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tv   Climate Defenders  BBC News  December 22, 2019 10:30am-11:01am GMT

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the queen has supported other royal legion events, she attended this concert on the evening before remembrance sunday this year. and other royals have been highlighting their charity projects this christmas. do you do a bit of cooking with your children? yes, i really enjoy it. again, for them to be... the cambridges recently took part in a programme with mary berry. prince william took her to the passage homeless charity which he visited with his mother, princess diana, around 30 years ago. the christmas puddings made by prince george and his family will become the centrepiece of next year's royal legion get—togethers, and form part of 99 puddings that will be sent across the charity's network in the uk and commonwealth. thousands of people will be begin arriving on stonehenge this morning to mark the winter solstice. it's been celebrated by pagans around the world
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for thousands of years to mark the shortest, darkest day of the year. the annual phenomenon is caused by the earth's north pole tilting farther away from the sun than at any other point in the year. our reporter michele cross was at stonehenge talking to those who are celebrating. my husband made our headdresses, and we come here every year, just to mark the solstices. get with the people, the atmosphere is amazing and we love to bring the kids. it is a really family atmosphere, never any trouble. and you bought your daughter, chloe. michael, just talk me through the outfits that you have put together. i like to get some bits and pieces and tie them on and stick them on our heads. happy days! you are a pagan. what does the winter
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solstice mean to you? it solstice mean to you? is celebrating ant and things like it is celebrating ant and things like land, having a little loading of need. that sort of thing, you know! coming up we meet the people looking for solutions to climate change, and follow the work of those striving to tackle this global threat — in climate defenders. now it's time for a look at the weather. parts of south and south—east england have had almost an inch of rain in the last 24 a ways. still an excess rain in the last 24 a ways. still an excess of 90 flood warnings across england, on the details on our website. some spells of sunshine this morning, all of us will see some today, showers already piling into western areas of the uk, slowly moving eastwards. quite a cold day gci’oss moving eastwards. quite a cold day across the northern highlands, temperatures fell well below zero overnight. a little change
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overnight, nature of available cloud and clear spells, also further showers merging together is longer spells of rain overnight. most of us will be frost free, again, quite equal night for the northern and eastern scotland under clear skies. for the christmas outlook — briefly turning drier on christmas day, overnight fog and frost but wetter and windy out on boxing day. hello. this is bbc news — with me, ben brown. the headlines: australia's prime minister apologises for holidaying in hawaii as wildfires continue to sweep across three states. i get it that people would have been upset to know that i was holidaying with my family while their families were under great stress. tesco suspends christmas card production at a chinese factory — following allegations of prisoners being forced to pack them. the parents of harry dunn — the teenager killed in a road accident in northamptonshire
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in august — are due to meet the home secretary today for talks. nearly 90 flood warnings are in place across the midlands and south of england — after another day of heavy rain. now on bbc news, it's climate defenders. we meet the people looking for solutions to climate change, and follow the work of those striving to tackle this global threat. i'mjustin rowlatt, in the northern ethiopian city of mek‘ele. just take a look at it. because it is absolutely stunning. it is up on the high plains of the country. as you can see, it is hot and it is dry, and according to the un this whole region is among the most vulnerable to climate change in the world. but the people here have been building defences against the risks of a changing climate for years. and that is what this
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programme is about. some of the inspiring stories of amazing people around the world who have been successfully battling climate change. meet the climate defenders. we will meet the environmental lawyer who may have saved the world half a degree of warming by banishing a dangerous greenhouse gas, the boss of an indian company cleaning up one of the world's most climate hostile industries, here in ethiopia we will meet a woman who nurtures tree seedlings who has now helped re—green 1.5 million hectares of barren, degraded land, and a man who has turned his design brilliance into clean power that's starting to undercut fossil fuels.
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the market here in mek‘ele is full of that fresh, local produce. just look at these tomatoes. absolutely delicious. but i'm not here to shop. i'm here to pose you a riddle. how can something designed to cool us down be warming us up? i would be amazed if you've got the answer, because it lies deep within these — within air—conditioning units. air—conditioning is everywhere in hot countries these days. but air—conditioning units contain chemicals called hfcs, which are thousands of times more potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. so what if we could persuade the people who make air—conditioning units to use something safer and, in the process, reduce temperature rise by half a degree centigrade? that would be, well, pretty cool, wouldn't it?
