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EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Defends Pairs Withdrawal; World Leaders Condemns Trump's Decision to Pull Out of Paris Climate Deal; Hostel in Berlin with a North Korean Twist. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired June 2, 2017 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: You've been listening to the White House press briefing for the day. You just heard the EPA Chief Scott

Pruitt defiantly defending President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate, of course, despite an outrage world -- outrage world and we're

going to delve into that in just a moment.

Tonight, John Kerry, the former U.S. Secretary of State who negotiated and signed the Paris climate deal, join us live as world leaders erupting

volcanic condemnation at Trump pulling out. We also get reaction from the European Commission of Climate Action disappointed but telling me that if

the U.S. wants to throw away its leadership role, it will find other partners like China.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. A tsunami of condemnation is rising around the world

following President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate deal. But in the last few minutes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chief

himself, a climate skeptic, has called it a bold move that requires no apology.


SCOTT PRUITT, EPA CHIEF: I want to first begin by saying that the president made a very courageous decision yesterday on behalf of America.

He put America's interest first with respect to environmental agreements and international discussions. I really appreciate his fortitude. I

really appreciate his leadership in this matter.


AMANPOUR: But American businesses and world leaders have reacted with dismay. In a late night address, the French President Emmanuel Macron, in

English no less, called it a mistake and employed language close to Trump's heart.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: We all share the same responsibility, make our planet great again.


AMANPOUR: China, the E.U. and India, which along with the United States make up the word's poor biggest pollution have all restated their

commitment to the deal. And Europe says the deal cannot be renegotiated. The United Nations which bracketed back in 2015 said the sit in the U.S.

abandon the deal is a major disappointment.

Meanwhile in American, the governors of California, New York and Washington State are taking masses into their own hands forming a new climate


Now the former Secretary of State John Kerry was the country's chief negotiator for the deal that President Trump says, let the world laughing

at us. He signed it with his granddaughter on his lap. The future generation, he too has delivered a furious reaction saying, "The President

who promised America first has taken a self-destructive step that puts our nation loss." Well now, former Secretary Kerry joins me live from Boston.

Welcome to the program.

JOHN KERRY, FORMER U.S SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you, Christiane. I'm happy to be with you.

AMANPOUR: I don't know when you just heard but in the last few minutes as you were getting to our studio, Scott Pruitt, the EPA chief has really been

very defiant, no apology needed, no COP 21. We don't need any regulations or targets to get our emissions down. We can do it just with the

brilliance of our innovation. Unto that first, if you would?

KERRY: Well, Scott Pruitt is an extremist and he has an extremist to beliefs there is no climate change. He's one of the people who is a

denier. He believes it's a hoax. He came into office to undo specifically the progress of the country he has making. It is really a stark example of

the craven and cynicism with which the president has approach this issue.

The president is trying to tell people this is a bad deal. But the truth is that every country sets its own mark. There's nothing that has been

impose on the United States whatsoever. Each country designs its own program according to what it can achieve. And it is that flexibility,

Christiane, that actually made it possible to reach 195 nation agreement after years, decades of working on this and trying to do it.

President Trump clearly is trying to appeal to a very narrow base, shoring up his base. It's clear to me that this is more political because it can't

be substantive. There is no fact cited on which -- and no science cited much of what he said with respect to the economic argument is simply not


[14:05:05] AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you that because he -- let me ask you specifically because there were lots of claims flung around in this

briefing just now. Fist of all, the world is laughing at us. He said those countries who are expressing disappointment today are doing so

because they want to put the United States at an economic disadvantage. And that also much as -- well, the president said that the world is

laughing at us because of this deal. So I ask you, did you negotiate a laughable deal that puts the United State in an economic disadvantage?

KERRY: If the world is laughing today, it's also crying. It's a laugh and crying at the president of the United States who clearly doesn't know what

he's talking about. He really is ignorant on the issue of climate change. And regrettably, the world is going to pay a price because American

leadership is important on this. It took us years of work and leadership by the United States working very specifically with China.

