22/07/2013 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines. With Gavin Esler.

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It is a boy! The great Kate wait is over, the royal baby was born late


this afternoon at a hospital in central London. The babies whose


birth was proclaimed in traditional fashion at the palace is third in


line to the throne. It may be a very long time before he becomes


king. We will discuss with historians and writers what the


secret will be of the monarchy's enduring popularity. David


Cameron's on-line porn crackdown may be getting good headlines, but


is it plausible, will the Government find it possible to


control the Internet? The police minister Damien Green will tell us.


The indie musician, Amanda Palmer, on how tabloid coverage of her


wardrobe malfunction led her to take on the Daily Mail.


# Dear Daily Mail, you still haven't answered my better


# But tonight I'm being interviewed on Newsnight


# And I think that's even better! Alaska the last frontier where the


ice is getting thinner, we have a special report on the implications


of climate change. Good evening, mother and baby, Royal Mother and


Royal Baby doing well. The boy, third in line to the throne, was


born just over six hours ago at 4.24pm. Weighing 8lbs and 6oz.


Given the longevity of the House of Windsor it may be 60 years before


he becomes kings. It brings a resurgence of an institution that


has survived the difficulties of the 1990s and is nowadays


overwhelmingly popular according to opinion polls. We will discuss this


extraordinary alchemy in a few moments, first we have this.


The third in line to the throne arrived at 4.24pm. The news came


four hours later on the easal that had announced Prince William's


birth. In a statement the Duke of Cambridge said the couple couldn't


be happier, and it turned out neither could the rest of us.


an important moment in the life of our nation, but I suppose above all


it is a wonderful moment for a warm and loving couple who have got a


brand-new baby boy. The official announcement will have come as a


relief to St Mary's Hospital, which has put up with the "Kate wait"


camp on its doorstep for the last three weeks. For centuries the


practice was packed with people bearing witness to the royal birth.


The Home Secretary was in the room until 1948. Today the appetite is


still there to be there for the birth. It is just that it is taking


place on the other side of the wall. With no actual facts to report for


most of the day journalists took to interviewing each other. Newsnight


was no exception. How many of these sorts of things have you covered,


how many royal events? Quite a few. Have you covered a birth before?


Yes. Have you ever known it like this? No because that was in the


day of film, the days of modern technology everybody can come along


and do this. And just immediate access worldwide access. Today if


the royal baby is born, we are making breaking news. Why do you


think it is such a big story in Japan? I think Japanese people


really love the Royal Family. Because it shows the history of


your country. There is a crisis with our monarchy so Spanish people


don't like the Spanish monarchy a lot, they prefer to look at other


monkeys, for example the British Monday -- other Monarchies, for


example the British Monarchy. monarchy is bigger than your


monarchy, why? Your monarchy is the biggest Monarchy in the world. When


we think about the Monarchy in Europe we think about the British


one. Your one is real, the others are a copy. What a difference two


decades make. It has turned out to be an annus horribilus. In 1992 the


Windsors were hardly role model material. It was the year that


Princess Diana signalled the marriage to Prince Charles was over,


by sitting alone at the monument to love. Windsor Castle almost burnt


down, and five years later when Princess Diana died the Queen lost


public support by appearing cold and aloof. Now the monarchy isn't


kus in calmer waters, it can even a-- just in calmer waters, it can


even afford to laugh at itself. Good evening Mr Bond. Good evening


your majesty. The Royal Family is still around because it has been


very successful at its first and only function which is to reproduce


and to carry on. It has also survived the only serious attempt


to do away with it in the 17th century. In Britain we don't


particularly like the huge moments of constitutional reconstruction or


change. So if the Royal Family is there, it is not doing anyone too


much harm. It provides marvellous days like today or the Jubilee,


where we can all have a little bit of a party. So why do away with it.


It is actually managing to harness that combination of love, an inate


conservatism and huge apathy that exists in this country. The Royal


Family is not the only institution in Britain to be weakened in recent


years, parliament, the church, our newspapers, and of course the BBC,


have lost support. But perhaps the royals are the only ones to have


come back stronger. With me now are the chief curator of the historic


royal palaces, who is new documentary Secrets of the Royal


Bed Chamber will be known on BBC Four, we have a Republican, and the


author of The Great Survivors, how the monarchy made it into the 20th


century. And Michael Wolf, contributing editor to Vanity Fair.


