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Rain or Shine, Protesters in Hong Kong Not Giving Up; Iran to Announce New Plans on Nuclear Agreement; Sudan's Ex-President Charged with Corruption; U.K.'s Conservative Candidates Take Part in Televised Debate. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired June 17, 2019 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A government under pressure: Hong Kong protesters remain defiant one day after hundreds of thousands once again flood the city's main streets.
Tories clash over Brexit in the first debate in the race for Britain's prime minister as one notable absence loomed over the proceedings.
Where was he?
Power slowly returns to three South American countries after a blackout left millions in the dark for hours. And no one quite knows what caused it.
Hello, everyone, thanks for joining us, these stories are ahead. I'm Natalie Allen in Atlanta and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: And we begin in Hong Kong, where protesters are refusing to back down after they say almost 2 million people flooded the streets on Sunday, demanding change.
This was the scene here Sunday as a sea of demonstrators demanded the resignation of chief executive Carrie Lam and the withdrawal of a bill that they fear would allow dissidents to be extradited to Mainland China.
Despite violence earlier in the week the protests remain mostly peaceful with police estimating a far lower turnout of just 300,000. Meantime, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong is now out of prison. He became the face of the 2014 Occupy movement in Hong Kong. He added his voice to this protest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSHUA WONG, PRO DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: Hong Kong people, we will not keep silent under the suppression of President Xi and the chief executive, Carrie Lam. Carrie Lam must step down. Otherwise, I feel it in the next few weeks before the 22 anniversary of Hong Kong's sovereignty.
More and more Hong Kong people, not only 1 million or 2 million people, will come and join our fight until we get back our basic human rights and freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: For more now on Sunday's demonstrations, here is CNN's Ivan Watson.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They came on foot, by subway and on ferry boat by sea. People of Hong Kong, organizers claim close to 2 million, marching to make their voices heard.
A massive protest against the city government, a day after it made a major concession, temporarily suspending passage of a controversial law that would allow extradition of suspects from this former British colony to Mainland China.
WATSON: The has government backed down, so why are you still out in the streets?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think the majority of the people are still very angry about the police shooting and the excess violence that they have been using.
WATSON (voice-over): She's talking about the violent clashes that erupted Wednesday. Riot police using force to break up demonstrators who formed a human barricade around the city's legislative council. Clashes left dozens wounded.
WATSON: What a difference a few days makes. Just a few days ago, the riot police were teargassing protesters on this very street and, now, they are helping control traffic as the demonstrators march through.
WATSON (voice-over): In this test of wills between the leader of Hong Kong and the opposition in the streets, people power won -- for the moment. On Sunday, chief executive Carrie Lam pressed the pause button on the extradition law.
But as this sea of humanity surged through the streets on Sunday, Beijing's handpicked appointee finally said she was sorry, acknowledging in a written statement deficiencies that caused disappointment and grief. The chief executive apologized to the people of Hong Kong for this and pledged to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude.
Through a twist of colonial history, Hong Kong is the freest city in modern-day China. Many here like, Raymond, Wendy and Ryan Ho, fear for the future, the year 2047, when the city will lose its autonomy and fall fully under China's control.
WATSON: Do you trust the Chinese central government? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's not a democracy --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- it's not a true democracy for the people.
WATSON (voice-over): After the most dramatic week in years, look where Hong Kong is now. Protesters angry and emboldened, in the streets of, denouncing the city's leadership -- Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
ALLEN: Let's talk now with what happened with Steve Chao, he's in Hong Kong with more.
Steve, thanks for being with us. You see all these protesters and their anger and they're holding steadfast with what they want.
The question is, is the government, namely Carrie Lam, feeling the heat?
STEVE CHAO, JOURNALIST: Well, there is no question that she is feeling the heat and she continues to do so.
We are standing in Tamar Park in front of the central government office and you can see protesters still camped out, despite the fact that the rain is coming down and they vowed to continue to stay here until they get a full withdrawal of this controversial bill.
Giving a shot to the arm to the movement is the fact that Joshua Wong, who's been the face of the pro-democracy movement here for several years, has just coincidentally come out of jail. He is vowing to join this movement. And Carrie Lam is watching it all.
You heard Ivan Watson mention this earlier, she came out really quickly as 2 million people marched on the streets here on Sunday. She came out very quickly to apologize. And that is a very clear indication to a woman who is known as a scrapper and a fighter and being stubborn in her ways, that she is acknowledging the fact that the people have had their say, 2 million people in a city of 7 million.
That's two out of seven people came out on the streets to voice their opposition. We are also hearing from Carrie Lam's inner circle, people in the pro-Beijing group, lawmakers, specifically, that are suggesting that there is no way this bill can go on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL TIEN, HONG KONG LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL MEMBER: Given what happened yesterday, I think she needs to really think clearly about how she can effectively lead Hong Kong, if she continues to stay in office. This bill has no future, of who's going to be chief executive, either her or the ones after her. The last time we shelved a bill on Article 23, that was, what, 18, 17 years ago?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHAO: The question really is, can the protesters here believe the words of pro-Beijing lawmakers?
Can they believe that the government will shelve this permanently?
