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World Leaders Meet to Fight Climate Change; French Defense Minister On Fighting ISIS in Libya; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired November 30, 2015 - 14:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: from Paris, "Never have the stakes been so high," French president Francois Hollande and the

150 world leaders here, trying to hammer out a last-ditch climate deal.

Under a state of emergency which has been in place since the terror attacks, my interview with the French defense minister.

And from the depths of the sea to the tops of the mountains, naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough on saving it all for generations to come.


DAVID ATTENBOROUGH, BROADCASTER AND NATURALIST: It's almost the last chance. And the longer it goes on, the more it is delayed, the more

unlikely it is of getting a solution. We really have to get one this time. We really have to.



AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour, live in Paris tonight.

Now, half a world away, an urgent reminder of a polluted planet; smog is choking the Chinese capital and Beijing residents have been advised not to

go outside.

As some 150 world leaders converge on Paris to tackle the most pressing problem, climate change, just two weeks after the terrorist attacks on this

city. French president Francois Hollande linked the two, saying that we owe our children a planet protected from catastrophes as he launched COP

21, two weeks of negotiations aimed at cutting global carbon emissions.

President Barack Obama acknowledged the world's most powerful economy and second worst polluter is partially to blame for rising temperatures. And

he said this conference is a turning point.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is the moment we finally determined we would save our planet, is the fact that our nations

share a sense of urgency about this challenge and a growing realization that it is within our power to do something about it.


AMANPOUR: Now, the COP 21 talks are taking place under exceptional, indeed, unprecedented security. Earlier today, I asked the French defense

minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian about that and about whether they are actually on track to achieve their stated goal of defeating ISIS.


AMANPOUR: Minister, welcome to the program.

Can I ask you, the events of the last two weeks were so tragic. Many people were surprised.

But then there were many who said they were not surprised, that it was only a matter of time before this kind of terrorism happened on the streets of


What is your reaction?

Were you surprised?

JEAN-YVES LE DRIAN, FRENCH DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): It is, first of all, a reaction of disgust, of great sadness and horror faced with

these attacks. Several attacks took place on the same night.

We have known for a long time daish had seen France as its enemy, so this is a reaction of horror but also a wish for a firm response, faced with

this two-faced monster because daish is a two-faced monster.

On the one hand, it is a territory that wants to become a caliphate, become an authoritarian and dictatorial territory, a terrorist state.

At the same time, it is an international force, with foreign fighters whose objectives is to sow terror in Europe; everywhere, not only in Europe,

because they struck Tunisia, Egypt, Russia. They structure Turkey, France. They wish to strike Belgium.

AMANPOUR: Are you confident that France, Paris, Le Bourget, is well secured against any repeat attack, particularly with all these heads of

state here?

LE DRIAN (through translator): We have considerably reinforced our means of internal protection, both with the police and the gendarme forces but

also with a very significant contribution of the armed forces to the security of our country.

We developed an operation called the century operation with 2,000 soldiers in Paris during COP 21. At the same time, I note, from the French people,

there is a will to ensure our own security together.

AMANPOUR: What is your reaction to the protests last night that were at the Place de la Republique and even defacing the memorial to the dead?

LE DRIAN (through translator): It is unbearable. It is undignified.


LE DRIAN (through translator): Those people who were protesting had an ambition from the start, to help a positive decision for climate. But then

they completely turned around their cause. And this is unworthy of all those who died at the hands of daish.

AMANPOUR: President Hollande has said that Syria is the biggest terrorist factory in the world right now. And over and over again, he has said we

have to destroy daish, we will destroy daish.

How will you destroy daish?

I want your road map to destroying this group, militarily.

LE DRIAN (through translator): Yes, we are going to destroy daish; it's our enemy. It's not only France, it's the U.N. Security Council

resolution, it is about the whole world. This is very serious, everyone needs everyone.

So, in order to destroy daish, we need to intensify the strikes. First of all, that the command places and logistics, places where oil is supplied,

training resources where daish is in Iraq and Syria. And France is going to intensify her strikes within the coalition because the main enemy, the

enemy of all these actors, is daish.

AMANPOUR: Do you agree though that airstrikes need to be so much more intense than they have been?

The United States has been bombing daish for the last nearly 18 months but people in the Pentagon tell me that that's not nearly enough so far. It is

less than they did in Afghanistan in 2001, less than they have done elsewhere.