I mean, I would ask Donald Trump, does he think that President Xi, President Macron that the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the Chancellor

of Germany, don't know what they're talking about? Are they stupid? Is he accusing them of somehow buying into a hoax? This is one of the most

cynical and, frankly, ignorant and dangerous self-destructive steps that I've seen in my entire lifetime in public life.

The president of the United States has not evidenced any science at all which documents that the move he has making are going to make the earth

safer or better. There is no economic argument whatsoever that says by the United States pulling out, we are going to advance American businesses.

American business I might add is against what President Trump has done. The major fortune 500 companies like Exxon Mobil, our current secretary of

states former company, many other major companies Dow Chemical, Google, you know, Apple, all of them are completely dismayed by the step that the

president has taken.

So what I want to make clear to people in the world who are listening to this, Donald Trump left this agreement, but the United States of America

represented by the massive people who support doing something about climate change are going to continue to take steps that will try to advance

American interest and global interest to deal with this problem.

And I talked yesterday with the governor of California, Jerry Brown, with the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, with the governor of Massachusetts,

Charlie Baker. I'm grad to see the governor of Washington, who I didn't talk to, is also going to be part of an effort to continue to live by

Paris. And shortly, we will have a website up, called where people will be able to share their plans and their efforts and

initiatives in order to do what President Trump not is willing to do. But it's a sad day for American leadership and I think it's a very, very

harmful, dangerous, self-destructive step that's been taken.

AMANPOUR: You say it's a sad day. You know, obviously, China is stepping into the void is already very publicly this week signed a new climate

alliance with the E.U. You'll hear in a second the E.U. climate chief, the commissioner telling me earlier today that, you know, very disappointed but

they will seek partners elsewhere. How competitive is that to the United States? What could -- I mean, what does that mean if China steps into the

leading world that the U.S. had?

KERRY: Well, it means that they're going to have an opportunity to sell their goods and opportunity to be able to advance their technology. They

will have the full support -- they have anyway because it's a government enterprise in many respects. But they will be pushing the curve of

technology where the federal government of the United States because of President Trump's decision will be logging.

Now what we do have in America which will still continue to make a difference here is extraordinary entrepreneurial innovation and allocation

of capital. And because the world's marketplace moved with the decision we made in Paris, there will be automatic advances made and I think people

will recognize the distinction -- I hope they will recognize the distinction between American business, the American people and an extremist

administrator of the EPA and a president who literary does not fully understand these issues.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you something --

KERRY: And who is moving politically and cynically.

[14:10:00] AMANPOUR: Well, you say politically and cynically, others, you know, there's a part of game going on in Washington right now, this seems

to say apparently leaks from the White House that this is partly because President Trump was so up fronted by the lobbying that he got from European

allies during the G7 and NATO summits on this very issue. That he's delivering a finger to the world that he has been hurt and emotionally sort

of abuse. What -- do you buy that?

KERRY: Well, I -- look, if that's true, grow up. I mean, honestly, you don't play with the future of the world and the planet because you have a

personal pick about some particular upfront. It seems to me that that's pretty childish and irresponsible if that is in fact what it's about.

I think a lot of people think that the cynicism here is that it is to shore up a base at a time that he is under siege with a series of investigations

and so forth. But, you know, that's a whole speculation. The important thing here, Christiane, is that the president has abdicated the American

leadership shown by President Obama who joined with President Xi in order to lead the effort to get to Paris and be successful.

And what is at stake here is the planet itself. If you understand what is happening with respect to climate change, which he obviously doesn't, you

know that the Antarctic ice sheet is increasingly unstable, you know that we are seeing far more intensive storms, you know that sea level is rising,

you that there is record level of melting of the ice in Greenland and 86 million metric tons of ice are falling every day off of Greenland into the

shore and melting in the ocean, you that there's a greater intensity to the numbers of fires and floods, 500-year floods occurring now with frequency.

I mean you know these things. And, you know, most of the scientists of the world in peer-reviewed studies have all documented the human input through

greenhouse gases to the cause of climate change. There is not one single peer-reviewed study that says to the contrary it's a hoax.

AMANPOUR: Well, you know --

KERRY: And yet, we have a president and members of the party who keep citing the fact that there is enough evidence or that this is a hoax.

