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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  October 31, 2021 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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shown who is really in charge. courtney pembridge, bbc news. following concerns multinationals are rerouting profits through low tax jurisdictions. measures proposed are due to come into effect in 2023. the prime minister boris johnson has acknowledged there is what he called turbulence in relations between london and paris. his comments follow a dispute overfishing rights. france says dozens of vessels have been denied licenses they are entitled to, and has threatened to introduce targeted measures against britain in response. and the sudanese security forces have fired live rounds and tear gas at large crowds of pro—democracy protesters in the capital, khartoum, and elsewhere. three people were killed. an activist told the bbc that about 100 people have been injured, 17 by gunfire.
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now on the program, dateline. hello and welcome to the programme, bringing together bbc specialists with correspondents who write, blog and broadcast for audiences in their own countries, on dateline london. this week, borisjohnson�*s finance minister opens the taxpayers�* purse as the prime minister tries to persuade world leaders to open theirs to alleviate climate change. plus, is famine stocking afghanistan? — stalking. joining us is henry chu of the la times, who keeps the show on the road whilst the us west coast sleeps. latika bourke, columnist for the age and the sydney
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morning herald in australia. and here in the studio, the bbc�*s business editor simon jack. cop26 begins in glasgow this weekend. it is supposed to be the moment when the world's nations present pledges to mitigate climate change, agreed rules to prevent double counting and honour previously agreed plans in which the poorer countries can adapt to survive. the summit host, perennial optimist borisjohnson, says its success or failure is in the balance. the queen, usually a valuable asset in the last—minute lobbying and arm—twisting that characterises so much, won't be there. 0n medical advice, say courtiers. still, her majesty's said recently cop26 is very irritating when they talk about don't do. henry, why might we now be in the realm of expectation management for this summit? well, certainly borisjohnson has been criticised by people as intending to overpromise and underachieve, but i think he has gone on the opposite direction in under promising and he hopes that he
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might overachieve. he said it was touch and go in terms of what might come out of this summit. we will have a bit of a barometer of that in the g20 global summit that will happen before cop26. if you can't get 20 countries to play nice and come up with commitments that are binding and impressive enough for the rest of the world to follow, you are not going to get 200 countries nearly to agree on that. the challenges are pretty daunting, some of them he doesn't have much leverage over. i think one of the foremost, in my mind, is the fact that right now the relationship between china and the us, the two biggest emitters of carbon gases and other greenhouse gases, is in pretty dire shape. if you remember six years ago, 2015, before the paris agreement was struck, the two countries issuing a joint statement was critical for the rest of the world to come on board and you have the visual of president 0bama
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is standing side—by—side with the chinese president. you are not going to have that at this conference. chinese president is not attending in person. he is only going appear virtually. washington and beijing right now are at a low point in their relations and neither one wants to be seen bowing or kowtowing to the other. there was some hope this could maybe be a stand—alone issue where they would recognise the good of the planet and not of their own national interest, but i think that is going to be kind of difficult. and one other thing you mentioned too, about rich countries coughing up the money they had pledged which was $100 billion a year, to help the poorer nations adjust to the ravages of climate change, well, they haven't been doing that either. it has only been about mustering maybe 80% of that 100 billion. they say they probably won't get to that mark for another few years. that is going to be discouraging for poorer countries to hear, who already
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this year have seen rich countries not making good on their vaccination pledges through covax. latika, scott morrison, the australian prime minister, said in the last few days that he has come up with a uniquely australian solution, having been one of the lag guards in this international debate on climate change. tell us more? well, the australian way, as the prime minister likes to refer to it, is deeply unambitious in the short—term. we shouldn't understate just how significant it is for a prime minister of australia to stand up and say we are going to commit to net—zero by 2050, which is what he said this week. and for him to still remain in the job the next day is extraordinary. this has not happened in australian politics for at least a decade. in fact, we have played musical chairs with our prime ministers over this issue of climate change politics in australia.
