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Trump to Undo Obama-Era Climate Policies; Changing the Narrative Around Refugees; Shakespeare's Supporting Role in South African History. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired March 28, 2017 - 14:00   ET



[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, another executive order from the White House as President Trump prepares to rollback Obama's rules

on the environment. But will the people tolerate a return to dirty water and foul air. Obama's climate chief joins us live.

And Brexit wouldn't have happen if it wasn't for the refugee crisis shaking up Europe. That is what my guest says in his new book, "Refuge." But they

say there is a solution for this, the great challenge of our time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Politicians have responded to the crisis, but they've responded like a bunch of headless chickens. There is a practical



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

The smog of scandal hangs over the Trump White House as new developments in the Russia mess move closer to the Oval Office. Donald Trump's son-in-law

Jared Kushner has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee after news broke that during the transition, not only did he meet

with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., but at his behest, he also met with this man, Sergey Gorkov, who's head of Russia's economic development bank

known as V.E.B.

Gorkov is close to Vladimir Putin and his bank is under U.S. and European sanctions over Russia's Crimea grab. And now former Vice President Dick

Cheney is weighing in raising this red flag at a speech in India.


DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's no question that there was a very serious effort made by Mr. Putin, and his

government, his organization to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental Democratic processes. In some quarters, that would be

considered an act of war.


AMANPOUR: Harsh words indeed. And despite this mounting crisis, President Trump is still aiming at key Obama legislation.

But is this a climate of denial setting in at the White House, having failed to dislodge Obama's health care law, today the target is the

environment. At this hour, the president signs a sweeping executive order to undo Obama's clean power plan, which underpins U.S. participation in the

Paris Climate Accords. And Trump is signing his executive order at the Environmental Protection Agency, run by Scott Pruitt, who is a climate

skeptic himself.

Even after his confirmation, he said this when asked if carbon dioxide is a major contributor to climate change.


SCOTT PRUITT, SECRETARY, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: No, I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very

challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact. So, no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the

global warming that we see.


AMANPOUR: Actually, there is scientific consensus on the effect of carbon dioxide on the global warming issue. Gina McCarthy served as EPA chief

under President Obama. And now she's called Trump's environmental policy, quote, dangerous and embarrassing to the country and American businesses

worldwide, and she joins me now from Cambridge, Massachusetts.


AMANPOUR: Gina, welcome to the program.

Can I get your initial reaction to what President Trump is doing right now, which is apparently signing this executive order to counter what, after

all, were executive orders by President Obama?

GINA MCCARTHY, FORMER CHIEF, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: Well, let me just give you a little bit of dose of reality about this executive order.

It is embarrassing. You know, as somebody who has represented this country internationally, it sends a horrible signal. But, frankly, in the United

States, who have mayors, states utilities investing heavily in clean energy, because it's fiscally responsible to do this. That is where all

the money and investment is going.

So despite what this executive order says the clean energy train in the U.S. has left the station and it is not going to return.

Now, secondly, you have to recognize that 70 percent of the people in the United States know that climate change has happened and is happening. And

they want us to actually have strict standards on utilities for carbon pollution. So this is not going to be popular.

[14:05:00] In fact, 70 percent trumps this president's popularity rating by twice.


MCCARTHY: And the third issue is that you have to recognize that clean energy, getting where we are today, took eight years of hard work. This

executive order will not undo this with the stroke of a pen. It's going to take concerted effort right now. Major rules are in the courts. They're

in the court of public opinion, and we expect them to stay there and be successful.

AMANPOUR: Can I then put this to you. No less than the EPA administrator under two Republican presidents, Nixon and Reagan, not exactly touchy-feely

environmentalists, had this to say in "The New York Times" just in the last couple of weeks.

He basically said, "Voters may have supported Donald J. Trump believing his campaign rhetoric about the EPA. But they don't want their kids choking on

polluted air or drinking tainted water anymore than Hillary Clinton voters. And as soon as the agency stops doing its job, they're going to be up in


I guess you would agree with that, but my question is, is this something that, under the weight of public opinion, could be dropped by the Trump

White House, just as Obamacare, you know, repeal has failed so far in Congress?

MCCARTHY: Absolutely. We think this is a point in time when the American public has to speak up and remind the president who he is working for.

He's working for Democrats and Republicans who care, not just about the health of their children, but the future of this planet, as well.