Give us a sense of what you think this moment means for you and


Britain? Well it is not a game- changer, a girl would have been


more constitutionally and historically significant. It is a


very important moment of history in an important institution. It is


another plank supporting them. think it is a hereditary monarchy,


the most important thing they have to do is reproduce, they have to


produce an heir, that has happened today. I agree it would have been


constitutionally a lot more interesting had it been a girl


because the rules had been changed to make sure she would succeed to


the throne. Still great, we should celebrate. I think in a country


where equality is one of our core values and enshrined in our laws


and international treaties and we have an Equality and Human Rights


Commission, it is very weird to have this institution which is


based on privilege and inherited privilege. I think, I'm sure the


parents are very pleased about having this child, it is bad news


for the institution. Because it means for the rest of the 21st


century, unless something unexpected happens, we will not


have any head of state who is anything other than a white man.


Because there will be another 60 or 70 years? Or more, given the


longevity of this family, we might have 30 years of Charles, 30 years


of William and then this child. a republican you regret we are not


having a girl? From my point of view it is a very good thing, I


think a lot of institutions are under pressure because they haven't


actually allowed women to assume a full role, now we are going to have


an institution, a head of state, which absolutely excludes women for


the whole of the century. I just wondered in New York how you see it


from there. Why are so many American media over here going


nuts? It is really quite extraordinary. If you think about


it, you could go out on the street and nobody would know who David


Cameron is. But out on the street now everyone is basically


celebrating this birth. So if you are a professional cynic you would


go, hmmm, go figure this. But I think it is, well, you know, I


think that the Monarchy in addition to reproducing, the thing they have


to do is stage incredible media events. This one seems successful.


I heard a correspondent from CBS tonight saying you put them on the


cover, you sell more magazines, is that partly what it is about?


do sell more magazines. There is what we have combined here are the


two things that Americans and especially American women love most


which is a celebrity child and royalty, British royalty at that.


Do you worry Lucy that this is what known about us abroad. As Michael


said, they don't know who David Cameron is but they know who Kate


and William are, they are superstars? My point of view this


is brilliant, these Americans are the tourists coming to London and


contributing �26 billion to the British economy, that money, from


my point of view, is going into the conservation of historic buildings


and helping people to learn about history. I'm not worried about that.


If you don't like the institution, but do you accept that as a fact,


people come here and love Britain as part of the Royal Family? There


is not a shred of evidence on that, Republic did a Freedom of


Information Act to visit Britain and asked for the evidence royal


events bring in tourists. There is no evidence whatsoever. I was down


at Buckingham Palace, there were only a few people there until 8.00.


The media kept saying the masses are gathering and I couldn't see


them. If Buckingham Palace was a museum and open to the public all


the time, that would be terrific. In terms of museum there were those


in the 1990s that thought the Royal Family would become museum pieces,


after Diana's death, and a couple of years before that, there were


various things that caused public image problems. How did they manage


to rebuild, when so many British institutions, we heard it in the


piece before that the BBC, the Catholic Church, the National


Health Service, the Police, they have all been under the hammer, but


the Royal Family is more popular now than perhaps ever? They


obviously went through a very, very difficult period during the 1990s,


basically due largely to the various martial break-ups. Most


obviously Diana and Charles and Diana's death. One could say the


outpouring of grief that surrounded and followed Diana's death showed


that in fact the monarchy was in a good position in that people did


care. People cared passionately about it. I think it is just a


sense, it is the passage of time, these things get healed. These


problems heal, people have gradually come to accept Camilla.


One sees her poll ratings have gone up. The other divorces we had no-


one really cares about them. happened before. You have written


about the 1930s, the abdication for Victoria. She disappears off the


scene in the 1870s through grief. There is a strong Republican


Government, it is a pattern of long regin and they have issues and then


come back, simply having survived. They have terrific resources to put


into PR. If someone wants to give me �10 million to organise a


festival of republicanism and democracy in this country I'm sure


I could do it. I will come to you in a second. It is more than just


PR, it is the sense that many people feel of continuity, nobody


wants a President Blair or President Thatcher, they like the


things work, even if they can find difficulty in rationalising.