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so it is remarkable and it is a huge step forward for australia that the community and the politics have come to some sort of consensus. but when you dig a little deeper you begin to understand why. that is because the prime minister has said that oil, gas will remain in the next foreseeable future. he has made a virtue of the fact that we are going to continue mining in australia. we are going to continue exploring in australia. and you will see the prime minister of australia join with china and india this weekend at the 620, in trying to fight off a move to set a phase out date for call. — for coal. it is not the best company that those in australia who have been pushing for better climate change targets would have liked to have seen. how do they square that flow with the problem for the asia—pacific region in particular, 1.5 billion people
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living on coasts? you can carry on with carbon, you can carry on building your economy on that but it becomes harder to find the carbon to burn to create the fossil fuels, and you are having to spend all that money mitigating the damaging environmental effects. is nobody going to be making that case in asia—pacific leadership or is it too politically combustible? there is some optimism. one of the big shift that has happened in australia is centred around technology. you hear the australia prime minister say this all the time, technology not taxes. what you have in australia is the business community now picking up this mantle for itself, taking on what it now is the future and looking around and saying, 0k, now we have some settled agreement politically about where this regulatory environment is going to take us, we can start to really plan for the future. sojust this week, for instance, there are two really interesting of many australian companies here in the uk and heading to cop and going to be
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addressing cop, one of which is this fascinating company called sun cable, it is going to build an enormous solar farm in the northern territory, where it is desert. and then send that electricity via indonesian waters to singapore because singapore, constrained by its geography, can't create solar farms like australia can. that project is being backed by an australian billionaire, andrew forrest, who is here because he made his billions in iron ore. but he now wants to turn his company into a green hydrogen energy exporter. so there are a lot of people in australia who are seeing the opportunities, knowing they can not make australia poorer along the way. that question of opportunities, but also who pays for the transition, is a huge one for the business community, isn't it? yeah, i mean, one where the other every citizen i in the world will pay for this. either pay through our taxes or we pay for it the amountl we pay for the products -
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and services that we consume. the cost of this is going to be astronomical. - that is the problem with the fossil fuel stock, it becomes more expensive to sustain where we are? there are some partsl which are an easy win. the uk we have had a hugej success with offshore wind, a big part of- the energy mix now. even the prime minister used to joke about wind power as a journalist, now he's a big champion. a lot of people thought - it was impossible to get below £100 per megawatt hour but now it is £40. - that is the easy bit. you can do that through - offshore wind, you can do it through renewables, nuclear has a role. . we know the government i is moving towards approving a nuclear power plant here. the tough stuff is making stuff like steel, cement. i and on that he really do need new technology. . you need carbon capture. as a point where you are - burning the energy you can soak it back out of the atmosphere and period down underneathl the ground. for example, the uk has got a fantastic resource for that, j
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declining depleted oil. fields in the north coast. that technology is in its infancy. j we are nowhere near that yet. the prime minister of the uk's favourite word at the momentl right now is hydrogen. if you said hydrogen 100 times| in a row, you would get anyjob you want it in the cabinet. a lot of people have tweaked onto that. i the nuclear power industry are saying any excess heatj will be used to generate extra hydrogen, which can be usedl in heavy industry and long haul transport. i and indeed there is a lot of talk about getting - renewables to make hydrogen as well. i the point is the uk represents 1% of global emissions. - the bill for doing this by 2050 is £1 trillion. j so if you times that by 100, the costs are absolutely - astronomical. obviously climate activists would rightly say the cost i of not doing this are even worse. | but nevertheless, when you put that kind of money in... - by the way, it is not just some cost. - there is the multiplier effect, creating jobs, creating taxes, j creating new industriesl
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which could offset some of that investment. would be under no illusion, the costs are absolutely - phenomenal. henry, joe biden will travel from rome to glasgow, going first to the g20 and then onto glasgow for cop26. but he is arriving without congressional agreement and his big infrastructure bill, which was supposed to be, in about climate change and tackling it. is there any sign of coherent leadership in america yet on this question, whether it is a city, state orfederal? certainly on the federal level there is a possibility the democrats can end their squabbling and come up with a funding plan that biden can present at cop26. it is a fairly remarkable package still, even in its name down state. we are talking about half $1 trillion in incentives and other measures to try to encourage climate change
