Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
President Biden Meets With World Leaders On Second Day Of Event; Biden Aims To Reassert U.S. Leadership Into The Global Forum; World Leaders Differ On How To Approach China; Match Resumes After Player Eriksen Collapsed; Biden Meets With France's Emmanuel Macron. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired June 12, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, I'm Hala Gorani. We are alive in Cornwall. You're watching CNN special coverage of the G7 summit. A very busy agenda for the second day of the summit.
There was talk of the response to COVID-19. Of course, how to get ahead of future crises, foreign policy as well. Well, there was also disagreement on a key issue.
Let me bring you up to speed on the details. The disagreement came in a discussion on how to approach China.
In a nutshell, the U.S., Britain and Canada called for stronger action against Beijing, while other countries stressed cooperation. The source described the moment as challenging. That's diplo-speak. We hear here and there, but said there was respect among leaders.
Our Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward sat down for an interview with the British Prime Minister. She asked about next week's meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I certainly think that President Putin has done things that are unconscionable in the fairly certain that he authorized the poisonings in Salisbury that led to the death of an innocent, wholly innocent member of the British public, the attempted poisoning of the Skripals. You've seen what's happening to his leading opponent, Alexei Navalny, who's in prison on trumped-up charges, and facing -- and is effectively being tortured.
And so, I think that what Joe Biden will be doing when he go to see Putin will be giving some pretty tough messages.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, let's bring in CNN Political Analyst Josh Rogin. He's in Washington for perspective on all of this. He's a "Washington Post" columnist, and the author of the new book "Chaos Under Heaven." Thanks for being with us.
Josh, first off, you've been following this summit. No doubt this first in-person summit in a very long time. Joe Biden's first foreign trip since becoming president, since taking office. What has stood out to you?
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the view here from watch is that America's participation in the community of democracies is restored after four years of President Trump who was just opposed to the idea of working with allies against autocracies. And that's a welcome and refreshing change.
However, there's a lot of skepticism that Joe Biden can return America to the top of this system, with the kind of resources and leadership that we had before the Trump era. So, for example, on China, when we see a build back better for the world plan, a lot of us in Washington, both Democrats, Republicans say, that sounds great, but can he get the funding? Can he get Congress to go along? Can he get allies to rally behind it? And I think all of those answers are remains to be seen.
GORANI: Let's talk about the disagreement on China with the U.S. and countries like Canada and France and Britain, on one side wanting tougher, a tougher approach to China. But other E.U. countries saying not so fast, it's better to cooperate. We have important economic and business relationships with Beijing. What do you make of that?
ROGIN: Well, I think what's most remarkable is that every country at the G7, including the United States, has really moved towards a more competitive and even more skeptical view of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government. For good reason is because the last year of the pandemic have shown that the Chinese government is becoming increasingly repressive and increasingly aggressive and that its economic policies and its political policies are affecting democracies in ways that it affect our national security and our public health.
And yes, it's clear that all of the G7 countries are still not at the exact same place as each other, but compared to where they were just four years ago, it's really a completely different situation. And just to get sort of agreement on the basic diagnosis of the problem, namely that, you know, China does represent the greatest challenge to the global world order, and that it does seek to change our system in order to make the world safer for their priorities and their values and that's a problem. I think it's a big accomplishment now. That doesn't get you to what you do about it. And I think that's going to be the main task coming out of the G7.
GORANI: And what about the Biden Putin summit, because so many people will be analyzing every second of that bilateral whatever comes of it. The fact also that Joe Biden in the White House have announced that there will be no joint press conference, that it will be a solo news conference by Joe Biden.
I understand we're seeing live images coming to us here from Carbis Bay in Cornwall with a flight formation over Carbis Bay. We saw just a little bit earlier the leaders making their way, Josh, to the beach where the expanded family photo was being organized. And we hope to have that released and shown to our viewers very soon.
And here you have a flyover there marking the second day of the G7 summit here, over Cornwall. So, very interesting to see these leaders wanting, Josh, to show a united front because that has to be the message that the leaders of the richest countries in the world may have disagreements, but ultimately they're a family, right?
I mean, that's the message that they want to send out as we continue to watch this display of fighter jets over harvest. These are red arrows, I'm being told, over Carbis Bay, Josh.
ROGIN: Yes, the symbolism couldn't be clearer, Hala. We're all flying together ideally in the same direction. And that's the message that President Biden wants to deliver to President Putin to his face when they meet in Geneva next week.
