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Quest Means Business

U.N. Climate Report Is A Code Red For Humanity; Greece Battles Massive Wildfires; France Mandates Health Passes At Bars And Restaurants; Oil Down Amid Surging Delta Variant Fears; China Looks To Carry Olympic Momentum To Beijing 2022. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired August 09, 2021 - 15:00:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: A very good day, wherever you are, and we start a new week together with an hour of trading still to go, the

Dow is falling from its record highs, although it has clawed back some of the early losses as you can see from these numbers. We were heavily down,

but now just pulled up a tad or two.

The markets -- the only one that's really up is the NASDAQ, but that's another story for another day.

The main events of this first Monday, the U.N. warns the window to avert a climate catastrophe is closing fast.

Oil prices as the delta variant hits the world's two biggest economies, oil prices fall.

And Canada reopens the world's longest land border to U.S. visitors. And so far, it's a one-way street.

We are live in New York on Monday. It's August the 9th. I'm Richard Quest, and I mean business.

Good evening, tonight, there is a final warning to save the planet. The United Nations has issued a Code Red for humanity. It follows the report

representing a decade of scientific research. This report shows beyond a shadow of doubt, firstly, the Earth is well warming faster than we thought.

Secondly, extreme weather is getting worse. Thirdly, you and me, humans have caused this crisis, and that is the most important part.

Looking ahead as opposed to the rear view, the window to do something is about to shut. We need look no further than the world today for evidence of

what I'm talking about and the devastation from climate crisis.

There are gigantic wildfires spreading in the Western United States. Winter in Peru hasn't stopped the wildfires there. Venice is being damaged by

flood levels not seen in decades, and in North Korea, Kim Jong-un has dispatched help from the Army to help floods in the region, and wildfires

are raging in Southern Europe, where we will be in just a moment.

Bill Weir is CNN's chief climate correspondent. Bill, give me in a nutshell what is different about this apocalyptic call than those we've had before

from the same people?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: The certainty, Richard, because it's been eight years since the last one. And as you know, by the phone in

your pocket and the TV on your wall, technology has gotten you know exponentially better since then. That goes for supercomputing models for

climate scenarios future, it goes for satellite imagery, and it goes for the specialties that look at climate accountability, tying specific weather

events to manmade climate change.

And everything, as you saw there, you don't need a PowerPoint to illustrate this thing, you can look out the window literally anywhere on any

continent, all of that underscored by the things that are happening faster than anyone predicted.

QUEST: So, they are saying that a certain amount of global warming and heating is built into the cake. The cake is now baking, so to speak.

WEIR: Right.

QUEST: And really, this is about what future changes we can make from making the bad situation worse. It's COP 26 they are talking about.

WEIR: Right, coming up in Glasgow in a few months, but promises have been made for a very long time, there have been plenty of world conventions of

leaders, plenty of these exact same warnings, and nothing has been done when it comes to stopping or putting this sort of planet cooking pollution

up into the air.

This may not change anybody's mind. It'll be used in lawsuits, certainly, as more people -- litigants -- try to go after fossil fuel companies who

knew this science years back, but did nothing. But this is a human question, and ultimately, that's what it comes down to.

It's not a question of physics or science anymore, it is what our six billion plus humans willing to do to get off of fossil fuels.

QUEST: Bill, bluntly, there are still those that deny it and they point to the President, the former President of the United States was one of them,

and with him come a cadre of people that say the planet and weather and temperatures have always been changing. It's part of the advancement. There

will still be people who advance that argument. Why are they right or wrong?


WEIR: Well, I think the science is behind this reports who looked at the fact that there's more carbon dioxide in the air now than in the last two

million years and that was an actual -- you know, a giant meteorite killed the dinosaurs.

There is plenty of scientific proof for that. It has been politicized much the way COVID-19 and the vaccines have been politicized. But yes, the

climate has always changed, and for most of Earth's history, it was uninhabitable to humans.

We just happened to come along at this sweet little Goldilocks seconds in Earth time that made it perfect for human evolution. Unfortunately, the

world we built on that planet may not work in this new planet we've created.

