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Connect the World
Nobel Peace Prize: Journalist Maria Ressa & Dmitry Muratov Win Award; Homophobia in Ghana: Lawmakers to Debate Anti-Gay Draft Bill this Month; Maldives Under Threat From Rising Sea Levels; UAE is First Gulf State to Commit to Net Zero Emissions; U.K. Coastline Threatened with Extreme Erosion; U.S. Submarine Hits Unknown Object In S. China Sea; Superpowers China & U.S. go Head-to-Head in Dubai. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired October 08, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.
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BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome back to "Connect the World" wherever you are watching. You are more than welcome. It is a
testament to the importance of free speech under threat around the globe.
For the first time in more than eight years, two journalists have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Dmitry Muratov is the first Russian to win
the prize since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. For decades, he's defied the Kremlin with investigations into wrongdoing and corruption.
Maria Ressa is also the first ever Nobel winner from the Philippines. She has highlighted the growing authoritarianism in her native country, and
says, journalists must keep doing their job.
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MARIA RESSA, NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER: The journalists will continue doing our jobs, but they're always repercussions if you do a story someone
doesn't like. I think what our public has realized is that Rappler will keep doing those stories. Journalists will keep doing those stories, and
that's what I hope. That's what I hope will give us more power to do this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: We are proud to say that Maria is a former CNN Correspondent.
Life could get a lot tougher for Ghana's LGBTQ community. Ghanaian lawmakers are set to debate a controversial bill in the coming weeks that
will bring in one of the harshest, anti-gay laws in all of Africa. The draft law would imprison LGBTQ people for public displays of affection.
Cross dressing could lead to a fine or jail time and certain types of medical support would be made illegal. Even supporters and advocates would
face up to a decade behind bars.
Many in Ghana are in hiding and fearing for their safety. CNN's David McKenzie and a team went there to hear some of their stories. And I have to
warn you some of the images in their report are quite disturbing.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Hey, it's David. How are you doing?
MCKENZIE (voice-over): We are heading to a safe house in Accra.
MCKENZIE (on camera): We're probably about 30 minutes from your live location now.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Run by gay activists.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
MCKENZIE (on camera): Can we carry in the cameras or we need to keep the cameras in boxes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think let's carry it in boxes.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): We're meeting Joe. We agreed to hide his identity, because he's afraid of being attacked again.
MCKENZIE (on camera): Take me back to that moment when those men came and started harassing you.
JOE, HOMOPHOBIC ATTACK VICTIM: I was shaking when they took me to their room and they set up this - their cameras and I was shooting, I was crying.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Is crime, the gang of men say, approaching another man. Is it true that you told him that you like him? They ask. Yes, he
JOE: Like how can this happen to me? They beat me around 9:00 to 11:00. All those times they were beating me.
I wanted to kill myself. For me when I saw this video, I was like it would be better I kill myself, because I have nowhere to go.
MCKENZIE (on camera): And your dad threw you out? And what was that moment like?
JOE: I cried like never before.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Often captured in videos too graphic to show and shared on social media. Part of a pattern of brutal, verbal and physical
attacks by vigilantes to humiliate LGBTQ Ghanaians. Soon, the community fears, they could be targeted by this state.
MCKENZIE (on camera): What is your message to someone who is LGBT in Ghana right now?
EMMANUEL BEDZRAH, GHANAIAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Well, we love them, as we always say we love them.
MCKENZIE (on camera): But you want to send them to prison?
BEDZRAH: No, we are asking them not to do it.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): A draft law to be debated in weeks coerces LGBTQ Ghanaians to choose between jailtime, and so called conversion therapy,
seen by UN experts as torture. It prosecutes same sex displays of affection. Even punishes activists supporting the community. Activists call
it a homophobe's dream.
MCKENZIE (on camera): Today in 2021, you believe that someone who supports openly the LGBT community should potentially go to prison for 10 years?
BEDZRAH: Of course.
MCKENZIE (on camera): Why is that?
BEDZRAH: Because against our culture, it's against our norm. It's against our tradition. And we don't want things that are against our sensibility
should be given priority in our society.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Tragically, the LGBTQ community here says that tolerance was slowly improving in Ghana.
GREGORY ANDREWS, AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER TO GHANA: And I know that African cultures are cultures of tolerance, diversity, acceptance and
MCKENZIE (voice-over): When they opened a support center in January, it rallied conservative lawmakers who say that being gay is an African of
Backed by powerful religious groups, the leadership of the million strong Pentecostal church, say LGBTQ organizations are a national security threat.
MCKENZIE (on camera): We I'm struggling a little bit to get hold of someone--
MCKENZIE (voice-over): But they refused to speak to us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You talk to our leadership.
MCKENZIE (on camera): To the leadership.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): And their security stopped us from filming.