And, you know, just think of how advantageous it was for Putin to have the Western Alliance, to have the Transatlantic Alliance so divided and under such strain. It's really a gift that Putin's Russia couldn't have even wished for. And that was delivered to him on a silver platter by President Trump, who damaged alliances and cozied up to Putin, and especially at those meetings.
So, you know, again, I think that the optics are sensitive for Biden, because it's a politically charged meeting to have based on his domestic politics. But what it really signal is, I think for the professionals, is a return to business, because, you know, now that we have a united front, so to speak amongst the Western allies, you know, Putin is actually in a much weaker position.
And that might mean he might make more concessions and that it's worth exploring what we can do to negotiate on tough issues where we have shared interests, including Syria, including Iran, including even climate change or what have you.
So, you know, this is kind of we're attempting to return to normalcy here. Of course, that's impossible in the middle of a pandemic. And, you know, whatever comes out of this meeting won't be the same as what we knew. But I think the Biden administration thinks they have a momentum, and they have the -- what they like to say is the wind at their back. And it's worth it to see if Putin is willing to play ball on some of these big issues, because there are a lot of things that affect this boat that we could probably work on together.
And then, if he doesn't want to do that, and if we just wants to wait until 2025 to see if Trump gets reelected, well, then at least we'll have our allies by our side as we face a period of increased tension.
GORANI: Well, as you've been talking, we've been watching these red arrow jets, and very impressive flight acrobatics. They're putting on a show for the gathered world leaders at Carbis Bay in Cornwall.
Let's talk a little bit about whether or not the pressure that Joe Biden is putting on Boris Johnson regarding Brexit, regarding Northern Ireland. Does that have an impact on a prime minister like Boris Johnson, do you think?
ROGIN: Yes, no, I think there's an opportunity, a short window of opportunity, actually, to reset the U.S.-U.K. relationship after the Trump administration based on the fact that, you know, what Boris Johnson was doing to cozy up to President Trump is not going to work. He's going to have to do something different.
And I understand that, you know, Brexit, politics in Britain will -- are not likely to change because President Biden says one thing or another, but the U.S. position has changed. The question is whether or not President Biden is really going to apply a lot of American political effort to really pushing that or if he's basically going to say, OK, here's what we think and then it's up to you to figure it out. My sources say it's more likely to be the latter. This is not really going to become an issue that Washington is going to get really heavily involved in.
But suffice to say the view from Washington, from the leadership, from the White House has totally changed and Boris Johnson has no choice but to recognize that and to take that into account.
GORANI: And just one last one on Joe Biden, the U.S. President. I mean, he's obviously telling the world America is back. Diplomacy is back even the White House tweeted, although diplomacy was still a thing with other countries. It was just the U.S. that perhaps was shunning the diplomatic approach that the country had embraced in the past preTrump.
But is it enough for Joe Biden just not to be Donald Trump? What is his strategy? What is the -- do we have -- are we starting to see an outline of a Biden doctrine, if you will, in terms of foreign policy?
ROGIN: Yes, I think it's a great question. I think what they've done for the first five months in, I think the G7 summit is the combination of that is to make an argument that the situation has changed, that America First is relegated --
ROGIN: -- to the dustbin of history, and that the United States will now return to its leadership amongst the top of the international liberal world order. But they haven't actually done that. They've just announced it.
And the, you know, the whole world doesn't know whether or not the Biden administration is going to be able to put America's money where his mouth is, and whether that leadership can be restored as easily as he says. And I -- from what I hear from not just European countries, but Asian countries, allies, partners alike, is that they're hedging because, you know, they no longer have the confidence that America can have this leadership position for the long haul, because American politics could go right back to where they were in only four years' time.
So, that means Joe Biden has a limited window to take what he's saying and backing up by actions. The words are nice, but actions speak louder than words.
GORANI: Thank you, Josh Rogin, and congratulations on your new book. We're showing the cover here for our viewers, "Chaos Under Heaven." Appreciate your time this evening.
ROGIN: Thank you.
GORANI: That flight formation, I don't know if we still have those images up, the red arrow is a very famous British flight formation. There you have it.
They're putting on quite the display for the G7 leaders right over Carbis Bay. Hopefully, we will see that expanded family photo release, but it's quite impressive to see. And sort of hearing a little bit of the sound coming from, I would say yes, it's about 40 kilometers away from where we are here. But we'll show you a little bit of that before we move on to our next story.
