's at the heart of the sort of growth pillar for the next decade, is that reflected around the region.
And given that the oil price is so high, at present, is that a risk or an opportunity that we will see more clean energy pivots going forward?
AL-RAWI: Well, it's both. And that's partly because we're in the middle of an energy transition. And by definition, it's going to be bumpy, and it's
going to be uneven. And not everyone's going to be the same stage at the same time.
And partly, if you look at, you know, the Gulf, you look at the wider Middle East; there are a lot of countries with different priorities,
different risks, different challenges. So we can't look at this region as a whole, unfortunately, but then if you if you kind of make it a wider
discussion, and you look at the energy crises in Europe, to an extent in China, where the oil prices, there are a lot of different scenarios playing
And I think there's a lot of finger pointing at the moment as well about who's doing what and who's not doing things in the right way? But I believe
and I think it's bearing out in every day in the announcements that the energy industry at large is trying to move forward along the lines of the
wider goals is working on and you look at every industry aviation shipping, everybody's making commitments.
The trend is irreversible in this point, whether the question is how fast would it happen? And will there be winners? Will they be losers? Will they
be the same winners and losers that we've seen in the last 50 years?
ANDERSON: With that we're going to leave it there we thank you very much indeed for your analysis. Lots of interesting movement in this space as
countries like the UAE move away from what has been a heavy reliance on fossil fuels and begin to adopt cleaner energy options.
And that strategy to pivot to clean energy is one of the regions the Energy Intelligence Forum has awarded Dr. Sultan Al Jaber Chairman of the Abu
Dhabi National Oil Company, as this year's energy Executive of the Year. Have a listen to what John Kerry had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE: My friend, congratulations on this very well deserved honor. Your vision has advanced the UAE's
leadership on accelerating the clean energy transition not just within your borders, but globally, as well. I'm amazed by all you've undertaken, you
become a great friend.
And I'm impressed by your energy and your vision and your dedication to this effort. You're a great partner for our work and for the global effort
to tackle the climate crisis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, a shout out there to Dr. Sultan Al Jaber. Right, we are moving on. What are we doing next guys? Israel tackling one of the more
destructive impacts of the climate crisis it seems the keys are keeping wildfire season from burning out of control could be in the trees.
Plus, should we fail to meet our emissions targets extreme weather events will hit our kids the hardest. We will be speaking with three activists
about what they want world leaders to do to save their futures. And just a little later on what is this special climate show? It's being called game
changing technology in the push to produce safe drinking water for everyone everywhere.
ANDERSON: My guest this hour will tell us all about that.
ANDERSON: Well, it's dangerous and destructive effects of climate change longer and more intense dry seasons mean wildfires in some parts of the
world are spreading faster and lasting longer.
In Israel one forest official is trying to keep the danger at bay without the help of firefighters Hadas Gold joining me from Jerusalem with the
story. Hadas tell us what's being done to help protect certain areas from wildfire damage, if you will?
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, what's really striking here is not only that the fire season now is much longer than it was decades ago,
but also that they've discovered that it's the right type of trees that can help save lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD (voice over): A black gash in a mountainside near Jerusalem August fires leaving ever bigger scars like those enforced around the world, a
reminder of a change ravaging the planet. Thousands of acres here in the hills near Jerusalem turned into a blackened wasteland. Even now, weeks
later, a burnt smell still lingers in the air.
As the climate crisis makes fire seasons longer and more dangerous Jerusalem region Forest Supervisor Chanoch Zoref manipulates the area's
vegetation to try and keep the fires at bay, especially in your sensitive areas like this psychiatric hospital.
CHANOCH ZOREF, FOREST FIRE EXPERT: The fire season in Israel today is almost two months longer than it used to be in the 80s.
GOLD (on camera): And that was because of climate change.
ZOREF: You can't change the climate. So what we are trying to do is to change as much as possible the composition all over the area of the trees
of the all the vegetation.
GOLD (voice over): Non-native trees like these pines planted decades ago burn quickly, the perfect fuel for a fast moving fire. Now pines are cut
where necessary, swapped for native plants that burn slowly, like olive trees and Jerusalem oak.
