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South Africa to Move Away from Coal; World Leaders Agree to End Deforestation; Desperate Afghan Parents Selling Daughters to Survive; Ethiopia Could Lose U.S. Trade Deal over Human Rights Abuses; Nigeria Buildings Collapse Kills at Least 10; Climate Activists Demand Action from World Leaders. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired November 02, 2021 - 10:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN HOST (voice-over): We can't deal with climate change without protecting our natural environment. The British prime minister

emphasizes the importance of protecting Earth's forests after a landmark commitment from world leaders.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have a choice because I have to save my hunger and not only those who follow me.

GORANI (voice-over): Well, the world is trying to kick its coal habit. But for some in South Africa, it is the only lifeline they have.


GORANI (voice-over): Also, desperately trying to find survivors after a high-rise building collapses, with huge loss of life in Nigeria.


GORANI: It is 2:00 pm in London, 10:00 am in Atlanta, I'm Hala Gorani. Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

Silencing the chainsaws: world leaders have agreed to end deforestation by 2030. Now it is a big deal on paper; it is also the first major agreement

from the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. A short time ago, British prime minister Boris Johnson hailed it as a landmark. Listen.


BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Climate change and biodiversity are two sides of the same coin. We can't deal with the devastating loss of

habitats and species without tackling climate change.

And we can't deal with climate change without protecting our natural environment and respecting the rights of indigenous people, who are its


So it is central to the ambition of the U.K.'s COP presidency that we act now and we end the role of humanity as nature's conqueror and, instead,

become nature's custodian. We have to stop the devastating loss of our forests.


GORANI: Deforestation accounts for around 11 percent of the world's carbon emissions.

World leaders are also pledging to slash emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas, methane, by around 30 percent in less than a decade.

And just moments ago, the American President Joe Biden highlighted the global methane pledge to cut emissions of the greenhouse gas by 30 percent.

Here's Biden.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And one of the most important things we can do in this decisive decade is to keep 1.5 degrees

in reach, is reduce our methane emissions as quickly as possible. As already has been stated, it is one of the most potent greenhouse gases

there is. It amounts to about half the warming we're experiencing today.


GORANI: CNN's chief climate correspondent Bill Weir is in Glasgow. Our Phil Black is in Edinburgh.

Bill, if indeed world powers, including the United States, stick to the pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent, to halt deforestation,

what type of impact globally will that have on our environment in the coming decades?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: It would be massive, Hala. Just for perspective, carbon dioxide, if you imagine it as a blanket of

average thickness, methane or natural gas is a blanket as thick as you are tall.

In the short-term, it is much easier to control so you can't solve the problem without capturing that. A lot of that comes from oil and natural

gas infrastructure and also from animal agriculture, cow burps (ph) and rotting landfills. So that's huge.

But it is worth noting that China, India and Russia did not join that pledge. But on the deforestation pledge, that's massive as well. The

greatest carbon capture machine ever invented is a tree.

And in addition to what they do to pull that planet-cooking pollution down and hold it, there is also the animals and birds and insects that we're

losing at a staggering rate, the indigenous communities there.

So what is surprising is Vladimir Putin and Jair Bolsonaro both came in via a pretaped video to join that pledge as well. Those are the two countries

that led the world in deforestation just in 2020.

Humanity cut down the equivalent of 100,000 square miles of forests, 250,000 square kilometers, basically an area the size of the U.K. or the

state of Colorado. So this has to ramp down. Pledges have been made in the past to no avail. But maybe, hopefully, this one has some teeth.


GORANI: And Phil Black, the U.K. prime minister is the host; he wants this gathering to come off as a success.

What alarms is he sounding in terms of trying to get world leaders and delegations to act and make pledges that will make a difference?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he was pretty gloomy coming into the start of the talks, I think it is fair to say, openly talking about the

potential for failure and what the consequences of that would be.

He also had a mantra, coal, cars, cash and trees. Today, with that deforestation agreement, he appears to be delivering on that point number

four. It's something that appears on paper, as you say, to be quite significant in addressing the future of forestation and the role it will

play as a natural solution in helping the world achieve net neutrality by the end of the century.

There is a push to make -- to make ground, if you like, to make some real achievements, using these additional international agreements, like the one

on forestation, like the one on methane, because, as we know, under the Paris agreement process, which is still ongoing, where each country is

presenting their individual commitments to reduce emissions, both in the short and the longer term, we know those commitments do not yet add up to

something that can comfortably be called a success, not even close.

