Kumi Naidoo: UN Shouldn’t 'Pander to Madness That Comes Out of the Trump Administration'
"The U.N. cannot continue to pander to the madness that comes out of the Trump administration," Naidoo said, after the U.S. hosted a panel at the conference with a forum pushing coal, gas and nuclear power.
Watch the interview below:
Here's a transcript of the interview:
Amy Goodman: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. We're broadcasting live from the U.N. climate summit here in Bonn, Germany. We just played for you the protest that took place, the revolt that took place yesterday at the U.S.'s only session that they held here, this first COP after President Trump announced plans to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. But it's a four-year process. And if that goes through, it ends the day after the next Election Day. The official debut of the U.S. administration was at a forum pushing coal, gas and nuclear power, the presentation including speakers from Peabody Energy, NuScale nuclear and a gas exporter.
We are continuing our conversation now with Kumi Naidoo, South African activist, former head of Greenpeace, now chairperson of Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity.
Now, we have pleaded with David Banks, the U.S. president's representative, President Trump's representative here, who said he was completely accessible, stayed right next to our booth throughout the time all of our producers went out to talk to him, but said he would not come on the broadcast, at least today. We'll attempt to try. But, Kumi Naidoo, as you went off the set for a few minutes, you got a chance to speak with David Banks.
Kumi Naidoo: Yes. I spent about 15 minutes with him. He seems to be a decent human being. He basically is not denying any of the things that we are saying, but his argument is, "Oh, technology and innovation will sort everything out." And I—
Amy Goodman: But not solar and wind.
Kumi Naidoo: Yeah, yeah. No, it's really focused on a hold—and I put it to him that "Do you realize that you are actually giving up economic opportunities, because of successful economies?" Body language suggests that they are aware of that. And the fact, the isolation—and they say they—President Trump has not ruled out the possibility of coming back. But right now, let me tell you—and, Amy, you and I have been at COPs for so long. Right now, almost now, people want to say, "Actually, if the U.S. is going to behave like this, better they stay out. Let the rest of the world go ahead. And we'll work with the governors of those states that want to be involved, the majority of municipalities in the United States that want to be involved, the civil society." And—
Amy Goodman: This is the We are Still In coalition.
Kumi Naidoo: Yeah, yeah.
Amy Goodman: Yesterday, Governors Inslee and Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, and Washington state, almost took over the U.S. government's press event—
Kumi Naidoo: Yes, yes.
Amy Goodman: —by just coming in and stating, basically, "This is a sham."
Kumi Naidoo: And I want to say something to the UNFCC. The people that did that peaceful protest, they've been debadged and thrown out. Right?
Amy Goodman: They have been, yesterday?
Kumi Naidoo: That's what I understand. I stand to be corrected, if that—anyway, I did a protest; that's what happened to me, as well, some years ago. But what they did with that panel, this only first panel, is an impeachable offense, really. I mean, it may—they come and present something—
Amy Goodman: You mean the U.S. government.
Kumi Naidoo: The U.S. government.
Amy Goodman: The Trump administration.
Kumi Naidoo: To do a panel that actually goes against 99.99 percent of those scientific consensus in the world—right?—and to give them a platform to do that, I say to the UNFCCC that, in fact, it is inappropriate, and the U.N. cannot continue to pander to the madness that comes out of the Trump administration. We have to say to them, "If you want to be out, you stay out. Don't come and poison this negotiations the way that you're doing." Those that are aligned to the vision of the Paris accord, limit—you know, imperfect as it is, let us move ahead. Because what they do here is they come, they suck up a lot of oxygen, they hold back negotiations. And let's be blunt about it. It's not as if the Obama administration was perfect here. They also held us back. It's just that, you know—or, certainly, the Trump administration—
Amy Goodman: We have 10 seconds for your final message.
Kumi Naidoo: —also did it. So, time is running out. We need American people. And we are happy that at least the American people are with us, if not the American president.
Amy Goodman: We thank you so much, Kumi Naidoo, South African activist, former head of Greenpeace, now chairperson of Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity.
And that does it for our broadcast here in Bonn, Germany.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Democracy Now!.
This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.
