tv Inside Story Al Jazeera December 1, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
>> delegations from governments and organizations across the world are in paris to hash out an agreement that deals with global climate change. from the giant economies to the big of the emitters down to the smallest who face the effects of a warping planet, there's a growing consensus of two different things. if the world can postpone action, they will have to do hard and expensive things to fix the problem. can the world avoid another
copout? it's the "inside story." welcome to "inside story." i'm ray suarez. in diplospeak, it's called c.o.p.. and it brings together leaders from everywhere. energy importers and exporters. heavy emitters and countries with a small footprint. the delegation came close to a comprehensive agreement in koppen hagan in 2009. the leader of the u.n. framework on climate change ran the 2009 meeting, and we spoke before he left for paris, and he said that cop 21 has a much
greater chance because key nations are much more ready to engage and more ready to make a strong deal. >> i think in a way, paris is easier than climate change negotiations were, because a legally binding treaty and countries are in positions to make. and that's much less threatening to the united states and china. > >> without a genuine be contribution from the united states, is much progress made worldwide? >> people are seeing a genuine commitment from the white house on climate change. and president obama has clearly chosen to implement this through the epa rather than trying to ratify an international agreement through the net and the congress, but many question marking raised by american politicians is one that's worrying the international community. >
>> i'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing that we have a presidential election approaching. as you know, we have two parties, and one of them frames it in purely economic terms, in terms of the sacrifice that's americans would have to bear alone without matching commitments from other emitters. >> i think that that's the concern that many countries have, the concern that they will have to address climate change, and that others will lose out economically. but the situation that we're in today, not only has the united states offered a commitment in the paris agreement. but so has china, and in many senses, the chinese agreement is comparable to what the united states is offering, so hopefully that will reduce the fear that the united states will take on the burden. >> you know n. the years since copenhagen, a lot of stories have come out that suggest in the final hours, the world got
pretty darn close, closer than ever before to a comprehensive agreement. and you're one of those people who is really in a unique position to know whether that's true or not. how close did we get at cop 15? >> well, the world got very close, in the runoff to that conference in copenhagen, over 80 countries had offered to make commitments on climate change. and what was on the table at the end of the day, it was not covered more because of poor procedural management. >> when it didn't happen, when you have the big personalities sitting across the table, and we couldn't get the goal line, did we lose ground after everybody left copenhagen? >> yes, politically, many politicians were reluctant to
engage in the topic, and of course at that time, we were biting deep into the economic crisis, and that didn't help either. the world has gotten over the copenhagen disappointment and is ready to really engage, but i hope that it engages in a way that means something in the terms of addressing climate change. >> tell us about the green growth institute. a lot of the countries that are among the least development in the world say that the developed world created this problem, and it looks like we're going to suffer the downdraft at a time when we want to grow quickly and get rich. >> i think that that's true. i think that ten years ago, most developing countries felt that the climate change was a problem for the west and the west should clean up its mess, but now with the impacts of climate changing felt in many developing countries, with many developing countries paying a lot for the importation of fossil fuels, they too are
looking at ways to make their economy more efficient. and that's exactly where we focus as a global green growth institute. i'm happy to be far, far away from the politics and just working with developing countries to help them understand how a more efficient model of economicking growth can help them not only to become more prosperous, but to make a contribution in addressing climate change as well. >> so you hear it less in developing countries, you in the west were dirty and dirty for a long time, and helped you get rich, and you can't tell us not to do the same. >> i think that you still will hear that rhetoric, and i think that it's correct. but when a significant amount of your gross national product is being spent on fossil fuels, and you know there are deficiencies in your economy, and you know that people are dying early because of poor air quality. and you know that you can
improve your transport systems, and you flow that your energy it systems are wasteful, it's cutting off your nose to spite your face if you don't take action to it address those issues because you feel like climate change is caused by someone es. >> the secretary for the climate change at the copenhagen conference, and now he leads the global growth institute. they would like to get the most energy for the smallest energy use. mayors join cities in the search for efficient it economic growth and a less carbon intense way of life. the mayor of the world's second largest greenhouse gas emitter, ariel, thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> cities are economic engines, and big polluters, so many of the morning commuters, burning
gas on the highways, the factories, and the heavy users of electricity. and what do they have to contribute to the conversation now. >> well, the way that i like to think of us, ray, we're centers of activity, where people live and work and play, and we drive the economic engine, certainly of regions that surround us. and we also have the opportunity as cities and as mayors to get things done. we just heard a conversation about world leaders and national leaders going to a negotiated agreement and i hope that they're successful. and i know that the president is going to go to paris with the intention of calling on all world leaders to step up to the plate and do what they can do urgently to reduce emissions. but when you're a mayor, you have to run the city, and you have to pick up the trash, and sweep the snow, and the children get educated and the community is policed. so we're also faced with what can we do to make the earth