We're not even close to being on track to achieving what must be done in order to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, that

well-stated goal. So in that sense, these sorts of agreements, in the context of the conference, take on an additional importance, because it is

through these agreements that the British prime minister and others, who are really ambitious in trying to drive momentum here, can claim some

success and also perhaps apply pressure to countries, that are seen as being a little bit slow to commit to doing what is required in order to

meet the ultimate ambition.

GORANI: And, Bill, briefly, Joe Biden is also announcing an effort that still needs congressional approval but to help developing countries adapt

their infrastructure to climate-friendly emissions models.

And that's crucial, right?

Because you -- it is not just about efforts that are made in a few countries; it has to be kind of a global effort.

WEIR: Absolutely. The irony is the -- the countries that contributed the least to the problem are stuck in ancient dirty fuels. And so today there

was an announcement, the U.S., U.K., E.U. will together help South Africa, specifically, get off of coal, a country that is really a symbol of sort of

environmental injustice and the highest pollution rates per capita in the world.

That will cost many billions of dollars. But it is a sign that the U.S. is back and committed to making those plans.

But interesting, just in terms of the gap between what is needed and what is being promised, the leader of Palau, the island nation in the Pacific,

is calling for this $100 billion a year pledge from rich countries to be raised to $4 trillion a year, which is, by some estimates, what it will


And he said, you might as well bomb us and put us out of our misery rather than the slow, undignified death that is coming in the current status quo.

GORANI: Certain countries are trying to tell these world leaders, it is about life or death for them. Phil Black in Edinburgh and Bill Weir in

Glasgow, thanks to both of you.

Among the senior American leaders attending the summit is John Kerry, Joe Biden's special envoy for climate issues. He sat down with CNN's Christiane

Amanpour and told her he believes China is willing to be part of a deal to curb emissions.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE: President Xi was quite clear about wanting to try to find a pathway to cooperate on the

climate issue. The climate issue is as existential to China as it is to us.

It is as critical to Chinese citizens as it is to us. They want to be rid of pollution. They want cleaner air. They want a healthier life. They want

greater security.


KERRY: So do we.

Well, I believe -- I believe -- you know, I am convinced that, knowing what we did with President Obama, in those years, with vice President Biden, we

were able to manage our differences with respect to China.

And I believe the Chinese understand full well how to do that. And I believe they also know it is critical for all of us to deal with this



GORANI: That was the U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, speaking with Christiane. She'll also be interviewing British prime minister Boris



GORANI: And you can see both of those interviews on "AMANPOUR," which airs in about four hours.

In Afghanistan, at least 15 people were killed in two explosions at a military hospital in Kabul. That's according to a Taliban official, who

tells CNN dozens more are injured. This hospital has been targeted twice before over the last 10 years, including a 2017 siege, you'll remember,

perhaps, that killed 30 people.

There is no claim of responsibility so far. But ISIS-K staged a number of attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban took over the country back in


And we have another very distressing story to bring you out of Afghanistan, showing the harsh reality of the humanitarian crisis engulfing the country.

Desperate families say they're being forced to sell their young daughters in order to survive, to sell them.

And in this exclusive, CNN witnesses the tragic fate facing these helpless little girls. The parents gave us full access and permission to talk to the

children and show their faces, because they say they cannot change the practice themselves. Anna Coren reports.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this arid, desolate landscape, not a scrap of vegetation in sight, lies a makeshift

camp for some of Afghanistan's internally displaced.

Among its residents, 9-year-old Parwana. Her bright pink dress squeals of laughter and childhood games, a ruse to the horrors unfolding in this

inhospitable environment.

Parwana's family moved to this camp in Badghis Province four years ago after her father lost his job. Humanitarian aid and menial work earning $3

a day providing the basic staples to survive. But since the Taliban takeover 2.5 months ago, any money or assistance has dried up.

And with eight mouths to feed, Parwana's father is now doing the unthinkable.

"I have no work, no money, no food. I have to sell my daughter," he says. "I have no other choice."

Parwana, who dreams of going to school and becoming a teacher, applies makeup; a favorite pastime for little girls but Parwana knows she is

preparing for what awaits her.

"My father has sold me because we don't have bread, rice and flour. He has sold me to an old man."

The white bearded man, who claims he's 55 years old, comes to collect her. He's bought Parwana for 200,000 Afghanis, just over $2,000 U.S. To cover it

up, Parwana whimpers as her mother holds her.

"This is your bride. Please take care of her," says Parwana's father.

"Of course I will take care of her," replies the man.

His large hands grab her small frame. Parwana tries to pull away. As he carries her only bag of belongings, she again resists, digging her heels

into the dirt. But it's futile. The fate of this small, helpless child has been sealed.

