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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  November 1, 2021 3:30am-4:00am GMT

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the cop26 climate summit has opened in glasgow as the un published a scientific report saying the planet is entering uncharted territory because of record concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, while extreme weather conditions have become the new normal. earlier, leaders of the world's richest nations in rome fell short of setting specific targets for reducing carbon emissions to net zero. the british prime minister borisjohnson warned that the pledges made by heads of state at the event were inadequate. australia has allowed the resumption of international air travel without the need for quarantine — for the first time in more than 18 months. airports in sydney and melbourne are allowing fully vaccinated passengers to fly again after some of the world's strictest border controls were ended. now, it's time
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for dateline london. hello and welcome to the programme bringing together bbc specialists with the correspondents who write, blog and broadcast for audiences in their own countries from the dateline london. this week — borisjohnson�*s finance minister opens the taxpayers�* purse as the prime minister himself tries to persuade world leaders to open theirs to mitigate climate change. plus, is famine stocking afghanistan? joining us to discuss all that 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 morning herald in australia. and here in the studio,
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the bbc�*s business editor simon jack. cop26, which begins in glasgow this weekend, is supposed to be the moment when the world's nations present individual beefed—up 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, that 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. on medical advice, say courtiers. still, her majesty's said recently of cop26 "it 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
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he has gone on the opposite direction right now in in underpromising in hopes he 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 620 global summit that will happen before cop26. because 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. and the challenges before them are pretty daunting, and some of them he doesn't really have much leverage over. i mean, 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 actually critical for the rest of the world to come
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on board and you had the visual of president 0bama standing side—by—side with chinese president xijinping. xi is not going to have be at this conference — the 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 notjust of their own national interest, but i think that is going to be kind of difficult. and one other thing you mentioned, too, sean, 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 and they say they probably won't get to that
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$100 billion mark for another few years. so that is going to be discouraging for poorer countries to hear, who already this year have seen rich countries not making good on their vaccination pledges through covax. latika, scott morrison, the australian prime minister, said this week, or in the last few days, that he has come up with a uniquely australian solution, having been one of the laggards 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. now, 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 and political leaders over this
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very diabloical issue of climate change politics in australia. 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, and that's because the prime minister has said that oil, gas will remain in the next foreseeable future. in fact, 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 coal. so it's 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, though? with the problem for the asia—pacific region in particular — 1.5 billion people living on coasts?
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you can carry on with carbon, you can carry on building your economy on that, but it becomes harder and 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 making that case in the asia—pacific political leadership or is itjust to political 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. and 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 addressing cop.
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one of which is this really fascinating company called sun cable. it is going to build an enormous solar farm in the northern territory, where it is desert. and then through undersea cables, send that electricity via indonesian waters to singapore because singapore, constrained by its geography, can't create solar farms like australia can. now, that project is being backed by an australian billionaire, andrew forrest, who is here because he made his billions in iron ore but who 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 that they can transform ther australian economy and 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.