MCKENZIE (on camera): We're just trying to speak to some people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not allowed.
MCKENZIE (on camera): It's not allowed.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): The religious support for the bill here is absolute.
MCKENZIE (on camera): It's one thing promoting the values of the church, it's another thing to prosecute those who are identifying like this. So why
take that extra step?
ARCHBISHOP PHILIP NAAMEH, PRESIDENT, GHANA CATHOLIC BISHOPS COUNCIL: It is not the values of the church. It's the values of the human species. The
human being is created to be in a family and to propagate itself. It's not just the church.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the same Bible told people to love thy neighbor as thyself, why would you want to torture your own neighbor? Why would you
want to torture your child?
MCKENZIE (voice-over): This prominent gay activist has already gone underground. The draft bill calls on Ghanaians to hand in their LGBTQ
neighbors for prosecution.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are waiting for the bill to pass so that they can actually beat you up. They can actually pick you and do whatever they want
MCKENZIE (voice-over): The limited space Ghanaians like Joe had just to be themselves could soon vanish, and they will need to move further into the
MCKENZIE (on camera): What is your message to those politicians?
JOE: We are all human beings. Their sons and their daughters can be like me. My answer for them is they should put a stop to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: David McKenzie, who filed that report joins us now live from Johannesburg. What happens next?
MCKENZIE: What happens next is this bill will be debated when parliament starts in the 26th of October. And you've had these religious groups and
ultra conservative groups in Ghana, really pushing, and some might say, threatening MPs to vote for the bill. They might also be some politics at
In that report, we talked about how Ghanaian leadership in these conservative circles called being gay un-African. Well, in fact, our
reporting shows that there is inspiration that might have come from U.S. conservative groups, from the outside to help inspire this law. I spoke to
the head of the World Congress of Families who many see as key in promoting these kind of anti LGBTQ legislations.
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BRIAN BROWN, PRESIDENT, WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES: No one has a right to redefine family for everyone else, family is what it is. And you can try
and couch these issues in rights, but they aren't.
MCKENZIE (on camera): Would LGBT rights not be human rights?
BROWN: It's not real. You can attach yourself as much as you want to euphemisms like LGBT rights. But if they aren't based in fundamental human
nature, they're not rights at all. And I don't think you need to look for a big boogeyman behind all of this legislation in Africa or elsewhere. It's
going to come from the people themselves.
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MCKENZIE: Well, Becky, I expect there will be a lot of pressure building, both in public and behind the scenes, from particularly Western nations to
stop lawmakers moving forward. But they really seem to be adamant to prosecute and persecute gay Ghanaians.
ANDERSON: David, thank you.
You're watching "Connect the World". It's Climate Week here at the Dubai Expo. Later in the show, the climate crisis is disturbing the rhythm of one
of England's ancient beaches. We'll take a look at the threat to the U.K. coastline and what conservationists are doing about it.
It looks beautiful, doesn't it? But this paradise is under threat by a clear and present danger, and that is climate change. The first
democratically elected President of the Maldives is my guest after the break.
Plus, there are questions over how to solve the global energy crunch. We look for the answers next with a panel of experts on that issue. Stay with
ANDERSON: Well, a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean is under major threat from climate change and rising sea levels. The danger is so dire
that the President of the Maldives told the UN General Assembly last week that it was a death sentence for the islands.
To call attention to the danger, a former president actually held an underwater meeting back in 2009. Mohamed Nasheed and his cabinet wore scuba
gear and went five meters underwater, sat at a table and signed a declaration, calling for global cuts in carbon emissions.
Mohamed Nasheed is the first democratically elected President of the Maldives. He currently serves as Parliament Speaker. And, sir, an
assassination attempt made against you earlier this year, which I do want to discuss, but you join us now to discuss mostly the issue that impacts
everybody on this planet and that is the climate.
And I want to go back and just look at some of those images of that cabinet meeting that you held famously in 2009 before the COP17 - yes, folks that
COP17 meeting in Denmark, in 2009. We sit here, what - 13 - 12-13 years later, and as far as you are concerned things have only got worse. Correct?
MOHAMED NASHEED, FORMER MALDIVES PRESIDENT: That is - thank you very much, and thank you for having me. So what does a 1.2 degree heated world look
like? Coastal erosion, because our reefs are bleaching of high temperatures, the ocean temperatures have gone up. The bleaching kills the
reef, and therefore the wave energy on the coast is higher, and therefore erosion.
Our water is contaminated. More than 90 percent of our islands have water contamination issues. 90 percent of our islands have coastal erosion
issues. The winds are higher. We are primarily fishermen. We make our livelihood out of fishing. And we are islands, and therefore when the winds
are high, the waves are high. Life is getting very, very stressed.
ANDERSON: How do you or who do you blame?
