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Paris Remembers, Rises to Host Major Climate Summit; Interview with Paris Mayor; Interview with Former NYC Mayor; Syria Under Bombardment. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired November 27, 2015 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Paris remembers, two weeks on from the deadly attacks. And it rises again to host a major climate
summit. My interview with the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and the former New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
Plus: live under the bombs in Syria. We speak to one of the few photojournalists to film in Aleppo since the Russian intervention.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the special weekend edition of our program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Exactly two weeks later, a formal memorial to the victims of the Paris terror attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): President Hollande presided over a remembrance ceremony at Les Invalides, the burial place of Napoleon and one of Paris'
most well-known monuments and tourist attractions.
But it's a sign of the nation's stalwart determination that even after all of this, it is hosting a massive summit of world leaders this week called
COP 21, also known as the last-ditch attempt for serious action on climate change, a topic many believe is just as pressing and as dangerous a threat
as terrorism and war.
Just hours before the Paris attacks, I talked with two powerful mayors about this upcoming summit: Anne Hidalgo of Paris and Michael Bloomberg,
the former mayor of New York. Before the global gloom that descended after the horrific killings on Friday 13th, they were both upbeat about the
important role that cities can play in combating the worst causes of climate change.
AMANPOUR: Mayor Hidalgo, Mayor Bloomberg, welcome to our program.
ANNE HIDALGO, MAYOR OF PARIS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Let me start by asking you, a rather alarming headline in the "Financial Times,? there seems to be a spat already between the U.S.
administration and President Hollande about whether the climate deal will be binding, legally binding.
The U.S. says no; President Hollande says yes.
Is that a problem before we even get started?
HIDALGO (through translator): In the first place, thank you very much for this invitation.
HIDALGO: I'm very happy to be here with Michael Bloomberg. It's a great, great partner for us and our teams work so well together. And --
HIDALGO (through translator): I believe that the agreement on climate must really push every state and all the actors to take action because we really
are at the foot of the wall. We cannot step back any more. We really must make sure that this awareness of the necessity to act on the temperature,
pollution and production of greenhouse gases becomes something else other than empty words or a proclamation.
AMANPOUR: Mayor Bloomberg, from the U.S. perspective, apparently it's not possible to make it legally binding.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER MAYOR OF NYC: I think it is fair to say that America right now would not make anything legally binding. But whether
it's legally binding or not, in the end, number one, we have to do something here.
Number two, legal or nonlegal, countries will do it or won't do it. I think Hollande should write the headline that their president, Francois
Hollande, should -- is trying to save their lives. The world is going in a direction that is not good and he is a leader who is standing up, even at
the risk of his own political career, to try to do something right and something where he won't be around when the results come out. But he's
taking all the pain now.
AMANPOUR: In the United States, climate science is not viewed as a science by a huge part of the population. It's viewed as a matter of
faith or an affront to the Constitution.
In France, you don't have that problem.
BLOOMBERG: Keep in mind, America has just reduced its greenhouse gases by close to 20 percent over the last few years. And the government did
nothing. The private sector either put solar panels on their roofs or started burning natural gas rather than heavy fuel oil or coal.
We've closed 200 out of 500 coal-fired power plants. The public has started to paint the roofs of their houses white. They've insisted on
buying more fuel-efficient cars. So America, in spite of a government that's doing zero is doing something and, incidentally, it's doing zero
not because our president hasn't tried it, in all fairness to him, he has made an effort to do that. And he deserves credit for that.
AMANPOUR: And to you, Mayor Hidalgo, that obviously makes it so much more important, not just in the United States but all over the world, for local
communities, mayors, which is what I think you're trying to say, that there is a major role for local communities.
HIDALGO (through translator): Yes. First of all, on the issue of climate, it's true that, today in France, there is nobody who is in doubt about
climate. People in government and the population are convinced that there is a real impact of human activity on climate and that it is a necessity to
What is very important, in my view, in this conference on climate is that, beyond these commitments, there might be concrete action. We might make a
lot of statements. The United States have already pushed forward a lot of measures on this climate issue.
China is also beginning to make commitments. And we see countries that, in the past, were reluctant about climate change, now are moving. And that's
all right. This is when the role of cities and the private sector is very important. That's the great new element that will permit us to progress
AMANPOUR: As we know the fact and figures that half of the world is urbanized; they live in the cities, 70 percent of the gas emissions come
from the cities.
What can New York do?
What can Paris do?