And so it's not only about mitigating this, stopping the source of the problem, it is adapting to the realities we have created. We have altered

the sea and the sky and changed the atmosphere and the oceans, and we now have to deal with the ramifications of that.

QUEST: Bill, I have an unfair question for you. Are you optimistic about our ability to make the sort of radical fundamental change? I ask you

because you are our chief climate correspondent, so, you've looked this thing up and down, inside out, back to front.

WEIR: I get this a lot. You know, do you have hope? All those sorts of things? Well, too much hope makes you Pollyannaish and alleviates the need

to actually do something and care about it. But too much despair makes you nihilistic and alleviates your responsibility to do anything. I think you

have to carry hope and fear at the same time, and anger, and a sense of purpose because really the only cure to any of these things is community

and figure out solutions together.

That's how, you know, all the rousing or hero movies we see or societies pulling together, they rise to the moment and this is our moment.

QUEST: Bill, thank you. Good to see you sir. Appreciate it.

Business and corporate leaders need to make major changes to help avert the environmental catastrophe on our doorstep. Look at the offenders: Energy is

by far the worst offender. It is followed by transportation by land, air, and sea, manufacturing, construction, agriculture -- they are not far


Some industries have set targets to go carbon neutral. E.U. auto makers say 2035. Amazon and Walmart 2040. U.K. aviation -- in fact, the whole aviation

industry is likely to go for 2050 net zero.

Most public companies are failing to meet their target. One report says only a quarter of companies across the world's major stock markets are on

track to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Rich Lesser is the CEO of the Boston Consulting Group. Rich your own company has pledged to achieve net zero by 2030. You're in Hawaii. I'm

grateful you're joining us.

Let's look at the issue of where you think companies are failing to meet the promises that they've put forward.

RICH LESSER, CEO, BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP: So, I think the big issue right now is stepping up the ambition level of the commitments and the companies

that I've been engaged with increasingly the recognition, we have to act on climate, we have to act ambitiously. It's very challenging to do

particularly in certain sectors of the economy, where the technology isn't there yet, the costs are enormous, we have to set very broad goals, and

that's going to be the challenge of the years ahead, because in some sectors, it will feel unaffordable.

But when you look at it from a consumer angle, and you look at whole supply chains, it's more affordable than we realize. That requires -- your

reporter, Bill, talked about the need to work with purpose and need to work as a community, and I just echo that. That is what is going to be required

here within the business community, too.

QUEST: Right, but I want to show you again, you can't see it, I think, but the list of polluters -- I'll go through it for you. I mean, if we look at

the list of polluters, you've got the energy industry, well, obviously that's at the top. Now many, many investment banks have withdrawn

investment. It is no longer acceptable to be there.

Looking at the countries China, the U.S., E.U., Indonesia, Iran, and Canada -- these are the top emitters that have those industries within them.

Therefore, I don't know what more do you do?

LESSER: So, let's just remember, we can talk about the industries. Those industries support people. People want energy to grow economies, people

want the manufactured goods, people use the agricultural products to eat and feed their families. So, we have to look at this as a massive societal

problem, and I am in no way diminishing the incredible responsibility that business has to treat this as a key priority and accelerate progress.

But if we don't have governments working in partnership with business, we will not go as far as we need to go. We will not go fast as this report

clearly says we need to get there.


QUEST: But the very goal of BCG is sort of consultancy and advice and getting, you know, the honesty levels. That's what you do. That's what

people pay large sums of money for. The reality is, we're not even close. We missed the targets, we missed the targets that we are supposed to hit,

the 1.5 percent, the Paris Agreement. Aviation comes up with net neutral in 2030, 2040, 2050. I mean, these are pie in the sky numbers that aren't


LESSER: I agree, governments have missed numbers, businesses have missed numbers. We are not going as fast as we need to do, and we are not putting

in some of the fundamentals yet that we will need to, whether it's having measures that people can count on, whether it is having transparency,

whether it is having those things factored into investment decisions, whether it's a price on carbon or a carbon trading emission system, we just

have many elements of this that are not in place as fast as they need to be, and we're not going to make enough progress if we don't put them in


QUEST: So let's -- so, again, I'm getting free advice here from someone that we've normally had to pay a small fortune for. What would your advice

be to a Board of Directors? They've got a raft of reports on their desk. They've got every CSL, ESG policy you can possibly imagine. But now the

Board is sitting around, what would you say to them?