A strategically placed all of grove along with these firebreaks helped keep the August fire away from the hospitals, patients and staff without the
help of any firefighters.
ZOREF: It's more than difficult.
GOLD (voice over): Just a few kilometers away from the hospital another stark example of how simple land management can be the difference between
life and death? These vineyards save from devastation despite being just steps away from 20 meter high flames.
ZOREF: Thing is to configure an island inside of a Green Island. The island is this irrigated area vineyard for winery that is irrigated with time
cultivated all the time, so it doesn't catch the fire.
GOLD (voice over): Constantly irrigated vines full of water plus carefully managed and cleaned forest floor helped keep these valuable vineyards from
burning. Despite the fact that again, no firefighters reach this area.
GOLD (on camera): What is it about this these vineyards that can teach us about how to manage fires?
ZOREF: To take an area that you think it's good to stop a fire and to make very intense cultivation of agriculture, whatever it is either a vineyard,
an orchard, olive orchard, whatever, and those areas are very efficient and they give you other purposes other services.
GOLD (voice over): As Zoref says the climate reality is changing. That's a fact. As fires raged for longer, faster and stronger, people like him are
doing what they can with what they have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: Becky 11 years ago, more than 40 people died in the Carmel fires in Northern Israel, but Zoref says because of lessons learned from that fire
in terms of land management, as well as the hard work of firefighters. And of course, some luck no lives were lost in those August fires, Becky.
ANDERSON: Hadas Gold there for you. Thank Hadas! Climate crisis front and center this week at as the Dubai Expo coming up Meteorologist Chad Myers
breaks down the battle that lies ahead if we don't decrease our carbon emissions to help save our planet.
And fighting for their lives we talk to three young climate activists wary of the threat of climate change on their agendas, forcing the hands of
ANDERSON: Well, over and over again, we've talked about the climate crisis here on "Connect the World" and the catastrophic and intense weather events
brought on by the warming of our planet. So things to improve, we're going to need to do a lot more to lower our rate of emissions and remove carbon
from the atmosphere.
Chad Myers, my colleague now outlines some of the challenges that we all of us face as we look for answers.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Manmade climate change or global warming is simply this, a buildup of excess gases called greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere, and they're called greenhouse gases because they act just like a greenhouse.
The air wants to leave the atmosphere but it's bounced back down to the surface and back and forth and back and forth.
MYERS: Just like keeping your planets warm in your greenhouse. These gases mainly carbon dioxide, methane though and another one also nitrous oxide,
all part of burning fossil fuels for industry for making electricity for transportation and even agriculture.
Now the concentration of these greenhouse gases has been going up ever since the Industrial Revolution. But the dramatic increase has really been
in the past 60 years, more cars on the road, more people on the planet. And that's why it was going up so quickly.
The IPCC this year said that the globe has already warmed 1.1 to 1.2 degrees Celsius. Now we're seeing the effects of this, from flash flooding
to bigger storms to drought and forest fires, all part of this warming of the atmosphere, changing the climate in some places across the globe.
Those same scientists have warned that these and other impacts will get progressively worse if we reach some key thresholds, mainly 1.5 or 2.0
degrees Celsius above where we were before we started burning fossil fuels, which is why the world's nations pledged to try to keep this warming below
That happened in 2015 with the Paris Climate Agreement. The amount we continue to let the atmosphere warm is really up to us. How much more
carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases do we pump into it before we start slowing that down.
And more importantly, can we get any carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Scientists know that if we put in 1000 Gig tons, that's 1 billion tons of
carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, our atmosphere is going to warm another point four five degrees Celsius.
So how long you think it's going to take for us to get to 1.5 or 2.0? Well, it won't take long at the rate we're putting it into right now. Think of
filling up a sink. The amount already in the sink is the amount of excess greenhouse gases that we have already put into the atmosphere 23,190 --Giga
tons so far, that's given us a level rise of 1.1 degrees Celsius.
Now we're filling up the sink at a rate of about 40 Giga tons per year. That's the faucet. This represents the planet's annual emissions of
greenhouse gases. Note we have been turning up the faucet over the recent decades. Now if the rate just stays the same, we're likely to reach 1.5
degrees in about 10 years.