All right, we'll have a lot more on the G7 in a moment. But first, I want to update you on our breaking news story. Today, the Danish soccer player who collapsed on the field during a match in Copenhagen, officials now say Christian Eriksen has been stabilized and is awake, which is great news. The Euro 2020 match between Denmark and Finland has resumed.
Don Riddell is here with more. Give us an update Don.
DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Hala, thanks very much for the game has resumed. Finland are actually winning that game by goal to no with about 15 minutes to play now. And the condition does seem to be a lot more optimistic for Christian Eriksen.
When you and I first spoke a couple of hours ago, Hala, I feared along with many others that that was not going to be the case because the situation on the field looked absolutely desperate. You're seeing images that played out a short time ago of the Danish team surrounding their teammate Eriksen on the ground, a very experienced and very popular international player who just collapsed on the ground under no challenge, under no contact with any other player three minutes before halftime, he was treated on the field for a considerable period of time. He was given CPR.
And then, he was led away from the field with a sort of protective sheath around the stretcher area. So, it was very difficult to make out his condition.
But a short time after that he was confirmed by UEFA, which is European football's governing body and the organizers of this tournament and also the Danish Football Federation, that he was awake, alert, responsive, that he was going to be undergoing further examination and treatment, but that he did seem to be OK.
And we understand, Hala, and it has been reported that the Danish team agreed to continue playing after they had spoken to Christian Eriksen via FaceTime call from hospital and he persuaded them to continue the match. That must have been a very difficult situation for them, I think, emotionally.
It must have been absolutely draining for them to go through this experience, because for a while, they didn't know, we didn't know, nobody knew whether he was going to be OK or not. But it does seem as though he is going to be OK. He is in treatment in hospital at the moment. And the game has carried on.
And Hala, you know, I will say sometimes football is only a game, but sometimes football can also transcend the occasion. And I think what we're seeing now with this game being completed is actually a little bit of both happening at the same time.
GORANI: Absolutely, it was a scary moment there.
Don Riddell, thanks very much.
And it's encouraging to hear that he communicated with his team over FaceTime, which shows us that he is in fact awake and responsive. Thank you.
The U.S. and French presidents are becoming fast friends, it seems. We'll tell you what Emmanuel Macron had to say about Joe Biden after their first formal meeting. That's next.
GORANI: Welcome back. You're watching our special coverage of the G7 summit where Joe Biden is meeting some world leaders for the very first time since he became president.
Meetings have wrapped up for the day, but French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Joe Biden had their first formal in person meeting earlier. The French President praised Mr. Biden and his willingness to cooperate on issues and said he's part of the club. Obviously, this is something we see in meetings, especially when world leaders welcome a newly elected president in which Joe Biden is.
Phil Mattingly joins me now with more on that. So, and we're seeing, by the way, very warm embraces between the French president and the U.S. president.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right, right.
GORANI: They're really wanting to signal to the world that they are allies that America is back into the fold.
MATTINGLY: It's so overt. And I think was one of the -- we knew, we expected. Obviously, it's no secret that the predecessor for President Biden kind of bulldoze foreign leaders, had no belief or at least significant skepticism in multilateralism and kind of pretty much every structure that had been set up in the post-war era that kind of defined the Western powers and President Biden is a believer in them and as long been a part of those structures.
But I think what's been a little bit surprising, it's just been how overt the leaders have been. Obviously, Boris Johnson calling it a breath of fresh air. Angela Merkel being very clear about how she was happy that she had someone who even believed in multilateralism. And then, you take a listen to what Emmanuel Macron, the French president, had to say when he was sitting down with Joe Biden. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: What we need is cooperation. And I think it's great to have the U.S. president part of the club and very willing to cooperate. And I think that what you demonstrate is that leadership is partnership.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States, I've said before, we're back. The U.S. is back. We feel very, very strongly about the cohesion of NATO. And I, for one, think that the European Union is an incredibly strong and vibrant entity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So, both leaders very friendly with each other. President Macron telling President Biden, essentially, you're back in the club.
Concretely, though, what did these summits achieve?
MATTINGLY: It's a good question particularly early on, right? This is obviously, as we discussed this week, the President is still kind of fleshing out what his doctrine is, how he wants to shape his foreign policy.
And I think the White House went into this knowing that if they wanted takeaways, they wanted people to understand that the President, they could trust him, that he was actually going to look to achieve deliverables for the entire G7. And really kind of the Western Alliance generally. What I think the most interesting element is how this lays the groundwork for what's next, you know.
