Return to Transcripts main page


Climate Protests Take on Trump Policies; Trump Invites Philippine Leader to White House

Aired May 1, 2017 - 14:00:00   ET


[14:00:10] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, Trump lawyers convene at the White House to discuss whether the U.S. will stay in the landmark

Paris climate deal. But it turns out the cities may have more sway than the federal government any way in the fight against climate change.

Why the former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and climate activist Carl Pope insist the future is green.


CARL POPE, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: Coal is so uncompetitive that the coal mining museum in Eastern Kentucky proudly announced that it had converted to solar

power to save money.


AMANPOUR: Also ahead, why did he do it?

Trump's controversial White House invite to the strongman president of the Philippines, who is accused of thousands of extrajudicial killings in his

war on drugs.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York.

Protests against President Trump's climate policies are growing as he threatens to pull out of the global Paris climate change deal. Tens of

thousands took to the streets in Washington on Saturday, and Trump says he will decide on the future of the U.S. commitment over the next two weeks.

He's already signed a sweeping executive order to undo President Obama's clean power plan and he's appointed a climate skeptic to run the

environmental protection agency, which faces massive budget cuts and which has just removed most of the climate change information from its Web site.

Just over half of all Americans polled said they're pessimistic about their children's climate future. But the former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg

says no matter what the federal government does, cities are leading the way forward.

He's co-authored a book with Carl Pope, the former chairman of the environmental organization The Sierra Club. I sat down with them at the

Bloomberg Foundation Headquarters and they told me that on the science and on the massive economic benefits, there is no going back to the old ways of

doing energy business.


AMANPOUR: Mayor Bloomberg, Carl Pope, welcome to the program.

You've been a big city mayor. Most of the progress towards the environment and saving it and getting rid of carbon, etcetera, has been done on a local

level. Some people would say, wow, how is that possible?

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Well, in this issue, it is a local issue, much more than a national or state issue. Most of the people,

50 percent of the public, maybe more, lives in cities. And that's where the pollution comes from, because they are the ones that the energy that

the plants producing the energy put into the air. They are the ones that have to face issues like crime and education and traffic and economic

opportunities are done at the city level.

And so in this case, because of that, the federal government has not really had much to do with America's success in reducing carbon in the air, in

greenhouse gases. The state governments haven't had much success. It's really been done by local government where the public can talk to the mayor

or the city council directly can say clean up this air, I want it done today and they have to listen. Or it's done by the private sector, you and

I, who want to drive more fuel efficient cars or paint our roofs white so that it reflects off the sun and reduces our cost.

Or at the corporate level, because corporations want to be environmentally friendly. It helps in recruiting people. It makes them happy employees.

It makes for happy customers and most importantly big investors want to invest in companies that are environmentally friendly.

So that's where the problems are and that's where the solutions are.

AMANPOUR: So Carl Pope, you know that the president and those who are against the idea of regulation on climate say that it's bad for American

business. But we just heard and we know that the stats show that actually it's a really, you know, moving gang busters kind of business.

POPE: Well, it is the biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century, and it's that in the United States, it's that in India, it's that in

Europe, it's that in China. Globally, 20 years from now, we will be using entirely different technologies that we are using today. And prosperity

will belong to those countries and those companies that figure out how to do that first.

So, for example, Donald Trump comes along. He says, oh, Barack Obama want to clean up power plants, I don't, I am repealing the rule. That he might

be able to do. He might be able to repeal the rule. But reuters went out and asked 20 of the most coal dependent public utilities. Does this make

any difference in what you're doing? And only one of them said it made a little bit of difference. The rest said we don't plan around presidential

elections. We plan for 20, 30 years.

[14:05:11] In 20 or 30 years, we're going solar, we're going to wind. Companies like Anheuser-Busch, America's biggest beer manufacturer, has

announced that all of its electricity will come from solar.

AMANPOUR: hat about when people say, oh, well, we're doing all this. We're, you know, controlling our carbon and putting in regulations. What

about India? What about China? They're the big polluters?

BLOOMBERG: Well, the truth of the matter is those countries are doing even more than we're doing. Why? Because they have a much bigger problem. You

see pictures of not being able to see across the streets in the big cities in China and India, and their governments can't survive unless they do

something, because the people are saying, wait a second, I have to wear a mask, my kids are going to the hospital with asthma attacks, people tell me

I'm going to come down with stomach cancer because the water is not clean. And so those governments have to do something.