And if we don't turn down this faucet, we're going to reach two degrees between 25 and 30 years from right now. Now exactly when we reach these
thresholds as a matter of how soon we can turn away from fossil fuel and get to more renewables, the more we can take out and the less fossil fuel
we can burn, the longer it will take to get to those thresholds.
There are only two ways to stop this thing from filling up further. Turn down the faucet or open the drain. Draining water out of the sink requires
removing carbon from the atmosphere. This happens naturally from things like trees and even the ocean.
But we have long since overwhelmed the planet's natural ability to keep up. And that brings us to the idea of carbon capture and removal.
Now carbon capture happens with natural sinks like planting trees and things or through manmade carbon removal and storage technologies, many of
which are not yet proven, but they could be scaled and they could be developed because the technology is there.
Should be obvious by now that we need to turn off this faucet urgently turn it down before the sink overflows. We also need to find more technology and
how to get carbon out of the atmosphere as soon as possible.
ANDERSON: Well, it's Chad Myers for you breaking through those crucial temperature thresholds then will bring catastrophic weather events, floods,
wildfires and droughts. We've seen the ferocity of climate change in recent months, those most affected our kids and their kids will face these
challenges during their lifetimes.
The impacts of climate change will only become more intense, more frequent and more widespread. This is not me saying this. This is according to a
report published in the journal Science last month, which estimates that children born in 2020 could experience a seven fold increase in extreme
weather events compared to their grandparents.
A seven year old today could live through five times more drought and three times more floods. If climate pledges are not kept today, today's babies
could grow up to experience a world completely different to the one we live in today.
And let me tell you, it's a pretty horrid looking world. Well, young activist's advocates realize this and they are fighting for the future.
They regularly challenged political leaders on the world stage and believe they can drive real change.
Well, joining me now all three of those advocates with real skin in the game. Nisreen Elsaim is the Chair of the U.N.'s Climate Change Youth
ANDERSON: Sagarika Sriram is the Founder and CEO of Kids for a Better World and Lara Rudar is the UAE's Ambassador for Nature, it is great to have you
all on the show. Guys, let me start with you, Nisreen.
Greta Thunberg has called out politicians around the world time and again for what she would describe as blah, blah, blah, empty rhetoric, she says,
in other words, is that useful?
NISREEN ELSAIM, CHAIR, U.N. YOUTH ADVISORY GROUP ON CLIMATE CHANGE: Well, I think actually, she meant to send a message that we are in urgent time and
we need an urgent action. But it's not necessarily what's happening route is blah, blah, blah and it's certainly green jobs are not blah, blah, blah.
I know people in the middle and low classes are looking for jobs and we need to make these jobs, green to have this better future that we're
actually advocating for. So the sense of urgency I have, of course, I agree. But the sense of blah, blah, blah is something we need to tackle a
ANDERSON: A climate change, you know, catastrophe that we face directly impacts your generation, guys. 10, 20, 30 years from now, you will be the
ones living with the consequences. You've attended many climate summits. Here this is climate and biodiversity week, what's your message as you
attend an event like this?
As you attend, for example, as I'm pretty sure you guys will, in many others well, COP 26 going for? What's the message here?
SAGARIKA SRIRAM, FOUNDER AND CEO, KIDS FOR A BETTER WORLD: I think the message would be that children and members of the youth really do have a
perspective and a voice that they should share to create an impact and just expand on what is being said about the blah, blah, blah moment.
I think she's completely right. I think blah, blah, blah, really dismisses the issues. And I think there's a better way to wear that and tackle that,
rather than completely dismissing with my mind.
ANDERSON: So how do you tackle the issues? How do you move away from the sort of activism to a certain extent? I mean, you guys, you guys call
yourself advocates, advocates for a cleaner, safer, healthier world going forward.
You're from the UAE, where we are seeing, for example, a pivot to clean energy. This is a regional leader. Just tell me what your message is at
LARA RUDAR, UAE AMBASSADOR FOR NATURE: Yes, so we were at these for Climate Conference. And essentially, one key thing that I learned from summits was
that there's a difference between advocates and activists.
