tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera September 15, 2015 10:30pm-11:01pm EDT
you to make sense of your world. >> ali velshi on target only on al jazeera america i'm ali velshi "on target." oil in the arctic, why some are cold to the idea of a treaty ta could let america warm to it uber on fire - why some say they've been left on the curbing president obama faces changes in the arctic, last month he travelled to the region to call attention to damaging effects of global warming. villages are suffering from coastal erasion.
the president pledged aid, but it brought accusations of hypocrisy. in august the obama administration allowed shell to restart exploratory drilling for oil and gas. environmentalists say it shows president obama is not serious about stopping global warming. never mind that the lease thes leases that alea shell to -- that allow shell were allowed by the bush administration. it exposed the president to critics who say the united states is not doing enough to make america competitive in an area where russia and china are being aggressive. get this, in august. russia taked a claim to 463 thoud square miles of arctic territory, extending the continental shelf 350 nautical miles from russia's shores. it's up to the united nations to rule. at stake shipping lanes, oil and
gas. as coast guard said in july "the united states really isn't each in this game." evidence of what is a discrepancy in icebreakers. russia has 40, america has two, one of which is at the end of its useful life. so the arctic it playing into a narrowing of worsening relations between russia and the west. russia's annexation of crimea and support against ukraine is causing tension in n.a.t.o. up near the arctic, in norway and nearby countries, russia is testing n.a.t.o.'s resolve with hundreds of military flights violating the neighbour's airspace. the narrative is only part of the story. travel to the arctic like i did, you can see it's part of a world
whose brutal conditions require n.a.t.o. and washington to cooperate. the fear is the new cold war will damage a spirit of cooperation and has been around since the old cold war. as tensions simmer between russia and the west. >> a new confrontation is brewing in the high north. with plans for 13 new arctic bases. russia is sending bombers and fighter jets like these on missions high above the frozen tundra. >> the u.s. and canada are dusting off their own plans. norway moved its military headquarters 600 miles north, inside the arctic circle, to keep better taps on russia. imptd the reason, control of the
high... >> the reason - control of the high north could become exclusive melting ice caps unlock vast riches of oil and gas. they hope fast shipping routes on top of the world. the arctic is still an untamed wilderness, and the extreme weather - despite sanctions over ukraine, russia and the west rely on each other to keep their people safe. >> i sat with a man in charge of coordinating the search and rescue efforts with russia. >> these days most everyone is complaining. you have one of the better relationships. >> in search or rescue we have good cooperation. >> we need to help each other. the infrastructure is more
suitable in the area, we don't have many rescue efforts. we need to assist each other. >> that help will be needed more than ever in coming years. as the ice melts, the arctic conversations cargo ships a faster route between europe and asia, it's a dangerous passage way, subject to weather conditions. russia's ministry of transport says the amount much cargo transiting the northern sea route changes from 1.8 million tonnes a year to 64 million tonnes by the end of the decade. >> there are more people around here in the area that you have to look after, than there have been in the past. what does it mean. >> for us it means planning ahead because we expect more incidents to happen. >> today about 5,000 work in the barren sea.
they need help. norway launched a rescue operation 200 times over the last five years. >> to get a first hand look, i let the -- left the norwegian mainland and travelled north across the sea to a remote island. situated halfway between norway and the north wall, it's a central logistics hub between russia and the west. getting there is not easy. communications are a challenge in the high arctic. so are the logistics for emergency rescues. that is a consideration. as the ice melts, you are seeing more energy workers, fishermen and more tourists. despite the low cost of oil, energy companies like low dutch shell are set to begin. cruise ship companies like
crystal cruises expect to send thousands through the north passage. >> you enjoy the idea that more people are discovering this part of the world. but tourism puts pressure on you. >> you have crews ships in the arctic area with 5,000 people on board. that's a challenge for us, thinking what do you do if they get in distress. >> if relations between russia and the west devolves, many fear that long-standing cooperation may be jeopardised. those that live and work here could bear the consequences. >> there's a treaty on the table that supporters say will give the united states greater say in what's in the arctic. next, should america not sign the law of the sea treaty?
many americans support the united states having a prominent role in shaping what happens in the arctic. whether environmental or commercial, most everyone wants the u.s. to have the same say as other arctic nations. a lot of analysts in the united states - think it's a clear disadvantage because it failed to sign something it fought four, the united nations convention on the law of the sea. in simply terms, it gives countries the right to make territorial claims beyond the natural shore lines. if they make a good argument as to why they are making the claims. it gives canada, russia, norway extensive areas that can turn into valuable resources. some critics say the costs of signing the treaty are too high.
