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Ceo Paul Polman, United States, Bill Mckibben discussed on Amanpour

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Next to the grassroots battled environmentalist. Bill mckibben has been at the forefront of climate activism for decades this week he launched climate crisis newsletter for the New Yorker and. He's joining us now from Vermont. Bill mckibben welcome back to the program. Cristiano always good to be with. So what did you think of the optimistic note and the rather urgent note that you know atop? Ceo Paul Polman has just sounded. Does it make sense what he's saying? Well Paul deserves great credit. If there's anyone who's tried to move a big company in the right direction it's him sadly he's well his very much in the vanguard and there haven't been as many followers yet as one would hope that's particularly true in the two most important sectors the fossil fuel industry itself and the financial industry that supports it. And that's I think where most of the activism now is being aimed. So what would you suggest because I mean let's just talk about activism one of the quotes from your recent newsletter study by researchers at Yale and George Mason University? Found that one in five. Americans said they would quote personally engage in nonviolent civil disobedience against corporal government activities that make global warming worse if a person they liked asked them to. That's the whole peer peer pressure. That leads to change the peer imperative. What Wo- what would you say to these other corporations than that? We've sort of lift listed. Who are beginning to say things. Well look that. That pressure is building because movements are building. You know there's a greater Timberg and a ten thousand other young people like her out pushing hard it's building because people look on TV and see Australia consumed in inferno and those people are increasingly getting a chance to take a stand. The next big day is going to be April twenty third in this country when we think that many thousands of people will be committing civil disobedience in the lobbies of chase bank branches around the country. Why because J. P. Morgan Chase biggest bank in the world is by far the biggest funder of the fossil fuel industry? Since all those good words Paris they've put one hundred ninety six billion dollars in loans into the fossil fuel industry. You know true that president trump pulled us out of the Paris Accord. But people like chase. Bank were undermining us before we could ever even get going so we have to break this. Well this kind of web of influence look the the lead director at Chase Bank and the guy who runs their board of directors before he took that job was the CEO of Exxon biggest the time oil company on Earth so there's an enormous amount of power and only citizen power can begin to to break it up but that citizen power can really work. You know we've talked in the past about this. Divestment movement that we launched seven or eight years ago to get institutions to break their ties from fossil fuels at the start. It was small by this point. Word about twelve trillion dollars in endowments portfolios that are divesting from coal and gas and oil. And that's putting enormous pressure on the sector. Shell Oil said in their annual report. This last year the divestment had become a material risk to its business which is good because Shell Oil's become a material risk to earth. Well I was going to ask. You is divestment then because a lot of people do talk about any gets not very much coverage is divestment a bigger game changer than activism on the streets votes at the ballot box or even corporations. I mean I know you say they're not enough yet Corporations which you know as we said to pull opponent as he admits these are the biggest images of of carbon carbon products into the air. So he's divestment bigger or these other things well so divestments become a huge tool as Paul said. It was outside pressure that begins to get corporations to move and the most important corporations to move are the handful that is he pointed out. Supply seventy five or eighty percent of emissions. So that's where the pressures coming I look at it Christianise if there's two levers to pull here one is the political ever in the US. Twenty as a big year. Today's a big day. You know so. There's lots of people working hard to change our political system but we also have to pull this financial lever because Washington doesn't really rule the world anymore but Wall Street kind of does and if you could begin to get the big banks and asset managers to change how they value and how they deal with the fossil fuel industry. You'd be a long ways there it starting. This campaign is only about six months old people can go to stop the money pipeline dot Com to learn more about it but in its first six months. It's persuaded some of the biggest insurance companies. Some of the biggest banks to begin at least to change their policies. The biggest success came six weeks ago when one of our chief targets blackrock biggest asset manager on earth their CEO out a fairly remarkable letter saying that everything in finance is going to have to change because of climate change. Now we don't know whether he means it yet we're going to have to monitor are to see if they're actually taking steps to match their rhetoric but man it's a good example of following this because again to push hard it because we actually interviewed the sustainability chief. Brian deese at blackrock. And you're right Larry. Fate said the one of the biggest impacts on finance is climate change. And they're gonNA have to change the way they do things so you're right. It is moving study. I do just want to ask you about what will it take to get the governments to change because as we pointed out as we talk with Paul polman still the biggest emissions China and the United States by no means doing what they need to do on combating the emissions? Do you think corporations can move governments? I think people can move governments if they push hard and one of the things they have to do is push hard on corporations but governments act and best slowly even when you get them in motion and that's one of the reasons that were also working so hard on this financial angle because if you think about it you know if tomorrow J. P. Morgan Chase said we're not lending anymore to the fossil fuel industry that would ab felt instantly. Every stock market in the world would react within minutes and be felt globally. Our money system remains dramatically interconnected in a way that our political systems are increasingly disconnected. So I think we have to do both. We're working hard on both. But there is a lot of excitement right now around these financial institutions. One reason is you've seen that say in the United States that map that Donald Trump always holds up that shows all the red parts of America. And they're all for him on an on just these little slivers of blue or people who