MATTINGLY: The President likes to refer to this as, you know, kind of a wartime atmosphere in the wake of COVID-19. How can these countries get together and tangibly do things that they can deliver in a post pandemic world if they want this to actually be like a post-World War II type era. And that remains a very open question.
Obviously, we saw vaccines, you know, we've seen some things that they feel like they can do right off the bat. But how they actually follow up on this is by far the most important.
GORANI: Absolutely. And developing countries have been very critical of the richest countries, because they don't see them necessarily sharing vaccines as quickly as they could, or funding vaccine distribution programs, because that is so important. It's not just sending the millions of doses, it's getting them to people who need them.
And this is an opportunity for the G7, not just to say we're going to do something, but to deliver and get the world to trust these multinational organizations once again.
MATTINGLY: And it's such a huge component. And it's why the Biden administration has taken a lot of criticism over the course of the last several months, including from some of the very leaders that were in the room with the President over the course of the last several days in the sense that the U.S. had more vaccine than anybody else.
The U.S. had the opportunity to vaccinate more of its people than anybody else. And yet the President was very reluctant to announce plans and hit the green light on those plans, not just to purchase vaccines and say he's going to donate but start the delivery process. Make sure that the infrastructure is set up to actually get shots into arms.
And I think you saw the administration is now very clearly moving into that place. Obviously, the domestic considerations allow for that to happen.
But to your point, I think the big question now is, if vaccine diplomacy is a thing, and I think everybody acknowledges that it is, and Russia and China while they may have gotten out of the gate first, but have stumbled a little bit in the wake of that, is this a real opportunity for the G7 countries to take advantage of that and kind of fill that void in a major way --
GORANI: And in a soft power way, which is important.
MATTINGLY: Softer, yes.
GORANI: I want to ask you one quick last one on the Biden Putin summit, I spoke with David Gergen, who you know very well, our senior political analyst. He was a little bit not puzzled, but he questioned the decision to not have a joint news conference. Is that typical for a U.S. president to do a solo news conference after a bilateral?
MATTINGLY: I'm going to think it depends. No, after a normal bilateral --
MATTINGLY: -- the answer is no. Certainly, the last time an American President met with President Putin, they had one of the more --
MATTINGLY: -- infamous or famous, however you want to refer to a joint news conference as ever.
MATTINGLY: This was by design, however. When you talk to White House officials, they make very clear they didn't want -- did not want President Putin to look like he was on the same level as President Biden after it.
MATTINGLY: And I think they're very concerned about the idea of whataboutism. You know, President Putin has a way of kind of hijacking a conversation or hijacking a question and taking it into an area that becomes very uncomfortable or problematic for the other person who's sitting on that stage. And U.S. officials, particularly at this early point, knowing that they don't expect major deliverables or any big agreements coming out of this meeting, did not want to give President Putin that opportunity.
GORANI: Phil Mattingly, always a pleasure, our Senior White House Correspondent Thanks for joining us, and good luck for the rest of the trip. You're going on to Brussels and then Geneva and we'll be following your reporting.
MATTINGLY: Thank you.
GORANI: President Biden's summit with Vladimir Putin will come at the tail end of his week-long trip, as we just discussed with Phil, and after he attends the NATO summit in Brussels. And the White House says Mr. Biden will then hold that solo news conference we just mentioned.
Now, the Russian leader says relations are the worst they've been in years. So, a face to face conversation is probably a good idea. He also spoke highly of former President Trump in an interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Well even now, I believe that former U.S. president. Mr. Trump, is an extraordinary individual, talented individual, otherwise he would not have become U.S. president.
President Biden, of course, is radically different from Trump because President Biden is a career man. He spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics. Just think of the number of years he spent in the Senate. A different kind of person, and it is my great hope that, yes, there are some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse based movements on behalf of the sitting U.S. president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Vladimir Putin's assessment of the two leaders.
Here's the latest from CNN's Matthew Chance in Moscow. MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Russians are going there, they say, to explain the situation, not to negotiate it, not to discuss it. I put it to Dmitry Peskov who's Vladimir Putin's spokesman, that the fact there wasn't going to be a joint news conference at the end of the summit, which would be usual, and which is something the Russians say they wanted initially when they set eyes on this journey towards developing this summit.