Child marriage is nothing new in poor rural parts of Afghanistan. But human rights activists are reporting an increase in cases because of the economic

and humanitarian crisis engulfing the country.

HEATHER BARR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: These are devastating decisions that no parent should ever have to make. And it really speaks to what an

extraordinary breakdown is happening in Afghanistan right now.

COREN (voice-over): For months, the U.N. has been warning of a catastrophe as Afghanistan, a war-ravaged dependent country, descends into a brutal


Billions of dollars in central bank assets were frozen after the Taliban swept to power in August. Banks are running out of money. Wages haven't

been paid for months, while food prices soar.

According to the U.N., more than half the population doesn't know where their next meal is coming from. And more than 3 million children under the

age of 5 face acute malnutrition in the coming months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People of Afghanistan need a lifeline.

COREN: And while $1 billion has been pledged by U.N. donors to help the Afghan people, less than half those funds have been received as the

international community holds off recognizing the Taliban government.

ISABELLE MOUSSARD CARLSEN, HEAD OF OFFICE, UNOCHA: People of Afghanistan will be dying of hunger in the next couple of months. And not just a few.


CARLSEN: This is just making people more and more vulnerable. We cannot accept that.

COREN (voice-over): Sentiment shared by the Taliban.

MAWLAWI ABDUL HAI MOBASHER, TALIBAN OFFICIAL FOR REFUGEES (through translator): We are asking aid agencies to come back to Afghanistan and

help these poor people; otherwise, the crisis will worsen.

COREN (voice-over): For this family in neighboring Ghor Province, they are trying to sell two daughters, 9-year-old Leeton (ph) and 4-year-old Zaiton

for $1,000 U.S. each.

"Do you know why they're selling you?" the journalist asked Zaiton.

"Because we are a poor family and don't have any food to eat," she says.

"Are you scared?" he asked.

"Yes, I am."

Another family in Ghor Province borrowed money from their 70-year-old neighbor. Now he's demanding it back but they have nothing to give, except

their 10-year-old daughter, Magul.

"My daughter doesn't want to go and she's crying all the time. I am so ashamed," he says.

Terrified, she threatens to take her life.

"If they push me to marry the old man, I will kill myself. I don't want to leave my parents."

Days later, she discovers the sale has been finalized, another Afghan child sold into a life of misery -- Anna Coren, CNN.


GORANI: Well, it is really just absolutely shocking, absolutely shocking and heartbreaking. If you would like to read more about Parwana's story,

the 9-year-old girl sold by her family so they could eat, go to

The desperation her family is still facing as soon as the money dries up and obviously the absolute terror and horrible life that awaits these

children, married off to much older men.

We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.





GORANI: The U.S. is threatening to kick Ethiopia out of a key trade program over human rights violations. President Joe Biden has determined

that Ethiopia is not complying with the requirements for the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which lets sub-Saharan African nations have duty-free

access to the American market.

The U.S. is warning the government there to take urgent action by January 1st. And this comes with Ethiopia in a dire situation; millions of people

are at risk of starvation, as the conflict between government forces and the Tigray People's Liberation Front has now gone on for almost a year.

CNN has reported extensively on the human rights abuses that prompted today's response by the American government. Larry Madowo is following this

from Kenya.

What impact will this have on the economy of the country?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This could have significant financial implications for Ethiopia, Hala, because it's Africa's second most populous

nation, it is one of the countries that is very dependent on the AGOA, the African Golden Opportunity Act.

Ethiopia has already been campaigning for the last two months or so for this action not to take place. They have now been given this notice,

required by law, 60 days for them to change course or they will be out of AGOA on the first day of the new year.

One of Ethiopia's advisers to the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, wrote in an opinion piece in "Foreign Policy" this would affect ordinary people, low

income people, who have no direct correlation with the conflict in Tigray.

He claims, for instance, that the two best performing exports from Ethiopia into the U.S. are leather and apparel. And in those two instances, they

employ 200,000 people and 95 percent of them are women who will be affected.

However, as you know, this conflict escalated especially over the last two weeks. The Ethiopian government has had airstrikes in Mekelle, in the

region of Tigray, where this has been going on for a year now.

And that's why the U.S. government is concerned that these atrocities continue to happen, there is no proper access for humanitarian workers and,

crucially, there are thousands of people who have died and hundreds of thousands at risk for starvation.

GORANI: All right, Larry, thank you very much.

Rescue workers are still desperately digging through the rubble of a collapsed apartment building in Lagos, Nigeria. So far at least 10 people

are known to have died. But officials say they can hear the voices of others, who are still trapped beneath the giant pile of rubble.