1. Kiss the Ground<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ccc5f0c92a5603e68aec39e56b0db02a"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K3-V1j-zMZw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 22</strong></p><p>Between <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wildfires-california-washington-oregon-photos-2647585008.html" target="_self">wildfires devastating the U.S. West Coast</a> and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tropical-storm-beta-landfall-2647760268.html" target="_self">storms battering the Gulf</a>, the impacts of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/climate-change/" target="_self">climate crisis</a> can feel overwhelming right now. <em><a href="https://kissthegroundmovie.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Kiss the Ground</a> </em>offers an alternative to all of the bad news by focusing on solutions.</p><p>The film, directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell and narrated by Woody Harrelson, explains how we can heal the Earth through "regenerative agriculture," farming practices that draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and into soil as a way to restore soil health, which in turn boosts ecosystems and food supplies.</p><p>"<em>Kiss the Ground </em>shows how feasible it is to make these changes at a grassroots level immediately and make a truly substantive impact with low cost and easy to implement solutions," Executive Producer RJ Jain said in an email. "This is why I got involved."</p>
2. Public Trust: The Fight for America's Public Lands<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5338f7a2931e356910026e5fd76fac56"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jsKMTAaj_wQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: YouTube</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 25, 2 p.m. EDT </strong></p><p>This <a href="https://www.patagonia.com/films/public-trust/" target="_blank">award-winning documentary</a> tells the stories of Indigenous activists, journalists, whistleblowers and historians working to protect America's <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/public-lands" target="_self">public lands</a>. The film focuses on three political struggles: the shrinking of <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/bears-ears" target="_self">Bears Ears</a> National Monument in Utah, the mining of Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minnesota and the opening of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/Arctic-National-Wildlife-Refuge" target="_self">Arctic National Wildlife Refuge</a> to fossil fuel exploration.</p><p><em>Public Trust</em> was directed by David Garrett Byars and produced by Jeremy Rubingh. Patagonia Films, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and actor Robert Redford are executive producers. It will be <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGjnIG7puzY" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">released</a> on YouTube in time for <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/national-public-lands-day-2640656776.html" target="_self">National Public Lands Day</a>.</p><p>"Our country is fortunate to have millions of acres of public lands, including National Parks, Monuments, Wildlife Refuges and Wilderness set aside for future generations," Redford said. "Sadly, these lands that belong to you and me are under unprecedented threats from the greed of big corporations, eager to weaken restrictions in the pursuit of profits. Many of our current politicians are also to blame. <em>Public Trust</em> tells the story of citizens who are fighting back. It's a much-needed wake-up call for all of us who want to preserve our unique and wild cultural heritage."</p>
3. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="156438a30836a765d7a92982545fc334"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/B_OFZvAd05Y?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Oct. 4</strong></p><p>Beloved nature broadcaster <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/David-Attenborough" target="_self">David Attenborough</a> has spent his career introducing viewers to the wonders of our planet. In recent years, his footage of albatrosses swallowing <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/plastics" target="_self">plastic</a> in <em>Blue Planet II</em> has been credited with <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/2018-fighting-plastic-waste-2624606566.html" target="_self">helping to ramp up</a> the global fight against plastic pollution. Now, in this <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">World Wildlife Fund</a> (WWF)-produced <a href="https://www.attenborough.film/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">documentary</a>, he reflects on the defining moments of his career and the devastating changes he has witnessed.</p><p><em>David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet,</em> which was also produced by Silverback Films and directed by Alastair Fothergill, Jonnie Hughes and Keith Scholey, features an intimate conversation between Attenborough and Sir Michael Palin as the broadcaster reflects on his life and a career that took him to every continent on Earth. In addition to streaming on Netflix, the movie will be available in select theaters starting Sept. 28.</p><p>"For decades, David has brought the natural world to the homes of audiences worldwide, but there has never been a more significant moment for him to share his own story and reflections," WWF executive producer Colin Butfield said in a <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/david-attenborough-life-our-planet" target="_blank">statement</a>. "This film coincides with a monumental year for environmental action as world leaders make critical decisions on nature and climate. It sends a powerful message from the most inspiring and celebrated naturalist of our time."</p>
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