So advocates usually well, in my opinion, work within their communities to outreach to different events, create an impact in their local or
international communities about the environments, you know, educate others actually tackle these issues.
Activists are incredible are putting pressure on governments and also corporations to actually hold them accountable to their actions. Both of
these groups are extremely important. And someone can be both an activist and advocates.
But I feel like many youth are mislabeled as activists. I don't personally go to protests and I don't organize climate strikes, like my friends and
you know the UK and America because here, of course, we can't do that. But we find other ways to actually --
ANDERSON: Give me an example.
RUDAR: Yes. So essentially, I'm a UAE Ambassador of Nature. So I'm working with the Emirates Nations of WF kind of organization here in the UAE.
And we work very closely with the ministry of climate change and environment to give youth the abilities and the skills and the knowledge to
create impact in their own communities, but also reach youth voices to these cabinet ministers and the members to kind of have this open
conversation about the environment.
ANDERSON: Are they listening?
RUDAR: Yes, I mean, in the UAE, we are very fortunate to have ministers who are listening to us. So of course, that is not the case --
ANDERSON: Not the case everywhere. And I want to talk about that because you are nodding away here before I come to you, Sagarika, you're the
Founder and CEO of Kids for a Better World, just briefly explain what you are up to.
SRIRAM: Yep. So Kids for a Better World is basically an organization that I set up five years ago, which essentially focuses on how children can come
together globally over an e-platform and create change wherever they are and basically create global impact.
So in the UAE, we've worked with organizations like Unilever in the Middle East, as --. And my goal is essentially to just educate children from a
young age and tackle the problem from the beginning.
So teach children through climate education in schools, about what they can really do to protect the environment so they're educated and they can make
the right choice.
ANDERSON: And they get it right?
ANDERSON: The youngsters get it. Nisreen, you are the Chair of the U.N.'s Climate Change Youth Advisory Group. So the viewers out there who might see
that as a lofty but difficult sort of file to get their heads around, what does that mean?
ELSAIM: Yes, it's actually a very challenging position. Our main mandate is actually to advise the Secretary General and be the bridge between young
people and Secretary General but also between Secretary General and young people.
And it's also us giving the perspective of the young people on how a secretary general is actually having its own climate strategy and how
different U.N. agencies are doing regarding climate.
ANDERSON: And he is very, very vocal about putting climate at the center of so much of his work. But tell me, let's be quite honest here. How tough is
ELSAIM: It's like we are pushing a wall, the seven of us. And this is because U.N. is a member state found organization.
And member state controls somehow how you end react. And it's a big body with a lot of arms and a lot of branches, let me say, so the bureaucracy
within the U.N. and also having this influence by members that is actually lagging behind a little bit.
ANDERSON: I want to get just a little bit of your personal story because of course you're from Sudan, a country where more than three quarters of the
population are farmers or pastoralists.
They will be one of the groups most affected by rising heat and extreme weather because of the prop failures that are likely to follow electric
I mean, you know, some of this stuff is just pie in the sky stop for a country like your own. Alok Sharma, on the show recently, who is co-host of
the Glasgow summit, this is what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALOK SHARMA, COP26 PRESIDENT: This is ultimately a negotiation amongst almost 200 countries. And it is absolutely vital that those developing
nations as climate vulnerable nations are able to sit at the same table as the big emitters, the big developed economies look them in the eye face to
face as part of this negotiation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: It's absolutely crucial. He says that the developing world is at the table. And that was an answer to actually a question about who's going
to turn up at COP.
So I mean, they are absolutely determined that as many of the 192, whatever nations will be at that table. Just explain, you know, the view of the
developing world as it were from your perspective, what are the challenges?
ELSAIM: Well, I will start from a bit behind where we are; let's talk about SDGs for example, the Sustainable Development Goals. The main vision of the
Sustainable Development Goals is leaving no one behind.
Well, I know and I'm sure that a lot of people in Sudan in many other countries feel already left behind; you will speak about the agriculture
pastures - the farmers and the pastures.
And you said will and this is actually not an actual description because it's already happening route right now. And it's happening severely. Well,
Sudan is the number six when it comes to climate vulnerability.