NASHEED: Well, I do not necessarily want to point fingers at people. You did not invent the internal carbon - the internal combustion engine to
murder me. You wanted to have a good life, you wanted to have medicine, you wanted to eradicate the world of poverty and so on. That's why development
But later on, we've realized that this is wrong. The poisonous gas - gases emitted to our atmosphere is killing all of us.
ANDERSON: How significant emitter are you, just out of interest?
NASHEED: We are not emitting anything. Not even, 0.001 percent of the total emitting - emissions.
ANDERSON: And yet you are so heavily impacted.
NASHEED: And we--
ANDERSON: One of the most vulnerable countries in the world.
NASHEED: --one of the most impacted countries.
ANDERSON: So what needs to be done?
NASHEED: Well, I think we need to agree on 1.5 degrees. Countries must have a high ambition to say that they would become carbon neutral, they will
become net zero in 2030. But a lot of countries are saying that they're going to do it in 2050.
ANDERSON: Is that too late for you?
NASHEED: Which is good news. Now, we know what a 1.2 degree world is looking like. We know - not just the Maldives, we know what is happening in
Germany, we know what is happening in the United States, in Serbia, in Antarctica, all over the world. But that's with a 1.2 degree planet. Now if
you take that to 1.5 or if you take that to 2, you know how harmful that can become.
ANDERSON: Is 2 degrees apocalyptic for you?
NASHEED: 2 degrees would mean a death sentence. As our president recently pointed, it is a death sentence on the Maldives.
ANDERSON: The problem is that we are going in the wrong direction at the moment. I want our viewers to understand just how concerned you are.
NASHEED: Well, we will not survive as a society as a country. You imagine a situation it's not just the Maldives. I represent 48 climate vulnerable
countries - this Climate Vulnerable Forum. Prime Minister Hasina is presently the current Chair of the forum. And all these 48 countries, all
the 48 countries are extremely challenged by the changing weather.
Now, imagine a quarter of the world's population on the move, we will be leaving our home soon and going and try to find dry land. When it is the
case of an island, there is no dry land next door or on a higher ground.
ANDERSON: There is a push by climate vulnerable nations, like your own, for new United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Change and Human Rights. You
align both issues. Just explain what it is you're looking for and why there?
NASHEED: Well, firstly, just now it's been announced in Geneva that 42 countries voted for the Resolution, four, one against.
ANDERSON: One against. That was China.
NASHEED: And it passed. I should - I thank Marshall Islands and Bangladesh for their amazing leadership in the run up to the Resolution.
The idea is this. Let's say there's bad weather, some disaster happens, you lose your home. When I'm in prison, for instance, the Human Rights Council
comes to the prison and tries to find out who did what, and what happened. When there is a disaster in the Maldives, in Marshall Islands, in
Bangladesh, in Tanzania, we would like someone to - United Nations to come and say, OK, what happened, who did what? High emissions, of course, is
partly to the blame.
NASHEED: And rich countries have pledged adaptation money - 100 billion a year. If that money also had come, and if these countries have been able to
adapt for the extreme weather, the impacts would be far less. So we would like the UN Special Rapporteur on Climate Change, to arrive on site and
say, OK, this is what has happened.
Sometimes it might be the host country ripping up the reef to build an airport. That might be also to blame to a certain extent.
ANDERSON: I know that you'll be at COP26. I know that you will make your voice heard. It's hot out here. Both of us sweating so much. But it's good
to have you ahead of that meeting. Please come back. Talk to us then. And we wish you the best. It's very important to have your point, sir. Thank
you very much indeed for joining us.
Oil price is surging this hour, part of a wider crisis in the fossil fuel industry. This is how prices stand right now. There are predictions a
barrel could cost $100 in the not too distant future. Climate is a major factor in this changes.
As we've been reporting UAE has become the first Gulf state to commit to net zero carbon emissions. I spoke to the country's climate minister who
discussed how the energy industry needs to adapt.
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MARIAM ALMHEIRI, UAE CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT MINISTER: We're in an energy transition. We in the UAE have actually thought of this many years back. It
all started 15 years ago, actually, when we started investing in renewables. And really, if you think about it now, we will be providing oil
and gas if it's still needed, and we can't just switch off the tap. This is a transition.
And what we have to be really careful of is that any hydrocarbons need to be low carbon. And we're actually very lucky that the UAE has a competitive
advantage and that our hydrocarbons are amongst the lowest carbon intensive. So this is our competitive advantage.
So yes, oil and gas is still needed. But as we go through this energy transition, we are diversifying.
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ANDERSON: Let's bring in our panel on the pressing issue. It's a global issue, of course. Joining us is Robin Mills, the CEO of Qamar Energy, which
provides Consultancy Services to energy companies. And Francesco La Camera, who is Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency which
has just signed a pledge with the Italian oil company Eni to push forward renewable energy. It's good to have you both.