How much more do you need to bomb daish?

LE DRIAN (through translator): When I met with Ashton Carter in the United States last week, we agreed for this imperative need to intensify strikes.

It's already leading to results because, in Iraq, the daish forces are withdrawing but it has been taking other places as well.

But we know this is long-term work. There needs to be intensification, coordination of strikes, the maximum number of allies striking Iraq and

Syria. And certainly, France is there. The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier is in the Mediterranean. Tomorrow, it will be in the Persian Gulf.

AMANPOUR: France, America, Britain, they have all said no ground troops. Nobody believes daish can be beaten without ground troops.

Who are going to be your ground troops?

You have said that there maybe 70,000 free Syrian armies. Other people say there are only, you know, several hundred.

LE DRIAN (through translator): I have heard Ashton Carter saying we need to clear up Raqqah. He is right. The bombings will not be enough.

We need action on the ground in order to take back this ground. This can only be with local forces, whether it be Iraqi forces who are working, the

Kurdish forces in Syria, the Free Syrian Army to take back daish.

AMANPOUR: You think they are up to it? Ils peut faire sont (ph)?

LE DRIAN (through translator): I think they can do it as long as they are supported, organized by intelligence logistics, that the strikes are

accompanying their action.

AMANPOUR: A lot of reporting right now that the Iraqi leadership of daish is moving under the bombardments from Iraq, Syria, now to Libya, Sirte is

becoming the base for the daish leadership. They keep moving around.

How will you get them in the end?

First of all, are you worried about Sirte, Libya, as base for daish?

LE DRIAN (through translator): We need to be very vigilant about what is happening in Libya because it is true, the daish today, if it is settled

there, will find allies because the Libyans are not finding agreement amongst themselves about the constitution of a national government.

But I do notice there is progress that has taken place and on both sides, for the majority, there is a will to succeed. And initiatives are being

taken by new representatives of the United Nations in Libya.

The Libyans must understand about support for different groups, that there must be a government of national unity, that this cannot be solved

militarily in order to end these absurd confrontations so that Libyans can find their unity. Again, that is the only way to fight daish.

AMANPOUR: But that's for a long time in the future.

Do you believe you will have to bomb Sirte?

LE DRIAN (through translator): It can happen quicker than one might think following the attacks, not only France but in Egypt and Tunisia, where they

are aware. And so this is their will for unity, to eradicate daish.

AMANPOUR: Can you assess -- what is your assessment, as the French minister for defense, of ISIS, daish strength in Sirte, in Libya right now?

LE DRIAN (through translator): If we let daish develop quickly, they can quickly --


LE DRIAN (through translator): -- reach others that have oil sources in the south. They can be received by fighters who are in difficulty in the

Syrian or Iraqi territory. That is why we have to prevent that.

The forces that exist in Libya today, if united, are largely capable of succeeding against daish. And not just France; our allies are decided in

achieving this; and being aware of this, we are enforcing, strengthening, so making possible to take on the fight against daish in Libya. This is


AMANPOUR: And finally, there is some confusion about what Syrian troops could join the fight against daish. Your foreign minister, Mr. Fabius,

suggested that, at some point, even the regime soldiers could fight.

What is the -- what is France's position on Assad's forces in the fight against daish?

LE DRIAN (through translator): France's position has not changed. Laurent Fabius said very clearly, when the Syrian, the regular Syrian forces are

under the responsibility, under the authority of Bashar al-Assad, it is not possible for them to participate in the fight against daish.

On the other hand, if there is a political transition, that can change. But today, Bashar al-Assad's forces are not fighting daish. They are

fighting their own people. And we need to provide for the regular Syrian forces only when we have a political transition.

AMANPOUR: Mr. Le Ministre, thank you very much indeed.

LE DRIAN: Merci beaucoup.


AMANPOUR: Now because of the state of emergency here, there is a ban on protest; 400,000 people were expected to march for the planet but instead

many made sure they left their footprints, these 22,000 pairs of shoes in formation at the Place de la Republique, including those sent by such well-

shod climate defenders as Pope Francis and U.N. Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon.

Next, the face and the voice of our planet, Sir David Attenborough. He tells me that if we can put a man on the moon, our best and our brightest

can surely find cheaper, cleaner energy. My interview with the world's most famous naturalist after a break.