LESSER: I'd say, first, you need to set this as one of your top three business priorities and you need to treat it the way you do any other

business priority. You measure it, you set clear, accountable goals, and you build an organization structure with your really top talent responsible

for those elements.

Second, you look at your entire supply chain start to finish, it is not enough for most sectors of the economy to decarbonize within their own

operations, and they have to look up and down.

Third, you build the fundamentals in place. You build it around how you allocate capital, you build around how you put measurement systems, how you

retrain departments like your procurement department to be able to do it.

And fourth, you play a very active role in public advocacy. You are out there with guidance talking about what we need to do together to make


QUEST: Rich, this is a -- QMB is a publicly listed company, our shareholders are active, our Board is listening to you, we paid the money.

We are following your advice. But my competition is a private company, and they really don't give a damn, they absolutely don't care because all they

care about is the profits for the family that own the company that live goodness knows where.

LESSER: I'm so glad you raise this point, Richard. This is the conversation that many companies have, if we do the right thing, we know it will cost

billions of dollars of investment. We know and might reduce margins in some product.

If the whole industry does it together, if we all bear those costs, then the actual cost of the consumer at the end is pretty low. But if we don't

all do it, we lose. And if our customers don't care, then we are putting ourselves at a disadvantage. That's why we need governments to be a good

partner here, that private companies don't get a free pass on this, that there is some sort of price on carbon or some sort of trading emission

scheme, because if governments don't work as a partner to help, it is exactly the discussion you just framed in the boardroom.

QUEST: Rich, it is good to see you, sir. Thank you for taking the time and trouble. We appreciate you in Hawaii this morning.

LESSER: My pleasure.

QUEST: QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. We'll continue this, but from a different side. Live in Greece, there are wildfires raging across the country. Now,

we can -- we can talk about climate change and what the relevance of all this is. Well, the Prime Minister in Greece has just given a statement,

we'll report it to you. Our correspondent is there.

And the world's longest international border is reopening, at least on one side. Canada is welcoming Americans as long as they are fully vaccinated.

We are there, too. Thank you.



QUEST: The Prime Minister of Greece is apologizing for the country's uphill battle this week against horrific wildfires, one of the fires has forced

thousands of people to flee Evia, the country's second largest island. Now, there is more than a thousand firefighters around the world helping Greece


The Prime Minister says global warming is playing a colossal role in the crisis.


KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER (through translator): It is obvious that the climate crisis is now knocking on the door of the entire

planet with fires that last weeks. This is a reason, but it is not an excuse nor an alibi, and I will say it clearly, we may have done whatever

is humanly possible, but in many cases, this did not appear to be enough in the unequal battle with nature.


QUEST: Eleni is with us on the island of Evia in Greece. That's really quite an -- I mean, for a politician and a Prime Minister to apologize, you

know, to sort of say that the climate change -- it might be the reason, but it's not an excuse. They've really got this one wrong with the government.

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN BUSINESS AFRICA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. It's pretty extraordinary to see him take that responsibility and it echoes what

people here in Evia are feeling. They are angry. They are disappointed. Many say that the emergency services weren't deployed quick enough, that

they weren't given assistance with helicopters and aircraft, only sort of six days later into the game. They say it's already too late, too much has

been destroyed.

You were talking about international assistance; that has been a vital part in trying to get these places under control. But let me tell you, Richard,

we'd been driving around the island the entire day, some fires too big for us to approach, and also circling villages.

We're also seeing incredible work by volunteers who are just average men and women trying their best to douse the flames. Now, in terms of numbers,

we're talking about almost half of Evia being burnt down in terms of the forest and the land.

So, it is extraordinary to see the devastation. People are in absolute shock. So for Kyriakos Mitsotakis to come out and apologize, it is a big


QUEST: So, what happens now? I mean, what is the best hope for putting out these fires? Is it to wait it out? Build fire breaks? I mean, all the

traditional methods. Do they have anything else up their sleeve?

