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Connect the World
The Leaders Represent More Than 85 Percent of the World's Forests; 100 Plus World Leaders Agree to end Deforestation by 2030; CNN Witnesses Desperate Afghan Parents Selling Daughters; South African Power Utility Looking at Coal Alternatives; CNN: Eritrean Troops Disguised as Ethiopian Military Blocked Aid; Star Wars "The Book of Boba Fett" Drops Teaser Trailer. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired November 02, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome to the second hour of "Connect the World". I'm Hala Gorani. Right now two major deals coming out
of the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, world leaders are vowing to slash emissions of dangerous greenhouse gas.
A short time ago the American President Joe Biden highlighted the global methane pledge which aims to cut emissions by 30 percent in a decade
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITIED STATES OF AMERICA: One of the most important things we can do in this decisive decade is to keep 1.5 degrees
and reach is - reduce our methane emissions as quickly as possible. As an already been stated one of the most potent greenhouse gases there is. It
amounts to about half the warming we're experiencing today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, world leaders also want to silence the "Chainsaw", so they've agreed to end deforestation by 2030, which accounts for around 11 percent
of the world's carbon emissions. There are lots of bells and whistles around these deals, but it's important to ask whether this is more of what
climate activist Greta Thunberg has described as blah, blah, blah, or will we truly see action?
CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir is in Glasgow. Bill, we're starting to see the outline of some of the pledges that these world leaders
are making, halting deforestation cutting methane gas funds as well crucially, to help developing nations transition to greener technologies.
But really, it's all about what's put into practice, rather than what's pledged.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, as my dad used to say, a test of a man is what he does when he thinks no one is watching. And
what happens when everybody goes back to their countries from here and goes about their business when they think no one is watching will determine
ultimately the fate of life as we know it.
But with satellite technology, it's much easier both to see methane emissions and deforestation around the world and taken at their words,
these two pledges are rather huge on the methane front that comes out of oil and natural gas production, also from animal agriculture, and rotting
And President Biden's using his Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. to try to force big oil companies to cap those leaky wells, and leaky
pipelines and capture that fuel which is actually good for business. It's wasted otherwise. Often it's so cheap; they burn it as it's coming out of
the pipes in the ground.
And then we'll see though, because meanwhile, the Supreme Court in the United States has agreed to hear a challenge from Republican Governors and
big coal companies as to whether the EPA has the power to regulate, ultimately, planet cooking pollution.
As for the deforestation pledge, the biggest surprises were that Vladimir Putin and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil both weighed in on pre-taped
video announcements that they're joining this pledge from over 100 countries.
85 percent of the forests around the world are involved in this pledge to dial back rampant deforestation; just in 2020 250,000 square kilometers
were chopped down a forest around the world. That's an area the size of the UK or the State of Colorado.
So it is out of control and it both the effects not only a carbon capture that comes with forests, but biodiversity the loss of so many plants,
animals, insects species these days and indigenous communities who rely on intact forests.
GORANI: And what about the fact that China is not present at the highest levels? What impact does it have on these promises to cut emissions to help
deforestation? It is the world's biggest polluter after all.
WEIR: It is currently. The United States is historically much more of a contributor to this problem. But these days given the size of their
population, and their reliance on coal for energy security, they are the biggest emitter. President Xi put out a written statement yesterday to the
COP26 website, essentially the least amount of presence one can weigh in on and there was nothing in that commitment to give anybody a lot of hope.
Although John Kerry, the Presidential Climate Envoy for the United States told one of our CNN colleagues that given the discussions they had in the
past with Barack Obama when Vice President Biden was at the table with the Chinese he believes that you know deep down they all want cleaner air and
WEIR: And they want to protect as much biodiversity in their country, as well. But the pressures of that huge population, have them easing back in
the real politic of the day. They're not here. But that matters. That is a big factor going forward, given the size and scope of that population.
GORANI: All right. Bill Weir thanks very much. Looks like it's not - the weather's not too bad there in Glasgow today, I can see a bit of blue sky
behind you even?
WEIR: We looked out a little cloudy, a little chilly but pleasant. No rain.
GORANI: Thanks. Bill yes, no rain. That's the most important thing. Bill Weir thanks so much. It's impossible to talk about controlling carbon
emissions without looking at how some of the world's biggest emitters are doing so far?