It was a major setback for Russia, because one of the reasons the Russians wanted this summit is to show Vladimir Putin on the international stage sharing a platform with the U.S. president. But the Kremlin pushback on that, saying that was not the reason that they were having this summit at all. Take a listen to what Dmitry Peskov had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESMAN: The main reason for him is a poor state of relationship between our two countries. And a critical level of this relationship that demands -- that demands a summit between our two countries because this is the only way to -- this is the only way to arrange an evaluation of the situation in our relationship to prevent further, further degradation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHANCE: Well, there you are, Dmitry Peskov saying that basically the relationship is bad. And a summit is the only way really to start the process of addressing that.
There is a list as long as your arm when it comes to fraud issues between the United States and Russia, whether it's the military buildup in Ukraine, cyberattacks against the United States, whether it's to crack down on democracy here and this crackdown on dissidents here.
But on none of those issues, the sense I got from Dimitri Peskov there is Vladimir Putin going to this summit prepared to back down. In his words, don't expect any breakthroughs in this summit.
GORANI: Matthew Chance reporting there.
The Biden Putin meeting will be closely watched around the world. Find out what British Prime Minister Boris Johnson thinks will happen. That's coming up. We'll be right back.
Plus, the British Prime Minister and the U.N. Secretary General meet to talk climate change. Details of their discussions are ahead.
GORANI: Well, I'm Hala Gorani. We're live in Cornwall, England. And we continue our special coverage of the G7. Let's get you caught up in what's been happening at the summit. The U.S. president, Joe Biden, seems to be getting good reviews from his peers at the meeting so far. This is after four years of Donald Trump. So, French president, Emmanuel Macron, said that the U.S. is back as a cooperative leader.
China was high on the agenda Saturday, but leaders disagreed on the best approach to take toward Beijing. The U.S., Britain and Canada on the one hand called for stronger action while other countries emphasized cooperation.
Our chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, joins me now live with more from the summit.
And you spoke with Boris Johnson, the U.S. prime minister. You asked him about the summit between Biden and Putin and other big important topics at the G7.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. He seems very enthusiastic and excited with how the summit's gone. It's clear that everyone is really putting on the united front that they view this as being a very important summit in terms of shelling that spirit of comradery again.
And we -- I started out by asking him about the difference between G7 under President Trump, G7 under President Biden and this is what he said. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It's absolutely true that with President Biden, with Joe Biden, you sort of feel that he wants to -- he's a great believer in the Transatlantic Alliance, in the special relationship, whatever you want to call it, with the United Kingdom, he shares our priorities on tackling climate change. And there's going to be a huge --
WARD: And President Trump did not, would you say?
JOHNSON: There's going to be a huge amount on that tomorrow. He shares our objectives on improving female education around the world.
WARD: He also famously referred to you as a physical and emotional clone of President Trump. I just wonder how you responded to that and whether the relationship is in a better place now.
JOHNSON: The relationship is in extremely good order. And I think that the prime minister of the U.K. has a job to do to get on with whoever is the president of the United States. That's what we do. But in this particular case, I want you to know that the relationship is extreme good, and getting better all the time.
WARD: And was it fair to call you a clone?
JOHNSON: Yes. Look, I mean, I'm not going to -- people say all sorts of things about me. I think if I spend my time, you know, disputing this or that, we wouldn't get a lot done. We're getting huge a lot done --
JOHNSON: -- here at the G7. It's going well. It's a beautiful weather. It's fantastic to see President Biden, the first lady.
WARD: So, can we just talk about next week quickly?
WARD: President Putin.
WARD: President Biden will be meeting with President Putin?
WARD: President Biden famously said that he thought President Putin is a killer. Do you believe President Putin is a killer?
JOHNSON: I certainly think that President Putin has done things that are unconscionable and the -- I'm fairly certain that he authorized the poisonings in Salisbury that led to the death of an innocent holiest member of the British public, the attempted poisoning of the Skripals. You've seen what's happening to his leading opponent, Alexei Navalny, who is in prison on crumped up charges and facing -- is effectively being tortured.
And so, I think that what Joe Biden will be doing when he gets to see Putin will be getting some pretty messages, and that's something I'd wholly approval. You know, I did the last time I saw Mr. Putin myself. I said, look, you know, there isn't going to be a normalization, the relations between your country and -- obviously, Russia, and the U.K. until Russia changes its behavior. That's just the sad fact of it.
WARD: So, how would you judge success?
JOHNSON: And so, I think that President Biden will be saying the same.
WARD: How would you judge it as a successful summit then? What's the metric for success with this summit?
