tv Dateline London BBC News September 11, 2017 3:30am-4:01am BST
with strong winds and storm surges leaving at least three people dead. millions of homes are without power and parts of miami are underwater. almost 200,000 people have fled to emergency shelters. at least 25 people were killed by hurricane irma in the caribbean, five of them in the british virgin islands, where a relief effort is under way. homes and boats have been destroyed, and a state of emergency declared. damage to housing and infrastructure could total $10 billion. the first funerals have been held for those killed in a massive earthquake off southern mexico on thursday night. 90 people are now thought to have died in what was the country's strongest quake for a century. the fear of aftershocks is forcing many to camp in the streets. now on bbc news, dateline london. hello and welcome to
dateline london, i'mjane hill. this week, as hurricane irma courses through the caribbean and us, to what extent is this the impact of climate change? we'll chew over the latest moves in the brexit talks. and we look at the diplomatic efforts to ease the north korea crisis. my guests this week are the chinese author and broadcaster diane wei ling. john fisher burns, who was for a0 years chief correspondent for the new york times. the british political commentator steve richards. and the uk editor of the french magazine marriane, agnes poirier. welcome to you all. thank you this sharing your day with us. irma, jose and katia. three devastating hurricanes have
been tearing their way across the carribbean this week. at the time of our discussion there is a mass exodus from florida, where 25% of the state's population has been ordered to leave. so are these storms a result of climate change? agnes, can i start with you? the paris accord is of course not supported by president trump. what is your take on these extraordinary and harrowing scenes in some places? can i say something that may sound trivial, can we stop giving lovely names to these bad hurricanes? perhaps if they had demons names. climate change deniers would take them more seriously, and everybody would. hurricane stalin? something more ancient, perhaps lucifer, donald trump would take notice!
climate change, there were hurricanes before global temperature started rising but the intensity, the frequency, the duration of those storms, they are here to stay. this is the new norm. what happened in texas or houston is our collective future that we're staring at. i think that it's... you're talking about the paris climate agreement, 195 signing countries, india, china and the us, the biggest polluters, they all came together. it has been ratified in almost all of those countries. and of course when donald trump a few months ago said, i'm opting out, he's the only one to opt out from it. because the us cities and states are in it. it would take years for the us to actually get out of it and donald trump will be history, hopefully, by then.
so there is the time of the signing and the time of the implementation. and i think it is time for everyone of us. individually, we can have an massive impact on the reduction of carbon emissions. which is at the beginning, which is the root of the problem. individuals can do what they can, but there's a bigger picture and its industry, and aerospace, and nations have all got to be acting in concert to have any substantial difference. that's why we had an agreement and that's why for instance, public transport, the americans must start hopping on trains rather than planes. it already happens in europe. just imagine, if europeans, who hop on planes for one or two hour journeys, started taking trains, it would have a massive impact, same with cars. in europe they would say, oh yes, but the chinese and the americans are the biggest polluters.
but it starts at home. mar—a—lago is in the mandatory evacuation zone, one wonders whether that might have an impact on donald trump? and his approach to climate change? do you think, john? i'm risking unpopularity in saying this but i think that the instinct to go after trump whatever happens, whatever the issue may be, in this case, might be overblown. i didn't anyone is blaming him personally for the rising sea temperatures and the hurricanes that have resulted but in terms of his language around the issue. you could say that crime is not a total outlier in espousing some of the more sceptical views on the climate change issue, and i would not have thought that these storms would settle the debate conclusively. there is a debate to be had,
it looks more and more likely that there is a connection but it is as yet unproven, i would say, for a significant and respectable body of scientific opinion in the us and elsewhere. mainly i feel uncomfortable with the idea that we have got a new opportunity to kick trump, there are much bigger issue than this than trump. every meteorologist i have interviewed this week has made the point that temperatures are rising and crucially sea temperatures are rising which is why you get more rainfall than you have had before, and many of the countries and islands, it's the sheer intensity of rainfall in such a small space of time, that's what causes the devastation. some caribbean islands, completely wiped out. and i'm no expert, and i've probably read similar things, that you've interviewed people on, and experts have said
that the reason that these storms are stronger than before is because the sea temperature is about half a point or 1.5 degrees higher than usual, therefore it allows the storm to become stronger. and to become these sort of category five, and form and go through the ocean. i think it's a very good point to start the debate, and to look back to the paris agreement. and to look at climate change. it's not conclusive, one hurricane doesn't change the fact that we have a weather system, but it is the time that we should look at it. and experts have said, this is caused by climate change, and i'm no expert...