President Blair is a red herring, you have to be popular to win


elections, as Blair is the most unpopular person in Britain he's


unlikely to get far or stand. The most important point is they are an


institution unto which we don't know very much about it. That is


part of the selling point? Queen has become a kind of


matriarchal mother of the nation figure, everything will change when


Charles, a man whose letters to ministers are so intemperate that


we can't see them because we find out his political views. You wanted


to come in You shouldn't downplay the crisis aspect of this monarchy,


they provided an enormous amount of drama. The newspapers and magazines


that were sold during the 1980s and 1990s largly because of Diana are,


actually the business went into the doldrums after Diana died. I think


that this monarchy not only produces children but continually


produces some kind of drama. But do you think, I'm thinking in terms of


the Americans see us, do you see us as pretty much heritage Britain


with the Royal Family at the core of it, rather than 21st century


Britain who would like to build high-speed trains and do modern


things? I can't think of a time that Britain has been less


interesting to the US than now. You know I think that's probably for a


full variety of reasons. Economically, the economics among


them. Nevertheless, as I said, this monarchy thing is you can feel it


in the street today. You are you are familiar with previous royal


scandals, is there anything different. We have continuity of


that as well as the other bits? What the House of wind dor seem to


have, numerous members, this is very important, they have


discipline as well, so with the Hanoverians there is different


heirs available, but they were fighting against each other. It


seems we see the long shadow of George V here, a man setting up


systems on one hand to us they look cold and ruthless, but on the other


hand they have been very successful. You know despite it all I think you


would agree there is a sort of self-sacrificing dutiful aura to


the senior members in the House of Windsor. I think if I were to


announce here tonight that no woman, no black person, no Asian, probably


no gay person can be head of state and represent this country in the


world for the next century, people would say what on earth is wrong


with this country. Even if you are right, in 06 years time when this


baby -- 60 years time when this baby is perhaps the age when he


becomes king there will still be a monarchy in Britain? I'm not sure


it will be here. Why not pick another baby tonight and say he or


she will become her reddity Prime Minister when this baby ascends to


the throne, it is that silly. you confident in the Royal Family's


ability to reinvent itself and continue? I think so, I don't see


any reason why it shouldn't. They have done so far. If it were a


question of a sort of gradual long- term reduction in popularity then


one would say they have another 50 years or 60 years or whatever. But


they do keep bouncing back. If you were to look at a graph of


popularity over the years, it does follow a cycle. There is a natural


life cycle to it. There are ages when potentially they become more


troublesome, perhaps where marriages start to fall apart or


whatever. They enter this later phase when they become veinerable,


elderly institutions in their own right. It will still be one of the


great paradoxs of our times that this great Republic you are sitting


in right now is full of millions of people who love what goes on in a


British Royal Family? Absolutely. And for one I'm always surprised by


this. I for one amalso enamoured by the Royal Family. We have 30


seconds less, what should they call him? He will have a whole load of


names and make up his own mind in due course, that is a sensible way


of doing it. Dodging the question. What about George, that seems to be


one of the more popular names? is not very imaginative, but I


think it would do wouldn't it? Imaginative is perhaps not the core


value they are looking for. Joan I hesitate to ask you what they


should call the baby? I couldn't careless, I'm more interested in


Syria, frankly. Michael do you have a view? I think they should call it


Michael! On that happy note we will leave it, thank you very much.


In a moment. # Dear Daily mail # You still haven't answered my


letter # But now I am being interviewed on


Newsnight # I think that's even better!


there was widespread praise today for the stated aim of the Prime


Minister to protect children from what he called "pos sonous


websites" where they can access porn. There were doubts about


whether the suggested methods would do the job. It includes family-


friendly filters to block porn websites, making the possession of


pornography with violent rape scenes illegal, and telling


companies like Google they have until October to figure out how to


block searches based on certain phrases.


At the heart of this debate is a question, "whose responsibility is


it to police the Internet"? To stop both the illegal but also what some


consider the distasteful being watched and consumed. In a speech


to a children's charity today the Prime Minister said anyone signing


up to a new broadband account will see a family-friendly version of


the internet and unless they click a box and make a decision to turn


that filter off. Over a third of children have received a sexual


low- explicit text or e-mail. In a recent survey said a quarter of


children had seen pornography that had upset them. It is happening and


it is happening on our watch as adults. The effect it can have can


be devastating. Effectively are children are growing up too fast.