This is a look; we were discussing this with Bill. Look at China's emissions profile over the past 30 years. The black line is how they have
done so far. But the key colors are the blue and green lines. Blue shows how China's current policies will impact carbon emissions.
Green is what they need to do in order to achieve the stated goal of not raising global temperatures more than one and a half degrees Celsius by
2030. Here's the graph for the EU they've been really cutting emissions over the past few decades.
But their current policies in blue would also fall short of the green goal. The United States is another economy where what they say they will do comes
up well short of what they need to do. And then there's India their current course would produce significantly more carbon emissions going forward,
while the world needs them to cut emissions drastically.
Well, many world leaders are in Glasgow for the COP26 Summit, the Chinese President as we've been reporting, Xi Jinping chose not to attend. Mr. Xi
did write a statement to be read at the summit. In it he said China will try to rein in irrational development and will promote low carbon projects,
but he's stopped short of making any firm pledges about cutting emissions.
China is currently the world's top carbon emitting country, but as Bill underlying there importantly, historically, it is the United States.
Despite the lack of a firm commitment from China, the U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry says he believes Beijing is willing to be part of a global
solution. He sat down with Christiane Amanpour, and told her about his conversation with China's Leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 issues are existential to China as it is to us. It's 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, that was U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry speaking with Christiane. She will also be interviewing the British Prime Minister Boris
Johnson, and you can see both those interviews on "Amanpour" that airs in about three hours.
In the lead up to this summit, we've been hearing leaders make big commitments on tackling climate change. But as we've been saying, actually
following through is a different story. China's Special Envoy on climate change is calling out the West for "Failing to deliver on $100 billion
commitment for developing nations by 2020". And that he says may erode trust.
But this rivalry on climate commitments that is blossoming between China and the West may end up benefiting the entire world. How you may ask David
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Devastating scenes of destruction no longer needing a Hollywood portrayal. This is real. And it's
happening now. The world turning to the U.S. and China for leadership and battling climate change the two largest economies are also the biggest
emitters of carbon.
Combined, they are responsible for more than 40 percent of all global emissions both sides making big promises. The U.S. pledging to reduce
emissions by half of 2005 levels in 2030 China aiming to reach their peak emissions by then America's targeting net zero by 2050 China hoping to be
carbon neutral a decade after that.
But these are promises not guarantees. Within the U.S. energy has become more efficient. About 20 percent of electricity comes from renewables like
wind and solar. But politics have forged avoiding creating consistent climate solutions.
MICHAEL DAVIDSON, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO: The U.S. has a credibility challenge. There's a lot of just attention on U.S.'s
domestic political challenges to achieving and fulfilling those climate promises. China for its part tends to under promise and over deliver.
CULVER (voice over): Under the all-powerful central government China's challenge is its size and rapid growth.
CULVER (on camera): Shanghai China's most developed city is home to more than 24 million people and keeping all of this up and going, while it
relies on a constant power supply.
CULVER (voice over): In recent decades, China's economy has soared; nearly everything it seemed made in China, giving this once rural agrarian nation
a massive economic boom, built mostly on fossil fuels.
CULVER (on camera): China is still heavily reliant on coal. In fact, coal provides more than 60 percent of this country's power.
CULVER (voice over): In 2019, we traveled to one of China's coal hubs Inner Mongolia, coal mining, still very active, and we found the continued
construction of new coal power plants. More recently, though, attempts to rein in emissions here sparked a power crisis.
Chinese social media chronicling outages across the mainland, people trapped in elevators, traffic lights going dark, panic spread as the winter
cold moved in.
LI SHUO, SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR, GREENPEACE: And power crisis is a reflection of things getting deeper and rail, right we are - we're really
trying to rearrange certain parts of our economy and our power system.
CULVER (voice over): But that is all changing fast more than a decade ago, green energy solutions on a major scale were relatively new. Today, China
is the world's largest investor, manufacturer and employer of wind and solar power. China even promoting its green solutions as it hosts the
upcoming Winter Games. Pledging this to be the first Olympics with competition venues fueled 100 percent by green energy.
SHUO: The Chinese manufacturers are getting very competitive. The key question is for the U.S. to really carefully think about where he can play,
you know, a leading role in the supply chain of renewable energy.
