You’re Paying for This! PBS’s Amanpour SLIMES U.S. as ‘AWOL’ on Climate Deal

On Friday’s Amanpour & Co. on PBS and CNN International, the show devoted its first 21 minutes to global warming, speaking with former Secretary of State John Kerry in the first segment and liberal teen activist Greta Thunberg in the second, giving them little challenge to promote their views.

At the top of the show, with images of wildfires on display, Amanpour teased the segments by hinting that these disasters were caused by global warming: “Our house is on fire. Five years after the Paris climate accord, I ask John Kerry — Biden’s special climate envoy — about progress made and the heavy lifting still ahead. Climate activist Greta Thunberg joins me.”

In her interview with Kerry, while discussing his plans to work with the Joe Biden administration as climate envoy, Amanpour complained that the U.S. has been “absent without leave” in not adhering to the Paris accord during the Donald Trump administration, and fretted that the country may not accept the standards longer than a few years if administrations change:

Over the last four years, the United States has been absent without leave from the climate accord. Let me just read a quote from the dean of the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy: “That the U.S. walked away from the biggest challenge of this generation has left scar tissue, that’s with your international colleagues and the interlocutors.” So there’s a big credibility issue. How do you — obviously you have so many links from being secretary of State and all your previous roles. How do you plan to tell them that now you’re serious and that, in four years time, you won’t see another walkback?

She only modestly challenged her guest by reading a quote from conservative activist Grover Norquist being critical of carbon regulations, and then sympathetically asked Kerry how he would deal with such opposition.

Amanpour then spent more than eight minutes interviewing Thunberg, giving her a forum to call for quick action against carbon emissions. The PBS host cued her up:

So I guess from you I want to know what you think, from your perspective as a youth leader, what you think should happen next? Obviously we hear about the macro from the global leaders, whether it’s the EU, whether now it’s the United States, whether it’s governments around the world, but what specifically do you think that your generation and all of us need to see to make this a reality, addressing and trying to arrest the warming of the planet?

In the third segment, as she interviewed Archbishop Wilton Gregory, at one point, she brought up global warming again and pressed him on what the Catholic Church should do to encourage its members to support new regulations:

And climate, the Pope has put that in his encyclical — I mean, it’s a major issue — and you see all these years of President Trump’s administration, they have been batting away the science and removing the regulations that keep our water and air and all the rest of it as clean as possible. Biden has promised to go back into the climate accords that were negotiated in Paris. What do you think, as a church leader, that you can do to convince Americans — your flock — that this is a real danger, and it has to be addressed?

This episode of Amanpour & Co. was sponsored by the Anderson Family Fund and the Straus Family Foundation. You can fight back by letting advertisers know how you feel about them sponsoring such content.

Partial transcripts follow. Click “expand” to read more. 

PBS and CNN International

Amanpour & Co.

December 11, 2020

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR (in opening tease): Our house is on fire. Five years after the Paris climate accord, I ask John Kerry — Biden’s special climate envoy — about progress made and the heavy lifting still ahead. Climate activist Greta Thunberg joins me.

(…)

JOHN KERRY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Paris set the standard for the beginning, but it also required every country to raise its ambition if we weren’t getting the job done, and the simple truth is we’re not getting the job done. Only about six countries in the world are on track to meet the Paris standard. Most people are not. We have to raise ambition very significantly, and we have to be honest with the world. We have to lay out a plan for how we get to net zero in time to avoid the worst damages which scientists have predicted.

AMANPOUR: So let me ask you then the first issue, and that is the credibility issue. Over the last four years, the United States has been absent without leave from the climate accord. Let me just read a quote from the dean of the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy: “That the U.S. walked away from the biggest challenge of this generation has left scar tissue, that’s with your international colleagues and the interlocutors.” So there’s a big credibility issue. How do you — obviously you have so many links from being secretary of State and all your previous roles. How do you plan to tell them that now you’re serious and that, in four years time, you won’t see another walkback?

(…)

AMANPOUR: So I guess from you I want to know what you think, from your perspective as a youth leader, what you think should happen next? Obviously we hear about the macro from the global leaders, whether it’s the EU, whether now it’s the United States, whether it’s governments around the world, but what specifically do you think that your generation and all of us need to see to make this a reality, addressing and trying to arrest the warming of the planet?

GRETA THUNBERG, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST: Well, the first thing we need to do is that we need to actually start treating the planet like a crisis. It has never once been treated as a crisis and, of course, you don’t need me to say we cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to communicate the situation where we are because we need to understand that we are facing an emergency. We need to sort of change the social narrative around this, and of course as young people we would really appreciate if we stopped only talking about future distance hypothetical goals and targets like your so-called net zero or whatever it may be and start focusing on what we need to do now because it is right now that the carbon budget is being used up. 

And the more future targets — yes, of course, we appreciate that — that is better than nothing — but the more we keep saying we will reduce our emissions by this and that by 2030 even though it includes lots of loopholes and so on –or net zero by 2050 — the more things like that we do, the more weight we put on the shoulders of future generations. And we don’t want to solve these problems for you — we want you to take care of it right now because you are destroying our futures right now.

AMANPOUR: You know, you are — tell me what week you’re in — more than 100 weeks of your weekly school strike, which, as I said and everybody knows, sparked similar strikes around the world. Are you, I mean, there’s obviously been COVID. We haven’t seen that kind of indiscreet demonstrations for a long time. Are you satisfied that it is still a major issue in the grassroots?

(…)

AMANPOUR (speaking to Archbishop Wilton Gregory): And climate, the Pope has put that in his encyclical — I mean, it’s a major issue — and you see all these years of President Trump’s administration, they have been batting away the science and removing the regulations that keep our water and air and all the rest of it as clean as possible. Biden has promised to go back into the climate accords that were negotiated in Paris. What do you think, as a church leader, that you can do to convince Americans — your flock — that this is a real danger, and it has to be addressed?

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