Now they have bigger problems than we do. They're three, four, five times the size of America. They have antiquated infrastructure. So often a lot

of old plants that are more polluting than the newer plants. But, nevertheless, China I think has already canceled the building of more coal

fired power plants than we have in this country. So it's just not fair to say --

AMANPOUR: And India just made an announcement.

BLOOMBERG: Same thing. It's not fair to say they're not doing anything. But let's assume they did, it really doesn't matter.

We all contribute to it, to the change in the climate and to the environment today. Forget about 50 years from now. We contribute to the

environment, the air we breathe, the water we drink today. And so if we help, if we do something alone at least it makes it better than it would be

if we didn't.

POPE: And you make money doing it. There's a big difference between sending someone a bill and writing them a check. The whole emotional

relationship is a little different. When I send you a bill, you want to know is that my bill this.

When I said your check, you won't say could it be bigger.

AMANPOUR: And don't you say something about how more people are employed in the alternative energy sector than ever were in the fossil fuels?

POPE: Right now five times as many people work in solar and wind and electric cars than work in coal, oil, and natural gas. The wind industry

alone employs more people than the coal industry did at its peak. These are the big job creators in the American economy.

AMANPOUR: So let us talk about the coal industry because if one thing Donald Trump has been famous for, it's like I'm going to bring back the

coal industry. But people are saying, well, he's just said a few things that benefit the owners of the mines, not really the miners. People have

said that even if coal production goes up, employment will go down because of technology. You just funded a film about the consequences.

BLOOMBERG: You know, I think, number one, hopefully, his advisers will explain to him, remember he comes in and he's got to learn about each of

these issues and I know in the campaign trail he said thing but he's president of the United States now, and so he's going to have to act

differently and he'll talk to his advisers. And I assume they will talk him out of some of those things and explain to him that coal miners are

losing jobs because of technology, not because there's no demand for coal.

The production of coal is up, while the number of people working in the industry has gone from 800,000 to 50,000 today.

What's happened to coal miners is happening in every industry, retail, and because of Amazon, television, everything, because of technology, people

are losing their jobs. And that's a great societal problem we have to work on. Not just coal miners losing their jobs.

In the case of coal miners, number one, I think they understand both jobs are not coming back no matter what the president says. You just can't wish

that it's not going to be true.

And in any case, coal because it's so polluting, we really do want to go to renewable. Somebody said that, you know, if we have lots of vets out of

work, we're not going to start a war to put them back to work. And in this case, we're not going to go and use polluting coal just to give the coal

miners jobs.

What we have to do is we have to find ways, and my foundation is supporting three organizations, which are trying to create and retrain jobs for coal


The trouble is, coal mining is just -- coal mining is such a small part of a societal problem all across America and, in fact, around the world. And

that's the great challenge for us, Christiane.

It's the -- solving the problem of jobs, it's making sure we don't have a nuclear war and climate change. Those are the three big things and there

are no easy answers on any of the three.

AMANPOUR: So if the latest American poll, CBS did, shows about 57 percent of Americans are very concerned that the next generation will be worse off

climate wise than we are now, you've also said that actually these climate goals set down by the Paris accords, America's close to meeting them.

[14:10:00] POPE: We've already -- Barack Obama went to Paris in 2015 and he promised to cut emissions by 26 percent. It's January 1, 2017, 14

months later, we were already 2/3 of the way towards meeting that goal. We are going to overrun that goal, not because of anything Donald Trump says

or doesn't say. We're going to overrun that goal because coal can't compete. Coal is so uncompetitive that the coal mining museum in Eastern

Kentucky proudly announced that it had converted to solar power to save money, to save money. That's the key phrase, to save money.

BLOOMBERG: I think one of the things we've got to focus on here is it's up to us to convince this administration, Donald Trump and his advisers, that

this is the right way to go.

Nobody wants to start a he said, she said battle. It's not partisan. We're all in this together. We all breathe the same air, we all drink the

same water. And so what I hope is that the success we've had so far that Donald Trump is going to wake up and say, well, look, you know, I'm very

concerned about coal miner's jobs so is Carl Pope and Mike Bloomberg and in fact we're trying to do something about helping. Maybe I can do something

as well. And let's make sure that we address other problems, as well.

AMANPOUR: Mayor Bloomberg, Carl Pope, with a climate of hope.

Thank you very much indeed.

BLOOMBERG: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And after a break, a controversial invitation for a brutal authoritarian.

Is Mr. Duterte going to Washington if President Trump gets his way after offering a surprise invite to the Filipino president. That's next.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

The White House is defending President Trump's White House invitation to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who once called President Obama a son

of a whore.