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fighting technologies and behavioural changes. if he could actually arrive in glasgow with that in hand i think that would increase the us�*s credibity on the global stage with this. but then you go down to lower levels of state and city levels, and unfortunately it is the same political divide that we see on the national level happening at the micro level as well. so you've got liberal cities like my own in los angeles or new york signing up to this worldwide pledge, with other big cities, to divest their public funds from fossil fuel companies. then you have other cities not doing so much. you have my state california, where the governor recently unveiled a $15—billion package to fight climate change. then you have the governor of texas, were to be fair it's actually a fairly big producer wind energy, but when antonio guterres, the secretary—general of the united nations warned
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texas it needed to stop being so overreliant on oil and gas, the governor actually tweeted two words, which were pound signs. it is unfortunate we are going to be seeing the same sort of polarisation at local level as on federal level. on this question about - whether pension funds should divest from oil and gas - and other carbon intensive stuff, that will be - a big debate at cop26. there is a big argument, is it better to say we're i going to sell our shares in exxon, shell, bp, . or do you try to engagej with those businesses? a lot of the oil majors . will tell you if you divest yourself and just sell them, it doesn't mean the stuff. is not going to happen. those assets will be hoovered up by people perhaps less - transparent with less - commitment to try to do this,
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like blackrock, so the question about divesting or engaging will be a key one . that people like blackrock,| the masters of the universe in some ways, they will have a big say on how this goes. i thank you very much. the uk finance minister, the chancellor of the exchequer, was certainly managing expectations this week. its budget and spending plans for the next three years including the largest increase in taxes and almost 30 years. not that you would have known. rishi sunak says the budget was creating a new age of optimism, which includes the highest tax burden since the 1950s. that is hot spa. slightly tongue in cheek, simon, but there are a series of questions about it. is it possible to square the rhetoric with the reality of the measures he is introducing? you have to take this with the last budget. j we have seen some of- the biggest tax rises we have seen in a generation, 40,| 50 billion, the highest tax burden since the 19505. back in march he said we have had a one in boo—year event, | i have paid the wages of 11 million workers. | payback was inevitable. people sucked it up and said, ok, that is fun, we realised l
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there was a bill. a new economic numbers came out and said actually it's not _ quite as catastrophic as we thought, - in fact, you've got plenty more money than you thought you . would have, but the question was, would he give _ that back or spend it? banked a little bit and spent a lot. l mainly on health. so the size of the state nowl is at levels we have not seen since the 19705. some say this isjustl accepting the reality. we have an ageing population, the health costs are not reallyl high. right at the end of his budget he kind of gave this weird - little moment when he said, i didn't really want to do - this, this is not who i am. i want to be a tax—cutting, fiscally traditional- chancellor. he said in an interview- with the bbc he hopes to cut those taxes towards the end of this parliament. - but certainly - the conservative party is in a rather peculiar position, despite the| opposition labour party in a fix. - why do they go when you have got the state of this size -
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when i have spent so much money? i he would like to cut - taxes but it doesn't look like he will be - able to do it soon. a lot of people thinking this - new timetable needs an election will be a bit later. a lot of people thinking - they were gearing up for a big tax cut in 2023 out of an election. - maybe it will be - further away than that. latika, is it possible to look at this and say this is a government which has got the balance right between, notjust the haves and the have nots but the generations? simon was talking about big increased spending on health. at the same time he was announcing the good news that schools will now get as much money per pupil as they got ten years ago. i mean, the balance of this is questionable, isn't it? yes. and on international aid, which i think is really overlooked in this whole debate. that was one of the first things that rishi sunak caught in the name of the pandemic,
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saying, gee, the finances are so terrible we can't possibly afford to help the poor as we had committed to. both sides of parliament, in legislation... that is not going up any time soon, yet suddenly they have found this money for all the other things like the overhaul of booze taxes. they can make it cheaper to fly domestically in the uk but can't find the money to restore that original promise, which is actually tied to gross national income in any way. it is not a lump sum that they then have to tweak back. it naturally tapers down, as the economy expands or contracts. rishi sunak saying this at the end of his budget reminds me of this great line that kevin rudd, the labor prime minister in 2007 when he was on track to win his landslide victory over a conservative prime minister, he came out and said, "people called me a fiscal conservative."