This is about the United States maintaining its international leadership, which we have always have done in investing and innovating, so we become

the clean energy leaders in the world. That's what President Obama recognized. And frankly, every president that has challenged EPA and its

mission has learned the wrath of the American public when they go in the wrong direction.

Nobody wants to look backwards at the pollution that we eliminated and invited back again. We want to look to the future. That's what the

American people expect in their leader.

AMANPOUR: So, of course, the people who voted for President Trump and many, many businesses are simply thrilled, because they believe what the

administration is saying, in that, a, this is going to be much better for business, cutting back on regulations is better for business and it's way

too expensive and job costly to put in all these environmental protections.

What do you say to that? That this move in other words is going to bring back coal-fired plants and bring back jobs to America.

MCCARTHY: Let me just make two points. Number one, since the EPA has been on board looking at air pollution, it's been reduced by 70 percent while

our GDP has tripled.

We know in the United States that our strong economy is built on a strong foundation of environmental protection. We will not give up our ability to

breathe clean air to get new jobs. We don't have to. Why should we? We never have.

But, secondly, if this was simply a signal to the coal mining industry over in West Virginia, then the president should stop sending false signals,

because the coal right now in the United States, while it will be with us for a while, it is simply not marketable and competitive when compared with

inexpensive natural gas in the advent of really great renewable energy.

So instead of giving them signals, maybe some resources there to look at their economic future and invest in it would be a better thing to do for

those communities moving forward, so they're not left behind. But believe me, clean energy is here today and it is going to be the future of this

country, no matter what the president signed today.

AMANPOUR: And perhaps important to say, energy economists are saying that even if we did see an increase in coal production, we could see a decrease

in coal jobs, since the mines that are staying open are using more mechanization, they're not hiring people.

So it's very important to actually describe what actually is going on. But I want to ask you to react to the following. This is President Obama from

June of 2013 talking about his climate executive orders and legislation.

Listen for a moment.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a president, as a father, and as an American, I'm here to say we need to act. But this is a

challenge that does not pause for partisan gridlock.


AMANPOUR: So Ms. McCarthy, then we flip to just last week, where we have the following statement from the White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.

Listen to this.


[14:10:00] MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: Regarding the question as to climate change, I think the president was fairly

straightforward. We're not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money.


AMANPOUR: So they are basically saying you're out there on your own, you climate tree huggers. We're not spending any more money. And by the way,

the very real fact is that they have cut back -- I think they're projecting a 31 percent EPA budget cut. So even if it's not popular in the country,

there's not going to be any money to do the things that you think should be continued to be done.

MCCARTHY: Well, just like the executive order, the president's budget is just a kick-off, it's not the endgame. And while we all really would like

this presidency to move forward on climate, there's a significant challenge with rolling back all of the work that we have done over the past eight


And remember, the United States still cares about its environment and we certainly care about our planet and our obligations to other countries to

work with them. So while it's a very disappointing time in the United States, I am not -- I am convinced, I should say, that there is hope for

continued progress.

And if you look at how well we have done to move clean energy, you will see that states are already achieving the reductions that our clean power plan

was anticipating for 2022. So we are ahead of the game. While I hate to lose time and commitment, we will still be able to catch up and we will do

our job with the rest of the international community to tackle the challenge of climate.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you that, because are you worried that America could fall behind China, for instance? Our David McKenzie has just written

-- produce a very good report from there showing how the Chinese are investing hundreds of billions into their clean energy technology, and the

government is really facing up to the challenge now.

And also, what does it say about America's commitment to the Paris Climate Accords?

MCCARTHY: Yes. Well, I mean, a Paris Accord wasn't mentioned in this executive order, so we will see what the president has to say about that.

But I will say that what this recognizes is that this administration is out of touch with the will of this people. And what they need to understand is

that this executive order is going to go exactly the same as his interest in health care. He was out of touch there, as well.

And what President Obama made very clear that while climate change is a terrible challenge, that we all need to face, it is an opportunity as well

for jobs, because in the U.S., jobs in the solar industry are growing at 12 plus times more than the rest of the economy. We know where the future is.

And we know the United States has an opportunity to become stronger if they maintain their leadership in a low carbon future. It's an opportunity for

investment, for innovation and for continued leadership.

The disappointing thing is that this president has decided to cede that to other countries and countries like China are ready to jump on it. So if he

cares about the U.S. economy and he doesn't give a damn about its climate, we still can move together in the same way and invest in the energy of the


AMANPOUR: All right. Gina McCarthy, that upbeat assessment. Thank you very much. President Obama's EPA chief.

