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An Unusual Atlantic Hurricane Season; China`s Challenge to Clear Its Air; A Visitor Attraction that Acts as a Giant Greenhouse

Aired December 1, 2017 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Now serving Fridays with a heaping, helping awesome. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10. We have a full plate of news for you

this December 1st.

And we`re starting with the weather.

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is officially over. These storms can form at anytime, but the window of when they`re most likely expired


It was an unusual season in several ways. One, it might have been the most expensive for the U.S. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate combined

likely cost hundreds of billions of dollars in damage on American soil. The U.S. government`s official cost assessment comes out later this year.

There are rather records, though. A winner analytics firm says Hurricane Harvey brought more than four feet of rain to some places, the most ever

recorded from a single storm in the continental U.S.

The slow-moving system dropped an estimated 27 trillion gallons of water over Texas and Louisiana when it hit in late August and Hurricane Maria,

which hit Puerto Rico on September 20th, might have caused the largest blackout in U.S. history. That`s according to an economic research firm.

Nearly 40 percent of the island still doesn`t have electricity.

But though this year`s season spawned an above average number of storms, it did not set a record for busiest Atlantic hurricane season. The year for

that was 2005 which had 28 named storms and 15 hurricanes. This year had 17 named storms and 10 hurricanes.


AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:

Which of these world capitals is located the farthest north?

Washington, D.C., Athens, Greece, Beijing, China, or Tokyo, Japan?

Of these options, Beijing edges out the other capitals at a latitude of almost 40 degrees north.


AZUZ: And while the Chinese capital has grown to become an industrial powerhouse, it`s struggled with the side effect of that -- air pollution.

Dangerous smog is a visible problem in and around Beijing.

A few years ago, the communist nation declared a war on pollution. It has occasionally banned high polluting cars and trucks from driving. It`s put

a hold on winter construction projects to try to improve air quality.

Winter is usually the time of highest pollution because the country burns coal to keep heaters powered up. The country set a goal for Beijing and

the cities around it to reduce air pollutants by 25 percent by the year`s end.

But the measures to help air quality have hurt the economy. Businesses like glass factories have lost sales as they`ve had to upgrade to cleaner

equipment. China`s annual economic growth was more than 10 percent in 2010. It`s now below 7 percent. At times, the government has relaxed the

rules to protect jobs.

Analysts say it`s trying to find the balance between keeping the economy growing while keeping pollutants from growing. There`s a growing number of

tools that can help.


SUBTITLE: China`s smog-eating tower.

This is the largest smog vacuum cleaner in the world.

Using positive ionization, it sucks up harmful airborne pollution articles. Then releases the newly-purified air.

It can clean 30,000 m3 of air per hour. That`s one football stadium per day.

The tower creates a "bubble" of clean air which is 40 percent to 70 percent cleaner than the rest of the city.


AZUZ: More than 7.4 billion, U.S. Census estimates that`s the global population, and as that number increases, so does deforestation -- the

clearing of forest to expand farmland or building sites. The good news, according to the United Nations, is that the phase of deforestation has

slowed down in recent decades. Thanks in part to government protections and better management.

There are always efforts like England`s Eden Project that aimed to get people`s attention about issues like deforestation. The attraction costs

about 30 to 35 bucks to enter, and while some critics have said it`s not worth that, the project, like the plants inside, is growing.


PAUL STONE, HORTICULTURAL TEAM MANAGER, THE EDEN PROJECT: We`re not like any other greenhouse or plant collection world.

SUBTITLE: By 2050, two-thirds of the world`s population will live in cities.

By then, a tropical forest the size of India will be destroyed.

But one organization hopes to inspire people to care more about the world`s plants.

The Eden Project opened in 2001 and will soon launch in five other countries.

STONE: It`s a project that sets out to connect people with plants because it`s viewed that people have very little connection with plants throughout

much of their lives.

SUBTITLE: The project has three biomes. One houses the world`s largest indoor rainforest. Together, they hold over 3,000 plan species. But

education matters as much as the plants here.

DAVID HARLAND, CEO, EDEN PROJECT INTERNATIONAL: If Eden has one particular skill, it`s about storytelling, and it`s bringing to life stories that

quite difficult when famine and can be quite dry.

SUBTITLE: The site has one million visitors annually. Now, the organization is expanding.

HARLAND: We`re working on seven or eight active sites at the moment. We hope to a site on at least every inhabited continent after all, because

we`re very well having reached 18 million, 19 million people here. But actually, if your mission is connecting people to the living world, you can

only really do that on a global scale.

We`ve got three sites going in China, the principal one is in Qingdao. We`re hoping to open basically in August 2020.

SUBTITLE: The original Eden Project was built on an abandoned clay quarry.

STONE: It specifically happened in Cornwall, because Cornwall was ripe for improvements. There was quite a bit of poverty, quite a bit of land

available for use. And the tourist industry that perhaps was not doing as well as it could have. So, there was a fantastic opportunity to reclaim it

and turn it into a show place for plants.

SUBTITLE: Each future site will aim to overhaul locations in a similar way.

HARLAND: The Qingdao site is at the end of its useful life search (ph) is being used for prawn breeding, salt panning there. So, it`s got a real

need to regenerate that site.

Eden doesn`t do small. As you can see around us, we are an ambitious organization, and we think that actually we can create a sisterhood, a

federation if you like, of projects that share some of the content but each have their unique components.

SUBTITLE: The Eden Project isn`t alone. There`s a growing number of groups working to raise awareness.

STONE: It`s incredible that many people will go through their whole lives right next to plants and have no knowledge about them at all.

HARLAND: If we can demonstrate our connection better to people, it would become much easier to deal with and big significant issues like water, like

climate change, and air pollution.

It would be great to believe that actually our mission had succeeded. We connected people to the natural world and we won`t need it. But I think

we`re a little way off that.


AZUZ: Enterprise Middle School in Enterprise, Mississippi, had an uninvited guest the other day and he didn`t even have a hall pass.

A deer apparently got startled and bolted for the nearest building. Surveillance cameras caught him slipping and sliding down the hall and the

quick feet of students to get out of the way. He ran through two separate buildings before finding his way back to the woods. The principal say this

is the first time this has happened.

But what a great lesson in both drama and life science. It`s too bad he was focused on facade (ph). Crowded hallways may feel like a cattle drive,

but what better place than a school to study music deery, learn about deergital or practice deer leading. Even for deer, staying in school is

the antler.

I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10. Hope you have an awesome weekend.