greener? and it turns out we can do a lot. >> well, let's talk about that. >> because you also are not masters of your own destiny. you are tightly tied to your suburb regions, and washington d.c. in particular has a very intimate relationship with the two states that flank it on two sides, maryland and virginia, and can you go in your own way and lead the parade rather than follow it. >> yes, we can go our own way, and as the nation's capital, we can be leaders. for example, using our building codes to say, if you're going to build in washington d.c., you should meet a certain level and be a sustainable building. and this year, we have two groundbreaking initiatives. we looked at all of our public buildings and said, how can we energize our buildings using renewables? we're doing that. and we signed on to a
groundbreaking wind agreement where we're going to purchase wind power, and just today, i announced that we'll sign on to a groundbreaking solar he agreement. so 40% of our energy use in our public buildings will be powered by wind or the sun. >> one of the biggest sources of pollution is commuting. and dc, a lot of people may not realize this, it's among the top american cities in the number of adults who don't run a car. is that something that we can turn to the country and say, be more like us? are you running into resistance in making dc even less car dependent? >> well, we have a lot of work to do, and we are going to invest in our metro system and make it more safe and reliable so more people will continue to ride the metro. we're looking at our bus
network, but we want to make sure that our streets are safe for people to walk and to ride bicycles, so most cities, what we're seeing, ray, in a lot of american cities, people are leaving the suburbs and coming downtown. if we're going to continue to accommodate that growth, more people have to choose safe and reliable public transportation. so absolutely. we want to drive that number down even more. >> but we're still breathing the air here in washington that's being belched out of highways more in virginia. yes, i understand your ambitions, but everybody has to be onboard. >> we have a lot of regional partnerships. the federal government plays it's part in funding regions so we can work cooperatively together to drive down single occupant vehicle travel. and more is more, we see that this region will rise and fall with a strong center in
washington d.c. but economic development will depend on how well we manage our transportation. let's just face it, we go to cities all over the world. and i think that we value more and more how we're going to keep our air clean, not just for ourselves, but for later generations. >> marielle has been the mayor of washington d.c. since january, her city is one of four cities of chief executives. you think of economic inceptive would make the paris conference smooth and successful. but making international agreement a daunting goal. avoiding copout, it's the "inside story."
>> cop 21, the climate change conference in paris has gotten down to business, and over the next several days, you'll hear calls to action for rising oceans, and countries that don't want to be paid for chopping down the rainforests. and the use of fossil fuels, and countries that want to be rich in the future now being asked to get wealthy in a less
carbon intense kay. i'm joined by the mann by: you heard mayor bowser, and dever said that paris has a chance. >> copenhagen had no shot. and paris has a better chance and a hope of making real progress. countries can pledge whatever they want. and the major developing countries promised to simply do they would do anyway. so we'll get a piece of paper signed. but it won't have any effect on the climate. >> professor green, does that undermine the value of what's being done in paris? >> well, i have to disagree. i think that -- i agree that
these volunteer pledges are very much a different approach than the top-down target of kiioto. but paris is really the beginning of the progress rather than the culminating point. and i think what president obama said this morning is very important, that there be a clear process not only for countries to make initialmentals, but processes for review and ratcheting up those pledges over time. >> haven't we had a lot of next steps in beginnings of progress before? isn't there somewhere where the trend has to dig into the surface, and the world lurch forward. >> yes, absolutely. and one response to that comment would be that international law moves slowly. but there has been a lot of progress, in one of two ways. one is normative. where before, countries were pointing at each other, saying you go first, you go first, and
now countries are coming together and saying, we all have to make an effort, even if that's not going to get us to 2° celsius, which i think is the consensus of those watching in the progression. and the second thing i would say, there's a lot going on, what devor is doing, and the mayors in dc and all around the world are doing, making meaningful contributions, they're not necessarily reflected in the rhetoric and the decision making process in paris and other cops, but these things are happening all around the world, not just with the explicit backing of notions. >> isn't the process of you go first and i'll only do this and you do that, there seems to be an agreement that yeah, the world has some challenges here, and there are things that need to be done, and we need to get around to doing them. >> i think that there's lots of agreement that says that they
all want to show up for a photo on that says that we're going to do something. but we have not moved beyond the first at all. china only pledges to grow their emissions as far everybody thought that they were going to grow, and that's an enormous problem. professor green says that went to have this structure for a review process, so at least over time we can get aggressive. but what we're doing right now is telling countries like china and india, actually, no matter how aggressive you are, even if you only promise business as usual, we're going to giving you a pat on the back and applaud your ambition anyway, and president obama and president xi hold the press conferences, and it doesn't get anywhere. so putting that priority over the photo on than the environment is not good for anybody in the long-term. >> stay with us, and the united states and china are sometimes
called only half in jest the g2. these two giants represent a big chunk of the world's emissions and the world's present and future wealth. do they also represent the vital center of any climate agreement? where do countries like south africa and nigeria enter into the conversation? avoiding a cop out, it's the "inside story."