JOHNSON: If I can just comment about this summit, which is the one we're actually at. I think that this is already being a very important moment, because the world, you know, to come together for the first time in -- not every year, to work on how to beat the pandemic, to come up with a new treaty.
WARD: Do you accept that your government mishandled the pandemic in the early days? Would you say that's a fair categorization or --
JOHNSON: I think, you know, it was an unprecedented event in our lifetimes. And, of course, we'll look back on everything that happened, what went wrong and learn from it. But at the moment, we're focusing on vaccine rollout, which is amongst the fastest in the world and which is giving a great deal of immunity to our people, and then actually, has enabled this summit to go ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: It's interesting that the prime minister did acknowledge that the initial response to the pandemic was lacking.
WARD: He did. and he had also acknowledged that in his opening comments that yesterday plenary session, where he conceded that mistakes were made and he said before that there will be a sort of inquest into how things were handled.
I think for anyone in the U.K. who was hoping as well, Hala, that potentially the country would fully open up as was originally promised, it looks likely that on Monday we will get some kind of an announcement saying that for now that won't be possible. That's me reading between the tea leaves.
WARD: But the prime minister did say that, you know, he wants to make sure that there is a very clear roadmap, one which doesn't leave uncertainty. And that until he can be guaranteed of that, they have to take a very cautious approach. So, potentially, paving the way for an announcement that, of course, will be a bit grim for many people in the U.K. have been looking forward to this reopening.
GORANI: Well, 9 out of 10 cases of COVID in the U.K. are the Delta variant. So, originally identified in India. So, it's really not necessarily a positive picture right now in the U.K.
Clarissa Ward, thanks very much.
The British prime minister also met with the U.N secretary general, Antonio Gutierrez, on Saturday. The two spoke about the pandemic and climate change. They agreed on the need for joined up global action on those issues. "Joined up global action." That's a quote unquote.
Those are not my words. Sometimes this -- the terminology is a bit hazy. It's difficult to understand exactly what that means. Mr. Johnson says he welcomes the World Health Assembly's decision to discuss a treaty on pandemic readiness later this year.
David Wallace-Wells is editor-at-large at "New York Magazine" and author of "The Uninhabitable Earth." He joins we now to talk more about this.
Thanks for joining us, David Wallace-Wells.
What do you make of the commitments that we've heard from world leaders at this G7 summit? Do they go far enough? Are they too vague? What's your take?
DAVID WALLACE-WELLS, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Well, I think as with almost every commitment on climate change over the last few years, they are both astonishingly ambitious compared to where we been in the recent past. And unfortunately, deeply, inadequate compared to what science says, we really need over the next few years.
So, I think these are very powerful people with a lot of capacity to accelerate the world's ambition to fight climate change. But I think almost no one in those rooms or really, in many rooms around the World, understand just how dramatically we really need to accelerate decarbonization in order to give the planet a decent chance of avoiding what was long called a catastrophic level of warming, island nations of the world have called genocide and African climate diplomats have called death to their continent. That's singular two degrees of warming.
WALLACE-WELLS: And this point, we're well above that and we need much, much more ambition than has been promised by any of these nations are practically speaking by anyone in the world.
GORANI: And what's interesting is, anecdotally, just walking to my live shot location, the protestors, most of them are climate, environmental, demonstrators demanding from their leaders more action on climate. And the sense that you get is that they -- the leaders are not -- are out of sync with the people, that people want more action than they're getting from their leaders.
Why do you think that some of these global leaders are not feeling the pressure necessarily?
WALLACE-WELLS: Well, I think they are feeling the pressure in the sense that their own pledges have been much more ambitious than pledges made by their predecessors, even recent predecessors. But I think almost no one on the planet appreciates the true scale of decarbonization that's necessary.
And to really move things as fast as Simon says we need requires a quite dramatic remodeling of nearly all of these countries' energy systems, their infrastructure, their industry, their agriculture, their transportation systems. This is a really quite dramatic move.
What is necessary is quite disruptive. And so, as a result, those in power are not quite as fast to make those changes as those who are most concerned about climate would wish. But I think, you know, on some level you have to take both perspectives at ones, we're both moving much faster than the ones was thought possible and not nearly fast enough compared to what the science says is necessary.
GORANI: So, if what the science says is necessary, is not being followed, in other words, if the leaders are not taking into account the messages and the scientific data that they need to act decisively, where does that leave the world? Where are we headed right now if all that is done is simply what has been pledged so far?