The technical details of this are important, under Government plans


the adult who pays the broadband bill will have to untick a box if


they want to see websites featuring adult material, from porn to


violence, self-harm and suicide. Blocked sites would then be


filtered out by the broadband company itself. All devices which


use the home's Wi-Fi network should be stopped from accessing those


pages. The UK's biggest internet service providers, or ISPs have


signed up. Meaning 95% of homes in the UK should be covered. New


broadband customers will be the first to have to make this choice,


though the idea will then be extended to all existing users. On


the whole ISPs have been cautious about a system like this. Partly


because they say it encourages parents to be complacent. Today


critics of the plan say it is already out of date and easily


bypassed by any tech-savvy teenager. What the Government has announced


today is a pious hope that technology will fix a social


problem. And that technology will not fix that problem because the


sort of filters which they are proposing to have deployed are


relatively easy for people to evade. Children stpiend it extremely easy


already to get on to -- find it extremely easy already to get on to


Facebook at school, and they will find it just as easy to get on to


porn sites on computer at home. Last week the Prime Minister met


the families of Tia Sharpe and April Jones whose killers watched


child sexual images. Today he said he would make it against the law to


own pornography depicting rape, and blocking searches for what is


likely to be illegal material. have a message for Google, Bing


Yahoo and the rest, you have a duty to do this and it is a moral duty.


That message was well received for groups campaigning against sexual


violence, but the Internet is constantly changing, many question


whether it will be ever possible to really control what anyone watches


on-line. The Policing Minister is here. Many, many people, including


the pop position have said we like the aim of it -- including the


opposition have said we like the aim of it trying to do something


about particularly children having access to pornography. They think


the details are a bit woolly. Isn't the parents' responsibility to sort


out whether there is a filter or not on their computer? It is, this


makes it easier for them to do it. They could do it? A lot of people


don't know how to. What the Internet providers can do is make


it really easy. When you get a new system at home, you will have a box


that says if you just carry on then you will have the filters on, so


you have to take a conscious decision, which as an adult you can


do, saying you don't want filters on. If you have children you don't


want to see it you tick the right button. This is a false sense of


security, as a parent I have ticked that box, job done I can forget


about it, the kid can either get round it or get the stuff from


school or friends and even see some pretty nasty Stuff in the news


agent. Its not a panacea? The news agent is an interesting analogy,


they used to call them top-shelf magazines to some children buying


them. As technology what we try to protect children from is still the


same. The way we do it needs to change. That is what today's raft


of measures is about. A false sense of security may be right if you as


a parent think all I do is tick this box and then my child at home


will be protected? At the moment you don't have that option and your


child may well not be protected and many parents who are indeed more


ignorant about the Internet than their children have absolutely no


protection. There is no single magic bullet that will solve all of


this. What you have to do is for parents and Governments and


internet service providers and search engines all to accept some


responsibility here. When it comes to images of children being abused,


those unanimous support, something has to be done. The question is


whether this something is the right something. Google put it today that


they have a "zero tolerance" to child sex abuse imagery, whenever


they discover it they respond quickly to remove and report it.


What more do they have to do that they are not doing already? They


are talking about imagery. What the Prime Minister is talking about are


search terms that we know the search terms that people use. Some


of which are particularly violent and not to be said on television.


You get round that by changing the terms? In which case regulators,


the police operations like CEOP will be able to follow this, they


will be able to change the terms which will provide a nil return,


you won't get images. The former head of CEOP said there are 50,000


predators downloading images from peer-to-peer, passing them between


themselves, only 192 were arrested last year, that is simply not good


enough. I assume you agree with that it is not good enough? One of


the things CEOP will be concentrating on now is very much


the hardcore, those using peer-to- peer, they will be habitual users


of child abuse images, and CEOP can concentrate on that. At the same


time, you have to do other things at the start of the process of


people for the first time thinking shall I look at these images?


That's what innovations like these pages that warn you off when you


try to do this. There are ways around it, people are cunning when


they use that, otherwise there wouldn't be peer-to-peer traffic


and using different ISPs and using American or other identities to get


round the system can't you? You can try, we have never stamped out


burglary or murder, that doesn't mean you shouldn't pass laws


against crimes. We all agree child abuse is a particularly vile crime.


There is enforcement, that was the point, you have to get these people


nailed, it is not simply about making sure certain words are


difficult to find on the internet? That is part of it, it stops people


going on a journey that may end up with them using peer-to-peer


sharing of vile images. At CEOP it needs better international


connections, that is why we are making it part of the National


Crime Agency. It is going to set up a national image database to make


it easier for all police forces to know what the images are that


reveal the predators. There is one other area of this that the Prime


Minister touched on today which is extreme pornography, making the


possession of simulated rape, violent simulated rape illegal. Now


this may be very distasteful, why if people want to engage and film


that kind of stuff for themselves, why should that become illegal?


is particularly for children, it is the problem, it is almost always


young boys accessing it, it is just warping their view of sexuality.


