tv Global 3000 PBS December 9, 2017 12:30am-1:01am PST
is looking at a topic that affects us all -- climate change. reporter: eight tenths of a degree celsius -- that is how much earth's average surface temperature has risen since 1880. we burn too much fossil fuel, drive too much, and fly too much. as temperatures rise, glaciers retreat. columbia glacier in alaska is melting especially fast, losing as much as 30 meters a day. it's not only glaciers that have been melting -- over the past 30 years, half of the ice in the arctic has disappeared -- with devastating consequences.
less and less solar radiation is being reflected back into space. as a result, that, too, speeds up global warming -- in the oceans, as well. with a rise in water temperatures comes a rise in sea levels. the results are especially dangerous for low-lying coastal regions, where much of the world's population lives. fast-growing megacities are at risk.
the region's subsistence farmers are struggling to survive. more than a third of the earth's land surface is desert -- and many deserts continue to grow. ever more forests are being cleared. every three seconds, 100 trees lost. that is the rate at which deforestation has been going on in the amazon for the past 40 years. yes, that's right -- 100 trees felled or burned every three seconds. like here, in the brazilian state of rondonia. rain forest is cleared to make way for soy fields, cattle farms, dams, and reservoirs. the destruction of rainforests means even more co2 is released into the atmosphere -- and the earth gets ever warmer. host: human factors in climate change were the focus of the first u.n. earth summit in rio de janeiro back in 1992. then in japan in 1997, binding targets for greenhouse gas emissions were agreed for the first time. the kyoto protokoll was born. just before the 2009 climate change conference in copenhagen,
the then-president of the maldives made an impressive appeal to the world community -- under water. the media loved it, but the summit itself was declared a flop. climate protection developments stalled. then in 2012, it was off to the qatari capital doha. that year, the world climate summit was held in a country with the highest co2 emissions per person. the irony was heavily criticized. then finally in 2015, a break-through. meeting in paris, the international community agreed a target -- global warming must not exceed two degrees. measures to achieve this were drawn up. but recently, one of the biggest signatories shocked the world. donald trump: so, we're getting out. host: in early june, donald trump announced the u.s. would withdraw from the paris agreement. a drastic move, especially in light of the consequences.
reporter: the juneau ice field in alaska is the fifth largest in the world. spanning almost 4000 square kilometers, the landscape here seems made for eternity. but eran hood knows better. the ice is melting. the scientist works on the mendenhall glacier and his measuring equipment has revealed that it's shrinking by almost ten meters a year. but distant washington isn't interested in his research. in fact, president donald trump intends to cut funding for climate research by billions. hood's work is under threat. eran: when they start to cut funding for science, that's going to have a big impact on our ability to study things like this flood that's going on here, and the study of the changes that we see in mendenhall and the juneau ice field, and so that's really where the big impact is going to come. reporter: the scientist says
trump isn't only hindering his research -- the president has also managed to convince many americans that climate change is a myth. eran: they are convinced that donald trump can come in and cut back on regulations, cut back on climate change research, and that's going to somehow stimulate the economy. and, you know, that's very convincing to people who need jobs and need to support their families. reporter: but there's no denying the impact of these images. between 2007 and 2015, the mendenhall glacier retreated by 550 meters. a fjord with two different colors of water. the lighter side on the left is meltwater from the ice field. eran: it's one of the big outlet glaciers from the ice field and the projection now is that by the end of this century, about two-thirds of the ice field here, the juneau ice field, will
have disappeared. and so it's really important for us to understand how this water that's coming from the glacier is influencing the productivity of marine ecosystems. reporter: ecosystems that are home to species like these humpback whales. they live on plankton and krill. in groups, the marine mammals work together to build a net of air-bubbles which they use to confuse and trap prey. it's called bubblenet feeding. bob jones offers boat trips for researchers and nature-lovers. he believes that climate change is unsettling the whales. bob: we're seeing changes in the food-chain. if the food-chain is changed due to warming water, then we're going to see changes in the whale. we're in a perfect place for research for this right now.
i mean, this is a great place for whale-watching. but what's really important with climate change on the horizon and what we know and what we're learning about it, we're going to see more and more research being necessary. reporter: james is furious that donald trump has described climate change as an invention of the chinese, and put a climate change skeptic in charge of the u.s. environmental protection agency. bob: i feel it's a shame that our administration and our president has denied climate -- or at least put it in the background. personally, i think it's ridiculous, sad, and something that we as americans, as u.s. citizens, should be ashamed of. reporter: but james also says that scientists like eran hood should have spoken up more about their results. then the president wouldn't have been able to spread seeds of doubt, he thinks. the businessman thinks he has a solution.