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hannah long—higgins in the united states has been to meet a man who has done just that. for this man, solving the problem of climate change isn't a matter ofjust tackling one issue. if we don't solve this problem we won't be able to solve the other problems of poverty, of peace. this is going to overwhelm everything. but what will it take to move the planet away from the brink? so we have to prioritise what will give us the fastest way to avoid warming. this has to become a new metric, the metric of speed. and his idea for speeding things up — your air—conditioning unit. we are able to avoid up to half a degree celsius of future warming and we can double that by making cooling equipment super efficient. i grew up in the ‘60s.
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i was at berkeley as an undergraduate, protesting, and i learned that students and young people have power. at my age i can continue to contribute. but i want to help the next generation. it is astounding how we package things and throw them away. two of his granddaughters work with him. and hannah very much sees herself as the next one up to the task. you guys have been working on this for 30 years. it's time for us to take over. it's time for new people, new perspective, and change. the amendment and decisions are adopted. three years ago, he was instrumental in getting 197 parties to adopt a climate treaty in kigali, rwanda. the so—called kigali amendment intends to phase down powerful greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons, or hfcs.
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the hfc refrigerants can, alone, give us avoided warming of about half a degree celsius. that may not sound like much. but remember we've warmed the planeti celsius so far, with pretty bad consequences. this half a degree of warming saved became a big rallying cry among world leaders. but let's get back to the start, when we said your air—conditioning unit was important. as the world warms, we need more air—conditioners and refrigeration and other cooling equipment to keep the world safe. but when you do that you have to have more electricity to power the air—conditioners. in the next ten years i billion more ac units will be installed globally. the other piece is the refrigerant themselves. and right now the main refrigerant is something called an hfc,
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hydrofluorocarbons. so if we focus on air—conditioning and other cooling equipment, we can squeeze out a tremendous amount of climate mitigation. that is where the kigali amendment is key. it means that on factory floors, like this one here in wisconsin, a newly developed an environmentally friendly refrigerant will be placed into air—conditioning units. honeywell is one of the companies designing these new refrigerants. global adoption of our products today has reduced the amount of c02 emissions in the by 141 million metric tons. that's the equivalent of removing 30 million cars from the road today. and this is happening without support from the white house. the kigali amendment has not been ratified by the trump administration. back in washington, dc, durwood is working on more solutions that can stop this runaway train as fast as possible. if we don't speed up we're going to find it harder and harder
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to protect the planet. so really it's how to get the message across that speed is essential. that was hannah long—higgins reporting from the us. now, i have taken a sneaky break to have a traditional ethiopian drink. look at this. different types of fruit juices all layered up. let me try it. mm. 0h. that is delicious. but this fruit bar, like so much else in all our lives could not exist without... ..electricity. and most electricity is still produced from coal. it accounts for 40% of world carbon dioxide emissions and it's why coal mining is still such a huge industry around the world. it employs about 6 million people and is the lifeblood of many communities.
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so if we want to cut coal use we have to find alternative livelihoods for those miners, which is exactly what one woman has been trying to do through a process she calls just transition. maryam moshiri has been to meet her in northern spain. cheers. the sun is setting on spain's coal mining industry. for years the industry has been economically unviable and now the demands of climate change are finishing it off altogether. but as one door closes, could more open? sharan burrow is the head of the international trade union confederation. a union boss with a difference. one who wants to defend the climate as well as workers. we want to see this region live. at the end of last year, spain reached an agreement with unions and the companies
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involved to shut down all its remaining coal mines. the fourth generation. a deal was forged which promised 250 million euros to help miners like these retire early or retrain. they call it a just transition and believe it's a model for the rest of the world. sharan is here to tell miners there is help for them, but the spanish coal mining industry is done. what we need to do is say to them we won't leave you behind and we will fight to see governments don't leave you behind — or that corporations. but some of the miners remain unconvinced. sharan is visiting the recently shut down escondida mine in castilla y leon. one of many she's visited around the world to reassure
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workers about their future. coal burning is responsible for around one third of the rise in global temperatures. the biggest single source. it looks very rich, guys. globally, around 6 million people are employed in coal mining and in some parts of the world, mostly in asia, coal—fired power stations are still being built. round here, though, things are very different. mines like this one used to be the lifeblood of this area, but over the past decade over 30,000 jobs have been lost in the coal mining industry in this region alone. in the nearby city of leon, sharan‘s visit is generating a lot of interest. just transition is under way in several countries and industry sectors and her message is blunt. we recognise there are no
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jobs on a dead planet. but there's a sharp reminder of the scale of the challenges she faces. the money these men were promised to help them retrain hasn't filtered through, because of continued political uncertainty in spain. we need to build living jobs on a sustainable planet. and if the planet is to live we need dramatic ambition. the transition to a zero carbon society is essential, but it goes hand—in—hand with helping those whose jobs will be displaced. for sharan it's very much a work in progress. she's well aware that some cases the reality does not yet match the aspiration. now let's turn our attention to something you may not even associate with climate change. no, not the vehicles driving down the street, or even the energy used by the buildings here in downtown mek‘ele. what i am talking about is the stuff the buildings are actually talking about. i'm talking about cement.