What can Beijing do, New Delhi?
Because those are the big polluters.
What can Jakarta and all the other places do, even if you get your act together?
BLOOMBERG: Well, it's -- India an exception because India is a phenomenally poor country. They have a dependence on coal, which is very
difficult to see how quickly they can get away from it.
China, on the other hand, can get away from it. And the Chinese government is responding to this new middle class that they created, who say I want
clean air. I want clean water. I want streets that work. I want bathrooms in my apartment, not down the hall.
And in China you see that playing out. China will be the next pro- environmental country, I think, in leading the way. They've always agreed to close four coal-fired power plants in Beijing. But every one of their
big cities has the same thing. You can't see across the street. You have to wear a mask and they're going to have to do something about it. I'm not
worried about them.
AMANPOUR: What would you say to all the mayors who are coming, even if their governments are not as proactive?
What will -- what should the mayors do?
HIDALGO (through translator): You know today, whether it is in rich countries or in countries where there are advanced technologies, like in
Paris, where we use solar energy, geothermal energy, the water from our sewage system, from the sewage network to heat buildings like the city hall
of Paris, for instance.
But also cities that are poorer and I'm thinking of a certain large number of African cities with which we are working. We can exchange good
practices but also speed up the use of a certain number of new energies and technologies and help the transfer or these technologies so that these
countries would not have to catch up with their delay in their development.
I think that we will be able to show that, beyond the international agreements that are necessary and beyond the commitments of the states,
there are really concrete achievements that can be done.
AMANPOUR: One of the big problems --
AMANPOUR: -- for the skeptics or even if they're not skeptics; they just think it makes no business sense, it will penalize them in a business way,
whether it's billionaires in the United States or in Russia or wherever they might be, they say, not on my watch, not in my pocket.
BLOOMBERG: There are very few wealthy Americans who are saying climate change is a Commie plot. No business executive in America could survive if
they had a risk and they didn't do something about it.
Number two, I think there are very few exceptions where you couldn't make a very good case that being pro-environment is good for the bottom line.
When we advertise -- when we try to hire employees, they all want to know what we're doing in the environment.
When I say all the company's profits go to doing environmental things through Bloomberg Foundation, that's a big plus to get them to come to work
There's lots of jobs in renewable, solar and wind and hydro and nuclear and all of these things. So the economics are in favor of doing things pro-
This saves lives. And the number of jobs that it costs are relatively small. I'm sympathetic to people that lose their jobs. We should try to
help them. But the world changes, technology changes. There's a structure in every industry and we have to do what's right.
In America, they no longer -- even the right-wing crazies no longer say climate change isn't real.
AMANPOUR: They just say we've got nothing to do with it.
BLOOMBERG: Now they say it's natural; it's not business, not manmade.
Why do they say that? Because in every one of their towns and villages and states and counties, they now have floods where they had droughts. They
now have droughts where they had floods. They have storms that come up. They have tornadoes.
The public wouldn't let the say anything but these are just reacting. They're saying things to cater to a handful of crazies.
AMANPOUR: Well, your words, crazies.
What do you make of the Republican presidential candidates who deny the climate science?
BLOOMBERG: There is one of them who was a surgeon, unfortunately, at Johns Hopkins, who doesn't believe in science. Somebody said that's like a
business executive that doesn't believe in profits.
You got a guy like Ted Cruz, who -- I think Dershowitz said was the smartest law student he ever had. And he says some of the stupidest things
I've ever heard.
The only explanation, the only explanation is he doesn't believe it, he is just saying it. Ted Cruz is a smart guy and you can't say what he says in
an intelligent way.
AMANPOUR: Maybe on climate.
What about on immigration, Ted Cruz has talked about, what, deporting --
BLOOMBERG: You want to hurt America, you close our borders. This is a country built by immigrants and what we're doing is we're educating the
best and the brightest, giving them PhDs and we're sending them to France to help France's biotech industry, to help France's universities. This is,
as we say in Gaelic, meshugenah.
AMANPOUR: In Gaelic!
I hope you understood the "Gaelic" there.
HIDALGO (through translator): I completely agree with what Michael Bloomberg said because today, those who deny the importance of climate
change and disruption of climate are not aware of the problem that this is going to generate. And they are going to miss a few opportunities.
There are extraordinary opportunities for the economy, for employment. This is a new world that is opening up for us with a lot of creativeness, a
lot of opportunities to bring new services, to bring new products that are respectful of the planet.