meeting. brazil, russia, south africa, all lead regional consultations and have a lot to say about what is sometimes called the rise of the rest. green and cask are with me. and in places like russia and south africa and india, south africa and india are at the pointy end of the spear when it comes to changes that people are anticipating. don't they have a more direct interest in participating in limitations than country in more temperate climates? yes. those countries will be affected in large measure because of their geography, and also, because they don't have as resilient of an infrastructure to deal with the affects of climate change. so there are certainly
incentives for developing countries in that respect. and the other way that developing countries are increasingly seeing the need to participate is first, through the fact that they're experiencing the affects of climate change and second, through the fact that what the policy once referred to as cold benefits. so china and other rapidly developing countries are concerned about things like air pollution, and if you deal with air pollution, you deal with climate change. so that's a motivation that it doesn't require the you go first, you go first logic, where they can reap their own benefits for taking action. >> and orrin, even the countries that have the apparent interest in getting this done didn't want to submit to the verification protocols that seem necessary for something like this to work. >> i think that developing countries have competing
interest here. as does any country, but it's especially pronounced in a developing cord. environmental protection and economic growth. and there are policies good for both, but at the end of the day, if you want to take action on environmental pollution, you're going to potentially hurt your economy. so countries like china and india are walking that line very carefully just to keep the air pollution down, to the extent that they will try to clean up the air for their populations, they will try to do that. but they don't want to take the actions that others want, the affect on hundreds of millions of people that don't even have electricity, they don't have that chase. >> it's what was presented to the americans in the 60s and 70s when we were told that we couldn't clean our air, and couldn't stop touching hot
water into our lakes and streams, and we did it, and we still manage to have a fishing and profitable industries. >> in the united states, for example, the clean air act has been tremendously successful in helping to clean up the polluters affecting public health. and you see the same thing in china and india as well. but the problem with climate change, the things that we have to try to produce electricity at the scale that these countries need, they're fossil fuels, and they're nuclear, but not wind and solar, so if you want to bring those hundreds of millions of people into the modern age, you can try to keep some of the worst toxins out of air, but you can't keep the carbon monoxide out of the air, and that's why you hear those countries saying, we'll come to paris, but we're not getting off of our growth trajectory.
our top priority is our own populations. >> when you say it's not wind and solar, i would amend it saying that it's not wind and he solar yet. renewables have come a long way. and i want to thank my guests. orrin, policy director for mitt romney's presidential campaign, and he's now at the manhattan institute. and jessica green, assistant professor at it niu. i'll be back, stay with us, it's "inside story."
>> on the front edge of another el nino season, the pacific ocean is unusually hot. a lot of energy is being held by that ocean. energy that's able to keep typhoons strong as they hit landfall. and they can make snowfall more severe in some places and rainfall more severe in others. we'll see if the unusual weather, on the shoulders of other unusual weather will have
an affect on the way that we talk about the future of the climate. many of the place that's contribute most to the ce2 of2 n the atmosphere are in the temperate climates. when i covered cop 15, one delegate said that if we go over 2 degrees celsius, you in america will reset your thermostats, and for us in africa, it's going to be a disaster. people in the tropical and the subtropical regions are trying to catch up economically to the rest of the world. and we know that cultures cut into productivity and the ability to work at all. so when we think about our own actions going forward, when we think about what the african delegate told me, resetting the thermostat, remember it's not
just us that we're deciding for. i'm ray suarez, and that's the "inside story." >> this is aljazeera america, live from new york city, i'm tony harris. ron immanuel replaces chicago's top cop. and special ops. and the delayed response, why it's taking new orleans police so long to answer 9-1-1 calls, and women in saudi arabia are running for public office.