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as countries develop they start to build and build and build. all this building uses millions and millions of tons of, yes, cement. and cement produces huge amounts of carbon dioxide. 8% of the world total. so here's the question — can we make cement less damaging? well, the boss of one indian cement company says, yes, we can. he claims he's already cut emissions from his factories by 40% of the world average and he says he's going to make his factories carbon neutral by 2040. rajini vaidyanathan has been to see him in south india in tamil nadu. as india grows, so too does its use of cement, now only second to china. concrete buildings are changing the landscape here. but emissions involved in cement production are also pushing up global temperatures. the small town of ariyalur
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in india's south is nicknamed ‘cement city‘ because it is home to some of the industry's big players. and it is also here that one company is leading the world with a bold vision. to make cement carbon negative by 2040. but is that really credible? mahendra singhi, the ceo of the dalmia cement company certainly thinks so. he is at the forefront of using climate friendly ways to make cement. the challenge which we took was is it possible to bring down c02 emissions from cement and to create an example that cement can be greener also. today, we have the lowest carbon footprint in the global cement world. it has not been easy. emissions from the cement industry contribute to global warming three orfour times more than aviation does. and becoming carbon negative requires a huge investment in cutting—edge technology to remove
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the remaining carbon dioxide. so why is cement so dangerous for the planet? it is all in the way it is produced. limestone and other materials are heated to temperatures of 1400dc and that process in itself emits carbon dioxide. as does the burning of the fuels to heat the kiln. dalmia aims to reduce those levels first by using renewable fuels to heat the furnaces. here, bamboo is being used as a replacement for coal. bamboo grows rapidly on wasteland that can't be used for much else. different types of waste are also being used as fuel and waste material from power stations is added to the mix of ingredients, reducing the need for limestone. for mr singhi, this mission is personal. first we had to convince ourselves and our people that it is good for them. good for society,
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good for the future. that may be so, but why not just use less cement? the problem is that it is difficult to replace, as even environmentalists concede. in the years to come, india will rely more on cements but the notion has to change. i don't think it is practical but in the long run we can do it. we cannot eliminate the cement completely, but we can find many more alternate materials. cement has now become one of the world's most consumed materials. but many people are still unaware of the damage it does to the climate. it is still a big polluter. this plant in a small corner of india may be showing the way to reduce and one day eliminate its damage. rajini vaidya nathan there. now come with me because i'm going somewhere rather special. up to the top of this hill on the outskirts of the city.
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i want to be out in the wind because if you want to feel optimistic about our climate future, just look at the price of electricity generated by offshore wind. it has fallen by one third in the last few years and is now so cheap it could put fossil fuels out of business. and that is thanks, in part, to the work of a danish inventor. he has been called the father of the wind industry and freya cole has been to see him. wind. the invisible source of energy which now has the potential to change the world. the question used to be we like it but can we afford it? now the question is how can we afford not to? from a young age danish inventor henrik stiesdal knew that a lot more could be done to use this natural and free source of electricity. henrik created his first wind turbine at the age of 16. in 1991 he opened the world's first
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offshore wind farm and his design for the modern wind turbine earned the title of the danish concept and that concept has shaped the wind industry for what it is today. and its efficiency, which is henrik‘s biggest motivation. one of the biggest blades that he has helped design is 94 metres long. the blade is one seamless piece of fibreglass with no joins. while the blades have grown in size, the costs are shrinking. according to a new study by the paris—based international energy agency, the costs are set to fall a further 60% by 2040. every time these blades make a full rotation, this turbine generates enough power for the average european household for a day. so there is no denying the strength in wind energy. but for this industry to make
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a meaningful impact worldwide, there are still challenges to overcome. around the world, the untapped potential of offshore wind is vast, especially when you move further from shore into deeper water. the answer is floating wind turbines. according to the international energy agency, floating turbines could unlock enough potential to meet the world's total electricity demand 11 times over by 2040. henrik is inventing a floating wind turbine which he says could be mass produced at a factory. he says it is a key to driving down costs to make it cheaper than fossil fuel competitors. so the real trick of all of this is getting our products industrialised. the next hurdle for the industry is to capture all of the electricity so it does not go to waste when wind drops and to work out the best way to feed it back to the grid.