we need to go back long before the paris climate change agreement and look at the hurricanes in the early years of the 20th century, which were not as devastating but yet pretty devastating, long before climate change, man—made climate change became an issue, to try and understand this. i think the reason why it is of political significance is not an instinctjust to bash trump, but if you stand back and look at the challenges a new president or leader could face, this really challenges him in the same way that grenfell tower challenged theresa may in the immediate aftermath of the election because it raised so many questions. the fire that killed 80 people in london. it raised questions about housing, regulations, and issues that went deep into the philosophy of her governing party. for these hurricanes to erupt with a president who doesn't believe in climate change and doesn't really believe in active government, this is a massive challenge. because if you believe in it as leader, at least
you have an navigating principle. that this is a challenge, fundamentally, a fundamental challenge, and the cause is something partly man made that we have to address. for example, when there were winter floods in the uk of a sort of apocalyptic scale, david cameron was then prime minister, he said i believed the cause of this is climate change. once you've done that, you begin to have a set of possible routes through. as a president, if you don't believe in that, you're operating wildly in a kind of vacuum, and also, if you don't believe in big, active government which has to mediate between these huge eruptions, you really are struggling to offer the kind of authority and leadership in response to this. and it's also about planning. the issue for trump is only about flood relief, help
the victims, of course. but then what about the cause? and we must stop building in flood zones, for instance. we must adapt and change our habits. and we must plan for the future. a large part of the debate on the part of those who are sceptical about the paris agreement has not to do, so much, with the science as it has to do with an agreement which is seen as being fundamentally unbalanced, which allows india and china, which are on the way to becoming the worlds greatest polluters, to continue to pollute at a much greater... by a very large factor, than developed countries, on the basis of historical fairness. and i think there are a lot of people in the us who feel that that unfairness have to be rectified if there is to be a sustainable treaty. let's turn our attention to other big events,
particularly back in the uk. the british parliament debated the repeal bill this week. don't switch off! it has been interesting! it transfers european law into uk law, prompting accusations from opposition parties of a power grab by government ministers. meanwhile it emerged that the european commission presidentjean—claude juncker had questioned the accountability of david davis, westminter‘s main man in the negotiations, and his political mandate to conduct talks. it has been all about brexit as part of the westminster watchers. what is your assessment of how it's been going and what we have been hearing from both sides? virtually every day there is another twist which conveys first of all, the sheer complexity of what is being undertaken here. the sense that time is running out fast, to meet this two—year deadline, march 2019. and there are so many oddities to this whole situation.
labour's position in the uk is more clever and sensible one in that it now is arguing for a longer transition period during which the uk remains in the single market and the customs union, but tries to negotiate a deal on freedom of movement. that's almost the exact opposite of the personal view of the labour leaderjeremy corbyn who's a passionate believer in the freedom of movement but sceptical about the single market. you then have the conservative position which can be divided into four or five different ways, you have had eurosceptics complaining this week about the pace of the government, but pro—europea ns expressing some concern about this so—called repeal bill. that's just in the uk, before you bring in the european dimension. whatever else, and no one knows how this is going to end, it's going to suck up virtually all uk political energy.
so all the other issues, climate change, the nhs, the health service, social care, is going to be, education, is going to be given a tiny amount of space on the political stage while all energy is focused on how the uk can navigate its way towards brexit, if it does. and this is for some years to come. we used to spend an awful lot of time talking about the health service and social care and it gets mentioned occasionally now. even if, it's still probable that britain leaves in 2019, there will be years of debate about the transitional period, how long it should last, what form it should take, what happens afterwards, is it still a cliff edge in more years, and on it will go. for a long, long time to come. it is living proof if nothing else that referendums solve nothing. and create works for lawyers and lots of other people.