are voting against him. Well if you hold up a money map the United States it's just the opposite. Most of the money's concentrated in those little slivers of blue so that's the electorate as it were that blackrock chase and the others have to worry about okay so. I just need to ask you because you keep mentioning J. P. Morgan Chase presumably for a reason. But didn't you just tweet about them just very recently about the fact that they said that they would no longer invest in object fossil fuels? You they made a small concession last week in the face of this pressure they're beginning to take stock of what they're going to have to do but people continue to push them very very hard. I was arrested in the lobby of the JP chase branch nearest the US capital last month at the launch this campaign and we think that they'll be people in the lobbies of thousands of their branches on April twenty third. That's the day after the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. So we're all going to commemorate what we've done over the last half century but then we're GONNA go right to work trying to make sure that the next half-century goes faster because it's gotta go faster. That's the thing. The problem here is not that. We're not going to get where we need to go eventually. Look Sun and wind or now the cheapest way as Paul pointed out to generate power around the world so eventually we'll get there but we don't have eventually the scientists told us that if we haven't made dramatic transformation inside of ten years than our chance of meeting the Perez target is essentially nil. That's why though it's sort of crazy people are going to jail. It's why they're cutting up their credit cards. It's why they're taking really dramatic action to hold to account the people who are the well the kind of glue of this fossil fuel system. I'm Ben I WANNA put up a map that we have. You must have seen it. Everybody knows everybody's talking about it. Really one of the if there can be a side benefit to corona virus. It is that it's helped a little bit with the pollution of the skies certainly in China or at least where the virus has has dramatically reduced. The amount of industrial activity there. And you can see the before and after map I mean surely even to the most vociferous doubters that people who talk about hoaxes and that climate change is just you know a nonsense constructed by the media and other nefarious actors. Surely that map is once and for all proof. What do you say to that well? I don't know the president's states is now decided that the corona virus is a hoax too. You know everything's a hoax. But Yeah Look. There's nothing good in any way about the corona virus obviously And the fact that it's cutting carbon pollution momentarily in China isn't the right way to go about it because it will rebound instantly nine until the wage bill but I just thought this old absolutely I mean look. There's no doubt what's going on anymore. Only people who have some vested interest in this system or still trying to maintain the idea that there is some doubt here. I mean anybody. All anyone needs to do is look at those unbelievable pictures from Australia earlier this year and we had thousands of people in one of the richest countries unearth standing on beaches waiting into the ocean because it was the only way to escape the firestorm that was engulfing their communities. That's what's coming to the world. That's what much in the world looks like already. So we've only increased the temperature one degree. We talk about one point. Five or two degrees. If they're kind of goals really their horror shows they're just not as bad as the path that we're currently on. That's why immediate quick and dramatic action is so important if there are people out there who've been keeping their powder dry. Now's the moment we need you. We have leveraged for the next few years to make huge changes but after that our ability to influence the outcome of this story really begins to Arab so even as the trump administration roles a huge number of regulations EPA laws governing water and air and the and the rest and even some of its officials try to insert distorting language the not just denies climate change but totally distorts. The science like how Carbon Dioxide is somehow actually good for us. Even as that is happening there is a lot of good news. We heard from Paul. As we've heard from you is we've heard from many mayors on a subnational level so to speak state level and Mayo level. Things are happening in a very big way so I wanna ask you about some of the solutions and some of the good news because I think people need to know that there are solutions that they can they can work for. You have scoreboard a scorecard. There were going to put up briefly right now that you list about some of the things that have actually transpired that that work to weed through some of your latest. We don't actually have the graphic but tell me on your scoreboard. Some of the things that were bill. Well there's all sorts of things that are starting to happen all over. You can just list morning tonight. I just got a great email from a friend of mine saying you. GotTa look this tour. That indigenous people put together of tiny houses and they're building a small sensible houses and they're increasingly building them. In the path of the kind of pipelines. That people are trying to block. There's incredible action to stop the biggest fossil fuel projects on earth last week. They pulled the plug on what would have been the biggest tar sands mine on the planet largely because of incredible indigenous opposition in Canada. They just blocked plans for a huge gas pipeline across the eastern coast United States. Why because the people who wanted to do it said the investment climate has changed. That is to say all those people who worked so hard on divestment and gotten done what needed doing went. They've got the message beginning to sink in that. This is not where we're going anymore so all of this kind of work. In movements we fight each fight on. Its own you have to block this pipeline. Divest at college on and on but the BICYC- bottom line is what we're fighting for is to change the Zeitgeist people's sense of what's normal and natural and obvious so that's what's happening now and to that point we do have this image and that is the cover of the latest National Geographic which talks about the end of of of waste of trash. And I wonder whether you can talk a little bit. About of course. Trash the amount of natural resources including food and clothes not to mention all we just we just toss away and people are talking about a circular economy now instead of a buy-in dispose economy. Took me a little bit about that? Christiaan net changed. Can't come fast enough. There's a remarkable article that came out a few hours ago from rolling stone to look at is plastic pollution around the world. You've kind of know about this and been listening to people..

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