CNN's Stephanie Busari has been on the scene of the rescue operation. She's live in Lagos with more.

Talk to us about the latest in this rescue operation with -- rescuers are hearing voices.

What are they telling you about how close they are to freeing some of those that are still trapped?

STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN.COM SUPERVISING EDITOR, AFRICA: So Hala, a very tense day here, with lots of desperate relatives anxiously waiting for



BUSARI: And, like you say, voices have been heard in the building, under the rubble and rescuers -- rescue officials are telling us that they have

worked with these relatives to get names of some people so that they can call out those names.

And that has been successful. So far they have recovered -- rescued nine people; 10 people have sadly been pulled dead from the rubble. But there is

hope for the relatives who are here.

I spoke to a young man, whose sister, a 26-year-old woman named Zaina (ph), is attached to the company developing this building for her mandatory youth

service. And she was one of the people whose name was called. And she responded.

So he was quite hopeful that they will be able to get his sister out alive today. But today is critical. The rescuers tell us today is critical. After

today, they will only be doing a recovery operation. Hala?

GORANI: They're saying that, despite the fact they can still hear voices?

What is making them -- I guess I fail to understand why, in 24 hours, it suddenly becomes a recovery operation.

BUSARI: Well, I think they just -- there is a lack of oxygen, perhaps, and other elements that may come into play. But what they're telling us, today

is critical.

And they -- the rescue official took some time to explain how they are conducting the search for people using imaging technology and other

technology that detects heart rate and human forms beneath the rubble.

It is kind of an intricate operation and, you know, they are hopeful. Today is very much focused on search and rescue. We spoke to the deputy governor

of the state earlier. He said they're very much focused on saving lives.

GORANI: All right, Stephanie Busari, thank you very much, live in Lagos. One can imagine the agony the families are going through, waiting to hear

if their relative will make it out alive. Thanks so much, Stephanie. We'll keep an eye on this developing story.

Still ahead, can South Africa kick its coal habit and lead other nations toward cleaner energy?

Some of the world's wealthiest nations are banking on it.

And China is urging its people to stock up on food. We'll tell you why the government says it is concerned about that aspect.





GORANI: Welcome back, everybody. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. Let's bring you up to date with COP26.

A possible breakthrough today there in the effort to phase out fossil fuels. The U.S., U.K. and the E.U. will help pay for South Africa to kick

its dependence on coal. The British prime minister Boris Johnson said the $8.5 billion partnership will help South Africa gradually decarbonize its

coal-driven energy system.

Climate scientists hope today's deal will inspire other developing nations to follow suit. But here's the thing: nearly 90 percent of South Africa's

power comes from coal right now. Coal is deeply embedded in the country's economy. And that dependence has made South Africa one of the world's worst

polluters per capita.

So $8.5 billion, is that going to work?

CNN's David McKenzie is live in Johannesburg.

And you went deep into South Africa's coal mines.

What did you learn there?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we learned is that $8.5 billion is a start, Hala, and it is not going to cover the massive costs that will be

needed to shift this country away from coal and other countries like it.

But this is a significant development. And it is being praised by climate activists as being a practical way of possibly helping finance developing

countries like South Africa to end the coal addiction.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): Treacherous steps into the blackness with illegal miners.

We are going deep into this mine to disused mine but coal is so important in this country that even the old mines people will go down like this in

dangerous conditions and get what they can.

What Anthony Bongingkosi can get just $3 for a bag of coal to support his grandmother and sister. Here they work with little ventilation or light, if

they get trapped, no one will come to help.

ANTHONY BONGINGKOSI, ARTISANAL MINER: We have lost a lot of them, others with the collapse of the mine, others with the gas that came underground.

MCKENZIE: It's dangerous work.

BONGINGKOSI: Yes, it is. When you inhale that gas, you won't move and give 50 or 10 steps you just collapse. You are knocked out.

MCKENZIE: So why do you still do it?

BONGINGKOSI: I don't have a choice, because I have to save my hunger. And not only me, those who follow me. I may die alone here but what about those

who are depending on me?

MCKENZIE: South Africa is a country dependent on coal. With hundreds of thousands of jobs linked to these mines and its monopoly power utility and

shaky economy almost entirely anchored on coal-fired plants. ESKOM is one of Africa's biggest polluters but it's all relative.

South Africa has contributed very little historically to emissions that have caused climate change. Why move away from coal at all?

ANDRE DE RUYTER, GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ESKOM: You know, there is this saying that the Stone Age didn't end because of a lack of stones. I'm

convinced that given current technological trends, the coal age won't end because of a lack of coal.