WALLACE-WELLS: If what's been pledged so far it comes to pass, which is itself an open question, because most pledges in the past have not been fulfilled, but if we do fulfill the pledges that have been made to this point, we're on track for something on the order of about 2.5 degrees Celsius or warming by the end of the century.
And that may not sound like very much, but it would mean 150 million additional deaths from air pollution, it would mean many cities in South Asia and the Middle East would be so hot during the summer that can't walk around outside without risking heatstroke or death. It can be hundreds of millions of climate refugees, and storms and flooding events that used to hit once a century hitting every single year.
Now, it's much, much better than 3 degrees or 4 or 5 degrees, which seems possible just a few years ago. And that's a sign of how much faster were moving and seemed conceivable recently. But still it shows you just how dramatically short of a goal of really sustainable, habitable, comfortable, prosperous planet we really are.
GORANI: And it's happening already, isn't it? I mean, this is in some distant future, we're seeing migration from some parts of Africa increasing rapidly, temperatures in some parts of the Middle East really making it virtually impossible to function in any way outdoors. This is already happening. These climate changes are creating already migratory waves that are very disruptive globally.
WALLACE-WELLS: Well, it's not just the migration, wildfires have gone crazy in Australia and the American West and there have been unprecedented heat waves across the Middle East. We've had zombie fires burning although the Arctic winter. You know, it's really -- in every -- by every metric, we're already seeing the changes. Hurricane after hurricane in the Caribbean. Monsoon after monsoon.
This is because of just 1.3 or 1.4 degrees of warming, where we are today, we are already entirely outside the window of temperatures that includes all of human history. So, everything that we've ever known as a species on this planet is the result of climate conditions that we've already left behind. Presumably we will figure out ways to live in this new climate, but it isn't entirely new climate. You know, with no humans ever having experienced it before.
So it's almost as though we've landed collectively on a new planet and have to figure out what of the civilization we've brought with us can survive these new conditions, what will have to be renovated, reformed and adopted. We are an adaptive species. We are resilient species. We will do that. But the conditions are growing more and more difficult almost by the year.
GORANI: David Wallace-Wells, the author of "The Uninhabitable Earth," thank you for joining us this evening on CNN.
WALLACE-WELLS: Thanks so much.
GORANI: And as I mentioned, hundreds of protesters have been gathering here in Cornwall, calling on the G7 to give more attention to the health of earth's oceans, among other things. This group came out on surfboards, pedalboards and kayaks. The activists are also demanding world leaders place an emphasis on ocean health at the Climate Change Conference coming up in November.
Coming up, amid the G7 summit, Queen Elizabeth is celebrating her birthday today. Details on how they're keeping the festivities COVID safe this year.
GORANI: Queen Elizabeth is celebrating her 95th birthday with scaled back for festivities, but still very much in royal fashion. A colorful flyover and trooping the color took place at Windsor Castle. The ceremony is more than 260 years old. It's been reduced in size for the past two years because of COVID. On Friday, the queen celebrated the G7 by cutting a cake in style using an actual sword. Good for her.
So, Friday, let's see what was going on. The -- her majesty, the queen, was hosting world leaders and made public appearances. Here's CNN's Max Foster with more on the events of yesterday in Cornwall.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: The queen isn't a political leader. So, she's less divisive. After that, her record as the world longest serving head of state and she earns her position in the center of the family photo. The royals were out in force in Cornwall on Friday, starting with a joint visit to a school by the Duchess of Cambridge and first lady herself, an educator. The children came to show off their pets.
And the duchess keen to speak to her pet cause of children's wellbeing during a discussion with British and American learning experts.
JILL BIDEN, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Early childhood education is so important.
CATHERINE ELIZABETH MIDDLETON, DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE, UNITED KINGDOM: Best investment for our future, health and happiness, lies in the first five years of life.
FOSTER: Jill Biden already has royal connections. She's worked with Prince Harry for years on veteran's issues. The duchess was asked about Harry and Meghan's new baby, Lilibet.
MIDDLETON: I wish her all the very best. I can't wait to meet her, because we haven't yet met her yet. So, hopefully, that will be soon.
FOSTER: Meanwhile, the first lady was asked if she asked the duchess for any advice on meeting the queen.
BIDEN: No, I didn't. We've been busy. Were you not in that room? We were talking education.