including niklas, who joins me from washington. thank you for being with us. you saw the example. russia made a claim for 460,000. most of the north pole. if they get their way, santa clause will speak russian. this is not a treaty that america is party to. russia did what the law says, it submitted its claim. u.s. u.n. will adjudicate. the australia can't make the claim. >> no, it can't. but it does not stop them being an important say. the united states has been an ally with nato countries in gove governing now it's manage the. oath we need this to determine how the u.s. is involved in govern of course, how to deal with russia.
there's a fact that russia is claiming the land. >> they are doing this legally, through a mechanism that the united states worked hard to get set up in the united nations, that president obama, president bush, the u.s. chamber of commerce things the u.s. should sign. where does your objection come from? >> the u.n. then gets to make a lot of decisions that federal government and congress should make in respect of to resources, how they should be allocated, and the factoring that we can work in li lateral, multilalterral agreements to ensure a secure and safe arctic and take advantage of the opportunities there are in terms of resource development, maintaining strong environmental records. we can accomplish the objectives
without signing the treaty. signing the treaty takes away too much sovereignty and accomplish little. >> in this particular instance, where this treaty exists, 116 nations are party to it, and russia makes a claim, what legal basis would they have to push back on it, or do you not thing the u.s. should push back on it. russia should claim 460,000 miles, and the u.s. sitting saying that's okay. >> the u.s. has been sleeping, and has been doing so for a couple of years. what the united states needs to do is work with the allies to ensure that there is not a militarization. arctic by russia, and seek for consider cooperation to ensure they can pursue economic opportunities in terms of resource development in cooperate i don't think that a law featuring the mechanism
stopping russia. it's working with n.a.t.o. allies to ensure russia is not too militarized. >> all of the countries that have borders, except the united states, have signed the treaty. >> well, the u.s. needs to be a leader. they failed to do so. that is problematic. they can do so without being privy that we have been sleeping at the wheel while other nations developed in the arctic. it speaks to the failure of the obama administration, in terms of recognising importance with a change in climate and russia's aggression. >> you know that russia has 40 ice brakers, the u.s. has two, one the end of a useful life. you can't blame that on president obama. >> no, and it's not just president obama's fault or the obama's fault. that's for sure. we failed to develop policies,
to open up access to resource development and failed to pay attention to the evidence. that has been a failure of a couple of administrations. i don't blame the administration for everything that happened in the arctic. as times change, we have seen a lot of development from norway, and we have done not a lot. no argument there. we continue to sigh if the united states were to ratify it, if the treaty exists, it will lead to expensive lawsuits punishing the taxpayers. what are you thinking of when you say that? >> it depends how resource development managed when it comes to the development of conventional fuel, than when it comes to americans drilling in the arctic or whatever the case may be. or general u.n. chaining network
or agreement. it could be an extension where it refers money to other countries. paying for expensive legislation. not to mention it's taking away the decision, placing them in the hands of the united nations, which is where they should be. >> you take this few about any kind of agreement or treaty. a lot said it takes its power away, putting in the hands of a larger organisics. some say the u.n. the world is based on treaties. >> with the united nations framework on climate change, you have problematic instances when you try to get everyone at the table. you have rent seekers trying to take advantage. they are pledging 100 million a year. they are not accomplishing that. it could come up this december
in paris. it can have bilateral agreements that are mutually beneficial, protecting the environment. but when you have everyone seated at the table. too many special interests results in something that is not beneficial outcomes. >> the u.s. uses the law to challenge claims and will ask china to explain its clarification. the international law is a treaty that the united states has not ratified. >> that may be problematic in and of itself as a justification of this treaty, if that is what countries are using. maybe that's the problem. maybe it's not the fact that the u.s. is not a signatory, it's the way the treaty has been written in the first place.