AMANPOUR: In fact they did that --

KERRY: It's a stunning, staggering irresponsibility.

AMANPOUR: They did that very thing in fact at the briefing earlier today. Secretary of State John Kerry, thank you very much indeed for joining us


KERRY: Thank you, Christiane. Good to be with you.

AMANPOUR: Now, around the world, famous landmarks have been going green in solidarity with our planet and of course to protest Trump's decision. New

York's One World Trade Center showed its glowing bright above the city. Mexico City Angel of Independence Monument made itself in green light as

well. And in the French capital, Paris, where the climate deal was read in 2015, City Hall was also illuminated by this green glow.

When we come back, the reaction from Europe with the E.U. commissioner for Climate Action.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. Despite what critics are saying, President Trump insists that withdrawing from the climate deal "Puts

America first."

[41:15:05] All the while though, China is stepping up its campaign to be the world's number responsible global citizen and get a lot of the economic

action. It's pushing ahead with a new alliance on climate change with the E.U.

Earlier, I spoke exclusively to the European commissioner of the Climate Action Miguel Arias Canete. He told me there is no going back from Paris

with or without the United States.


AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program and thanks for joining us. May I first ask you your reaction both as a professional and as a person to what

happened last night?

MIGUEL ARIAS CANETE, E.U. CLIMATE ACTION COMMISSIONER: First of all, I must say that European Union deeply regrets the unilateral decision of

President Trump to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement was a historical moment in which 195 parties decided to

join efforts to fight one of the biggest challenges the world is facing, which is global warming. It took years of negotiation, years of

compromise, years of finding the good solutions for all the parties and to establish a big ambitious goal and to limit the increase of global warming

while below 2 degrees and making efforts to go into direction of 1.5.

AMANPOUR: OK. This is a major --

CANETE: So it's a major disappoint.

AMANPOUR: It's a major disappointment to you. Let me play this that Donald Trump, the president said last night as part of what the reasons he

gave for pulling out.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't want other leaders and other countries laughing at us any more. And they won't be.


AMANPOUR: Does he have any point at all? In other words, are the rest of the world taking advantage of the United States with this climate accord?

Is the U.S. in such a negative and sort of purpose position?

CANETE: Not at all. Nobody is laughing of anything because fighting climate change is not an issue to laugh. It's one of the most serious

issues we have to face in the future. It is a big opportunity to make any transition and we brought some jokes we believe. We, in the European

Union, we have the experience. We have produced world emission since 1990 by 22 percent and our GNP has increase by 50 percent. So no -- there is a

big opportunity for growth of those in the clean energy transition.

And nobody is laughing of anything. The United States were very hard negotiators in the Paris Agreement. And Secretary Kerry especially boy of

the United States would fight in daily -- show that the interest of the United States were present on the table. And then we found about this

agreement. In 2015 two major successors of the world community were -- to sustain development goals and the Paris Agreement on the same day.

In a moment, what's important with Paris Agreement in the international arena for climate change and for development we found agreement. So nobody

laughs at anybody. And we were responsible with the present generations and future generations establishing a very sound agreement with a fruitful


AMANPOUR: So, Commissioner, let me just point to you that there are many in United States who also disagree with the president for having done this.

The governor of California called it insane. The governor of Washington State called the president back with thinking part of the flatters and

society and wrong headed.

Let me play to you what the governor of Washington State is trying to reassure the world by saying. This is what he told CNN last night.


GOV. JAY INSLEE, (D) WASHINGTON: It is very important for the international community to not be overly just hardened. We have a

president who is decided not to lead but we governors and we states are moving forward on constraining carbon pollution, almost a hundred million

people already are in states that have state laws that are reducing carbon pollution, almost another hundred million live in states that are embracing

renewable energy to clean up our electrical grid.


AMANPOUR: So, Commissioner, what he's saying is that the cities and the states are doing it anyway no matter what the U.S. federal government does.

And Mayor Bloomberg of New York, former mayor, has said that U.S. will meet its targets given the direction cities and states are going in right now.

Does that give you any comfort? Do you believe that the U.S. will, you know, keep doing the right thing anyway?