ATTENBOROUGH (VOICE-OVER): Coming face-to-face with a green turtle in this setting is a rare privilege but its presence here, along with all the other

reef residents, is only made possible thanks to the great coral builders.

Doesn't look very upset, does he?





AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

As world leaders and climate negotiators get down to the nitty-gritty here in Paris, one man knows more than perhaps anyone else exactly what's at

stake. Sir David Attenborough has covered some of our most endangered spaces for almost than 60 years and the British naturalist and broadcasting

legend has come face to face with their many curious inhabitants.


ATTENBOROUGH (voice-over): He starts to squeak and we are able to have a little chat.



AMANPOUR: While exploring the natural world and the endangered species, Attenborough has seen unnatural disaster unfold before him in real time.

Now he is spearheading a clean energy effort called the Global Apollo Program, moon landings and giant leaps, you get the picture, as I did, when

we sat down earlier today to discuss the future of our planet.


AMANPOUR: Sir David Attenborough, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: You are, more than anyone in the world, associated with our planet.

Do you believe our planet is in good hands, safe hands?

Do you think this summit is going to save us?

ATTENBOROUGH: Well, it is almost the last chance and the longer it goes on, the more it's delayed, the more unlikely it is to getting a solution.

We really have to get one this time. We really have to and there is, I sense, a realization amongst people worldwide and politicians worldwide

that this is real, you know, this is it. Something has to be done.

AMANPOUR: And what is the "it," as you identify it? We've heard last chance summits, even in Copenhagen, which turned into a fiasco. Now

everybody is obviously much more serious about it.

What is "it"?

What, in your view, would be a success at the end of this summit?

ATTENBOROUGH: We have to find a way of reducing carbon emissions and there is one very simple way of doing that, which is under debate at the moment,

which is that if the developed nations of the world, with scientific research budgets, could get together and solve the problems of gathering,

transmitting and storing energy directly from the sun or from winds and tides and to do that at a price which is cheaper than using -- getting it

from oil or coal, then the problem will be solved.

You know, 0.0002 part of the energy of the sun that goes onto this planet every day, if we could tap that, we would provide all the power

requirements for the whole of humanity. Think of that.

AMANPOUR: That is remarkable.

The question is, why hasn't that happened?

ATTENBOROUGH: Why hasn't it happened?

Simply because, well, we didn't have the technology, it just wasn't minimized. It is not easy. But it can be done. And if your nation, well,

if the American nation can put a man on the moon in 10 years, surely to goodness the scientists of the world, working to a coordinated plan to see

where the problems are, should be able to solve those within 10 years.

AMANPOUR: Well, you sat down with President Obama, who wanted to interview you, slightly a reverse of what you normally do, he must have told you why

he can't do it.

Even at this summit, the United States has extracted a concession from France, that whatever is agreed here will not be a treaty, it will not be

legally binding because they don't think they can get it through Congress.

ATTENBOROUGH: Well, what I got the impression was that here was a man who understood what the problem was and who genuinely, desperately needed --

thought that he could find the solution. And he has to steer that through the complexities of American politics as well as international politics.

So it's not easy. And, after all, never in the history of humanity have all the world come together and agreed on a solution. Never, ever.

So why should we suppose it was going to be easy? It's not easy because a lot of people have different interests. But it can be done because, as we

see the dangers of not doing it, the pressures on doing it are increasing.

AMANPOUR: You, yourself, described yourself a long time ago as a skeptic on climate change and mankind's role in climate change.

Tell me a little bit about your evolution.

ATTENBOROUGH: Well, I make natural history programs for television and if you do that with a regularity I do, you have a hugely privileged position.

And so you don't want to start talking about things that you aren't sure are true.

And I had private concerns about what was happening with the rising of temperature a long time before I was absolutely confident enough to say so

in public and think that's a responsible thing to do.

But for the past 10 years there has been no question as to how the humanity has been responsible for this rise in temperature.

AMANPOUR: What would you say to whoever, mostly in the United States, because around the rest of the world, people understand the science now and

they accept the science but there is still a small handful of deniers in the U.S. whose voice seems to overpower those who believe in the science.

ATTENBOROUGH: Well, you have to look at it, you say why would you deny what seems obvious to everybody else?