It's not only impacting the economy, it's not only impacting the food security, but it's also impacting the peace and security within the country
itself. We have a lot of migration, internal and also outside. And these migrations are happening because of droughts, because of floods and so on.
All of these migrations ended up with conflicts, all of these conflicts ending up with a bigger conflict. I remember in 2007, previous Secretary
General Mr. Ban Ki-moon mentioned that the war in Darfur as the first climate conflict and it's even getting worse and worse and worse.
I'm not sure if you heard of Kabul; Kabul is the best service - the local term of Kabul. And we are experiencing, by far more, we can see we can go
out and the infrastructure does not support this.
So now it's not only the issue of emissions, not only the issue of climate impacts and climate crisis, but it's also an issue of development, are we
going to be able to develop or not?
ANDERSON: Listen, I want you all back on a regular basis, because you have made your points and it is up to your generation to get loud, get louder,
you're already loud. And we need to hold my generation and those who are in positions of leadership to account.
So I send the invitation to the three of you on a regular basis. I want to see you back on the show, wherever you are in the world, don't matter
whether you're here in the UAE for the regular programming, wherever you are in the world. I want you back. It would be great to have you on and
keep advocating. Yes.
ELSAIM: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Thank you very much. Indeed, countries dealing with political and economic turmoil, even war are among those represented here in Dubai at
Expo 2020 ahead. How these nations are trying to put their best foot forward during what off times are uglier realities today.
ANDERSON: We are following breaking news at a school in Texas in the U.S. Police in the city of Arlington say that they are on the scene of a
shooting at a high school.
Please also say they are doing a methodical search of the premises and I will get you more developments on this story of course as they come in.
Almost 200 countries have crews and representatives here in Dubai for what is this World Expo.
And they are putting their best foot forward to attract investment, tourism and attention. But CNN's Scott McLean found that what you see here at Expo
2020 can be starkly different from the reality of the world out there in 2021. Have a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): If Expo 2020 in Dubai is supposed to be a global village; it's a sanitized, newly built
luxury version, perfectly manicured.
Walkways and a newly built home for each of the 192 national governments represented. Even countries plagued by extreme poverty, civil war or a
violent struggle over control of government.
Earlier this year after a landslide election won by the incumbent party of leader - Aung San Suu Kyi's, Myanmar's military alleged fraud stage dequeue
arrested Suu Kyi - and violently crackdown on protest and dissent. Walking through the Myanmar pavilion at Expo, you'd never know it.
LEVI SAP NEI THANG, MYANMAR PAVILION DEPUTY COMMISSIONER GENERAL: And attacking tourism and then promoting our culture and promoting my people.
MCLEAN (on camera): Would you still want tourists to go to Myanmar today?
THANG: I want them to come but it's may not be a good time.
MCLEAN (voice over): Levi Sap Nei Thang is a successful entrepreneur in the U.S. and a household name in Myanmar. She says she was appointed to run the
pavilion by Suu Kyi's - previous government five years ago.
She's technically the pavilion's Deputy Commissioner General, Deputy because Myanmar's military junta is now in charge of the country. And at
least on paper the pavilion too.
THANG: I do this for my people, not for any political parties.
MCLEAN (voice over): Thang says she paid to outfit the pavilion from her own pocket. If she's forced out, she doesn't know what she'll do with the
boxes upon boxes of items she's brought with her.
MCLEAN (on camera): Do you think that someone from the current government would rather have this pavilion?
THANG: I think they want to send a new team.
MCLEAN (voice over): The Burmese military government did not respond to requests for comment. Meanwhile, across the road, there is no sign that the
Taliban plan to occupy the Afghanistan Pavilion. It's fully built inside and out with empty shelves and display cases.
MCLEAN (voice over): There's no sign that any Afghans have actually been here. War torn Syria, though, is represented at Expo 2020. And here there's
no doubt that's in charge.
The portrait of President Bashar al-Assad accused of using chemical weapons on his own people is displayed amongst 1500 wooden paintings that aim to
represent the unity of a country torn apart by a decade of civil war.
At the Yemen pavilion, a 300 year old manuscript and some of the Gulf's rarer swords are on display. But there's no mention of the Saudi led war
that's killed more than 200,000 people.