CANETE: I'm pretty sure that action to fight climate change will be to take place in United States at state level, at city level, at community's

level and at business level. So there will be action, I have no doubt.

[14:20:00] But the important thing is that up to now, the American administration has -- was a leader in fighting climate change, was a leader

in order to seek agreement and they have decided to withdraw from this agreement and not to play a relevant role in how we tackle the most

challenging matter we have in the future. So I am disappointed that the administration is not going to be a relevant player.

AMANPOUR: This week the Chinese signed an alliance on this issue with the E.U. And the Chinese deputy prime minister was in Berlin with Angela

Merkel, the chancellor. This is what she said.


ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR, GERMANY (through translator): First I'm going to say that I'm pleased that China stands by the commitment laid out in the

climate change agreement and especially with the visit (inaudible) that follows, it will be important the corporation of the European Union with

China in this area will play a crucial role especially in regards to new technologies.


AMANPOUR: What's your reaction to that, Commissioner? I mean all of a sudden China is taking America's place.

CANETE: I have been working a whole year with China in order to deliver a European Union-China declaration on clean energy and climate. And today,

we are finishing it. We are going to agree and we are going there for China. The important thing is that the work is moving on. And in the

past, there was -- there were very good agreement with in China and the United States. There were agreement with China and the European Union and

there were agreements with many people.

But in the future, we have to keep fighting for the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is an important treaty. And we have to deliver on it and

we have to implement on it. So it's natural that the Americans have no -- want to have leadership in the most important challenge of federal world.

There are remittance of 15 percent of global emission, they have a responsibility with it -- with the world. If they don't want to tackle

that responsibility it is very pretty natural that we the European Union, we have the most ambitious climates in targets. The most ambitious climate

finance in support, we'll partnership with other people who have the same aim of us, which is being responsible for the future generations and saving

the planet.

AMANPOUR: On that note, Commissioner Canete, thank you so much indeed for joining.

CANETE: Thank you to you.

AMANPOUR: Very sobering when the Commissioner says that if America wants to abdicate leadership on the single most important issue facing our

planet. Germany's Environmental Minister pointing to the maximum allowed, two terms for any U.S. president says, "The world climate will survive

these eight years without the United States."

Next, we travel to Germany and check in to one of Berlin's blooming hostels. So imagine the secret that links it to another global prices zone

that's North Korea. We'll explain after the break.


[14:25:05] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, in Germany, the popular City Hostel Berlin has long been a place for travelers to rest their weary heads

on the cheap, but beneath the cheerful surroundings lies an ugly truth. Imagine finding out that your stay has inadvertently sponsored North

Korea's dictatorship. Our Atika Shubert has this report on just how that happens.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Looking for a cheap place to stay in the center of Berlin, well, the City Hostel here has a great deal for you for

under $20. There is just one little catch. By putting your money into one of the rooms at the City Hostel, you'll also be putting it right here into

the government of North Korea.

Does it bother you at all that the money that comes from this hotel goes to North Korea?


SHUBERT: Miguel (ph) told us, "I think it's relative little money and I don't even know if they can do much with it," he said.

The North Korean embassy in Berlin is a left over from when the city was split in the Cold War. In 1989 the Berlin wall fell. Communist East

Germany seized to exist but the North Korean embassy in East Berlin stayed on.

Under heavy sanctions for nuclear weapons violations, the North Korean government desperately needed money. So, in 2008 it put up a part of its

rolling embassy now in a prime location in central Berlin for rent. And that is when City Hostel stepped in.

Now the hostel is just like any other cheap, cheerful budget accommodation you might find in the city full bright colors and bicycles for rent. The

only thing that really tips you off is the North Korean flag next door. Oh, and of course photos of Kim Jong-un.

Now we did try to call the owner of City Hostel to find out just how much money North Korea collect in rent. The man who answered however refused to

give us his name. He simply told us, the rent would stop. They hung up.

What we understand from the local media report is that this building earn to North Korean government about $40,000 in rent a month. And recently the

German government has said, it is cracking down on sanctions. And this City Hostel will be closed very soon.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Berlin.


AMANPOUR: Another moment too soon. That's it for our program tonight. Remember you can always listen to our broadcast. See us online at and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.