CULVER (voice over): The new technologies motivating nations to get creative in securing sources of energy, a power struggle on multiple
fronts, China and the U.S. competing to battle climate change might ultimately benefit the rest of the world. But at this point, it's out of
necessity. David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: In our conversation about climate change, we've mostly been talking about big developed economies so far. My next guest says the agreements
that come out of COP26 can be a boon for developing countries as well.
She tweeted protecting nature also protects local communities from climate impacts. The Glasgow leaders' declaration on forests and land use,
committing to halt and reverse forest lost by 2030 will protect the world's most vulnerable communities and habitats and keep 1.5 alive.
Joining me now from this side of the summit is Anne-Marie Trevelyan. She's the British Secretary of State for International Trade, and a Conservative
Member of Parliament. Thank you for being with us.
First of all, let's talk about how richer countries can assist some of these developing nations in their transition to greener technologies
because even China's saying that $100 billion that was promised by 2020 being pushed back to 2023, is eroding trust in some of the richer
ANNE-MARIE TREVELYAN, UK SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE: So the 100 billion challenges is one that we at the UN, the UK leading presidency
this year have made a real focus on it hasn't been met in the past. And we're driving hard to make sure the developed countries make those
And I hope that over the next few days, we'll hear more about that. But importantly, perhaps, as you say that the forest statements declaration
made today brings with it a huge amount of genuine commitment 12 developed countries are investing $12 billion.
We're seeing a billion and a half dollars committed to indigenous peoples communities to protect their forests, we're seeing some really punchy, some
so that we can make sure that last that protection of the great forests across our planet is real.
And we can support those local communities who have been using the land that they live on cutting down trees in order to find agricultural
solutions don't have to do that. And they can be the custodians of these great forests. These great forests are critical as carbon sinks and also as
creators of weather.
There's a billion and a half to help protect the Gabon and Congo Basin, forestry a critical piece, geologically of forest that ensures that the
rain still come on the eastern plains of Africa, so protecting our forests is critical to helping those communities stay living and farming in their
communities as well as being the guardians of these great carbon sinks.
GORANI: So I think the $100 billion pledge of being pushed back is illustrative of perhaps some of the fears that the poor countries
developing countries low lying coastal countries have that there's no real enforcement mechanism here. Pledges can be made and not followed through a
con. How do you make sure that these promises are kept this time?
TREVELYAN: So, as I said, the 100 billion, which was part of the Paris Agreement, has not been met. But you know, we've been, we've been seeing
somewhere around $80 billion a year going into projects around the world, heavily skewed towards mitigation so far, quite rightly, because we need to
be supporting countries to move away from things like coal power, to clean, renewable energy.
But now we also need to make sure that some of that has been spent on adaptation, so that those communities who are under threat are indeed under
siege now from climate shocks happening today have the ability to adapt and become more resilient, so that they can continue to live and thrive in
their own communities.
So that we are ensuring that everybody is looked after look, we can't allow anyone to be left behind as we tackle the climate shocks that are hitting
GORANI: You have countries that are literally at risk of disappearing, the Maldives, the Seychelles, some of these island nations, and they're looking
at you the developed countries and saying, you can't even meet 1.5 degree that pledge, you know, is out of the window.
And now we are literally you might as well Palau basically said, you might as well bomb us with the pledges that you're making, what do you say to
TREVELYAN: So the process of COPs, the UNFCCC's process driving forwards, this involves every voice and the beauty of any U.N. processes. Every voice
has equal value. The president of the Maldives or St. Lucia is as important as Joe Biden; their voice needs to be heard.
And they are making their voice heard here, which is fantastic. And it's absolutely critical, so that those who are still on a trajectory, which has
greater pollution, need to hear it. The reality is that those who are still using coal need to set a path away from coal to reduce at pace, the
pollution and the co2 emissions that causes and those voices from those small developing countries are absolutely critical.
So we are, we have been working as the COP presidency to provide them with the platform and indeed the opportunity to share that and we are hearing
them loud and clear.
TREVELYAN: And in the negotiations, the complex technicalities of the Paris discussions, we know that their voices are being shared very hard. And
things like the forest declaration help to get confidence that there is a commitment from developed countries, but there is still more to do.