MCKENZIE: To avoid a climate catastrophe, climate scientists say the renewable age needs to be pushed by the entire world even by countries like

South Africa that contributes around just 1 percent of annual missions globally.

UNKNOWN: ESKOM has made a decision, not anymore.

MCKENZIE: To commit to the transition ESKOM say it will shut down aging coal plants like Komati.

What will it mean when the last monitor goes off for you?

MARCUS NEMADODZI, GENERAL MANAGER, KOMATI: Man, it's said and also an opportunity but I will be ready when that happened.

MCKENZIE: But the move to renewables takes time and cost money 50 to $60 billion in South Africa alone says ESKOM.

NEMADODZI: So this will become useless

MCKENZIE: So rich countries will need to finance the transition as part of their climate commitments. Despite ESKOM's mountains of debt and history of

corruption allegations.

DE RUYTER: I think it's not only realistic, it's imperative. If you look at the position that South Africa unfortunately occupies, given our size

for South Africa to be the 12th largest carbon emitter in the world, we, I think, are a poster child of what needs to be done in order to transition

away from coal to more sustainable forms of electricity generation.

MCKENZIE: They are saying that maybe South Africa needs to stop using coal.


MCKENZIE: Because of climate change.


MCKENZIE: What do you think about that?


BONGINGKOSI: Sure. Sure. What can I say about that?

It makes me scared just because we have a lot of people who depend on the coal. So we kind of can't live without it.


MCKENZIE: Tens of thousands of people depend on coal for their livelihoods, so any transition, just on a political level here in South

Africa, will have to account for that. Just a short time ago, South Africa's president gave more details saying they'll set up a task force

that will work for a year to come up with the specifics of this and future funding.

But though it is complicated and still needs to be proven to work, these kinds of multilateral deals will be critical to try and stem the crisis

that climate change has caused, as the president said himself. It is an existential challenge for this country and the world -- Hala.

GORANI: OK, David McKenzie, live in Johannesburg.

Let's get you up to speed on some other stories on our radar right now.

China's government is telling families to stock up on daily necessities as winter approaches. The state-run "Economic Daily" says the announcement was

made because authorities are reminding families to be prepared in case of temporary lockdowns due to COVID-19.

Also, France says it will not implement customs sanctions against the U.K. after all. There has been a row, a dispute for months, over fishing rights

post-Brexit. France claims the U.K. hasn't granted them the fishing licenses they are due; the U.K. government says they have granted 98

percent of European fishing licenses.

Next hour, an advisory committee for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control will start discussing whether to approve the Pfizer BioNTech COVID vaccine

for children age 5 to 11. The shot is one-third of the adult dosage. If the committee approves it, the CDC director will then make the final decision.

Still ahead, a big name manager is heading back to the Premier League with a big name club. Sports is next.




GORANI: Returning to our top story, protesters spent the first day of COP26 slamming world leaders for inaction on climate change.


GORANI (voice-over): Activists from British charity Oxfam posed as world leaders in a pipe band because, after all, it is Scotland. Oxfam says it

wants to see action out of this summit, not just a lot of hot air.

The Big Heads Band included U.S. President Joe Biden, British prime minister Boris Johnson and the German chancellor Angela Merkel as well as

leaders from other big greenhouse gas emitters.


GORANI (voice-over): Oxfam's head said they should limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and deliver funding to developing nations most

vulnerable to the effects of climate change.


GORANI: And the head of the U.N. World Food Programme says $6 billion would save tens of millions of people from starvation. And on this

newscast, David Beasley called on billionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates to step up.

Musk responded via Twitter, "If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6 billion will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock

right now and do it."

David Beasley tells CNN this is an opportunity.


DAVID BEASLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WFP: You know, this is fantastic news, because Elon is a very, very smart guy. For him to even enter into this

conversation is a game changer because, simply put, we can answer his questions.

We can put forward the plan that is clear. We're the world's largest operation now, feeding about 120 million people.

But because of COVID, impacting already climate change and conflict, we have a one-time crisis of about 42 million people that are literally

knocking on famine's door. It will cost about over $6 billion to reach those 42 million. And we can do that. And I will show him, we will put it

out in front of him.

We have all the cost accounting, public transparency, any and everything that he would ask. We will be glad to answer and I look forward to having

this discussion with him because lives are at stake.

I'm not picking on Elon Musk. I'm so happy he's making money. But as you know, there in the height of COVID, billionaires made extraordinary amounts

of money. Governments are tapped out. We got people dying. And we've got an answer to this.

And please help us on this one-time ask, please help us.


GORANI: All right, that was David Beasley from the World Food Programme.