GIOKOS: Yes, look, it's nightfall so, basically, all services have stopped. It's just far too dangerous for any helicopters to do any work. When we

left one blaze, it was raging, and all they could do was try and create trenches between the blaze so that it didn't move further into the forest.

So, that's one method.

But luckily, there is no wind, Richard, so that's one saving grace. However, it is extremely hard. Remember, we've seen immense temperatures

hitting Greece over the past week, which of course has compounded the issue, the next few days are going to be absolutely vital, but I think the

locals here are very committed to helping and you're seeing as much as possible coming through from residents here.


GIOKOS: A lot of people have been evacuated, but some have opted to stay even close to the fire to try and protect their livelihoods. We have seen

young men and women walking around with branches ready to douse the flame by hand and even walking around with sort of fire extinguishers as well.

So, it's all hands on deck, but they say it's not enough, and because we witnessed a lot of the helicopters coming through, Richard, it wasn't

enough. I mean, you'd have to really mobilize a lot more teams on the ground to try and get this under control quickly.

QUEST: Thank you very much. Eleni Giokos in Greece for us.

In France, the pass sanitaire, the bars, restaurants and long distance travel are off limits to people unless they have the controversial pass

sanitaire. They must show proof they've been fully vaccinated, and have had a recent negative test or recovered from COVID, the usual.

Hundreds of thousands of people again turned out to protest against the new rules. Jim Bittermann is in Paris. I heard you talking to Hala just an hour

ago about the ingenuity, entrepreneurialism of restaurants in COVID testing next to each other. But how is it going on day one?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think pretty well, Richard. I mean, we've seen a couple of people turned away. No

one has really gotten very aggressive. I mean, that was kind of what we were anticipating. But we haven't seen it. Now, we've seen the number of

people that have been refused at restaurants and long distance buses and things like that, but they really kind of take it in stride because I think

they know that this is somewhat bigger than they are.

Now, I'm not sure this is playing out the same way all across the country, and we've certainly heard from restauranteurs who are not happy with this

at all, because they have had to put on extra people to check on the COVID passes. I've got a COVID pass right here, I'm going to eat tonight. I'll go

to a restaurant, but the restaurants are checking these if you go in and they can refuse you.

But this is like what we were talking about earlier with Hala, and that is right next to this restaurant, all across Paris, you're seeing these

springing up like mushrooms. These are these pop up testing centers where you can get an antigen test in just a few minutes. And so, if you get

refused at the restaurant, you can come here and get an antigen test and if tests negative, go back to the restaurant, and that's okay.

The problem is, you've got to have a test within 72 hours. So if you're going to not get vaccinated here, you're going to have to get a test every

72 hours.

QUEST: Okay, so one thing, Jim, just help our viewers who may be traveling to France, they don't have the COVID pass in the same way that you've got.

Is there an equivalent for tourists? Or basically, are you going to be doing antigens every 72 hours, so you always have a valid test in your back


BITTERMANN: I'll tell you this is where it gets complicated, Richard. The fact is, yes, within the E.U., this passes battle within the E.U. and if

you get from one country to another.

Outside the E.U., like from the United States, for example, we just checked on this today, the Tourism Ministry says that if you go to the Foreign

Ministry website, you put in a few details like a copy of your plane ticket, a copy of your passport, and that sort of -- and a copy of course

of your vaccination certificate, you can be issued a COVID pass that will get you by while you're here on vacation.

But it's not -- the system is not that well perfected and there may be some difficulties. There has been a lot of trouble, people like -- for once I

heard that you can go to pharmacies and get a pass, but that's kind of going away.

QUEST: Hey, well just think about it. One of those tents, get your COVID antigen, you've got 72 hours to eat and drink your way around Paris, and

then you do it all over again.

Jim Bittermann, thank you, sir.

BITTERMANN: You can do a lot of damage in 72 hours, Richard.