it's fascinating to see steve summarising what's happening in the uk, because in europe, we're just watching. watching and waiting for something to happen, voices emerging, one voice, to emerge from the uk. and when jean claude—juncker, the european president of the commission, talked about david davis being a very poor negotiator, he was talking about during. there have been some papers written over the summer. a lot of papers over the summer. so there was progress but each time, disappointment. in october we are supposed to move from the withdrawal issue, the divorced bill settlement and the status of eu citizens in the uk, to the actual discussion about the trade relationship between britain and the eu. this is not go to happen in a few weeks. so probably it will be pushed to christmas, to another summit. isn't this why the uk
is saying, we'd like to have continual discussions? it's meant to be one week per month and someone has realised that we need a little bit more talking than that. yes, but you also have to prepare between meetings. and it's bewildering, i'm not sure brexit is going to happen, but how long will it take for britain to come to its senses and for the british parliament to regain some power? but it looks as if... people will be wondering what you mean by regain senses. in ten seconds, can i say, the british parliament, even though it is complaining that it doesn't have the power that is going straight to the executive, the british parliament now is centrestage because this is a minority government. and a minority government is not fully in control of this, because parliament could defeat it. it might not over this repeal bill,
it's unlikely, but at some point, the british parliament could assert itself in a very dramatic way over this. but wouldn't that delay things... one of the reasons the government do not appear fully in control is because they are not, they can't be. that's why theresa may called the early election, to get a big majority, she didn't, she lost her majority. so the uk parliament is centrestage in this. in britain it became very fashionable to say it is at all boring what happens in parliament, well it won't be for the next couple of years, there will be some big moments. i think it's an admirable thing in british commentary that we find fault first at home with our own negotiators, but i think it would be fair to take a look or two or three at the eu negotiating position, which in the case of mr barnier, seems to be a mixture of napoleonic auteur and fairground hucksterism. over the divorce bill, saying you've got to pay and agree how much it is, before we talk about the future relationship, is completely unrealistic because the british
government, even if it were a labour government, would need to satisfy the british public that there was a fair deal in offing. to ask us to ask the british public to approve a massive divorce bill without considerable progress on the kind of relationship, economic and political we're going to have, with the eu after all this is done, and to have, to be honest with you, a french bureaucrat standing at a lectern in paris and brussels saying he wants to educate the british public and saying that we sent him a duffer, to conduct the talks, in david davis, to my mind, verges on insulting. sorry about that. i do think there's one point that britain is missing, or not appreciating. it's the uk that voted
to leave the european union, and it is to the european union's benefit to show that if a large country is going to leave, there will be consequences. and that's their starting point. i don't think the uk appreciates that. what kind of club is this, that says, once you're in, you're in, and if you leave, we're going to punish you? in other words they seem to be taking a very difficult and non—negotiable position on this to discouragend anybody
else from saying... but what kind of club is this, we will be in if we have all the benefits, as soon as we see some things we don't like, we decided were not going to be in your club and we want all the benefits. i think it's a lot more... a lot more history in this than that. that is the european‘s point of view. i think from their perspective, the big difference is not quite punitive versus nonpunitive orwhatever, it is, britain, this is a wily negotiation, game of poker, we will win some. i think they see it much more as a transaction. britain has voted to leave, we have agreed a sequence through which britain will leave, they know how tough it is, but they're going to stick to the sequence as they see it. i don't think they see it as being vindictive necessarily, but nor do i think they see it as a game of poker that the uk partly does. they see it as almost like a businesslike transaction that has to be accomplished so that the eu remains
strong and intact. but i don't think there bothered about killing the uk in the process. i think they're sitting on a volcano and a year from now, the positions of both sides might have to be re—examined because of the internal dynamics. there will not be time. i'm sure we will all be discussing this in a year's time! plenty more where that came from. we will leave that for now. there has been another very pressing issue that we must turn to. north korea has conducted its sixth and largest missile test and it looks as though there are more to come. the un and international community continues to discuss tighter sanctions, but many point out that many years of sanctions have had no impact. russia says the north koreans will eat grass before they give up their nuclear ambitions, and china still supplies the lifeblood to kim jong un. diane, president trump talks about the role of china, what more could, should, is china able to do in your opinion? china could do more because china had 97% of north korea's trade. however china is not willing to do
some of the things that donald trump asked china to do. if you think about it, donald trump is trying to bully china and russia, and in some ways, south korea, into his own policy path. and china takes the view that sanctions will be ineffective. after all, china has had that kind of history, when china developed its own nuclear programme in the 1960s, china was isolated, mao was considered a madman and the chinese were willing to eat grass and have that nuclear programme. so china absolutely understands that sanctions would only harm ordinary people. and in some ways, because they are so indoctrinated by kim's views and the propaganda, they will sacrifice their own lives, so to speak, to have
this nuclear programme. that takes precedence over everything, by definition. but china absolutely does not want a nuclear north korea, nor south korea, nuclearised. so china is in a difficult position, particularly now, china's influence over north korea deteriorated when kimjong—un came to power. his father was very close to china and kimjong—un has taken this position that he is going to be his own man, he wants to show the world how powerful he can be, and he's not exactly willing to toe the line of china. so china is in a very difficult position. china has been calling for a twin track position, which is some sanctions but also going back to the negotiation table. is there any prospect of negotiations?