he wants to challenge wealthy citizens to make donations to secure future research funding. and the results could become reality here. this industrial wasteland in alaska's capital juneau is set to house a new ocean center -- a mix of multi-media museum and meeting place for citizens and scientists. jim powell is already eager to use it as a safe-house for his research, out of reach of the trump government. climate change studies have already disappeared from the epa's website. jim: the federal government as far as what i'm seeing and reading and what i've heard from my colleagues and scientists -- we are very, very concerned about data-sets and information that's not being collected. i mean, not even to talk about perhaps what's being done with the existing data-sets. reporter: powell intends to keep a close eye on the data in the future. here in alaska, it's impossible to overlook the effects of climate change.
and yet, eran hood still has so much to do to make his fellow americans really understand what his research on melting ice means for their fures. host: even if many u.s. citizens refuse to acknowledge it, climate change is happening, and it's affecting low income countries in particular. in paris, the international community agreed that industrial nations must now pay $100 billion annually to alleviate the effects of climate change. over the past few years, hundreds of billions have been invested in low-carbon and climate-resilient growth. ideally, such funding should be directed at sustainable infrastructure, agriculture, and industry worldwide. but when big money is up for grabs, greed isn't far behind. we head to bangladesh, which has been hit particularly hard by
climate change. is the aid there really getting to those who need it most? reporter: there are more than 1000 rivers and canals in bangladesh. the sea level in the bay of bengal is rising. storms and heavy rains are becoming more frequent. land is being eaten away. this family expects to lose its home soon. they don't know where they should go when the time comes. sankar: i was born here. i've lived here all my life. i've seen 2000 or 2500 families lose their homes because of natural disasters that come from the sea. communities around here have left their schools, their mosques, their temples -- everything behind.
reporter: villagers say there were plans to reinforce the shoreline here, but nothing happened. mahfuzul haque often hears such stories. he works for the global anti-corruption organization, transparency international. he is a specialist in climate-change mitigation and adaptation measures -- and their financing. much of the land in bangladesh is just a few meters above sea level. mahfuzul: climate finance is coming to bangladesh, but it's not what we expect right now. it needs to be increased. we have received so far about $700 million, all together. but among these $700 million, bangladesh government has the highest contribution particularly. reporter: the government has spent more than $400 million so far. projects include the construction of facilities such as schools that can also serve
as sturdy refuges, where people can shelter during storms and floods. but buildings like these are expensive. and they don't always go up where they are most needed. transparency international monitors how and where funds are spent. a school that also houses an emergency shelter has been built here in barguna district near the coast. the problem is, it's a long way from most of the villages in the area, and not a single pupil or teacher is in sight. the question is whether millions have been wasted here, and if so, why? mahfuzul: it's from one of the climate fund programs. so sometimes it's difficult to judge that the money is used properly in all cases. but this is a very exceptional case that we find that a school is not used properly, actually.
reporter: why this particular spot was chosen to build the school is anybody's guess. haque doesn't know -- or at least he won't say. voicing criticism can be very dangerous in bangladesh. as human rights organizations point out, critics of the government in dhaka have a way of disappearing. the german ambassador, thomas prinz, is not afraid to speak his mind. many bangladeshis would probably agree with him, even though they might not dare to say so. thomas: i consider corruption to be the greatest barrier to development in this country. what this country needs is clean government and clean public institutions. and above all it needs the political will to make it happen. but i see no sign of that. reporter: this market hall -- which can serve as a cyclone
shelter -- has been built at another spot in barguna district. transparency international is hosting a meeting for the villagers here. the ngo is keen to see local communities get involved. the meeting begins with a call for everybody to join forces to combat corruption. >> we are happy and grateful that we have a road to the bazaar. but it's in terrible repair and there have been accidents. some of our suppliers were injured. this is bad for business.
reporter: mehedi hasan khan represents the local government. he was at the meeting and says he will follow up on the matters raised. very many markets in bangladesh are close to water. the buildings thatouse them are rarely able to withstand floods or cyclones. a shelter also has to be tall enough or built on high-enough ground that people can shelter above flood waters. this shelter is still under construction, but quality issues are already in evidence. foreign donors are threatening to pull out of climate-change-related projects in bangladesh unless the authorities clamp down on corruption. the international community and transparency international are also calling for better financial oversight and project monitoring. mahfuzul: government is actually also eager to learn from these sorts of things. and they are actually gradually
taking these things into their planning, into their policy issues, in their documents. so it's actually helping bangladesh to get more money from climate funds. reporter: bangladesh is among the countries at most immediate risk from climate change and is in desperate need of all the help it can get to adapt. host: on particularly bad days, it can be hard to tell where you are -- cairo, paris, teheran? smog is a major problem in many cities. the international energy agency estimates that air pollution kills over six million people each year. smog is a huge issue in china, and the government is only slowly beginning to get a handle on the problem, helped along by vast projects in the field of renewables. reporter: the dream of a smog-free world is taking shape here. over 1000 kilometers from beijing in northwestern china,
the largest solar array in the world is going up. ningxia is a small autonomous region with six million inhabitants, plenty of sunshine, vast open spaces, and the ambition to become a world leader in the field of solar energy. zhang quan is convinced his country is on the right path. the engineer was proud to be one of those selected to get the project up and running. zhang: renewable energies are a historical opportunity. we can cut coal consumption by 800,000 tons per year, which dramatically reduces the emission of greenhouse gases. reporter: once the facility is completed, zhang and his colleagues will provide two million households with green energy. the project is just one of many in china. last year alone, china invested about $78 billion in renewables.