GORANI: All right, a quick one, some of the tweets that you put out 10 years ago, long before you were an MP questioned whether or not global
warming was actually happening. What made you change your mind about how important, how important an issue this really is for humanity?
TREVELYAN: So I think I like many wasn't really paying that much attention, carrying on with normal life. It was David Attenborough's programs that
really got my attention. I had children who are passionate about wildlife.
And as we watched his programs, and we, we were educated by him about the changing patterns, the realities of the impacts, became very clear that
this was much more urgent than I think.
I and you know, many, many other ordinary citizens felt and I've now had the opportunity, with the great responsibility and privilege of
representing part of the UK as an MP to try and lean in and help the world make progress.
And over the last year, I've been working as one of the team of the COP26 UK presidency to really drive forward and find solutions that the world can
all buy into and to encourage countries to move away from dirty energy to clean solutions and indeed helping the UK to lead the way on that. We are
set to be 78 percent clean energy by 2035.
GORANI: All right, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, thank you very much for joining us, the Secretary of State for International Trade for the UK live in
Glasgow. Thank you some breaking news to bring to you from the world of sport.
Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter and the former President of UEFA Michel Platini are facing criminal indictments in Switzerland. They're accused of
unlawfully arranging payment of more than $2 million from FIFA to Platini. And CNN is seeking comment from FIFA and UEFA. We'll bring you any
newsworthy developments on this story as they become available.
Still ahead how Western powers are hoping South Africa can quit coal gets clean and become a role model for saving the climate. Also what this
Lebanese minister said that caused the parade of Gulf nations to recall their ambassadors to his country that is coming up after the break.
GORANI: In Afghanistan, at least 15 people were killed in two explosions at a military hospital in Kabul, according to a Taliban official who tells CNN
that there are more than several dozens injured as well no claim of responsibility so far.
This hospital has been targeted twice before over the last 10 years, including a 2017 siege that killed 30 people. Well, ISIS-K has staged a
number of attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban took over the country back in August.
And we have another very distressing story out of that country. It shows the harsh reality of the humanitarian crisis that is engulfing the entirety
of Afghanistan. Desperate families say they're being forced to sell their young daughters just in order to eat. CNNs Anna Coren has our exclusive
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, this is a really difficult story to watch. But we think it's so important the world knows what is happening in
Afghanistan right now. In our exclusive report, CNN witnesses the tragic fate facing these helpless little girls.
It's important to note that the parents gave us full access and permission to speak to the children and show their faces because they say they cannot
change the practice themselves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREN (voice over): In this arid, desolate landscape, not a scrap of vegetation in sight, lays a makeshift camp for some of Afghanistan's
internally displaced. Among its residents, nine year old Pawana, her bright pink dress squeals of laughter and childhood games, a ruse to the horrors
unfolding in this and hospitable environment.
Pawana's family moved to this camping bug this 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 two and a half months ago, any money or assistance have dried up
and with eight miles to feed, Pawana'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. Pawana who dreams of going to school and becoming a
teacher applies makeup, a favorite pastime for little girls. But Pawana 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 Pawana for 200,000 Afghanis just over 2000 U.S. dollars. Covered up, Pawana wimples as her mother holds her. This is your bride
please take care of her, says Pawana's father. Of course I will take care of her, replies the man. His large hands grab her small frame. Pawana tries
to pull away.
COREN (voice over): 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.
For months, the U.N. has been warning of a catastrophe. As Afghanistan, a war ravaged a dependent country descends into a brutal winter. 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 five face acute malnutrition in the coming months.
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: People of Afghanistan need a lifeline.
COREN (voice over): And while a billion dollars 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, U.N. OCHA: People of Afghanistan will be dying of hunger in the next couple of months. And not just a few
these are just making people more and more vulnerable. And we cannot accept that.
COREN (voice over): Sentiments shared by the Taliban.
MAWLAWI ABDUL HAI MOBASHER, TALIBAN OFFICIAL FOR REFUGEES: We are asking aid agencies to come back to Afghanistan and help these poor people.
Otherwise the crisis will worsen.
COREN (voice over): --family and neighboring Gore province, they are trying to sell two daughters, nine year old Leeton and four year old Zetten for
1000 U.S. dollars each. Do you know why they're selling you the journalist ask Leeton?
Because we are a poor family and don't have any food to eat, she says. Are you scared, he asks? Yes I am. Another family in Gore 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 Maghull.