uber and lift scared off, that issue is how the state will regulate companies like uber allowing customers to use smartphones. here is the thing. they are different companies. that's one of the cove sis uber and lift stirred up in cities around the globe. and have become hugely valuable. lift is worth $2.5 billion. uber more than 50 billion. and huge numbers is part of the reason uber became a lightening rod. among those, disabled riders who charge both stephanie is a lawyer and activist who doesn't let anything get in her way. on a trip to washington d.c. she encountered a barrier that she says is bat blatant description
for not providing service for all disabled people. >> this is my first time using uber, i can't get out of the chair. do you know how i can get a different vehicle. >> stephy has spina biffa dead. when she calls for a cab, she needs one that has a chair. the driver in the end has to cabs 'em. >> he was nice, he took my phone to see if he could help. he was unable to find a way for me to get a uber wheelchair accessible vehicle. he said it was a problem. and i would be better off taking a taxi. >> is there anything else that makes it disappointing. >> it's disappointing when they are trying to have access to transportation for all people, but they mean access for transportation for all non-disabled people, and the
rest of you stay home. stephanie is not alone. besides complaints there has been class access lawsuits ape cueing them of violating the americans with disability act by not providing transportation options for persons with disability. lawsuits described drivers denying rights to blind people and harassing them. in texas, a couple filed separate lawsuits saying they were denied rides by uber and lift drivers. >> disappointed, frustrated. i want options. i want to get where i want to go and pay for a service like everyone else. >> the department of justice filed a statement of interest in the california case against uber. pointing out that:
operators of the ride-sharing apps see it differently. they argue that drivers are independent contractors and not part of a transportation fleet. they are unable to control the actions of their drivers and legally can't enforce compliance. we went to washington d.c. during a conference celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ada and asked four people to use the transportation network countries and we videoed their experience. >> they don't have an area to put a wheelchair or accessibly. it was nervous. if it was a little car it would have been a challenge for my service dog, myself and a chair. >> joe became a paraplegic after an accident and travels with a wheelchair and dog henry. what he found was a courteous driver, more than willing to work with him to figure out how to get him to his location.
>> for me that was huge to call that. picked me up quick lip. he was kind. i was able to get in the car. >> matt sealy is a paraplegic from harrisburg pennsylvania and never used one of the transportation providers before, because they are not in his town. he was curious to see what he would find when he requested an ooub ear. >> while the driver that first came couldn't accommodate matt's chair he suggested another uber, and time ask for a car to accommodate the chair. and tell the driver when he calls that he's in a wheelchair. >> that's what mat did and waited. his driver called and told him where he was. >> i'm at h and 11 on the corner. >> i'm in front of the hyatt. >> i assume saw me from across the road, the chair, and maybe 30 seconds later the trip
automatically was cancelled. >> any reason given for why the trip was cancelled. >> it says the driver cancelled the trip, please request another driver. >> you got that. how did you feel? >> if someone excluded me based on what i looked like. the driver didn't have the time for me. couldn't say sorry. saw me and said no thanks. >> cliff has been gained since birth. it's difficult not seeing the vehicle, not knowing the vehicle, and not making the effort to look you up. >> reporter: for its part uber says it's been working with drivers for riders with disability. >> as you see many people even wheelchair users can use standard vehicles.
>> reporter: in response to the lawsuit filed. uber is launching a pilot programme. teaming up with respect companies providing wheelchair accessible transportation, and it's being done in other cities. it's not satisfying critics. >> if a restaurant opened with stairs and said we'll work on making a ramp later, that would be ridiculous. we know it's the cost of doing business. for the start of business, pumping millions and not be accessible. they'll get there eventually. it shows that you don't think i'm worth it. >> kudos to the drivers and the folks. you've talked to uber and lift about this. >> we reached out to uber several times requesting an interview for the programme. lift sent us a statement, saying it is working with several
organizations to better serve members of the disabled community, and is working on an educational video for the drivers. in terms of dealing with disabled passengers. both the companies say drivers are not their employees. they were contractors. they cannot force them to buy vehicles accommodating costly things. these companies are big enough. they need to provide better positions. >> does that mean a proportion of the ability yits or the ability to provide the service when someone wants it. what is ideal. what is ideal, looking at now, is contracting out third parties that we can accommodate. yes, ideal is a certain percentage. most fleets that will be able to accommodate passengers. that's what uber is doing in
terms of getting the third parties involved. >> i would have thought when we end up talking about pilots. that's in the right direction. they are not completely happy with it. >> they say, yes, this is a move in the right direction. they are viewing this as an afterthought, and as stephanie pointed out. if they were building a company, why are you not thinking about this. >> the restaurant analogy made a lot of sense. >> it's a different lifestyle. >> thank you very much. >> this week al jazeera is running a series on uber, called "taxi wars", in col rab rigs with the houston -- collaboration with the houston chronicles. that's our show. thank you for joining us.