He has a toxic reputation for that kind of talk and for massive human rights abuses. Since taking office last year, more than 7500 suspected

drug dealers and users have been killed by police and extrajudicial gunman in a bloody war on drugs. Duterte often calls on Filipinos to take the law

into their own hands, something that he claims to have once done something himself.


RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES: I did kill. I was only three months mayor in 1988. At least I kill to protect people. I am not a

dictator killing my political opponents to stay in power.


AMANPOUR: But human rights groups are up in arms saying the invitation makes President Trump possibly complicit in future abuses. The White House

says they're just trying to gather an Asian coalition to face down North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Ruben Carranza of the International Center for Transitional Justice was lead investigator on the Philippine commission that recover hundreds of

millions of dollars from the family of the last dictator Ferdinand Marcos. He joins me here in New York right now.


AMANPOUR: Mr. Carranza, welcome to the program and thanks for joining us. You know, what went through your mind when you first heard of this


[14:15:00] RUBEN CARRANZA, INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE: It was both astonishing, but at the same time, I realize that it was

something inevitable for Donald Trump to invite Rodrigo Duterte, especially after we learned that neither his national security advisers or state

department officials were consulted.

So it's an invitation that comes from Donald Trump himself, and it's a dangerous invitation, both for Filipinos and for people across the world.

AMANPOUR: Just so that you know a little bit of news has come in from President Duterte, who's basically said that he doesn't know whether he'll

have the time in his very busy schedule to make it to the White House any time soon.

Beyond the invitation of whether he goes or not, is there any legitimacy in what might be a useful, quote, unquote, "deal with the devil" in order to

try to get some kind of reasonable coalition and influence to tamp down North Korea's nuclear program?

CARRANZA: The problem is, without even looking at the supposed goal to deal with North Korea, Duterte has presided over the killing of 9,000

Filipinos. And so just sending an invitation, whether or not Duterte accepts it, validates the crimes against humanity that have been committed

in the Philippines, and it does not at all help that you are asking a president like Duterte to deal with or help you deal with another

authoritarian leader to deal with nuclear weapons. So it doesn't make sense.

In any case, the Philippines and North Korea haven't exactly had the kind of relationship which gives Duterte or the Philippines any leverage over

the North Korean government.

If Duterte himself can't even take care of Chinese intrusion in the South China Sea involving Filipino territorial claims, I don't see how he can

deal with North Korea. This is not going to end well, either in relation to in North Korean matter or in relation to human rights.

AMANPOUR: Let's just breakdown a bit. We understand where you're coming from on human rights and many human rights organizations have already

expressed their outrage but just tell me about the South China Sea issue.

Why is he unable, as you say, to sort of, you know, impose Philippine Naval or territorial sovereignty in those seas?

CARRANZA: The Philippines, under the previous government of Benigno Aquino, actually won an arbitration case involving territory in the South

China Sea, involving Philippine claims in the South China Sea, which should be something that China and other states in the region should respect. But

Duterte has turned his back on that arbitration claim and has in fact invited China to effectively go on with its intrusion, exclude Filipino

fishermen and even says in effect that the Philippines cannot do anything using international law in order to defend its claims in the region.

So this is the kind of president who neither wants to use international law to defend his own country, nor respect human rights and not kill his own


AMANPOUR: Yes. And indeed, apparently, after the ASEAN summit this week, there are reports of, you know, a lot of disappointment from the regional

governments, because he didn't even want to bring it up that whole South China Sea episode.

I just want to before I move on to a different issue here, when it comes to trying to figure out a solution to North Korea, you know, can you see any

way that an Asian coalition can be sort of gathered to try to exert as much influence as possible, whether it's China, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam? I

don't know, but you know, people are sort of grasping for straws at the moment.

CARRANZA: Well, one hat I used to wear was assistant secretary of defense in the Philippines many years ago. And one problem that has always been

there in relation to regional security issues is the fact that the Philippines, like South Korea and Japan, has a mutual defense treaty with

the United States.

And so, legally, the Philippines is in fact obliged to side with the United States in any dispute involving U.S. military action. And I think that

presents a problem for North Korea.

In any case, the president of the Philippines was one of the last countries in Asia to enter into diplomatic relations with North Korea. So it's not

exactly the country that has been the friendliest with North Korea.

So I think one approach might be to use the ASEAN, the Association of South East Asian Nations, as a way of talking to other regional partners. But

the problem is, as you pointed out, Christiane, Duterte hasn't been exactly the kind of leader that other Southeast Asian countries and governments

would respect.

AMANPOUR: Let me just play you a little bit of what President Duterte said about North Korea and this brinkmanship from both the U.S. and North Korea.