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an enterprising journalist went back and look to history and nobody had ever called him a fiscal conservative. i think rishi sunak may be wanting a little self—describing mojo for himself too. "me think the lady doth protest too much," to quote shakespeare! henry, a balance to be admired or doubted, do you think? oh, i certainly think to be questioned, as we would have for any party in power. to go back to simon's point comparing this to what happened a year ago, let's also think about what happened over ten years, when the conservatives were in power, notjust on the borisjohnson were back under david cameron, instituted fairly crippling austerity cuts that we had not seen also since world war ii. we keep talking about this huge generational shift. the fact that health is going to be back to that 2010 level, sorry, education, health has been 0k and so is the home office but plenty of other departments are not necessarily going to find they are black flush
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as they were even a decade ago. we still have the bug bear of inflation. they are pegging it at between 4% and 5% next year. that will cut into people's spending power and that includes the government's on spending power. each percentage or half a percentage point is going to make all this a little bit tougher on sunak and johnson as the year goes by. i think that's - an important point. inflation was the thing that stalked this budget. - it stalked the economy. in the uk, as around the world. even though all of this - spending, hey big spender where the headlines in the uk, a lot of people will not feel- that things are actually getting better. - they want for the benefit i of that because of inflation and indeed a rise in- employee tax contributions. you are only going to see wage increases of 5% to stand - still in that environment. lots of spending. when you feel the benefit?
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a glow about that? probably not. maybe not the new age of optimism just yet. thank you. the chancellor was able to delete one line of expenditure this week. 20 years of funding a military presence in afghanistan has ended. a different sort of funding may already be needed, aid to avert famine. afghanistan is bankrupt and the taliban is floundering. challenged in the house of commons to help, borisjohnson said the uk could not write a completely blank cheque for a country that risked becoming again a haven for growing opium and cultivating terrorism. latika, regionalforeign ministers were meeting in tehran on friday and ended by issuing a statement calling for international assistance. australia is one country that had a military presence and has done things like, for example, take afghan refugees who wanted to flee the taliban. is there a sense in the region that realistically people are going to have to get involved again one way or another? well, it was interesting to see this week that the australian government committed another
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$100 million to foreign aid, or in humanitarian assistance, to afghanistan. it is very well for me to criticise the british, but australia's foreign aid contributions are absolutely paltry. i think it is 0.21% of gni. we are not a big downer, we are not a big giver and we are not very generous when it comes to foreign aid. this is a substantial donation from a struggle that the government said this week. clearly that is the only lever really that australia sees itself having over the taliban. overall, australia has spent over two decades $1.5 billion in trying to develop afghanistan. and the question that the australian government has to ask its voters was, is that worth it? look what happened at the end of those two decades. we have handed afghanistan back wrapped with a bow on top to the taliban. henry, what about the
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impact in washington? we have only had the debate about the withdrawal from afghanistan. i think there was a call this week for a committee of enquiry to be set up to consider this question and being critical of president biden�*s policy. how much criticism is there in washington about how you engage with the taliban and how you ensure this does not turn into notjust a humanitarian crisis of famine, but further deterioration and yet again the breeding ground for international terrorism? i think something that might be even more fearful to americans than the taliban in charge in afghanistan is a failed state in afghanistan. just as you say. that becomes a geopolitical nightmare. the region and the rest of the world will have to suffer. i think the us is recognised, just like australia, having just announced more aid yesterday, the us said it was going to pledge another $141; million. that will raise its overall amount this year to 600 million plus.