QUEST: Thank you. One way or another, yes. The world's longest international border is reopening today, on the one side at least. Canada

is reopening its border with the U.S. to fully vaccinated Americans, an important step for thousands of Canadian businesses that rely on border


In 2019, more than one and a half million people entered the Canada via train at the Three Nations Crossings. Last year, it was 873. So, June of

this year, just 381,000.

Paula Newton is with from the Three Nations Crossing in Cornwall. This is a one-way street in a sense that vaccinated Americans can go over, but

vaccinated Canadians can't, because Americans can come back and green card holders can come back.

I'm surprised. I mean, I guess it's in Canada's interest to do something where reciprocity is not expected or being offered.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a thing to keep in mind here, Richard is that that reciprocity wasn't there in terms of Canada's point of

view, either for the entire length of this pandemic. If you were Canadian, you could fly into the United States.


NEWTON: It is true that I, unlike Jim Bittermann, cannot cross that border over there and go into New York State, even though I'm fully vaccinated and

have a nice meal this evening. That is a bridge too far.

And the sense that we're getting from the Biden administration is the fact that -- and that's in speaking to business groups here in Canada who wanted

to have more of an explanation was that look, they did not want this to seem normal.

I mean, just to explain to everyone, I used to go across that border for milk, eggs, bread, gas, it was back and forth all the time. The Biden

administration does not want that. They do not want the sense of normalcy. Why? Because they do not have the vaccination rate that they want or need

at this point.

And look, you mentioned, from a commercial point of view, this border closure now going for a year and a half has been absolutely flawless. Keep

in mind 9/11, this border was closed for two days, we're at almost a year and a half. Still, though, a good step forward today. There were long

lines. I know, people who lined up at midnight, got in after about three hours, a lot of people really anxious here, and that includes those small

businesses all the way from one coast to the other, Richard, that depend on a lot of that business from American tourists.

QUEST: But isn't this is just a statement of the real politic. You've got the U.K., you've got the E.U., you've got Canada, all basically saying to

America, we will open up to you if you're fully vaccinated, even though you don't have a very good total vaccination rate. But if you're fully

vaccinated -- but the U.S. is making no effort to offer a quid pro quo.

NEWTON: Yes, they don't feel they need to. But I think it's key, Richard, to listen to what the Biden administration is telling the business

community and I'll say, even Democratic congressman and Congress people and senators from the United States are saying Joe Biden, open this border, and

yet what the Biden administration continually says over and over and over again, we cannot afford to have people act like as if everything is normal.

And the minute that everything goes back to normal, it's out of sight, out of mind, I don't need a vaccine, and that seems to be the principal reason

why they decided to keep it closed.

You know, it's only close until August 21st now. Perhaps, they will capitulate at least perhaps starting with land traffic from Canada.

QUEST: Paula Newton may not be able to cross the border and have dinner, but I suspect you can get something tasty in Cornwall in Canada. Send us

the bill. Thank you, Paula Newton.

As we continue tonight, believe it or not, the next Olympic Games are only six months away. We're in China to see how the country is preparing for the

Winter Games given the spread of delta and other fears.




QUEST: These markets are mixed on a volatile day. The Dow fell more than 150 points. It was early in the session. And it has clawed its way back.

the VIX, of course, the measure of volatility is at five percent. It's not just that nearly three percent over Delta. Travel stocks hit badly. U.S.

airlines, the majors are all lower, or roughly about the same amount which shows what they're thinking about.

Along with the hotels and the hotel bookings and the engines, Expedia booking -- bucking the trend, booking the trend there just up a tad or two

on its own factors. Oil price is also under pressure. West Texas Intermediate is coming off its worst week since October. It pulled itself

into the green after spending most of the day down. But let's not be fooled, it is sharply lower overall.

The economists fear is that COVID outbreaks in China could lead to more lockdowns and more pressures on strain supply. The U.S. has recently been

averaging 100,000 cases, new cases a day. And if you look at that, it's a discouraging trend. Michael Osterholm is the director of the Center for

Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. It is good to see, sir. Now look --


QUEST: The reality is 100,000 deaths have gone up and hospitalizations have gone up. Same in Britain, same elsewhere, but nowhere near the same numbers

that we would have seen before. So, why are we not just in a flu-light situation where there will be new cases? Some people will get sick, but

most people won't?