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i am putting in a lot of effort on developing storage systems both for day—to—day storage and also for seasonal storage so we can store energy made when we have a lot of wind in the wintertime to be used in the summertime. henrik is optimistic. he has watched the industry develop from the impossible to the possible, to a future reaching even greater heights. freya cole reporting, and now we come to the story of how the people here in northern ethiopia have been working for years to make their country more resilient to the effect of our changing climate. this whole semiarid region south of the sahara is expected to suffer some of the worst effect of climate change and, look around me. virtually all the trees have been cut down leaving just this rough scrub. that makes the soil much more vulnerable to erosion and the land much less fertile. but ethiopia has been fighting to break that vicious cycle. it has restored one and a half million hectares.
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yep, one and a half million hectares of degraded land. so how has ethiopia done this and what can the rest of the world learn from its example? 100 years ago, trees covered one third of ethiopia. now it is less than 5%. and without trees, there is nothing to protect the soil from drought, wind and burst of rain which all become more intense with climate change. when the soil goes, very little grows. but people are breaking this vicious circle. this one is the african olive. does it bear fruit? yes, it does grow olives. sarah tewolde—berhan is an expert at restoring degraded land. this is her tree nursery at mek‘ele university in northern ethiopia. some 30 or 40 years ago data shows that droughts were occurring every ten years. now they are every five years. so we need to prepare,
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as a community, as a society to be able to function in drought years and one of the best ways to do that is to restore the environments and restore the environments we can capture every little drop of rain that comes. here is how it works. people and animals are kept out to allow natural regrowth. the trees help keep moisture in the soil, recharging rivers and springs. it may seem trivial to people who live in wet environments that a spring has come back. but for people who live in a dry environment, a spring that was around 100 years ago or 200 years ago is now coming back and giving water. it is highly significant. and this re—greening is happening on a vast scale. in this one province in northern ethiopia, they have reforested 15,000 square kilometres.
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trees are also a source of cash. local people get paid for every unit of carbon stored here. last year, the community was paid 33,000 euros from an international carbon offset scheme. that money goes on community projects like water conservation and a new school. worldwide, we are still losing an area of forest the size of the uk every single year. but the re—greening effort here in ethiopia is a lesson in what can be done. evidence that, when people work together, we can build resilience to our changing climate. my time in ethiopia has come to an end. we are all packed up and ready to go. but i have been so impressed by all the work that people on this programme have been doing to combat climate change. it is so reassuring to know that an army of climate defenders already exist.
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but it is also clear that we have a long and difficult journey ahead and we all need to be on board. and i hope that you have been inspired tojoin the climate defenders. time to go. hello. it we are still clearing some overnight trains from east anglia, eastern counties of england. some counties have had almost another inch in the last 24 hours on top of the previous rain, still a number of flood warnings in place. some
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sunshine to come, also for showers from the west this afternoon, heavy and thundery will do find them. 7 to 11 celsius the typical high. cold and frosty overnight for the highlands. 0vernight is a mixture of clear variable cloud, showers becoming more frequent to manage to give longer spells of rain. most will stay above freezing, parts of northern and eastern scotland dropping below freezing with a frost here. most of the showers tomorrow concentrate on more malvern island, southern scotland and north—west england. to the north and south of this, the riot with some spells of sunshine. temperatures up to 10 or 11 celsius. ?
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this is bbc news. i'm ben brown. the headlines at 11am: australia's prime minister apologises for holidaying in hawaii as wildfires continue to sweep across three states. i get it, that people would have been upset to know that i was holidaying with my family while theirfamilies were under great stress. tesco suspends christmas card production at a chinese factory — after a 6—year—old girl in london finds a message claiming that prisoners are being forced to pack them. the parents of harry dunn, the teenager killed in a road accident in northamptonshire in august, are due to meet the home secretary for talks. nearly 90 flood warnings are in place across the midlands and south of england after another day of heavy rain.


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