So those who are looking at the world with the glasses of the 20th century will not be qualified for the great challenges of the century. The
question of climate already has consequences on immigration at the international level.
The exaggerate exploitation of natural resources creates problems in countries that are in a great situation of poverty so that they have to
emigrate. These are also causes of wars, conflicts for territories.
We know very well that these questions of climate destruction will have consequences on the loss of stability in the world, especially in the
poorest countries. The possibility to have and to develop a population that fight against poverty with clean water, to have access to electricity,
to energy, also allows entire regions to develop.
This is a question of political stability, to act on climate change.
BLOOMBERG: Well, there's nothing that's simple but the question is, are you making progress?
And in America it is the private sector and the cities that are doing things. Our state governments and our federal government know. And let me
remind you, as Churchill once said about America, you can always depend on them to do the right thing after exhausting all other possibilities.
So I think we will eventually do the right thing on climate change as well.
AMANPOUR: And do you think you might do the right thing, according to many, who are asking you, might you run for president, for instance?
BLOOMBERG: If I thought I could win --
BLOOMBERG: -- I would. But you can't win, thank you. I'll be very happy running my company and my foundation and coming and watching the mayor to
see how she --
HIDALGO: Mayor Bloomberg is very free in this situation.
AMANPOUR: Free to pursue his policies now?
HIDALGO: Yes, and to help the challenge.
AMANPOUR: Might you run for president one day?
HIDALGO: Me? No, I'm mayor of Paris. I'm very happy to be mayor of Paris.
AMANPOUR: Thank you very much indeed.
BLOOMBERG: Thank you for having us.
AMANPOUR: Now there are many powerful voices who say that climate change and dwindling natural resources spur on war, including in Syria.
And when we come back, unique testimony from there. We speak to the Swiss photojournalist just back from Aleppo about what he has seen in the city
that's under constant bombardment from all sides.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Aleppo, Syria's largest city, has been under bombardment for more than three years. From the bombs and shells of Assad's forces to ISIS and, most
recently, reports of Russian jets hitting targets in and around the city, which has enabled Assad's forces to launch a new offensive.
Kurt Pelda of Switzerland is one of the only journalists to have gotten in and out of Aleppo since the Russian intervention. Here's what he told us
he saw there, dramatic images of what's left of Aleppo and evidence, he says, that cluster munitions are being used there.
KURT PELDA, PHOTOJOURNALIST: I just came back from Aleppo. I believe that I was the first Western journalist to -- who managed to go in and come back
safely after the Russian intervention in Syria.
I went in with some Syrian activists, whom I've known for quite some time. And they usually work with the same fighting groups. Before, they called
themselves Northern Storm Rebels. These were the rebels that got visited by John McCain, for instance.
And now they're part of a so-called Levant Front, Jabhat al-Shamiyya in Arabic. And these people, they accompanied me to some other units which
were maybe part of other groups.
But I always kept my bodyguards, which were part of Jabhat al-Shamiyya.
PELDA (voice-over): The main danger was kidnapping networks among the rebels. So I had to stay in a car with tinted windows so that nobody would
see me. And it was just too dangerous that some spy would see me and then make a phone call and tell his buddies, well, there is a Western journalist
This place has been bombed for three years, mostly by the Syrian air force but lately also by the Russians.
When the fighters see those planes coming, they try to judge which will be their target. And as long as the planes are using unguided bombs, then you
know if the plane is not really headed into your direction you will not be hit and you're safe.
At the moment when I filmed the bomb --
PELDA (voice-over): -- dropping from the wing, I didn't know what kind of bomb it was.
Was it a precision bomb, a cluster bomb, a normal bomb?
Boom! Boom! Boom, boom, boom! Boom!
PELDA (voice-over): And then it is so strange; it takes a long time for a bomb to drop. I felt it was 20 or 30 seconds then it exploded and hear the
other explosions of those small bomblets.
And then I knew this danger is over and it didn't hit us.
PELDA: This is a bomb.
PELDA (voice-over): This is a typical scene.
PELDA: Look, this --
PELDA (voice-over): -- and there was a small one, a small bomblet. Actually, these are really, really dangerous when they explode because they
produce a lot of shrapnel over a large area.
But also because there are so many dots (ph). In one of those cluster bombs, there are more than 100 small bomblets. And some of them remain in
the fields and if the civilians come back even years later, they can explode.
The so-called civilian defense force, the so-called white helmets, wanted me to see the effect of the --
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