tonight, from paris, the u.n. climate chief tells me that world leaders meeting here have finally realized that battling climate change makes good economic sense. >> frankly, none of them are doing it to save the planet. let us be very clear. they're doing it for what i think is a much more powerful political driving force which is for the benefit of their own economy. also ahead, imagine your country wiped off the map. where would you go? the mar you believe islanders turning into climate refugees.
good evening, everyone. welcome to the program. i'm christiane in a amanpour live from paris. grocery sto agree on a plan to significantly lower global carbon emissions and slow sliemt change. president obama admitted that pledges so far won't actually hit the mark, but success, he says, could come even quicker than down the line. >> if you add up all the pledges and they were all met right now, we would be at an estimated 2.7
centigrade increase in temperature. that's too high. we wanted to get it to 2 sent fwrad grade or lower than that, but if we have these periodic reviews built in, what i believe will happen is that by sending that signal to researchers and scientists and investors and entrepreneurs and venture funds, we'll actually start hitting these targets faster than we expected. >> we'll drill down on what that means later, but a deal here would be historic as it commits both wealthy and pour countor c to set back their emissions. there's a challenge, enough money to convince countries to switch to clean energy. i've been speaking to the u.n. climate chief who told me that for the first time, there is good political will, and now
that needs to be channelled into a legally binding good agreement. welcome back to our program. >> thank you very much. >> this must be the cull ma nation of your life's work. what makes you most optimistic and most pessimistic or fearful about cop 21. >> it is the culmination of at least five year's work. we've been building toward regaining what i call the good global mood on climate change ever since copenhagen, and this is definitely, with 150 states yesterday here, i think we can say, a, climate change is on the political agenda, and there's a good mood. that's the good news. the good news is that the larger context is very positive. we have good political will. we have chefs in technology as well as in capital markets that are already shifting. all of that is very good.
the concern, then, is how do we actually land this into the detailed work that needs to occur and that starts today, of a legally binding text. >> we'll wait to see how that does turn out. obviously one of the good pieces of news is that two-thirds of the american people, according to the latest poll, support the idea of a climate treaty of action on climate change. can i ask you. you were very excited the last time we talked about the fact that china and the united states seem to be working together now, the two biggest polluters in the world, however, china has been emitting 17% more than it admitted or even knew. >> that remains to be seen if that is the fact. what we do know is there is extraordinary commitment on the part of chinese leadership to reduce their consumption on coal. of course they have huge coal
consumption. that's their baseline. they're working down from that. the important thing, i think is why are they doing it and why are 183 countries from whom we already have national climate change plans, why are they doing this? frankly, none of them are doing it to save the planet. let us be very clear. they're doing it for what i think is a much more powerful, political driving force, which is for the benefit of their own economy, and i think that is really the story here. they have understood that this is actually in their own interest. there is nothing more powerful than you, me, or any country working in their own interest, and that is what we have here, which is different than where we were three or four years ago. >> this does seem to be a huge amount of difference. apparently one of the biggest obstacles will be those who don't see the in their national interest. for instance, a coalition led by
india. they say hey, guys, sorry, you had your industrial revolution. you've done well. it's our turn. why should we pay for your mistakes? we didn't pollute the world. >> that's a legitimate argument. >> if it's a legitimate argument, what happens if they don't cap it a reasonable level? >> but this is not a black/white situation. i think you have to make room for historical responsibility that is not ideology. it's just a physical fact. let us not begin to pretend like there's no historical responsibility. absolutely historical responsibility, and, not but, and we also have to look into the future, and we also have to figure out because of the historical responsibility, how industrialized countries going to help developing countries who must make this transition under enormous pressures from something else. so i don't think these two things actually are mutually
exclusive but rather let us make sure that we understand responsibility and let us, at the same time, move forward in solidarity, because it is in all of our shared interests. >> at the end of these two weeks, what will make you really happy? >> what will make me very happy is we have a legally binding agreement that brings all countries on board, leaves no country behind, protects the most vulnerable, and accelerates all the benefits that acting on climate change can actually bring to everyone. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> and while this particular woman is a force of nature, leading the charge for a global climate agreement, we remember the woman who said the same for the civil rights movement 60 years ago today. rosa parks stood up for her rights by sitting down and refusing to give her seat up to
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>> two degrees, you heard president obama talk about it, and that is the magic number here in paris. the limit nearly 200 countries aim to place on global warming. at the negotiating table is a chair of the least developed country's group representing some of the world's poorest nations, including his own, an
dp ola. they say they want an even more ambitious temperature target to help safeguard their populations and their livelihoods. >> we recognize that dealing with climate change involves making sacrifices on the parts of us all. and we have sensed in many ways, in some cases, a reluctance to talk about sacrifices. >> what does that means in terms of your countries that you represent? what are the intolerable sacrifices that i think you're trying to telegraph. >> one area of concern is firstly setting an appropriate direction of travel. setting an appropriate and ambitious enough goal for climate action. for us, that is limiting the temperature rise to 1 .5 degrees. it is what the science witells