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we'll either pay through our taxes or we pay for it - the amount— we pay for the products and services that we consume. and, you know, the cost of this is going to be astronomical. - stuff, isn't it? stop, it becomes more expensive to sustain where we are, let along grow that? 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 ,didn�*t he, when he 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. - so we have had enormous success in that_ so we have had enormous success in that but— so we have had enormous success in that but actually, _ in that but actually, decarbonise - in that but actually, decarbonise in - in that but actually, decarbonise in the i in that but actually, - decarbonise in the energy surm— decarbonise in the energy supply is— decarbonise in the energy supply is kind _ decarbonise in the energy supply is kind of- decarbonise in the energy supply is kind of the - decarbonise in the energy supply is kind of the easy| decarbonise in the energy- supply is kind of the easy bit. you can do that through - offshore wind, you can do it through renewables, nuclear has a role — i we know the government i is moving towards approving a nuclear power plant here. the really tough stuff - is making stuff like steel, cement. and on that, you really do need new technology. - you need something calledl carbon capture and storage. so at the point where - you are burning the energy, you can suck it back . out of the atmosphere
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and period down underneath the groumt _ for example, the uk has got a fantastic resource for that, j it's got declining, depleted | oil fields in the north coast. that's the idea. 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 that you wanted in the cabinet. and basically, a lot of people have tweaked onto that. - so for example, the nuclear. power industry are saying any heat — will be used to generate extra hydrogen, which can be used in heavy industry and - long—haul transport and indeed, there is a lot of talk about getting - renewables to make hydrogen as well. i but 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 l of not doing this are even worse. | but nevertheless, when you put that kind of money in — - by the way, it is not just sunk cost. - when you create these
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industries, _ when you create these industries, there - when you create these industries, there is- when you create thesej industries, there is the multiplier— industries, there is the multiplier effect. - you create jobs, creating taxes, i creating new industriesl which could offset some of that investment. but be under no illusion, the costs are absolutelyl phenomenal. henry, joe biden will travel from rome to glasgow, of the weekend and then onto glasgow for cop26. but he is arriving without congressional agreement on his big infrastructure bill, which was supposed to be, in part, about climate change and tackling it. is there any sign of coherent leadership in america yet on this question, whether it is city, state orfederal? certainly on the federal level, there are certainly a couple of days where there is a possibility where democrats can end their squabbling and come up end their squabbling and come up with a funding plan that mr biden can 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
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to encourage climate change fighting technologies and behavioural changes. if he could actually arrive in glasgow with that in hand i think that would increase the us�*s credible is the stage with this. —— credibility on the global stage with this. but then you go down to lower levels of state and city levels, sa you say, 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. but then you have other cities that are not doing so much. you have my state california, where the governor recently , just a few weeks ago, unveiled a $15 billion package then you have the governor of texas, where, to be fair, it's actually a fairly big producer of wind energy, but when antonio guterres, you know, the secretary general of the united nations,
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warned texas that it needed to stop being so over—reliant on oil and gas, abbott, the governor actually tweeted two words, which were "pound sand". it is unfortunate we are going to be seeing the same sort of polarisation repeated on 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. and there is a big argument — is it better to say we're - going to sell our shares in exxon, shell, bp, . or do you try to engagej with those businesses? and a lot of the oil majors will sell you if you divest i yourself and just sell them, that 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, so the question about to divest or engage will be a key one - that people like blackrock — the big money managers — i they're the the masters of the universe -
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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 it? rishi sunak says the budget was creating a new age of optimism, which includes the highest tax burden since the 1950s. that is chutzpah! slightly tongue in cheek, simon, but there are a series of questions about it. i mean, is it possible to square rishi sunak�*s rhetoric with the reality of the measures he is introducing? you have to take this last. budget with a grain of sand? but you have to take this| budget with the last one. we have seen some of- the biggest tax rises we have seen in a generation, 40,| 50 billion, the highest tax burden since the 1950s. back in march, he said "listen. "we have had _ a one—in—soo—year event. "i have paid the wages of 11 million workers."| payback was inevitable. people sucked it up and said,
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"ok, that is fine, we realisedj there was a bill." a new economic numbers came out i and set actually it's not quite i as catastrophic as we thought, j in fact, you've got plenty more money than you thought you i would have, but the question was, would he give i that back or spend it? he banked a little bit and spent _ he banked a little bit and spent a _ he banked a little bit and spent a lot, _ he banked a little bit and spent a lot, mainly- he banked a little bit and spent a lot, mainly on i he banked a little bit and - spent a lot, mainly on health. so the size of the state nowl is at levels we have not seen since the 1970s. some say this isjust| accepting the reality. we have an ageing population where the health costs - are really 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. was he looking at boris johnson? 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 position. it is put to the labour party in a — it is put to the labour party in a bit _ it is put to the labour party in a bit of— it is put to the labour party in a bit of a _ it is put to the labour party in a bit of a fix. _ why do they go when you have got the state of this size - when i have spent so much money? i he would like to cut - taxes but it doesn't look like it—
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will be able to do it soon. a lot of people thinking this - new timetable needs an election “ means an —— means an election will be a bit tater~ — 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 cut in the name of the pandemic, saying, gee, the finances are so terrible we can't possibly afford to help the poor as we had
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committed to. both sides of parliament, in legislation tied to gross national income. 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 they can't find the money to restore that original promise, which is actually tied to gross national income anyway. 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 labour 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. an enterprising journalist went back and look at history and nobody had ever called him
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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, budget balance to be admired or doubted, do you think? oh, i certainly think to be questioned, as we would have any party thats 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. the conservatives in power, notjust under borisjohnson but 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 ok and so is the home office but plenty of other departments are not necessarily going to find they are back in flush as they were even a decade ago.