There is nothing new in having that particular type of pornography


illegal, it is already illegal in Scotland. What we want to do is


replicate in England and Wales what already happens in Scotland. That


is the sort of stuff that even in fairly mainstream but tough films


you can see that kind of, Straw Dogs in 1971 caused a real furore


over that, you can see it? Anything that has a film classification


wouldn't be covered by this, that's not aimed at if you like the


pornography market. That is a film. If the British Board of Film


Classification gives it a certificate, it is not covered by


these rules. Just to be clear, people filming themselves, if they


get some pleasure, adults filming themselves for their own use, that


could be covered by this? If they put it on-line so that 12-year-old


boys can look at it, then that's what we want to stop. One final


point, there is a quote from Index and Sensor yp, is saying that


things for people with questions about sexuality might be covered by


this? If you type in "child sex" it can come up with a question saying


"are you talking about child sex education" if you are, it will give


you a list of sites about child sex education that will not be showing


child abuse images. There are ways to device filters to ask you


questions if you are legitimately searching you can carry on.


Imagine if you can that you are on the stage at the world's leading


rock festival, Glastonbury, when you have what the tabloid's call a


wardrobe malfunction. Then a very popular newspaper on-line website


said you made a bit of a boob on yourself. Publishing a picture so


that everyone understands the boob you have in mind. What do you do?


If you are the singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer, whose performances


often involve nudity, you are bemused and essentially write a


song in reply. # Dear Daily Mail


# There is a search engine music # If you googled my tits


# You would have found my boobs # Were hardly exclusive. It is the


world's most visited website they say, but is the web machine dealing


with something new here. They couldn't see the exchange that was


happening between me and my crowd, an exchange fair to us but alien to


them. Celebrity is about a lot of people loving you from a distance.


But the Internet and the content that we are freely able to share on


it are taking us back, it is about a few people loving you up close


and about those people being enough. I met Amanda Palmer earlier today


to hear her views on how she had made the news. The first thing I


thought was someone sent me the link to the Daily Mail on Twitter,


the first thing I thought was that the Daily Mail doesn't know me if


they are writing a song about my breasts being exposed. Especially


because I did this TED talk a few months ago, a feature part of the


talk is a photograph of me is naked and my fans drawing on me.


breast had escaped? You have had a record? My entire body had escaped.


Obviously the Daily Mail is not going to care one way or another if


I'm the kind of performance artist who gets naked, they know they have


caught a photograph of a woman you know with her breasts slightly


exposed. Actually the context is irrelevant. Whether or not they


knew I was the sort of person who get naked at other times doesn't


matter to them because they know it doesn't really matter to readers.


suppose when this kind of story comes up, it is always said it is


just a bit of fun, and also this is a very, you know, one of the best-


selling newspapers in the world. People seem to like it? Hurray for


them! Your husband is British, did he not warn you about this? Well my


husband is British, and he's done a very good job at educating me about


the varieties of British press and how actually how the British press


differs in its approach in a lot of ways from the American press. For


instance I just had an article in the Guardian that I was sort of


upset by but the British people who read it were like no, no, the


British do this thing. They tear you apart but at the very end they


say they like you. That is a very British press approach. You know,


as Americans we have different sets of filters and stuff. But I didn't


really understand the nature of the Daily Mail until after I wrote my


song response. And watched the dialogue around it erupt. The


Americans don't really have an equivalent newspaper to the Daily


Mail that is kind of part right- wing agenda but part tabloid. You


know we have our tabloids but our tabloids are kind of cute and


harmless. People pick them up at supermarkets but they are really


just you know, there is not enough content in them, there is not


enough attention on them to revile them. Where as the Daily Mail seems


to be nationally despised. You say "despised", but it does sell, it


sells very well? I think probably in the circles I travel in it's


despised. I'm hanging out with a certain type of person. I'm really


shocked that you don't hang out with a lot of people that don't


gravitate to the Daily Mail, that surprises me? It tells you a lot


about, and this is very true in America, how deeply divided culture


is. There can be a whole world happening that you are unaware of


in your day-to-day existence. talk about music business,


musicians and writers and journalists all have relationships


with their audience, what is the difference between the relationship


you have with your audience and the Daily Mail has with its? I don't


know if anybody really loves deeply, passionately, loves the Daily Mail.