My daughter doesn't want to go and is 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Hala, it's absolutely harrowing knowing what these young girls will be subjected to. And just an update on 10 year old Maghull, the last girl
in our story who threatened to take her life, she will be handed over to the 70 year old man who bought her in the coming days.
Now if the lack of aid is not urgently addressed the United Nations projects that by the middle of next year 97 percent of Afghans were living
below the poverty line. Meaning there will be even more girls who will end up like Maghull and Pawana back to you, Hala.
GORANI: Alright, just an absolutely just devastating story these 9, 10 year old girls being just given as if their property to older men. We're going
to take a quick break. We'll be right back with more after this.
GORANI: The COP26 conference is cranking out the promises today, more than 80 nations have signed a pledge to cut methane emissions by nearly a third
and more than 100 world leaders have committed to ending and reversing deforestation by 2030.
Also, the U.S. Britain and Europe say they will pay more than a billion dollars to help South Africa and its destructive reliance on coal. Now it
would be a gradual phase out. It's hoped South Africa would become the model for other developing nations to switch to cleaner sources of energy.
But if South Africa can do it, any nation can because the country's dependence on coal runs very deep, for some people heading into the minds
as a matter of family survival. CNNS David Mackenzie and his team headed to the claustrophobic depths of a disused mine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Treacherous steps into the blackness with illegal miners.
MCKENZIE (on camera): So we're going deep into this mine, it's a 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.
MCKENZIE (voice over): What Anthony Bonginkosi can get just $3 for a bag of coal to support his grandmother and sister. Here they work with little
ventilation for life. If they get trapped, no one will come to help.
ANTHONY BONGINKOSI, ARTISANAL MINER: We have lost a lot of them others with the collapse of the mind, others with the gases that it came under drown.
MCKENZIE (on camera): So it's dangerous work.
BONGINKOSI: Yes, when you inhale that gas, you won't even walk even 50 steps or 10 steps you just collapse. You become --
MCKENZIE (on camera): So why you do still does it?
BONGINKOSI: 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 - who are depending on me.
MCKENZIE (voice over): South Africa is a country dependent on coal. With hundreds of thousands of jobs linked to these mines and its monopoly power
utility and shaking economy almost entirely anchored on coal fired plants. ESKOM is one of Africa's biggest polluters, but it's all relative.
MCKENZIE (on camera): South Africa has contributed very little historically to emissions that have caused climate change. Why move away from coal at
ANDRE DE RUYTER, GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ESKOM: You know there's this saying that the Stone Age didn't in because of a lack of stones. And I'm convinced
that given current technological cranes the coal age went in because of a lack of coal.
MCKENZIE (voice over): 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 one percent of annual emissions globally.
ESKOM has made a decision not anymore.
MCKENZIE (voice over): To commit to the transition, ESKOM says it will shut down aging coal plants like kamati.
MCKENZIE (on camera): What will it mean when the last monitor goes off for you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, it's said and also an opportunity. So I will be ready when that happens.
MCKENZIE (voice over): But the move to renewables takes time and costs money, 50 to $60 billion in South Africa alone says ESKOM.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this will become useless.
MCKENZIE (voice over): 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.
RUYTER: I think it's not only realistic, it's an 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 (on camera): They are saying that maybe South Africa needs to stop using coal.
MCKENZIE (on camera): Because of climate change.
MCKENZIE (on camera): What do you think about that?
BONGINKOSI: Sure. Sure. What can I say about that it's making me scared just because of we have a lot of people who depend on the coal, so we can't
live without it.
MCKENZIE (voice over): David McKenzie, CNN, Ermelo, South Africa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: The Middle East is among the region's most impacted by the climate crisis and many of its leaders are at a summit in Scotland. Lebanon's Prime
Minister is among them, even as he faces a deepening crisis at home, Najib Mikati is meeting today with various other world leaders and top diplomats.
Ahead of the summit, the prime minister acknowledged that his country faces a downhill slope over a diplomatic spat with some Middle East neighbors.
The UAE and Kuwait have now followed in the footsteps of Saudi Arabia and they've recalled their ambassadors to Lebanon this past weekend.
Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador on Friday and ordered the Lebanese ambassador to leave the kingdom. Bahrain did the same. All that after a
three month old video surfaced of Lebanon's new information minister criticizing Saudi Arabia's involvement in the war in Yemen, before he was
appointed to his current role.
Now he says his words were misinterpreted. My next guest is the author of the book "Making the Arab World" Fawaz Gerges, Professor of International
Relations at the London School of Economics and joins me now live.
So once again, Lebanon is caught in the middle between all these geopolitical interests. What do you think is going on right now, especially
when it comes to Gulf countries? Is it only about what George Kordahi said about the war in Yemen?
FAWAZ GERGES, PROFESSOR, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Well, I think the people of Lebanon are paying heavy costs for the Saudi Iranian rivalry, not
just in Lebanon, in the entire Middle East, in Yemen, in Syria, in Iraq and other places. Lebanon, Hala is pressed between a Saudi Iraq and an Iranian
harder place. It's bleeding. Its economy has collapsed. And now this particular crisis exacerbates the problems of Lebanon.
It's difficult for me Hala to make sense of what the Saudi strategy is in Lebanon. The Lebanese prime minister, you just have mentioned Najib Mikati
directly apologized to Saudi Arabia; the Lebanese President Michel Aoun called on the Saudi leadership for dialogue to resolve the crisis.
The Lebanese elite have gone out of their way to appeal to Saudi Arabia to de-escalate. My take on it and I could be wrong is that the Saudi
leadership is trying to make an example of Lebanon. They feel that the Lebanese elite are ungrateful.
They have given Lebanon a great deal of help. And now, some elites in Lebanon criticize Saudi Arabia. And the problem is Lebanon is the weakest
link in the regional link. It's the weakest link in the regional chain. Everyone pokes for Lebanon in the eye now.
GORANI: So what options are left then for Lebanese leaders here? You said the prime minister himself has apologized. These are statements from the
information minister used to be a game show host George Kordahi that are months old before he ever took office.
And one has to wonder if the Gulf countries are pulling their ambassadors and making these moves sort of just as a way to send a message rather than
because they really believe that these statements by Kordahi were insurmountably offensive.
GERGES: You know, Hala, here is the irony. You mentioned the game host, George Kordahi. He spent most of his life most of his media life working in
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. Most of his life, he made a little fortune working for the Saudis and the Emiratis.
He gave the statement or the interview three months before he was appointed Minister of Culture, a very minor position in Lebanon, the Ministry of
Information. I think and again, I might be harsh on the Saudi leadership. With the Saudi leadership now Hala, you're either with them or against them
there is nothing in between.
GERGES: I think the Kordahi crisis is a pretext for a larger crisis. The Saudis want to end, the so called Hezbollah's hegemony in Lebanon. The
Saudi Foreign Minister has made it very clear. It's all about Hezbollah.
The question is how do you do it? Now that the Americans know the Israelis have been able to cut Hezbollah's wings. Hezbollah is the largest political
party in Lebanon. It had has the largest number of votes in the parliament, not to mention its Armada, what the Saudis want.
And again, I really speak with a heavy heart, what they really want is a recipe for civil war. No one can take Hezbollah in Lebanon, including the
Lebanese Government, taking on Hezbollah means destroying whatever little of Saudi influence remains in Lebanon, not to mention destroying the social
fabric of Lebanon for --.
GORANI: Yes, because even the prime minister himself is saying Hezbollah is not going anywhere. Saudi Arabia said it's not productive to be in a
relationship with Lebanon, so long as Hezbollah has such continued dominance on the political scene. It seems like an intractable problem.
GERGES: It really is. I mean, I don't see I don't see a way out. Lebanon, I mean, think of what the elites Hala have done. They have destroyed the
economy. They have destroyed the institution.
And it pays me myself as a person who was born in Lebanon; it pains me that the elites have traded the dignity of the nation, the dignity of the people
very cheaply. I mean, think everyone now kicks Lebanon in the joints.
If the Saudi leadership really Hala, if the Saudi leadership has a project, a vision for Lebanon, who can say what's the vision, they have a humiliated
their most loyal ally in Lebanon, Saad Hariri, the former Prime Minister, they're betting on the wrong horse.
On the wrong horse is a person by the name Samir Geagea, the head of the Lebanese Forces. Samir Geagea Hala is a war criminal. His hands are soaked
in blood. He committed multiple massacres during the Lebanese civil war, including - Sobran Shatila.