Last year, a massive explosion rocked the Beirut port in Lebanon, killing hundreds and injuring thousands a country already in the midst of a
financial crisis that according to a recent UN report has pushed almost three quarters of the population into poverty. But inside the expo
pavilion, it's another world.
The Lebanon pavilion, unlike most every other has no connection to the dysfunctional Lebanese Government blamed for swinging the country from
crisis to crisis. Instead, the organizers say it's here, thanks to Lebanese businesses and xpaths.
MCLEAN (on camera): Do you ever think that maybe you're carrying water for the government?
NATHALIE HABCHI HARFOUCHE, LEBANON PAVILION DIRECTOR: We're not carrying water to the government, we're not doing their job, we're doing it for the
people. And if they're not willing to do it, then we'll do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: It's hot out here this evening. Just ahead, I'll be connecting you to a top goal safe drinking water for everyone. My next guest says
there's technology to make that happen. Let's see what he means after this short break.
ANDERSON: Well during the show and all week indeed I'm bringing you the issues and indeed the innovations from climate week here at the Dubai Expo.
We all know water stress is a huge problem.
No part of the world knows that better than here in the Middle East in the Gulf where water is simply running out. The region is witnessed persistent
drought and scorching temperatures and climate change to over use and projections for the future of water here are grim.
Well, Neil Grimmer is on the front lines in the battle against the climate crisis is - President of SOURCE which produces cleans drinking water from
two unlimited resources, sunlight and air. Explain Sir, if you will.
NEIL GRIMMER, BRAND PRESIDENT, SOURCE: Thanks for having me.
ANDERSON: No worries.
GRIMMER: So at SOURCE Global we have a technology called a hydro panel. And it looks like a solar panel. But really what it's doing is using the energy
and the heat of the sun to take the water vapor that's naturally in the air all around us and condense it out into purified drinking water.
GRIMMER: What's amazing about this is a totally decentralized, it doesn't require pipes, it doesn't require drilling into the ground, the limited
resources we have. And so it's effectively tapping into the same method that solar did back in the day, which are unlimited resources of sun and
air to create unlimited drinking water.
ANDERSON: You came up with this, is it you?
GRIMMER: My founder and CEO - a dear friend of mine came up with this.
ANDERSON: Listen, it sounds like a great business proposition and you are bang on as far as the narrative is concerned at present. I'm saying it
sounds like a great business proposition.
And that's slight sort of cynically raised eye, which I shouldn't do, really, because this is, you know, we are looking for solutions out there
in this climate crisis that we face.
GRIMMER: That's right.
ANDERSON: But what some market for this genuinely, I am asking you as a businessman?
GRIMMER: No, we have, we have a broad application. As you can imagine, a water crisis is a humanitarian crisis that affects all parts of society,
developed countries, the countries that that have lacking or failing infrastructure in the United States alone, in our major cities, our pipes
And so we need infrastructure like this, which is decentralized can be dropped down without having to put in trillions of dollars into redoing the
infrastructure we have.
ANDERSON: And the U.S. is probably the last place, either thought that this was actually useful because you're talking about using this technology in
places that just simply don't have enough water or clean water.
GRIMMER: That's exactly right.
ANDERSON: I'm going to close the show. So I'm going to take one of those is that is that --?
GRIMMER: Well, this is a --yes please.
ANDERSON: All right.
GRIMMER: Well, this was an exciting product, we are watching this.
ANDERSON: I'm showing to the camera because that will be like an advert.
GRIMMER: I see. We're launching this in the UAE source water so it's water from the sky. And we're doing it in partnership with Misaki here.
GRIMMER: So being able to bring this but we equally do. We just did an installation of 500 homes to the Navajo Nation.
GRIMMER: Bringing running water to homes for the first time ever, so very exciting.
ANDERSON: Listen, I applaud you, good luck with that.
GRIMMER: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Navajo Nation very close to where I spent a long time in the state of Arizona, I love it. Thank you sir very much.
GRIMMER: Thanks for having me.
ANDERSON: And forever you are watching in the world, it is a very good evening.