OSTERHOLM: Well, you characterize that partially correct. But there are some additions you need to be aware of. First of all, yes, you're right.

Case numbers a lot climbing are below that of the surge we saw in the winter here in the United States, this past January, February, as well as

what was seen in the U.K. in December, January. And it's true that the number of hospitalizations have been reduced, as well as particularly the


But if you look at what's happened in the United States, for example, these cases are just continuing to climb higher and higher. And we have

healthcare systems throughout the United States, particularly in the southern Sun Belt states that are literally overloaded. They can't take any

more patients.

And so, that's been the big challenge. If you want to put this into perspective, Richard, this past week, if Louisiana and Florida, two states,

the United States were actually independent countries, they would have the number one and number two rates of COVID infections in the world.

QUEST: The governor of Louisiana -- the governor of Louisiana seems to care more about it than the governor of Florida. And in the way it's been

handled, but to simplify this, is Delta the reason? And I hear there's something else coming behind Delta.

OSTERHOLM: Well, Delta is the reason. Clearly, in the United States, we do enjoy an increased rate of vaccination compared to many countries in the

world, not as high as in the U.K. or Israel. But you can still see the damage that this is doing is substantial. It's real. Even with kids, we're

seeing our pediatric hospitals in the southern Sun Belt states literally overrun with cases of COVID, including intensive care.

So this has been the challenge. And the big question is what's going to happen over the course the next four to eight weeks. Will we see other

states in the United States become hotspots like we're seeing in the southern Sun Belt states or will in fact, they have increases but not

nearly as high as the Sun Belt states.

And we can't answer that. I can just tell you that there are 90 million Americans right now who could be vaccinated who have not had any vaccine at

all. That's a lot of people for this virus to attack yet and then it will.

QUEST: OK. So, our viewers -- our dear viewer watching around the world will say OK, this is all good stuff from Michael. But 19 million who won't

get vaccinated for whatever reason, either hesitancy, never-vaxxers, won't vax, wait for authorization, whatever.

They don't want a max mandate because it's their right to have children in school without that. They don't want a vaccine mandate because it's their

right not to be vaccinated. So one can't help saying and I don't say this with pleasure or glee.


QUEST: The U.S. is the author of it. So misfortune or those states are in any -- in some cases.

OSTERHOLM: They are. And it is true, though, that this has actually been seen around the world. You can see in the E.U. an increasing number of

people who are resisting the mandates and feel that they somehow as an individual can make their own decisions about their health, which is true,

but they forget that they're also part of a community. Where they result in transmission of the virus to others when they get infected.

We have 12 million Americans right now who are immune suppressed or have some form of immune deficiencies, no fault of their own. And these people

are yet likely highly vulnerable. The vaccines and the two-dose regimen have provided a limited amount of protection but not that high.

So, you know, we're trying to protect as many people as we possibly can. Getting vaccinated right now, not only protects the individual, their

family, their friends, their colleagues, but it helps in the community tremendously.

QUEST: Michael, what's whatsoever coming after Delta. I hear there are some other variants of which we are concerned and that it is really -- I mean,

as you'll have been reading the views of many experts that say it's just a time before a variant that is vaccine resistant comes along.

OSTERHOLM: Well, it is true, we will continue to see variants as the reality of microbial evolution that every time this virus reproduces itself

somewhere in the world, it potentially undergoes changes that would result in a different virus in terms of can it cause more severe disease? Is it

more transmissible or candidate escaped immune protection of vaccine or natural infection? You know, Delta's a bedbug. It surely is highly


If one is going to be more transmissible, it's going to have to be Delta out. That is a frightening proposition. In terms of whether or not there is

a immune escape or the ability for the virus to actually not be protected, us protected from that virus by vaccine or natural infection is still -- I

can't say hypothetical. It surely could happen. But at this point, we haven't seen evidence that I think these vaccines are generally working

pretty good.

QUEST: Provided. You take them, which is -- which of course is crucial.

OSTERHOLM: That's right.

QUEST: Michael, it is good to have you sir. I'm grateful you've taken time here.