If Samir Geagea is the Savior of the new Lebanon will let Lebanon go to the docks. That's how bad the situation is. And at the end of the day, the
regional rivalries between Saudi Arabia and Iran are really playing on the Lebanese streets and the Lebanese people are paying the cost --.
GORANI: We see so much of that proxy war playing out across the region. Thank you for Fawaz Gerges as always, for joining us. Another warning today
from the U.S. to Ethiopia the American envoy says the relationship between the two nations cannot continue as long as the military conflict continues
Fighting between Ethiopian government forces and the Tigray People's Liberation Front has raged now for almost a year and made millions of
people vulnerable to starvation. The Biden Administration today threatened to cut Ethiopia out of a lucrative trade deal if it does not take action to
end the violence and human rights abuses by January 1.
Now CNN has covered this conflict since the beginning spearheaded by our Senior International Correspondent, Nima Elbagir, her reporting has
elicited action from the U.S. in the past. I want to play a clip from one of her exclusive investigations that revealed how Eritrean troops were
coordinating with Ethiopian forces to cut off critical aid routes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is the main route to - it's a vital supply artery but for 12 days now nothing
has been able to pass. First checkpoint Ethiopian soldiers lead us through. Ahead we've been warned by senior Ethiopian military sources, we'll find
Eritrean soldiers. As we crest the hill before we reach the second checkpoint, we turn on our covert cameras.
ELBAGIR (on camera): Hello, sir. Can I show you our papers with CNN journalists, we have permission to travel.
ELBAGIR (voice over): These are Eritrean troops captured here for the first time on camera, a ragtag army in their distinctive light colored fatigues.
Some are also wearing a previously retired Ethiopian army uniform, a clear bit to sow confusion as to whether they're Ethiopian or Eritrean.
Eritrean soldiers are telling us that we don't have permission to travel, even though the Ethiopian soldiers waved us through. The other thing is
Eritrean soldiers are supposed to have begun withdrawing, but here they are, mining a checkpoint and blocking us from going forward.
ELBAGIR (on camera): Hello, sir, --how are you, journalists? We have permission.
ELBAGIR (on camera): You're asking us to turn back? OK, we've been sent back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well Larry Madowo following this from neighboring Kenya. And Larry, if indeed the United States does act on this threat to cut Ethiopia off in
terms of aid, what type of impact on the Ethiopian economy might we see which is already suffering?
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, and this will be a major blow to the Ethiopian economy. If on January 1, as the U.S. is threatening, it will
lock it out of the African Growth and Opportunity Act that will be significant. And the Ethiopian government has been campaigning over the
last two months to avoid that kind of decision.
And Ethiopia's Chief Trade Negotiator Hala, wrote an op-ed in foreign policy saying that's the two most successful categories under a golfer
Ethiopia are leather and apparel, and those employ 200,000 people. 80 percent of them are women.
And they're the ones who are likely to be affected most by such a decision. But the U.S. has been quite serious here saying they've been reported
atrocities on both sides to be clear it's not just by the Cuban government, also by the Tigray People's Liberation Front and by Eritrean forces, who
are allies of the Ethiopian government that conflict in the north of Ethiopia.
There's been a trust, as reported here, such as sexual violence and killings that bear the hallmarks of genocide. And these will be almost a
year this week since this conflict began. Thousands of people already killed, hundreds of thousands displaced and hundreds of thousands on the
brink of starvation.
So the U.S. is saying unless this changes and changes fast, you're out of this. And this is a huge economic blow to a country that needs it,
especially after the devastation of COVID-19 over the past year and a half. So the Ethiopian government already responding saying this will be
punishing ordinary men and women and children and not necessarily the people who are at the heart of this conflict.
GORANI: So I'm being told the Ethiopian Attorney General has declared a state of emergency for Ethiopia. What more can you tell us about this?
MADOWO: We know this just happened in the past hour or so the Council of Ministers in Ethiopia declared a state of emergency. It was announced by
the Attorney General like you mentioned, and this is a nationwide state of emergency so quite significant.
This is the backdrop of an announcement yesterday by the Tigray People's Liberation Front, this rebel group in the north that they had taken two key
towns in the neighboring Amhara region, and they've threatened to advance into the capital of Addis Ababa.