will keep most of us safe. a 2 degree average means some places in africa is three and four degrees. >> rising seas and the disappearance of some land. >> absolutely. not just loss of land due to sea level rise but also use of powerful land. to us, it is important that whatever deal we end up agreeing with recognizes that human life is not innegotiatable. >> let's talk about with this kevin rudd who is the president of the asia policy, which spearheads things in china and india. you've been active behind the scenes. is all this good political will
and all the optimism justified? what's happening behind the scenes? >> you have a great set of political speeches and then you have the unfolding blood bath. that's what it was like in copenhagen. >> nobody wants that. >> it's about to go on. but as said before, the bottom line is this, there's a different mood. in some respects people learned from copenhagen. it gave us good building blocks. action by developing and developed countries. but the mood now is vastly different to koebcopenhagen. >> you have written that china, india, the united states, if t fate of the planet depends on those three major countries. are we going to get there with them? >> i think with china and the
united states, it's fairly clear we will. the three of them represent about 43% of total emissions. if you look at india's trajectory, that's going to be 50 before too much longer. india is a key question, and the indians have a fair point. they say we're about 30 years behind the curb. we're about to go into our carbon intensive phrase. we have to support them through a transition process on technology. >> it seems dreadful they're about to go into the emissions that the united states and china did. president obama did right now the targets add up to 2.7 degrees. he put a lot of faith into the billions of dollars going into innovations and the periodic reviews. tell me what that means practically. >> it means that if the math
doesn't add up now in terms of the total aggregation of national commitments by all the economies represented here in paris, to the amount necessary to keep temperature increases within two degrees, we now have a mechanism with a review in five year's time to see is the math setting up? if it's not, to go back and ask for higher commitments, or greater compliance with existing commitments. if you didn't have that, then i fear this would be a hallow document. >> and the president said new technology could speed up the targets and getting to the two degrees faster than imagined. >> i think that's true. there's a lot of fear around the changes necessary to give effect to real climate change action. the bottom line is technology is evolving. we still need the moon shot on solar energy storage. but if we cross some of those
thresholds, things become more possible in the future. the key is to have a legally binding framework which locks people into the way in which we handle this, and then the national commitments to give it effect. >> they're trying to finesse the u.s. said because of congressional obstruction j but they think they'll get something binding in some way. >> on the legal stuff in the united states, and i think we all know what our friends in the united states congress can be like when it comes to treaties, but this paris agreement occurs, was negotiated from the u.s. by george bush senior. he negotiated it. signed it, and ratified it. that's the parent treaty here. this is an agreement within that treaty. >> kevin rudd, thank you very much. >> fingers crossed.
>> fingers crossed, blood on the floor. as talks continue, it is going to be hard to ignore the whale in the room, or rather, the whale on the banks of the river where a 33.6 meter model of the biggest whale ever seen is being constructed. a bittersweet reminder of the earth's rapidly shrinking biodiversity as 95% of all blue whales have vanished from our oceans. after the break, imagine an entire world vanishing into the ocean. those islands that depend on getting an agreement here in paris. start the interview with a firm handshake.
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understand both the beauty but also the fragility of the island eco systems. >> president obama citing his childhood spent in hawaii and indonesia. meeting with nations that face the disappearance of their islands. tonight we imagine the plight, the islanders could join a flood of climate refugees as john sutter found out. ♪ >> reporter: this is a country way out in the pacific. it's already super tiny, and it's about to get smaller. why is that? the country is sinking. or the ocean is rising, depending on how you look at it. way out here, there's no room for debate. climate change is real, and people see it happening now. >> we were in the house when the water came in.
>> when i looked out the window, wow. i was so scared. i was just looking for my children to get out. >> there was water, all of it, that i sleep on. it was kind of like a dream, but it was real. >> reporter: on my visit to the islands, everybody had a story to tell about disappearing beaches and frequent flooding. the islands barely peek out. if the waters rise, this country will vanish. how do you process that, and where would you go if climate change wiped your country off the map in there's a surprising answer. arkansas, spring dale. >> northwest arkansas that has largest number of us in the united states. >> reporter: since the 1980s, they have been coming to spring dale in search of education and
jobs. 10,000 of them live in this area. there are so many there's actually a government consulate. and with climate change, more people are probably on the way. >> a person called me and said, carmen, if you thought about climate change refugees. >> we would have to come here to live here because global warming keeps making the gloofloods wor the island will disappear. >> if our country sinks, so much of our culture will disappear as well. we're beginning to lose our culture with where we are. >> for now, moving to spring dale is a choice, but flooding could start forcing people out. >> the impact would be that we will probably have a population explosion.
>> reporter: in other words, arkansas could become the new marshal islands. >> thinking about my father, and all the loved ones, even though they pass away, their bodies are there. if the islands sink, that is like losing them forever. >> the very high stakes in very human terms. and that it for our program tonight from paris. remember, you can now also listen to our show as a pod cast. just search your favorite app store or see our interviews online and follow me on facebook and twitter. thank you for watching and good-bye from paris. even during the holidays, you get used to smelly odors
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our viewers from all around the world, and hello to our viewers just joining us from the united states. i'm rosemary church. let's update you on the main stories this hour. the british parliament will start debate wednesday on whether to expand uk air strikes into syria. david cameron supports the move, but thousands of protesters voiced their opposition. uk war planes are already hitting isis targets in iraq. a vote is expected wednesday night. president obama says he doesn't expect russia to change