Let me start with, sir, you. Robin, I just want to get your response to the announcement here that the UAE has now officially a net zero stated goal
for 2050. Your response, how important is that do you think?
ROBIN MILLS, CEO, QAMAR ENERGY: Well, it's tremendously important, I think, because it's the first major oil producer from outside the OECD that is
committed to a net zero goal. And it has shown that there's confidence, even oil and gas producers that they can actually achieve this.
So it's a realistic target and something that they not only can aim for, but should be aiming for. I'd expect this will lead the way for other major
oil and gas producers to make this commitment too. And it's, obviously, a huge challenge for a country whose economy has diversified over the years,
but which is still very much built on the export of hydrocarbons to develop a new economic model and ready to pioneer that for the Middle East region
and indeed the world.
ANDERSON: The irony, Francesco, of course, is that we are talking at this point at the potential for $100 on the barrel as far as oil is concerned.
And many people will say, well, when you see those sort of numbers, what sort of enthusiasm are the big oil and gas producers going to have to look
towards a cleaner future?
And there's no suggestion, of course, here in the UAE they will stop pumping oil. But you certainly heard there from the climate minister who
understands that a pivot to clean energy makes sense economically for this country's future, your response?
FRANCESCO LA CAMERA, DIRECTOR GENERAL INTERNATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY AGENCY: It absolutely makes, Becky. And I think that just as been mentioned
already 15 years ago, the UAE started to invest in renewables.
I want to be clear, if I can, there is no doubt that we are going to a new energy system, where the main driver will be electrification and energy
efficiency. And this transition will be enabled by a renewables are complemented by renewables and sustainable biomass. So this is the future.
So the question is not how the future will be. So the direction traveled is already clear. The fact is that if we have the speed to be coherent with
the Paris Agreement, and we are seeing there is an acceleration of it. So in this point of view, I can say my point of view that the UAE leadership
is looking real to the future. So they want to make their economy to be competitive, not only today through the oil and gas, by try to be
competitive also in the future.
ANDERSON: He just signed a deal with Eni, the Italian energy giant. I just wonder if you want to just start provided some more detail on that, because
it is your organization who has given the world a stark warning that over $100 trillion needs to be spent by 2050 if the world is to meet its
And background was talking today, of course, is an energy crisis that I want to discuss with both of you. And the flushing out, it has to be said
Francesco, of some of the renewable energy sources, for example, in the U.K. which are which are seemingly somewhat unreliable at a time when there
is such an energy crunch. You maybe want to start with the Eni deal.
CAMERA: If I can, Becky. I think the agreement with the Eni is a very simple. The fact that we have all on board in the energy transmission. So
the oil, gas company, they have competences, they have finance, they have the skills that can be very useful in driving the economy to a clean energy
system. So this is the reason for the agreement, and also a push for asking the oil and gas company to invest in renewables into a least developed
Concerning what's happening with the price, it is completely natural. I think that we agree fully with what has been saved by the Chief of the
European Commission who sort of on the line yesterday, is the nature of the fossil fuel that the prices are under this continuing stress up and down -
the volatility of price.
So we have to move as soon as possible to the renewables energy based system because it has been sure. It has been proved that it's the most
resilient and efficient way to produce electricity back, and must be used for all the energy system.
ANDERSON: Stay with me. Robin, I want to bring you in at this point. Europe facing a real energy crisis at this point, is that and an inconvenient
truth three weeks out from COP26, is that consumers are seeing high prices. The price of gas is soaring, price of oil soaring at this point, is this
potentially a benefit as we go into COP26?
Are people seeing the need here, do you think, for a different energy mix? Or could this be a real challenge for those who are trying to push this
pivot to clean energy for at COP? How do you see this energy crisis fitting into the mix at present?
MILLS: People are going to interpret this through their own lenses, right. The renewable energy advocates will say this shows that oil and gas are too
expensive, not reliable, we need to move quicker to renewables. The - those who are skeptical on climate change will show this shows the dangers of
trying to go too fast to renewables.
I mean, really, neither of those are true. Renewables are only a very small contributor to this crisis. It's really due to years of underinvestment and
in the last year or so to some Russian strategic behavior.
But longer term, this is a warning, I think, of what happens if we try to go too quickly on the supply side of hydrocarbons and replacing
hydrocarbons with renewables and other energy forms, but we don't think enough about the demand side. Those two sides have to go together.
It's all very well generating lot of renewable electricity and generating hydrogen and so on, but if we don't have the technologies that are ready to
use them, and the demand ready to use it, we will see these price crunches, these shortages. So those two parts need to go together.