And in those instances there must be good reasons why they deny. And of course, there are. I mean, it's much easier to deny it than it is to

accept it. And particularly for some people, who it might cost them a lot of money to accept it rather than deny it and it's -- life is more

difficult if you actually accept that this is your fault


ATTENBOROUGH: -- because you have then got to do something about it

AMANPOUR: So you have been going around the world for the last at least 60 years, showing us our planet, the animals, the seas, the skies, the

mountains, North- South Pole, where ever you look, you've been there and you've only just gone down, I think, for the first time, in a submersible,

down I think 1,000 meters?

ATTENBOROUGH: 1,000 feet.

AMANPOUR: 1,000 feet?

Was it scary, getting into that --




ATTENBOROUGH: A doddle, as we say.

AMANPOUR: A doddle.


ATTENBOROUGH: Well, I mean, I have swum but I've been in submersibles before, and I saw them quite a bit, and if you're an underwater swimmer, at

least I, at any rate, am worrying about my breathing, I'm worrying about how much air I've got in my tanks, I'm worrying about the pressure, I'm

worrying about expanding my lungs and all that.

But in the submersible, this submersible, the temperature and the pressure is exactly the same as it is outside because you're sealed in this

compartment. So you're in this bubble and you have a rebreathing system. You have enough air could last you for days, if necessary, if something

went wrong.

So you just sit there, you know, you have a seat belt on, you sit there with a bar of chocolate and say, good gracious, look at that fantastic

fish. I mean, it's better than life in the movies.

AMANPOUR: Anywhere else that David Attenborough wants to go?

Is there any frontier that you haven't crossed?

ATTENBOROUGH: I have had a ball, really. I just can't believe I'm that lucky. And just to do it in my 90th year, to go -- dive deeper on the

barrier reef than anyone has dived before, you know, is something. And we didn't see much and I had nothing to do with getting there but, even so, it

was quite nice.

AMANPOUR: Again, over the 60 years you've been doing this and observing the species, observing the animals, do you feel they are more stressed?

ATTENBOROUGH: Oh, yes, animals are -- I mean, species, more and more species are on the brink of extinction. There's no doubt about it. Their

numbers are reduced. I have to say that there is no major species that is becoming extinct in my lifetime, which is something. And humanity is

coming to its senses.

And there are people who are caring about these things and species are being dragged back from the verge of extinction.


ATTENBOROUGH: There is more meaning and mutual understanding in exchanging a glance with a gorilla than any other animal I know.


ATTENBOROUGH: I was with mountain gorillas when they were reduced to less than three figures. And there are more now than there were then.

AMANPOUR: So that's great news.

ATTENBOROUGH: Yes, really, yes, I mean because conservationists saw that one way of doing that was actually making them economically valuable to the

African state's concern --

AMANPOUR: By tourism, you mean.

ATTENBOROUGH: -- by tourism and charging a lot of money. And fortunately, there are a lot of people around the world who will pay a lot of money in

order to go and see a wild gorilla.

AMANPOUR: Just one question before we wrap up, does David Attenborough have a favorite animal?


ATTENBOROUGH: Human babies.

AMANPOUR: That's great. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it.



AMANPOUR: So this next bit isn't our impact on our planet but the planet's awesome ability to impact us.

These new images show Indonesia's ghost villages, towns that have been abandoned in 2010 when the dormant volcano Sinabung burst back into life

and began sporadically erupting ever since, causing local populations to leave. But there is rebirth there as the flora has erupted all over the

land that surrounds the volcano.

Next, we imagine saving the world with innovator extraordinaire, Bill Gates. That's after this.





AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world that can step back from the brink of disaster.

Earlier today, I spoke with one of our most important innovators, the former Microsoft co-founder and climate optimist, Bill Gates. He is

doubling down on his investments in this field with a new initiative.

And he tells me that's convinced the world's brightest and biggest brains can solve the problem of cleaner and cheaper energy.


BILL GATES, ENTREPRENEUR: Well, I see the price of energy actually being lower than today and that's for clean, reliable energy. And I see huge

benefits to everyone, particularly the poor.

When I meet with these scientists, who have all sorts of wild ideas, each of which is risky in and of itself, I see a portfolio that virtually

guarantees we will have the breakthroughs.


AMANPOUR: So while we humans try to come up with a solution to curb our own excesses, we will let our planet's least dangerous inhabitants have the

last word, courtesy of "National Geographic."




AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight. We leave you now with this lovely shot from Paris, the Christmas Ferris wheel at the Place de la

Concorde. Remember you can always see our show online. You can hear it on a podcast and you can always follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for

watching and goodbye from Paris.