i feel uncomfortable with any analogy between the mao tse—tung of the 19605 and kim jong—un. as someone who has visited north korea, one of the significant differences is, north korea is a genuinely seriously evil place. i've been to some very nasty places in my career but north korea was by a very long shot the nastiest of them. nastier possibly than we even know. we do know that this is a man, kim jong—un, who assassinated his own uncle with an anti—aircraft gun, had his own half brother murdered by poison in kuala lumpur airport. to talk about negotiation and dialogue with this man could be a nonstarter. i'm not sure you can negotiate with him. i think it's best to regard him as a madman. therefore what does one do about the nuclear arsenal issue? i think china has the best hope,
that we can avoid conflict, because that would be devastating for everyone concerned, that we can encourage an internal dynamic, notwithstanding how unlikely it is, for example by an oil sanction, a tightened oil sanction by china, that denied the north korean military, including the nuclear programme, the means to proceed as they would wish, which might foster a move against kim jong—un. that would be the ideal outcome, where there is a dynamic which takes place within north korea itself. to say the chinese take what appears to be a morally ambiguous position,
there is not much to choose between the west and north korea. not just donald trump, the west and north korea in this. i would say that defies all experience of the kind of state north korea is, and of the dreadful, dreadful misery and repression that has been visited on them. no one is denying that but i don't think that china is taking a morally ambiguous role here. president xi has been on the phone with donald trump, yesterday he was on the phone with macron, north korea, and there has been a lot of dialogue happening with western leaders and china. the fact that there is an idea that you can slap on an embargo, a trade sanction, it will create an internal rebellion, it's a myth. it has never worked in history and it didn't work in communist china. it didn't work in the soviet union? no, because... it did, i lived in the soviet union at the time and those economic sanctions definitely helped to bring the soviet union to its knees. it didn't work in cuba,
and in russia's case, gorbachev came through and was a reformer. you don't have a reformer in north korea. china would advocate trade with north korea, to open up the borders and negotiation, and what is the alternative? it hasn't worked. it hasn't worked, but does that mean... the west at one point was feeding the north korean population, we were shipping oil to them and it made no difference whatsoever. i would say that china should look to its own interests here because this man kim jong—un is so deranged, there's no assurance that he won't use his weapons against china or his other neighbours. we will have to leave that for another week, i apologise. i am not sure he is a madman though. he's very rational. we will debate that another time. thank you very much to all of you. please do join us again
next week if you can. thanks for being with us. bye bye. hello, the week starts on a different note. winds up to 60 mph. lighter winds across the north—east of scotland. too many showers and that temperature could be close to 11 or 12. one day into tuesday, a ridge of high pressure coming in from the atlantic, calming things down. pure showers to report, not
much in the way of breeze. more on the way of sunshine. that will make it feel very pleasant. the top temperature of the day, 18— 19 across the southern half of the british isles. late in the day, the first signs of disturbed weather. tuesday into wednesday, we could see a vigorous area of low pressure after a spot of wet and very windy weather. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is gavin grey. our top stories: hurricane irma slams into florida's west coast as strong winds and storm surges leave at least three people dead. millions of homes are without power and parts of miami are underwater. almost 200,000 people have fled to emergency shelters. barely a soul on the streets. that's due to risk of flying debris.