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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 own spending power. each percentage or half a percentage point that inflation goes up 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 stalled this budget. - it stalled the economy. in the uk is around the world. even though all of this - spending, hey big spender were 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 _ inflation environment. lots of spending. will you feel the benefit?
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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, though, 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 check for a country that risks 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 $100 million to foreign aid, humanitarian assistance, to afghanistan.
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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. australia has spent over two decades $1.5 billion in trying to develop afghanistan. and the question that the australian government has to ask his voters was, is that worth it? look what happened at the end of those two decades. we have handed afghanistan back with a bow on top to the taliban. henry, what about the impact in washington? we have onlyjust had the debate about the withdrawal
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from afghanistan. i think there was a calling 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 with 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 with. i think the us has 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. of course, a lot of that was
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pledged 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 ngos and other groups to try to make sure that the taliban 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% 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 this 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 is the winter comes on. it is a huge challenge, simon.
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business too played a big part in the development of afghanistan. saying we built this stuff now 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, - yes or no?
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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. - very vulnerable to the kind of economic and famine . 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 we take over the entire - 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, the situation is deteriorating in a really tragic way. - there was an interesting - report, recommend everybody
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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 but 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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morning. a change of month brings with it a change of the weather. we'll start the week with sunny spells and scattered showers. by the middle part of the week, it gets noticeably quieter, cooler for all of us, and some frost and fog overnight, so plenty to pack in there. so on monday morning, then, it looks somewhat like this — with low pressure easing away, and as we go through the week, high pressure will build in which quietens things down. but ahead of it, we can trace those isobars all the way back to the north — and that means a colder wind direction, with that northerly wind driving the blue tones, the cooler air, a little bit further south, you really will notice the difference with the feel of the weather if you are out and about this week. so sunny spells and blustery showers from the word go,
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most of the showers to the north but some will push further south as we go into the afternoon, and it looks as if those temperatures will peak between 9—11; celsius. now the showers will tend to fade away as we move through the night, and we will have some clear skies, perhaps a few frequent showers continuing into the far north of scotland. but where skies clear away, temperatures will fall away and we could see low single figures to greet us first thing on tuesday morning, and that gives us the potential for some frost to form, and maybe some patchy fog. so first thing on tuesday morning, it'll be a bit of a chilly start, lots of sunshine, some showers around, most frequent ones along the exposed north coasts of scotland and northern ireland, and some running down through the irish sea. temperatures are likely to struggle, though — top temperatures of 11—12 celsius. now, as we move out of tuesday into wednesday, still the risk of some showers, but as the high desperately tries to squeeze in along the west, but again, we are likely to see
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sunny spells and scattered showers as we go through the day on wednesday. it will be quite a cool feel to the day with those temperatures really struggling — in some areas not getting into double figures by the middle part of the afternoon, so a top temperature of 7—11 celsius. out of wednesday into thursday, the high pressure finally builds in, the winds will ease, we will see a good deal of quiet weather — that will kill off the showers, so that means on thursday, there is a greater chance of seeing more in the way of sunshine, but as you can see those temperatures are still set to struggle even for this time of year.
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hello, welcome to bbc news. i'm david eades. our top stories: the un climate summit opens in glasgow with borisjohnson warning the pledges made so far by world leaders are inadequate. there are no compelling excuses for our procrastination. not only have we acknowledged the problem, we're already seeing first hand the devastation climate change causes. earlier, leaders of the world's richest nations meeting in rome fell short of setting specific targets for reducing carbon emissions to net zero. australia opens its international borders as flights resume from sydney and melbourne. cheering and applause. and alive with day of the dead parades: commemorations return to mexico after a year off,
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due to the pandemic.

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