FOSTER: In the evening, at a reception of the G7 leaders, the duchess joined her husband. This is Britain deploying its soft power. Government speak for diplomatic charm offensive. They joined the queen there. She rarely travels this far from Windsor for engagements these days, but she usually travelled when requested by ministers. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, alongside the queen, as they are for all the big events these days, all parts of the long-term royal transition process. Charles held his own spinoff meeting about private sector efforts to tackle climate change. This ahead of the U.N. climate change conference, which will also be held in the U.K. later this year.
After so much focused on tensions within the royal family, this was an opportunity for the royals remaining in the U.K. to show a united front and reassert themselves on the world stage.
Max Foster, CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: When we come back, another woman makes history at this year's French Open. A live report ahead.
GORANI: Well, there was another record setting when at this year's French Open for the 6th straight year, a woman has won her first Grand Slam, Roland-Garros. The Czech player player will now play in the doubles final tomorrow.
Tell us more, Don Riddell, who is back with us.
RIDDELL: Hala, also, tell you her name, Barbora Krejcikova. I think a lot of people look at it written down and they completely freak out because it's a bit difficult to say. But Barbora Krejcikova is how you say her name.
She is from the Czech Republic and she just beat Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets. This is an amazing story. You are absolutely right to highlight this extraordinary sequence of women's finals we've now seen at Roland-Garros delivering a first time Grand Slam champion for now six years in a row.
Krejcikova is a double specialist. She's a former world number one in doubles. This was only the 5th time that she played in the singles draw of a Grand Slam tournament. And she went all the way to the final. Now, the draw was already wide open from pretty much the quarter final, definitely the semifinal stage. All of the big, well- known and established names fell by the wayside. But she went all the way and did it.
Her mentor, formerly her friend, her coach was Jana Novotna, a tennis legend who suddenly passed away a few years ago. And so, this was, of course, a very special, proud and very emotional win for Krejcikova, of course, remembering all that her former coach told her before she passed away. So, incredible story yet again from the French Open.
GORANI: OK. I'm sorry. Apologies, Don. I thought we were going to some sort of sound or some sort of interview. Don, let's talk a little bit more about, I guess, we're going into Roland-Garros or what are we doing?
RIDDELL: Yes. Well, we're getting to the young men's final on Sunday at Roland-Garros. And for the first time in -- how long, Rafael Nadal is not going to be winning it. Remember, the king of clay who has won this 13 times before, he was knocked out in an absolutely epic men semifinal by the world number one, Novak Djokovic, on Saturday.
And this match was just extraordinary compelling levels of tennis that were so high from both players that many people afterwards or during, actually, were saying, this is one of the best matches they'd ever seen.
Djokovic, at the end, confirmed it was one of the top three matches that he'd ever played in. And it now tantalizingly sets up this situation where Djokovic could get really close to Federer and Nadal. Remember, Roger Federer has 20 Grand Slam singles titles.
Nadal has 20. Djokovic is on 18. If he beats the Greek player, Stefanos Tsitsipas, on Sunday, he'll be up to 19. Remember, he's younger than Nadal and Federer. It could well be that he is going to end up. Certainly, if you're counting the majors as the greatest player of all time, it could be on 19 tomorrow.
And is this an end of an era with Nadal not winning this year? That remains to be seen, but he won't be winning it tomorrow, that's for sure.
GORANI: Well, you've got some of the top players in top form and just an exciting Roland-Garros. Thanks very much, Don Riddell.
And before we go, a programming note for you for Monday, Christiane is back on Amanpour. That is at 1:00 p.m. Easter in New York, 6:00 p.m. in London. So, that -- Amanpour resumes with Christiane at the helm on Monday.
All right. Thanks for watching our special coverage of the G7 summit. It was an eventful summit simply because it took place, it took place after many, many months, more than a year of Zoom diplomacy, where a world leaders have to communicate like the rest of us actually, it has to be said, over their computer screens.
There you are seeing images from just a little bit earlier. That's the Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, Ursula von der Leyen. And there you have the Japanese prime minister.
Angela Merkel for whom this is the last G7 as well. These are the leaders earlier making their way to the beach. Justin Trudeau following close behind. Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa. They're making their way to the beach for the expanded family photo. You start -- and there they are taking their positions.
You usually start out these summits with the more -- the smaller club of leaders taking the family photo and then the expanded group will pose as they did just a few hours ago on the beach or right above the beach at Carbis Bay, England. There's Joe Biden and the rest of the world leader is smiling for the cameras.
Thanks for watching our special coverage. The news continues with my colleague Alex Marquardt after a short break. Stay with CNN.