He said this over the weekend.


DUTERTE: The first victim for the Asia and Southeast Europe, the ASEAN countries and the rest because if those are really nuclear warheads then it

means the end of the world. Two nations are playing with their dangerous toys.


AMANPOUR: That is a little bit of a word of warning, a reasonable one, isn't it?

CARRANZA: Well, leaders will sound reasonable when it comes to nuclear weapons. Even Donald Trump might even sound cautionary when it comes to

nuclear weapons.

The problem is the conduct of Mr. Duterte and the same with the conduct of Mr. Trump haven't been consistent with pronouncements like this. So it's a

new found adherence to peace and to preventing violence that Mr. Duterte has expressed right now.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you about issues of a conflict of interest, which have come up. President Trump's family has business interest there in the

Philippines, and his name of course is on a residential tower in Manila. And his partner was a man called Jose E.B. Antonio, who is now President

Duterte's envoy to Washington for economic affairs.

Can you -- have you done any work on that? Can you tell me what that might mean in terms of conflicts of interest, in terms of interest between these

two men, these two countries?

CARRANZA: Well, Mr. Duterte has said a lot about preventing oligarchs from controlling his government in the Philippines, and Mr. Antonio and his

family are one of the biggest oligarchs in the Philippines.

Forbes lists him as one of the top billionaires in the Philippines, although ironically he doesn't appear in the list of the top taxpayers in

the Philippines. And so there's a problem when you have an oligarch who doesn't apparently report his taxes properly and an oligarch prioritizes

his deals over governance.

And so in this case, I think it's a fitting representation to Trump of sending Mr. Antonio. The problem here is that there's obviously a conflict

of interest because the Trump's sons in fact were present when Mr. Antonio inaugurated the Manila Trump Tower. And that shows you that there's a

difficult line that has been crossed very often between Trump interests in business and now Trump interests in the relationship with the Philippines.

That's a serious problem at both ends of the relationship.

AMANPOUR: I just want to read another comment that the president made recently. I mean, they are very, very colorful and obviously the human

rights community has a lot of trouble with the things he says and allegedly does.

"So please feel free to call us," he says, "the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun, you have my support. This is for Filipino citizens

who, you know, might feel themselves intimidated or terrorized by gun -- sorry -- drug traffickers and dealers.

What do you see as where is the Philippines going under this president and its regional influence and its regional role over the next several years?

CARRANZA: The Philippines is headed into an authoritarian system of government that Mr. Duterte is gradually introducing. It begins with

violence; it also will include replacing several officials that he will then be appointing at the village level. It will include silencing

opponents such as Senator Leila De Lima who is in prison right now, framed for drug trafficking and all these are hallmarks of authoritarian rule that

will not only mean that the Philippines is reversing decades of democratization that already took place after the fall of another dictator

in the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos. But this also means that the Philippines will stop being one of those countries in the region that can

proudly claim to have ended a dictatorship and ushered in some efforts of democratization and accountability.

AMANPOUR: All right.

CARRANZA: And Mr. Trump's invitation to Mr. Duterte simply reinforces the kind of impunity that Mr. Duterte has encouraged and it says to Mr. Duterte

go ahead and kill and add more to the 9,000 Filipinos who you already executed.

AMANPOUR: All right. An extraordinary day.

Ruben Carranza, thank you so much indeed for joining us.

CARRANZA: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And now a look to today's May Day protests around the world. It's a tradition that goes back more than a hundred years.

These images from Turkey show tear gas turned on demonstrators. Paris was on high alert as people came out against the far right presidential

candidate Marie Le Pen.

[14:25:00] And in America, thousands took to the streets in defense of climate science and against the Trump administration's anti-immigrant


And Trump taking to the street in protests to going through a door of hope. That's not a metaphor, but a literal door connecting Mexico and the United

States that's only opened a handful of times. We take a look through, next.


AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, as a deadline looms, the United States Congress could be dodging a government shutdown, as both sides of the House

settled on a $1 trillion budget to keep the government working for the next four months, but eerily absent any funding for President Trump's border

wall with Mexico. A project that he had pressured Congress to include.

And so we imagine a world where the wall melts away, if only for a moment. On Sunday, six families divided by the U.S. border were given a chance to

temporarily reconnect. A gap opened up for each group for three brief minutes, allowing for a quick hug and a kiss before they were separated

once again. The event called "Opening the Door of Hope" is organized by the non-profit Border Angels.

And that is it for our program tonight. Always remember you can listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on Facebook and

Twitter. Thanks for watching and good night from New York.