OSTERHOLM: Thank you.

QUEST: Thank you, sir. Thank you. The global surge in Delta that Michael is talking about comes as Beijing is preparing to host the Winter Olympics

with only six months to go. The country is putting renewed scrutiny on China and its zero COVID pandemic strategy. CNN's David Culver reports.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A surge of Chinese pride in Tokyo. China's athletes bringing home the second highest number of gold

medals, just narrowly using to the United States but setting the world stage for a fierce competition in February's Winter Olympic Games in

Beijing. China hoping for a show stopping repeat of 2008. That was China's ceremonial stepping out onto the world stage.

Hosting a Summer Olympics in Beijing and a moment many expected would lead to a further opening up of the country. The Games were a mesmerizing

production revealing China's potential to rival the west in both athletic competition and beyond.

BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: This competition is going to be one of the central challenges of this century.

CULVER: But since 2008 under the ruling communist party and its increasingly powerful leader, Xi Jinping, the people's republic has not

only seen its economy soar but also a rapid build up and flexing of its military and cyber might, making countries like the U.S. increasingly

uneasy. In less than six months the Olympics are set to return to Beijing, and you can expect China to impress once again starting with its hardware.

CNN was recently invited to visit some of the Olympic venues. China building big and fast well ahead of schedule.

(on camera): Look around. You've got the buildings up. The brandings up inside. They're pretty much done. The only thing they're waiting on are the


(voice-over): Dramatic backdrops for the events with sweeping mountain views.

(on camera): Of course as you look out the venue's going to look at bit different come winter. This will all ideally be covered in white.

(voice-over): Italian engineers working years in advance to bring the snowy Alps to Asia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we can control the quality of the snow.

CULVER: And China making a big environmental promise. These will be the first games in which all the competition venues will be fueled 100 percent

by green energy.

(on camera): We're on top of one of the slopes. As you look out you can pan across and you see dozens of windmills. Beyond that, solar panels.

(voice-over): But there are chilling realities that threaten to overshadow these games. Chinese cities are quickly re-imposing targeted lockdowns as

the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads. Extreme containment measures while seemingly effective aren't exactly welcoming to the rest of the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will continue to press China.

CULVER: China is also facing mounting pressure over the investigation into the origins of the virus, which has claimed more than four million lives



CULVER: And then there are the growing calls for countries to boycott Beijing for alleged human rights abuses, specifically its treatment of

Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. The worsening tensions between China and the west coincided with an intensified nationalism at home, which begs the

question even with all the expected pageantry and performance in the upcoming Beijing Winter Games, can China change how the world views the

emerging superpower? David Culver, CNN, Beijing.


QUEST: That's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. For the moment, I'll have the top of the hour dash for the closing bell. Coming up next, Connecting Africa. This

is CNN.



QUEST: Two minutes the end of trading on this Monday, I'm Richard Quest. Together, let's have a dash to the closing bell. The markets have been

worried that the global economy is suffering from long COVID, never-ending Delta. The Dow fell early in the session. It's recovered somewhat but we

are now heading down of 117 points, a third of a percent. The NASDAQ is eking out a small gain. Not enough though, to send it to a record.

So no records on any of the major indices. The U.N. has issued a code read for humanity with a landmark report showing the planet's warming faster

than previously thought. The chance of reversing the course is quickly fading. Rich Lesser is the CEO of Boston Consulting. He told me governments

must work with private business to help them cut carbon emissions.


RICH LESSER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP: Those industries support people, people want energy to grow economies. People

want the manufactured goods, people use the agricultural products to eat and feed their families. So we have to look at this as a massive societal

problem. And I'm in no way diminishing the incredible responsibility that business has to treat this as a key priority and accelerate progress.

But if we don't have governments working in partnership with business, we will -- we will not go as far as we need to go. We will not go as fast as

this report clearly says we need to get there.


QUEST: Rich Lesser of the BCG. And that is the dash to the bell with the markets down. I'm Richard Quest. As we go to the closing bell of the New

York Stock Exchange, whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. The closing bell is ringing. The Dow is down. "THE LEAD" with

Jake Tapper (INAUDIBLE)