MCCARTHY: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And at this critical juncture, a troubling new report by Media Matters, which is a non-profit research center, shows that despite record

high temperatures last year, climate hit a new low in coverage by the American media.

It says that 2016 saw all the major news networks reduce coverage of this vital issue by a whopping 66 percent.

You could say we go from climate denial to refugee denial, next. That is perhaps the second most important disrupter in today's world. And yet too

few leaders will look at real-life solutions. Like the ones spelled out by the authors of an important new book. They join me next.


[14:16:10] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Britain is on the eve of making history again. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May will send a fateful letter to Brussels triggering

Article 50 and setting in motion a two-year timer to exit the EU.

It's a combination of an extraordinary year in British politics dominated by debates about immigration and national identity. And at the heart of

this debate, the global refugee crisis, the largest mass displacement since the Second World War.

During the EU referendum, Brexit advocate Nigel Farage described a Europe at, quote, "breaking point" and Brexiteers swore to, quote, "take back


Its rhetoric that's been echoed in the United States, France, the Netherlands and Italy to name but a few. But there just might be a clear

and workable way out of this crisis. That is the thesis of "Refuge." A new book my next guests have written.

One is an Oxford University professor -- of course, migration -- Alexander Betts. The other, a highly influential economist. They told me how

they're trying to change the narrative and spread a good-news story about win-win solutions to one of the biggest challenges facing the world right



AMANPOUR: Alexander Betts, Paul Collier, welcome to the program. This couldn't come at a more opportune time, if you like. We have Article 50

about to be triggered. Refugees, immigration have really turned western politics upside down in 2016.

Do you think there would have been a Brexit without refugees?

ALEXANDER BETTS, CO-AUTHOR, REFUGE: TRANSFORMING A BROKEN REFUGEE SYSTEM: Brexit wouldn't have happened without the European refugee crisis. The

lead campaign relied on the slogans of "breaking point," "take back control."

It was inevitable that once they got that, the most salient excuse became immigration and sovereignty and so the refugee crisis was underlying

Brexit, and the aftermath is that immigration has become even more toxic in Europe.

AMANPOUR: But you say there's a differentiation between refugees, which is solvable and immigration, which will always be toxic.

PAUL COLLIER, CO-AUTHOR, REFUGE: TRANSFORMING A BROKEN REFUGEE SYSTEM: Immigration is going to stay toxic for a long time. But refugees, that's a

very fixable problem. It's a well-defined problem. There's a well-defined solution, which doesn't involve a lot of migration and we could do this.

The 21st century, it's shameful that we are at an all-time high for refugees. It's a fixable problem.

AMANPOUR: Let me drill down on where they are, because I was actually stunned when I read the research for this. That only 10 percent of

refugees are in our part of the world. The rich, developed part of the world. 90 percent are elsewhere. And 60 percent of them are in these ten

countries -- Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, etcetera.

60 percent of them in these 10 countries.

What does that mean in terms of helping them where they are? Even these countries have had a hard time.

COLLIER: Yes. The reason they're there we should say is that these people are not voluntary migrants. They are the people who chose to stay in their

countries, had to flee them because of violence, insecurity or famine or something like that.

So their preference is to go back home when the conflict is over. Meanwhile, they're in these very poor haven countries. All of which

themselves, countries of immigration. They're poor countries. And so our responsibility is twofold. One is to provide them money, which actually

finances the burden that's been thrust on these countries. And they're the right type of places to provide haven because they're close. But they have

no money. So we've got money. We're distant. Our comparative advantage is to provide them money.

But in order for people to have the dignity of restored autonomy, to be able to learn a living, then they need jobs. We have got the firms that

can provide the jobs.

[14:20:05] AMANPOUR: So let me take those two issues. I was in Jordan recently. We went to the Zaatari and Azraq camps. And we saw that Jordan

actually has created a bit of a program -- work permits, economic zones, some of them are allowed into the cities. And I think you all had

something to do with it at the center, right?

BETTS: We were involved in brainstorming the initial idea and it's a fantastic pilot. Because what it does is it recognizes you've got 83,000

people in a Zaatari refugee camp, idle, unable to work. And yet just a 15- minute drive away, you've got an economic zone, the King Hussein Development area. And they lack workers and they lack inward investment.

So the pilot is basically saying with the right investment, with trade concessions provided by the European Union, you can allow Syrians to work

alongside Jordanian nationals in a way that benefits the Syrians refugees, benefits the Jordanian economy and empowers people and businesses to

eventually go home and rebuilt.