And I think that should be one of the strong points of emphasis at COP26. You know, how do we go ahead with the electrification of the economy that
Francisco refers to, how do we go ahead with making hydrogen a major part of the energy mixing in terms of how it's actually confident.
ANDERSON: And are you confident that we are going to get anything more than a COP26, that is a talking shop? What do you hope will - are you confident
that we will get something achieved? What do we need to see at the end of that meeting?
MILLS: Yes, I think what we do need to see is - we've been just been through once in a century pandemic, hopefully, we're coming out of that.
And we have been through - now we're going through these energy shortages. I think we need to draw some lessons from that. I hope the COP26 will say,
OK, what is the realistic way forward on balancing the transition to low carbon energy with a sensible commitment to energy security in the short
ANDERSON: Francesco, COP26, what do you hope will be achieved? And what are your expectations at this point.
CAMERA: The expectation on raising the ambition, and I think is a common expectation. I'm also - another one, and I hope that this will be the last
COP where there will be still space for the negotiation mode that has been the COP in the last year. So we have to move to a more action oriented
mood, where the COP will take stock of the progress, showcase the best experience, put in the private - the private has to be part of the COP.
So it really depends something alive, showing how we are able to speed up the transition and understand clearly with all the actors were difficulties
are an act completely. So my real aspiration is go to action. Stop negotiation mode, go to the action oriented mode over the COP - the next
ANDERSON: Let's walk on this one. Thank you, Francesco. It was a pleasure having you on. and sir, welcome to the show, I hope you and I speak on a
more regular basis.
MILLS: Thank you.
ANDERSON: It's very good to have you on.
Up next, I'll be connecting you to Britain's historic coastline and what the U.K. is doing to preserve it. That is next.
ANDERSON: Well, as we hear calls for change during Climate Week here at the Dubai Expo, there is a new UN-backed study that makes for some pretty tough
reading. It says the world coral reefs are under attack from climate change and they could disappear if the oceans keep warming. And you just heard
from the former president of the Maldives here on this show about - just how concerned he is.
Well, in Northwest England, there's an ancient beach that is highlighting Britain's own climate related threat. Extreme erosion of its coastline,
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has been to see it for herself and she joins me now from London. What did you see? What did you hear, Salma?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, Becky, it was extremely interesting, because you had rangers, conservationists, activists, who all told you the
same thing. The climate crisis is impacting this beach and it might not even exist in the way it looks in a century. And it's not just about those
slow and gradual changes caused by the climate crisis, it's about the likeliness of huge super events, huge storms, made more likely by the
climate crisis. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): The Northwest coast of England, where sand moves with the tides, but the climate crisis is disturbing the rhythm of this
ecosystem with more intense storms wrecking a barrier of sand dunes, says local official Paul Wisse.
PAUL WISSE, COASTAL EROSION RISK MANAGEMENT LEADER, GREEN SEFTON: These natural systems do provide an important defense for Sefton. Sand dunes,
obviously, hold an awful lot of sediment that when it's released on the beach helps raise the level of the beach to reduce the wave impacts.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Global warming also means rising temperatures and longer tourist seasons.
WISSE: We have an awful lot of visitors to the coastline and that can have, in some areas, a detrimental impact on the vegetation and the dune systems.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): And with tourists comes trash. Tom Norbury runs a volunteer group that picks up litter on the beach.
TOM NORBURY, HIGHTOWN BEACH CLEAN: Let people come here and keep it protected. Very fine balance. And people just think that tide (ph) also
come in. They don't realize it's a special place.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Coastal erosion is happening at an alarming rate. Experts say large swathes of coastline here are at risk of retreating more
than 65 feet in the next 20 years.
ABDELAZIZ (on camera): British scientists warned that if the climate crisis continues unchecked here, it could threaten railways, roads and more than
100,000 homes across the U.K. Coastlines like this one could disappear in the next century.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): On this protected beach rangers are repairing the sand dunes, home to rare species of lizards and toads.
ABDELAZIZ (on camera): But unpredictable weather events made more likely by climate change are threat to recovery says lead Ranger Kate Martin.
KATE MARTIN, LEAD RANGER, NATIONAL TRUST FORMBY: These storms are a real issue. You don't really know when they're coming. We're also getting freak
storm events happening in August and other times of the year, and that makes it a lot harder for us to plan our management.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Manmade infrastructure blocking the back of the dunes is another challenge Martin says.
MARTIN: If those dunes can't move and shift as they want to move and shift, and can't adapt, then that is an issue, because if they suddenly - the
dunes go, then the whole of the sea defense in this area goes.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): But beyond this coastline, humans will also need to adapt their behaviors to preserve these beaches for future generations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ: Now, Becky the Sefton coast is unique in that all of its beach defenses are what are called soft defenses, those sand dunes you saw,
rather than hard defenses like walls. But what that means is that conservationist have to maintain these soft defenses, and that's
That means reducing human pollution to make sure that vegetation holds those dunes in place. And also, it means that humans need to make space for
these dunes to move and shift. So buildings, historical institutional structures that are behind these sand dunes, conservationists say, they
might need to move.