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of course, a lot of that was placed before the taliban took over in august. now the fear is that that money will not be directed in the right way and they don't want to fund the taliban. they are still going to funnel it through ng oprah and other to try to make sure that the talilban itself is not benefiting from this. we are talking about a humanitarian disaster in the making for a country whose budget in the past was 75% of foreign aid. so you really do need these donors to step up. the fact the taliban itself isn't equipped to be able to distribute any of these aid, you know, 120,000 people or more were evacuated from afghanistan after the fall of kabul. many of those people are professionals, well—trained engineers, economists, many of them women, whom the taliban is now not allowing to work, and they have lost a real serious human resource right there. this is really staring them in the face right now
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as the winter comes on. it is a huge challenge, simon. business, too, played a big part in the development of afghanistan. they built a step in the world bank wouldn't pay them the money because they wouldn't allow money to go back into afghanistan. ngos playing a big role in the strip it in the aid. it is a messy picture. the world food programme says it is the biggest humanitarian- crisis in the worldj developing there. there is a state of one to five emergency food situation. i 47% of the country, three or four, which is either. critical or emergency. we are going into. the winter months. i think one of the other things the international community i has to figure out is arei they going to recognise and deal with the . taliban, yes or no? there is the $9 billion of- foreign assets frozen outside afghanistan. i think the afghan foreign minister has been lobbying in doha this week saying, let us have that money at least. the question is, are we going to deal with the taliban, -
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yes or no? do we hold our nose and deall with them and free this money on the basis that if we don't we will see the economy, . which is already collapsed, there is absolutely no wayl of getting it back. i think a lot of people around the world feel slightly- embarrassed, ashamed even, about the way afghanistan - was left there, very vulnerable to the kind of economic and famine i shocks that we are seeing. aid is getting in. the taliban are not. preventing it getting in because they do not wantl a failed state on their hands. they don't want the minute they take over the entire i country collapses. that is not at their i best interest either. just how those channels - will work and to what extent you begin to recognise - the taliban as a legitimate government is a big political question. l while i don't think there - is any international consensus right now, and whilst - we wait for that consensus, i'm afriad the situation i is deteriorating in a really
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tragic way. there was an interesting - report, recommend everybody watch it, the bbc correspondent saying that tragically some - people are being forced - to sell their children in order to get enough food. it is a very hard watch but i think if you want a portrait of what is going on there, i would give - it a look. a sombre note to end on board an important one. that can be found on various bbc resources. latika bourke, henry chu and simonjack, thank you very much. thank you for watching. two challenges still facing the taliban. one is the opium trade, which has been a huge problem in the times, even of the western occupation. heroin was still getting from the opium fields of afghanistan to the streets of the west. that is a good financial resource if the taliban want to use it. and the threat of terrorist activity from groups allied to the islamic state. from all of us on dateline london, goodbye.
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good morning. saturday started off very wet for some of us but the story quickly improved to some sunny spells in the afternoon and just some isolated showers and areas have seen some pretty miserable weather recently including the borders, well, it was better today with glimpses of sunshine around. similar story today. sunday will start off pretty wet across some areas with a significant area of low pressure and into the southern flank of that low we are likely to see gale—force winds and that may act as a friend in some respects. it will push the heavy early morning rain quickly northwards and it will tend to linger across the far north of scotland but
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an improvement as we go through the morning and into the afternoon with a frequent cluster of showers driven in along along west—facing coasts. gusts of winds inland close to 30mph, but those west facing coasts, possibly 50mph at times. in terms of the feel of the weather, 10—13 degrees in scotland and northern ireland, 13 or 1a further south. moving out of sunday into start of monday and the start of a new month, the low pressure will drift off into scandinavia and the wind direction will swing north—westerly, a cooler source, and that will drive the warmer yellow tones back to the continent, the cooler air mass pushing across the uk, meaning temperatures in the first few days of november could bejust a little bit under par for this time of year. we start off monday on a chilly note first thing where we have clearer skies and a frequent rash of showers driven along by the brisk north—westerly wind, some showers pushed further south as we go through the afternoon. temperatures just 8—10 degrees into the north and may be a maximum of 12 or 13 further south.
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the middle part of the week, that north—westerly flow is likely to stay with us and we see the ridge of high pressure trying to build in from the atlantic, and it is likely to kill off some of the showers but it does mean that we are going to stay on the cool side for this time of year. it also means we could see more in the way of overnight frost and we have not seen much significant frost so far this season but it means that overall things will stay dry and quieter but on the cool side as we go through the week ahead. take care.
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hello, you're watching bbc news. i'm rich preston. our top stories: covid, climate change and iran. pressing issues being hammered out by world leaders at the g20 summit in rome. also in rome, the british prime minister borisjohnson warns the eu that french threats over post—brexit fishing licenses are completely unjustified. we're going to get on and do the things that matter to both of us and make sure that we work together on tackling the big issues that face the world. three people are killed in sudan as thousands take to the streets to protest against the military coup.
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and voting gets under way injapan.


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