(music) Was that a plus one. What was that? The doorbell. How did you


do that!? Magic.Let's talk a bit about music business, there is one


parallel between newspapers in this country and in America and the


music business, which is nobody really knows how to make money out


of the digital age. Musicians certainly don't? I think what you


are seeing now with things like Kickstarter and Crowdfunding and


the aspects of patronage happening on the Internet is a new more


internet relationship between artists and the people who love


them. Because before you just had this giant wall inbetween of


commerce. So this year I'm going all over the globe to Australia,


Africa and Oslo and Israel and Canada and everywhere to deliver


House Party that sold on Kickstarter for $5,000 each. They


were groups of fans who gathered together and organised themselves


and threw down money for a party. And especially in places where I


don't normally tour and they paid for me to come. The Kickstarter got


all sorts of attention for all sorts of reasons, that is the most


impressive element of the Kickstarters, and all those who


wanted me to play at the time started Facebook pages and trusted


each other and threw down their money and put it in a bank by one


person, they did it all without agents, or managers or anything,


just with trust and grassroots people. You have a million


followers on twitter and you have these parties, is there a time when


you won't engage with the audience and you will rather be alone and


cut yourself off and do what a lot of other artists have done?


Because I got into music to begin with. I started writing songs and


wanted to make art because I liked connecting with people so much. Not


the other way round. I don't connect with people because I have


to do that in order to spread my art around. It is backwards. I


don't think I'm ever going to pull a JD Sallinger, I'm not the type.


Thank you very much. Alaska is a land of pristine


wilderness, sparse population and extraordinarily rich resources. It


is also one of the corners of our planet experiencing the most


dramatic effects of climate change. The carbon economy that made Alaska


rich is threatening the state's ecosystem. And presenting the US,


the world's second-largest carbon emitter with a huge challenge.


Kivalina, an Innuit settlement on the far North West coast of Alaska.


Home to 400 indigenous people whose lives depend on hunting and fishing.


These waters have sustained them for generations. But now the


dramatic warming of the Arctic north and the retreat of the sea


ice has left Kivalina cruelly exposed. Thick sea ice used to


protect Kivalina from the worst effects of coastal erosion, not any


more. In recent years the village has faced the threat of being


washed away, which is why the US Army Corps of Engineers built this


defensive wall of rocks to keep the sea at bay. But it is only a


temporary solution. The engineers themselves reckon that Kivalina


could be uninhabitable within a decade. Kivalina is one of several


Innuit coastal settlements facing imminent destruction. These


villagers are destined to be America's first climate change


refugees. Relocating Kivalina to higher ground would cost several


hundred million dollars, community leaders in the village responded to


their might by suing a host of big oil companies. Claiming they


conspired to downplay the link between climate change and carbon


emissions. But the case was rejected. When you heard that the


US Supreme Court of not prepared to hear your case how did you feel?


Not surprised. We failed in court, but I think we have gotten


hopefully the attention of a lot of people who need to be paying


attention, because everyone is impacted. It is not just Kivalina.


It is everyone. Do you feel that your voices are heard in Washington


DC? They listen to what you have to say. But they never take any real


action. They will put a bandaid on a situation, that is what all


disaster responses are bandaids. Beyond Kivalina there are no roads,


just the vast expanse of Alaska's Arctic tundra. And at the most


northerly tip of the state the town of Barrow, much closer to the North


Pole than Washington DC. This is America's very own climate change


frontline. Barrow is known as the Arctic's


science city, here researchers track the profound changes in the


Arctic climate. Escorted by an armed bear guard I head east out of


Barrow on an all-terrain vehicle. With the summer melt under way this,


a last chance to drive over the sea ice, without the risk of falling


through. The results of years of field work show the ice is getting


thinner and younger. It rarely lasts for more than three or four


years. The total volume of Arctic ice has fallen by more than half in


a generation. Some scientists now talk of the death spiral of the


Arctic ice. Explain to me why it is such a big problem that the ice is


disappearing? Basically the poles cool planet. As we lose the ice it


is the ability to cool the planet decreasing. All the surfaces that


is reflecting the sun out and keeping the planet cooler will be


gone. But the other thing is you could think about a glass of water.