And all while they're managing all of these different factors, their biggest concern is unpredictable storms made more likely by the climate
crisis. That's, obviously, something that is a concern way beyond that coast and looks at the larger issue of climate change in this planet and
that is what they're worried about. What do you do beyond the coast to save it? Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, this is fascinating. Thank you Salma. Salma Abdelaziz on the story.
Up next, what damaged an American nuclear powered sub in the South China Sea? Two superpowers going head to head at Expo 2020 here in Dubai. We'll
look at how their pavilions are shaping perceptions and who paid for the American display?
ANDERSON: What damaged American nuclear powered submarine, now safely back a port in Guam, after it hits something in the South China Sea this past
Saturday? That's according to two us defense officials. The number of sailors were injured aboard the USS Connecticut after it had an unknown
object. The accident comes as tensions between the U.S. and China soar over Beijing's incursions into Taiwan's air defense zone.
Oren Liebermann, joining me now from the Pentagon. What are your sources telling you about this incident?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, this happened this past Saturday. The key question, at least in terms of finding out what
went wrong is, what on earth did the USS Connecticut hit underwater and that's where the investigation goes.
Crucially, the U.S. Navy, the Pentagon rarely talks about what its submarines are doing or where they're even located. In fact, in the
official statement from U.S. Pacific Fleet they simply said, that the submarine was operating an in international waters in the Indo-Pacific
region which is thousands upon thousands of miles of water.
In fact, we found that it was in the South China Sea, which of course, is a contested sensitive piece of water. The U.S. considers it international
waters, while China claims most of it as its own sovereign territory, and that's where the tension comes in, and that's why the context here is so
At the same time that this accident happened on Saturday, China's sent 39 military aircraft into Taiwan's air defense identification zone. Just two
days later, they set a new high of airplanes going in that direction with 56. Because of that, there was essentially some pretty serious rhetoric
going back and forth between the U.S. and China. The U.S. standing by its defense of Taiwan, and its support for Taiwan's military, China saying that
the U.S. was violating the One China policy.
In terms of other U.S. forces in the region, there is a massive multinational show of force there, led by the U.K.'s Carrier Strike Group
21. There are or at least were just a few days ago two U.S. aircraft carriers with them and a number of other ships and nations as a show of
force and perhaps as a deterrent against what they see is Chinese aggression, expansionism in the region. Becky?
ANDERSON: Oren, briefly, how concerned are those that you talk to at the Pentagon about what seems to be a clear uptick in tension between
Washington and Beijing at this point?
LIEBERMANN: Well, there is always that tension. Here it's called great power competition. And a lot of the strategy now shifting away from the
wars we're so familiar with in the Middle East, is to shift towards China, not only personnel, but resources and investment and really the focus of
the Pentagon's efforts.
It is - what they see here is China basically doing the same thing. Its exercises meant to point towards the United States. Its statements about
Taiwan growing increasingly aggressive, with a Taiwanese defense minister saying just a few days ago that China could be ready to invade by 2025,
even though they'll pay a price for it.
It is this - at least the verbal aggression between the two that's leading to what we're seeing between the militaries operating fairly close together
here and operating sort of against each other in in shows a force there.
ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann, is at the Pentagon. Thank you, Oren. We could argue those tensions to a certain extent playing out here at the Expo.
The U.S. and China are among almost 200 countries represented here. They're really the only two real superpowers. They are displaying very different
messages in their pavilions. China on the left of your screen all about technology and the Communist Party. The U.S. on the right, showcasing
CNN's Scott McLean went inside both and he spoke directly with officials. He joins me now live from outside the Chinese pavilion. And what did you
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Becky. Well, you know for decades, expos - world expos have been a soft power competition between the United
States and the Soviet Union. But at this year's expo, it is quite clear that the U.S. has a new rival, that's China.
For the Chinese, Expo 2020 is very much a sales pitch for Chinese companies, Chinese technology, and of course, the Communist Party as well.
The U.S. just down the road is selling a very different message, though, one of American values and of freedom, but to be honest, they almost didn't
make it to expo at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN (voice-over): For some America will always be a shining city on a hill. At Expo 2020, it's a star spangled pavilion on the edge of the
grounds. Inside guests are greeted by a full scale replica of the Statue of Liberty's torch. The message here is unmistakable, freedom is what's put
America on top.
BOB CLARK, U.S. COMMISSIONER GENERAL, EXPO 2020: We think that this pavilion does a great job of showing our culture, our values and that
MCLEAN (on camera): But you don't look at China, a few doors down, and think we need to convince the world that our system is better than theirs?