AMANPOUR: You say in your study and your book, you say that, you know, the refugee system is broken. And, UNHCR, as much as it helps, the model is

somewhat outdated for the current crisis.

Is that right?

BETTS: We have huge respect for UNHCR and its staff. But the things it does very well and it's done very well for years are not the things we need

today. It's very good at providing legal advice to governments on what international refugee bill states should do with refugees.

It's very good at providing care and maintenance in camp environments. It's less strong at two things we urgently need. Economic development to

provide jobs and autonomy to refugees. And, secondly, political leadership to guide states towards collective action. It can update. It needs to

update, but now it's facing a fork in the road and faced with the challenge of political toxicity, rising populist nationalism, it cuts to its budget.

It needs new sustainable models and this is the way to do it.

AMANPOUR: Here's our little detail on this. $135 spent on a refugee in Europe for every $1 spent on a refugee in a developing country.

COLLIER: Yes. I mean, this is a disgrace. It's foolish. So we've got to change the narrative. Politicians have responded to the crisis, but

they've responded like a bunch of headless chickens. There is a practical solution. Refugees are a very fixable problem, but it just needs a fresh

look at policies and fresh look at institutional mandates.

The World Bank should be leading the economics of this. UNHCR will take years to change from being a humanitarian only agency to what is needed.

AMANPOUR: Tell me about Uganda. Uganda is doing a good job, isn't it?

BETTS: Uganda has a terrific model. It's chosen a different path. Unlike its neighbors, it gives refugees the right to work and freedom of movement

in its self-reliant strategy.

We in Oxford have collected data to show what the model does. And not only does it matter to benefit refugees, they get freedom, they can support

themselves and their communities. It benefits Uganda.

In a capital city, Kampala, we found that 21 percent of refugees run a business that employs at least one other person. And of those they employ

40 percent are nationals of Uganda. In other words, refugees are making jobs when we let them work. We let them.


AMANPOUR: It is incredible how this good news story is not being told at all. And obviously, another big question and a big differentiation is what

is a refugee and what is a migrant? And I ask you because there are all these predictions that there's, as you know right now, a massive

humanitarian crisis looming. The potential famine in Africa. And we've already heard that people are going to start coming from Africa in even

bigger numbers than they have in the past. Are they refugees? Are they migrants? How do societies deal with that?

COLLIER: There are about a million refugees that are being driven out of Zimbabwe by famine over the last few years. They don't come here, of

course. They go to the regional haven, which in their case is South Africa.

Have we helped South Africa with that? No. And, yes, there will be pockets of crises. The number of people displaced is at a post 1950-all-

time high. And so displacement won't stop, but the fact that it just accumulates, and accumulates, is because we've just got the wrong model.

We're just not dealing with the heart of the problem, which is restoring dignity, restoring opportunity, which as Alex says can be win-win. The

host country, the host haven country can benefit just as the refugees can benefit.

AMANPOUR: Paul Collier, Alexander Betts, thank you very much. Authors of "Refuge."

BETTS: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And after a break, we imagine what Shakespeare, Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada, his anti-apartheid colleague who passed away today have

in common. We travel to South Africa to find out, next.


[14:27:00] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, we imagine South Africa saying goodbye to one of its last anti-apartheid activists as Ahmed Kathrada, 87

years old, passed away after a short illness today. He was a colleague and confidant who accompanied Nelson Mandela on his long walk to freedom.

Kathrada served 26 years in prison, alongside him for fighting South Africa's all-white system. And after they were all finally freed, Kathrada

went on to serve in parliament.

With Mandela and Kathrada now gone, you can only imagine their aghast reaction to reports today that William Shakespeare could be exiting stage

left from South African schools.

Throughout those long, bleak decades behind bars, they read whatever they could get their hands on, including the complete but forbidden works of

William Shakespeare. Smuggled in under heavy disguise.

After freedom came, Mandela's annotated pages were made public, prominent was this quote from Julius Caesar, "Cowards die many times before their

deaths. The valiant never tasted death but once."

One playwright later wrote that Mandela lived his entire life according to those two lines. And so we ask the South African Ministry of Education

why? And they assured us that they're not giving short shrift to Shakespeare. They are only discussing cutting down on his works in the

curriculum to make room for home-grown writers.

We certainly hope that all's well that ends well. And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us

online at and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.