With ice-cubes in it. That glass of water is going to stay cold until


all that ice is gone. The minute that ice is gone then it can start


really heating up. And so you think about you take that analogy to the


whole planet, you basically have a planet with ice at the poles. We're


heating up that planet but the ice is buffering that heat. Once the


ice is gone global warming will have a bigger toll.


Alaska's significance in the climate story is about cause as


well as effect. Alaska's North Slope is America's biggest oil


field. The US is desperate to tap new sources of Alaskan oil.


Offshore Shell has begun exploratory Arctic drilling,


despite a chorus of disapproval from environmental groups. Those


concerns grew louder when a rig ran aground off the Alaskan coast.


Operations are now currently suspended. But the prize is too


valuable to ignore. 13% of the world's undiscovered oil and 30% of


natural gas assets are thought to lie within the Artic Circle. Kara


Moriarty, if Alaska were a country or nation it would be one of the


most oil-dependant in economic terms in the whole of the world. Do


you think that it is sustainable in the future? Many consume 19 million


barrels of oil a day. And the forecast for that supply and demand


is in the 20 million barrels per day for the next 30-40 years. So


where do you want that oil coming from? Do you want it to come from a


state like Alaska, where we take care of our environment, we comply


with very stringent environmental standards, we are Alaskans. We want


our ecosystems to remain. With respect your industry doesn't have


the greatest track record, I'm not just thinking about what Exxon


Valdez and the oil spill and what it did to your reputation in Alaska.


I'm thinking about the chuck chi and Bering Sea, shell pushing ahead


with oil exploration having to pause the operation? The reality is


there are 27 billion barrels of oil in the Chukchi Sea. They should


probably say there? I disagree, we have safely drilled 30 wells in the


Arctic in the 1980s, five or six in the Chukchi Sea, it can be done.


I'm confident it will be done. I'm confident it will be done safely.


Even the boss of another oil company, Total in France, has


looked at the Arctic and said the risks are too big, a spell would do


too much damage? The Arctic is going to be developed. And who do


we want in the lead. Do we want a country like Russia who doesn't


have the same type of environmental standards to be the first to


develop Arctic oil? Or do you want it to be the United States?


Last month President Obama pledged significant action, not just words


to combat climate change. Thank you Georges town.


-- George town. I refuse to condemn your generation and future


generations to a planet that is beyond fixing. That's why today I'm


announcing a new national climate action plan and I'm here to en list


your generation's help in keeping the United States of America a


leader, a global leader in the fight against climate change.


Anchorage the President's words met with little more than a shrug.


This city the whole state owe their existence to oil. Revenues from the


industry make up more than 90% of the state budget. The federal


Government knew that Alaska would have a hard time making it


economically unless it had a good solid resource base to work off.


Fogels, at Alaska's Department for Natural Resources, said his state


has no choice but to exploit the riches within the vast territory.


Ed Fogels, I'm interested if the people at the top of the department,


like yourself, are now saying to yourselves, climate change, man-


made climate change is a real issue and we have to factor it in to the


calculation we make about what to exploit, how to exploit and when to


exploit our resources. Let me ask you this, how would you propose


that happens. People bring that up a lot. When you are managing


natural resources to provide for your people, I mean how do you draw


a line somewhere and say well we are only going to develop X million


barrels of oil because we think that is going to contribute this


much to climate change and if we develop one patrol more it will


contribute more to climate change. That is an impossible determination


to make. The Arctic is warming faster than any other region on


earth. That in turn may encourage more resource exploitation in


Alaska, more carbon emissions, adding to the warming trend.


Scientists would call that a positive feedback effect. For


Alaskans, on the climate change frontline, and for the planet, it


may be not be positive at all. You can see the first part of his


Hardtalk on the road in Alaska at That's it for tonight, back with


more tomorrow. Good evening, it is the classic


situation after a number of days of heat and humidity come the


thunderstorms. They are going to be big through the course of Tuesday.


Rattling their way northwards through the country, a number of us


will get the downpours, some of us will miss them, this is the scene


through Northern Ireland in the middle of the afternoon.


Temperature on the fresh side, 18 degrees with showers. At this stage


across eastern and Scotland there will be some downpours around,


later in the day that is when it could get bad. For northern England


this is where the downpours are, we can take these areas of blue, it


could be almost anywhere across England, basically the whole


atmosphere across the UK is waiting to erupt to create those big


thunder clouds with that. Hail and gusty winds, in a sport space of


time we could see a lot of rain. Not too much rainfall or thunder


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines. With Gavin Esler.