CLARK: You know, we think freedom wins, and this is a great showcase for that.
MCLEAN (voice-over): But the U.S. almost didn't come to expo, only committing eight months before it was supposed to begin, because U.S. law
bars using public funds, the pavilion was made possible by the generosity of the Emirati government.
MCLEAN (on camera): What kind of message does that send?
CLARK: So we had to be resourceful. We had to go to corporate sponsors, other agencies, and we had to talk to the UAE and our partnership was
strong enough to bring us here.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Bring them here to showcase America's past triumphs and future goals for the final frontier, which is about the only thing it
has in common with the other superpower pavilion across the expo grounds - China, which is also keen to show off its space program.
But first guests are greeted by President Xi Jinping. Inside there's corporate videos, a concept car and a robotic panda.
MCLEAN (on camera): Nice to meet you. I've been through all three floors of this pavilion and realize there is almost nothing here about Chinese
culture, history or people. Instead, this place feels more like a tech convention, pushing Chinese companies and innovations and the goals of the
Communist Party, like high speed rail and the Belt and Road Initiative.
JAMIE METZL, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: They are trying to present a message to the world that China has arrived as a technology leader, and as
a world leader.
MCLEAN (on camera): Do you think a lot of people are likely to buy that message?
METZL: A lot of people are buying that message, because China's economy is strengthening, because China is so aggressively asserting its influence
around the world. This is a new era of big power competition.
MCLEAN (voice-over): All of it amid worsening us China relations over trade, Taiwan, Uighur genocide, Hong Kong, the origins of COVID-19, and the
list goes on. China officially declined our interview request, but we ran into the ambassador to the UAE on his way out.
NI JIAN, CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO UAE: China (inaudible) beautiful, very good beautiful.
MCLEAN (on camera): I think it looks like the pavilion of a superpower. Do you think it competes with the United States?
JIAN: No, you shouldn't, you know - OK, and what the symbolic is the happiness to the people of the world. Thank you.
MCLEAN (voice-over): So whose pavilion has the most impact is up to the millions of visitors and business people expected to attend over the next
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: China is now - is a market leader.
MCLEAN (on camera): I thought America was the market leader.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go through again. I think right now they're on the top.
MCLEAN (on camera): What was the impression that you took away from the country?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frankly speaking, the U.S. is numero uno, and will remain numero uno for years to come.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, United States been a power for a long time, and the Chinese an emerging power, so good to see the comparison of where they
MCLEAN (on camera): Feel like it's a bit of a competition.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has to be. The world is a competition for the U.S. and China. It's always been, isn't it?
MCLEAN (on camera): That's true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: Becky, the U.S. is part of the G7 led initiative called Build Back Better for the World aiming to invest in infrastructure in low and middle
income countries and to counter the Chinese Belt and Road initiative. But inside the U.S. pavilion there is no sign of any of that.
That pavilion, by the way, was built by $60 million worth of Emeriti money, which raises obvious questions about human rights and the rights of the low
paid foreign workers who built these expo grounds, toiling in the very hot sun.
Now, the Emirati government has long strongly rejected any allegations of mistreatment of workers. And Bob Clark, the Democratic Party donor
appointed to run the U.S. pavilion also told me he has no concerns at all. Though, he did suggest that next time around the Americans should spend
their own money to build their pavilion, Becky.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Scott, thank you.
Still to come, a look at our world goes to the very top mountains, often overlooked in the debate about climate change, but suffering severe
consequences. A conversation with the UN ambassador to mountains, yes, there is one, and we will have him on our show after this.
ANDERSON: When we think climate change, we tend to focus on extreme weather events or perhaps calamities like wildfires, and we should. But look up for
a moment and you will see our mountains changing too. Whether it's retreating glasses or melting snow camps, climate scientists say, mountain
areas are actually changing faster than much of the rest of our planet.
And if you want good reason to care, try this for size. Mountains provide about 80 percent of the world's fresh water supply. My next guest is an
environmental filmmaker and UN Ambassador to the mountains. He is attending Expo 2020 here to advocate on behalf of mountain environments.
He points out that more than a billion people worldwide live in the mountains. What happens high up trickles down to all of the rest of us. I'm
joined now by UN Mountain Partnership Ambassador, Jake Norton, the man who was climbed Mount Everest multiple times, I am told. Good for you, sir.
And you come to a country, which many will perceive as a country of sand. A lot of people won't know much more about the UAE in that. But of course,
when you live here, you know, this is also a country full of mountains. So what you are talking about is directly impactful here, and in other areas
around this region and beyond.