Already the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has previously told the - bodied people that they need to defend the neighborhood they should be
prepared to do so if it came to that, Hala.
GORANI: All right, Larry Madowo thanks very much. You're watching "Connect the World". Coming up, meet the company looking to eliminate plastic from
GORANI: Could seaweed provide the future of food packaging this week as part of "Call to Earth" we visit London based startup Notpla. The company
which stands for not plastic is attempting to reduce our dependency particularly on single use plastics with a new biodegradable material. Take
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIERRE PASLIER, CO-FOUNDER AND CO-CEO, NOTPLA: The Burmese plastic is that it's indestructible. It's a material that will stay around for hundreds of
years. So it's really, really performant. But we use it for the wrong reasons. We use it in places where we throw away something after just five
minutes of use, and that's really this problem we're trying to solve.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: According to the U.N., every year 300 million tons of plastic waste is generated. Half of that plastic is designed to be used
only once. That's why Pierre Paslier set out to find a material that eliminates our reliance on plastic for single use packaging, taking his
inspiration from nature.
PASLIER: We chose seaweed because it has a lot of sustainable credentials. First of all, it grows very fast. Some of the seaweed that we've tried in
the lab grows up to one meter per day. Second of all, it doesn't use fresh water or fertilizer to grow.
It just grows on its own in the sea without human intervention. And on top of that, when it grows, it's sequesters carbon. So it really is something
that has a lot more potential in helping us getting out of this problem then a lot of other biomass.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Notpla has used this innovative material to produce its flagship product. The packaging made out of seaweed can hold drinks and
sauces and is able to biodegrade in a matter of weeks.
PASLIER: It's really in line with fruits and vegetables. So Notpla packaging can break down in the home compost extremely fast just like an
apple or just like an orange.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The entire bubble can even be swallowed whole. Manufacture begins in Notpla's East London warehouse where chemists mix
different seaweed and plant extracts to create a solution.
This solution is used to create a thin membrane which has properties suitable for packaging, ready to be filled with anything from ketchup to
cocktail. The concept works for any liquid.
PASLIER: We partnered for the London Marathon with Lucozade they were using plastic bottles and cups and they were really keen to reduce the amount of
waste that is created at these events.
And actually, at the end of the event, he was brilliant that the trucks that clean the streets and usually have to stop at each station to pick up
all of that plastic. They just drove by our station there was nothing to pick up. So it was really incredible the feeling that we had delivered
hydration without the plastic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And beyond liquids Notpla is looking to revolutionize the takeout food industry. With British Delivery Company Just Eat and
Takeaway.com seeking to replace the plastic that typically lines food delivery boxes with seaweed.
ROBIN CLARK, SENIOR DIRECTOR, GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS, SPONSORSHIPS AND SUSTAINABILITY, JUST EAT TAKESWAY.COM: What we wanted to find was not just
a card box, because that would leak. And so what the guys at Notpla have done so cleverly is add a lining to that card. That gives the heat proof
waterproof grease proof properties of plastic, but disappears in the ground in a couple of weeks.
As far as I'm aware the packaging that we're making here with Notpla is by far the most sustainable if not the first time globally that we've seen
packaging like this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Looking to the future, the team at Notpla is hopeful that we can find more creative solutions to the climate crisis. For Paslier
the answers are all around us.
PASLIER: Nature has all of the solutions. We just have to continue getting our inspiration from different plants, different trees, different
vegetables. This is what the future looks like.
We need to use more other natural materials and I think through this diversity, we can really solve this problem. And I'm really hopeful that we
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: We'll continue showcasing these inspirational environmental stories like this as part of the initiative at CNN. And let us know what you're
doing to answer the call with the #calltoearth. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Well, for all you Star Wars fans, a new chapter in the Star Wars universe makes its debut later this year. Here's a first look at "The Book
of Boba Fett".
The new series follows bounty hunter Boba Fett taking over the former palace of Jabba the Hutt and his criminal empire. The fan favorite was
given a new lease on life in season two of the Mandalorian with his series getting a surprise reveal and a post credits scene.
The Book of Boba Fett will hit Disney plus on December 29. Thanks for joining us, I'm Hala Gorani. "One World" is next with Lynda Kinkade.