in comparison, germany spent just $13 billion. by 2020, china plans to have invested $361 billion, which will make it far and away the world leader in green energy. wind parks are also shooting up all over china. but there are many problems left to overcome -- economic reforms aimed at moving the country away from heavy industries like steel are slow. and coal-fired plants still provide at least two-thirds of china's energy. that percentage rose steadily for years -- now it's leveled off. changes are coming to beijing, where smog is often a problem. all four of the city's coal-fired power stations have been shut down. ma jum is a well-known environmental activist in china. his work has helped spark a sea-change in the way people think here. ma: ten years ago if you'd stop a passersby, many of them would maybe say, we need to develop
first. but now if you check with the citizens, i think most of them -- most likely the answer would be, you know, we need clean air, clean water, safe food. reporter: those demands are putting the government under pressure to deliver. the streets of beijing are now crowded with tens of thousands of shared bikes, and many factories have been shut. but the smog is an ongoing problem, especially when the wind blows from the wrong direction. this video shows how the entire cityscape can disappear beneath a blanket of pollution in just 20 minutes. much of it comes from neighboring provinces, where the coal lobby is still powerful and local officials are willing to turn a blind eye. jobs are at stake, so implementing environmental laws is problematic. around 28% of co2 emissions worldwide originate in china. the u.s. is in second place with
around 16%. ma jun has access to thousands of monitoring stations that measure air and water pollution. he's already collected data on 300,000 companies that emit greenhouse gases and has support from the government. online, citizen can see for themselves which factories have broken the rules. some firms even use his data when awarding contracts. ma: major companies like apple, like adidas, like walmart, before they sign a contract with local suppliers, they will compare that list with our list of violators, and motivate those violators to take corrective actions. reporter: using a specially developed app, anyone can upload photos of alleged environmental transgressions, which are then visible to all and sent directly to local authorities. it's been an effective tool. greenpeace has praised china for moving away from fossil fuels,
but is still critical about the country's energy policies. collapsing markets at home have forced state enterprises to move abroad. lauri: chinese companies and chinese banks have become some of the biggest developers and financiers of coal-fired power plants abroad, ranging from vietnam to africa to indonesia. this is a very harmful development. reporter: domestically, there are still many problems to overcome, like feeding energy into the power grid. currently, large amounts of energy are wasted. zhang quan is aware of the contradictions. does he think china can play a leading role in climate protection? the engineer from ningxia is certain it can. he says he's surrounded by proof of it every day. host: today's global snack comes from tunisia. enjoy.
reporter: tunis -- capital and political center of tunisia. some two million people live in the greater metropolitan area, in a city that's both modern and traditional. in the city's center is the sahfa toun, named after the snack made here. the snack bar is an institution, with only one thing on the menu. safha toun is made from olive oil, egg, a lot of garlic, and harissa -- a hot paste made from chili, cumin, coriander seed, garlic, salt, and olive oil. with that, you get tuna and a choice of toppings like cheese or salami. a plate costs between 40 cents and 1 euro 40. most of the customers have been shopping or work in the area.
>> it's great for your health. and it's full of tasty things, and it's just packed with garlic. >> safha toun is really substantial -- it fills you up. service here is quick. i can eat it during my lunch break and still have a bit of time. reporter: fausi wenniche fulfilled a dream when he opened the shop 10 years ago. he started cooking as a child. wenniche says the idea for the snack is all his, but preparing it is time-consuming work. fausi: in the morning, i go to the market to get the ingredients. then i prepare everything, and come here.
at 4:00 in the afternoon i go home and take a short rest. after that, i make the garlic paste, and for that i need five kilos of garlic every day. reporter: some people here even eat the dish for breakfast. the safha toun snack bar is open from 8:00 in the morning till 9:00 at night, with a steady stream of customers all day long. host: that's all from us this week. you can find much more on climate change and the u.n. summit in bonn on our website, dw.com. as always, we love hearing from you. drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on facebook. and don't forget to follow us -- dw global society. see you next time. bye for now. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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