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Climate Activist at COP 22: “The Global Community Cannot Allow Trump to Poison These Negotiations”

StoryNovember 14, 2016
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To discuss the climate talks underway in Marrakech and the significance of Donald Trump’s election, we are joined by Asad Rehman, head of Friends of the Earth’s campaign for international action to prevent dangerous climate. Rehman is based in Britain. Over the weekend, leading Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage became the first foreign politician to visit Donald Trump at Trump Tower since his election.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about the climate talks here in Marrakech and the significance of Donald Trump’s election, we’re joined by Asad Rehman. He leads Friends of the Earth’s campaign for international action to prevent dangerous climate. He’s based in Britain. Interestingly, over the weekend, leading Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage became the first foreign politician to visit Donald Trump at Trump Tower since his election.

Asad Rehman, we’re going to speak to you more extensively tomorrow. But talk about the significance of a leading climate denier in the United States, Donald Trump, being elected.

ASAD REHMAN: Well, as we know, global temperature’s increase of just 1 degree centigrade has led to half this Arctic ice melting, killer droughts and floods, impacting the lives of millions of people all around the world. And just before we started these climate negotiations, the U.N. published a report saying that the targets in the Paris Agreements are going to lead us to a planet-wrecking three-and-a-half degrees warming. In that context, having a climate denialist in one of the most powerful positions in the world is, of course, a major setback. But, you know, it can’t be a setback to the whole of the rest of the global world. Ultimately, the United States and Donald Trump is one country and one president. The rest of the global community here can’t allow Donald Trump to poison these negotiations. Neither can they allow the United States to slow down these negotiations.

AMY GOODMAN: If the U.S. pulls out, how much will that damage the Paris Agreement?

ASAD REHMAN: Well, look, the United States could pull out of the Paris Agreement; that could take four years. The United States could pull out of their framework convention; that could take a year. But ultimately, I think one of the biggest initial impacts will be if the United States doesn’t live up to its fair share of the climate finance.

AMY GOODMAN: And the significance of the Brexit leader Farage meeting with Donald Trump, the president-elect?

ASAD REHMAN: Well, I think it’s a sign of the world that we live in that far-right xenophobes and racists are dominating the political narrative in many, many countries, not just in the United States and the U.K. I think it’s a worrying sign. These are all people who deny the climate change, who want to slow down action, who want to continue to protect powerful vested interests in the fossil fuel industry. At the exact moment we need more global solidarity, more coming together, these people are talking about building walls and fences and turning in on ourselves.

AMY GOODMAN: Asad Rehman, this is Part 1 of our conversation. Come back tomorrow for Part 2. That’s Asad Rehman, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth International. Quick correction to our headline on the mistrial of former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing: He shot Sam DuBose in the head, killing him, not in the back.

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