JAKE NORTON, AMBASSADOR, UN MOUNTAIN PARTNERSHIP: Yes, yes, it really is. And thank you for having me here tonight. Mountains are - I often think
they're these sweeping edifices that people - we often perceive as omnipotent and penetrable and vulnerable and. And yet we look more closely,
and not only are they, in fact, very vulnerable and suffering greatly, as you said with glacial recession and climate change hitting mountain areas
harder than many other areas around the world.
But whether we interact with mountains or not, or live near them or not, everything that happens there trickles down to us eventually.
ANDERSON: They call and speak for themselves, so they're now - now the mountain of a spokesperson in Jake. Seriously, you're speaking on behalf of
communities, of course, as well--
ANDERSON: --who you live on these mountain ranges. And you have been up Everest a number of times, and that's a that's a key opportunity for
somebody like you just to see the impact and effect of climate change. I've climbed Kilimanjaro and myself.
ANDERSON: I should have bought some pictures tonight. And there, once again, in front of my eyes I witnessed the impact of climate change. So
what needs to be done? What's your message, sir?
NORTON: You know, really the message is that the time is now to act. As you mentioned earlier, 80 percent of the world's freshwater supply comes from
mountains. Kilimanjaro is a great example. The glaciers are disappearing. And that not only is just a storehouse of water, but also impacts the
microclimates around Kilimanjaro, that's changing and there's millions of people who rely on it. So - and that's indicative of mountains all around
And so the time to act really is now, it's pressing. We have to engage with mountains. We have to recognize them as unique biospheres as we do with
islands around the world and work as a global--
ANDERSON: I get that. I get that. We have to put them front and center in this conversation by which you mean what in practical terms?
NORTON: I think as we look forward, we need to, as a global community, really work to protect these areas. Again, as you need biospheres, we have
to work because they're getting hit hardest by climate change. So we have to make bold commitments and not only talk about it, but actually stick to
it. And that comes especially from the top down. I'll say it out front in my home country, we need to believe in it, in the science we need to work
for it and we need to make changes.
ANDERSON: You weren't born in the mountains, that surprises me. But you now live in Colorado, as I understand it. Isn't that?
NORTON: Correct. Yes, I grew up in the mountain nearing the heartland of Massachusetts, so near the coast, but made my home in Colorado.
ANDERSON: Why? And where did this love come from? This passion.
NORTON: For me the mountains, they drew me in with their mightiness mm quickly showed me the softer side and the enchanting side. And I think more
than anything, what's drawn me in and continues is the cultural heritage and the legacy that you see in the mountains here in UAE and in the
Himalaya, and everywhere. There's an incredible history in the mountains, and culture that's always pulled me and even deeper.
ANDERSON: So many of the ranges that we are talking about are in countries which are really struggling.
ANDERSON: So what does the rest of the world need to do to ensure that in those areas, there is some sort of, you know, practical commitment.
NORTON: Yes. I think it goes along the lines of looking at the world, not as a bunch of silos of independent nations, but especially with climate
change with this ball of blue floating through the universe. We're all in this together.
And so we need to drop the narrative that it's the U.S. and the UAE in these fights. And we have to work together to help those as we would in our
own country that by virtue of geography are less fortunate, by virtue of history. And really work together to help developing nations solve the
pressing challenges and take responsibility for the situation we're in as the wealthier nation.
ANDERSON: If you had one area that you said, well, we not to act now, the impact will be X. Just paint a picture for our viewers so that, if they
haven't already got it, and I'm sure they will, they're bright people out there. But just paint me a picture of the sort of, if not, so what?
NORTON: Yes. Well, I think one of the greatest examples to me is the Ruwenzori Mountains on the border of Uganda and Democratic Republic of
Congo. When the Duke of Abruzzi went in there in 1906, they documented 44 distinct named glaciers in the range. The most glaciers in an equatorial
And now there's less than half of those glaciers and what remains have less than half of their original mass. And within a few decades, they'll
probably be gone. And so that's this beautiful range of glaciated peaks on the equator that will be denuded of their glaciers within our lifetimes.
ANDERSON: You have been a joy to have on set. Thank you very much indeed.
NORTON: Yes. Well, thank you.
ANDERSON: I know that you'll get a chance to visit some of the mountain ranges here--
ANDERSON: --which are spectacular.
NORTON: Well, thank you.
ANDERSON: Many Emiratis and UAE residents spend much of the mountain - much of the summertime in those mountain ranges for all of the right reason.
Thank you very much indeed.
NORTON: Thank you.
ANDERSON: That's it from us. I'm wrapping up the week that was. It's been Climate Week here. We have heard from youngsters, we have heard from
business leaders, and we have heard from politicians, all pushing in the right direction, but with slightly different messages.
I think, ultimately the messages from - from you Jake as well, the messages from the youngsters are the ones that really count. It is about their
generation and they are holding all of us to account. From the Expo here in Dubai, it is a very good evening.