They want a full announcement saying that this bill is scrapped altogether. You heard Joshua Wong say, if this does not happen, there is a big anniversary coming up on July 1st, the 22nd year anniversary of the British handover of Hong Kong to the Mainland.
Typically, we see protests during that time. He says they are going to ramp up. One of the unique things that has been happening here in terms of protests is the fact that is has been largely leaderless this time around, unlike the Occupy movement, the Umbrella Movement, led in large part by Joshua Wong.
Wong gave a lot of credit to the people. He said people power is making achievements, making inroads here but it is still far from a success, far from victory. We have a long fight to go. There a number of activists in jail. He said the examples of police violence, in his words, are an example that the government is cracking down too much.
The question is also, what is the central government in Beijing doing about all of this?
ALLEN: Oh, that was going to be my question, how is China invested in this country?
Carrie Lam has reiterated this is a Hong Kong law apart from Beijing. But do you expect Beijing to get involved or have any kind of response?
CHAO: Very much so. We know very clearly that Beijing watches what happens in Hong Kong very closely, in large part, because they are worried about what happens here may spill over into the mainland.
Hong Kong is officially a part of China yet it is free, people are free at the moment to demonstrate, to voice their opposition but eventually that is going to end. The agreement for that ends in 2047.
What we understand is clearly that Carrie Lam is appointed by Beijing, she is seen by many here as a puppet of Beijing and she must do their will. What we don't know very clearly is whether she is the one who's been pushing through this bill independently or if whether she is acting on the instructions of Beijing. What we know for sure is that this setback is a big step down for her.
She was really trying to push this through. Now it's a question of whether she will continue on in her term as chief executive.
Or will Beijing say to her, you know what, there's been too much controversy, it's time for a replacement, time for a change. For the moment --
CHAO: -- Beijing has come out very strongly to say they still believe she is the leader to take Hong Kong forward. But we will have to see in the next few days.
ALLEN: All right, thanks for your reporting, Steve Chao in Hong Kong for us. It's just after noon on a Monday there.
James To is a senior Democratic Party lawmaker in Hong Kong and he joins me now live to talk more about this.
James, thanks so much for being with us. We just heard and saw there are more people taking to the streets there today. Almost 2 million took to the streets on Sunday, demanding this law be dropped. Let's get your response first to the people's overwhelming zeal to stand up to their leadership, to Carrie Lam and whether it will make a difference.
JAMES TO, SENIOR DEMOCRATIC PARTY LAWMAKER: Well, our chief executive has lost many chances to offer apologies and to reconcile with her public. She ignored the view and voice of 1 million people marching out and insists on going ahead to rush through the bill.
Well, even there will be a prediction of an even turnout on Sunday, on last Sunday, she still go ahead and not offer any apology. People asked her to withdraw the bill but she only suspended the bill because, technically, she can resume by giving 12 days' notice to the parliament and to rush it through.
People just don't believe in her, so are asking her to step down. In a typical situation, they've had Democrat legislature wish to see her but she refuse four times in the last month. We don't know whether, under this crisis, whether she will change her mind and to negotiate or, in a sense, to see us in order to have a way out.
ALLEN: I want to ask you about the proposed law itself. Carrie Lam says the government needs more ability to extradite people.
Do you think this is just a bad bill or has the process been badly handled?
TO: Well, you should give time for consultation. The idea has been going on for 20 years. We -- Beijing has been negotiated for 20 years but have no result.
How can you just give people 20 days of consultation and rush it through? So people would just take it that you have ulterior motives, especially when Taiwan authorities said very clearly, not just recently, two months ago that they would not extradite under the amendment to the bill.
So you insist to rush through, so this is a completely total loss of trust and people will be distracted away from talking about the so- called merits of the bill or the technicalities but a matter of trust and politics.
ALLEN: Can she, at this point, continue to lead, continue to govern over Hong Kong?
TO: Well, she cannot. Because people just don't believe in her. Well, you heard the voice of the 2 million people. The majority of the crowd, the protesters, crying for the stepping down of her. And she even last night offered only a written apology but without any bowing or letting people to feel the sincerity of her apology. I think she must step down.
ALLEN: We will wait and see as people continue to keep up the pressure. James To, a senior Democratic Party lawmaker in Hong Kong, thank you so much for your insights, we appreciate it.
Other news we're following: in the coming hours, Iran plans to release significant information about plans to scale back its commitments to the nuclear deal. That's according to Iran state media.
Last month, Iran stopped complying with some commitment after the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the deal. The U.S. then hit Tehran with new sanctions. The U.S. and Iran are trading blame for Thursdays tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman.
Iran's parliamentary speaker says the U.S. resorted to the attacks because sanctions are not working. He's not providing any evidence to back up the claim. America's top diplomat says the U.S. has intelligence proving Iran launched the attack.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It's unmistakable what happened here.
POMPEO: These were attacks by the Islamic Republic of Iran on commercial shipping on the freedom of navigation with the clear intent to deny transit through the strait.
This was on the Gulf of Oman side. And there's no doubt that the Intelligence Committee has a lot of data, lots of evidence. The world will come to see much of it. But the American people should rest assured that we have high confidence with respect to who conducted these attacks, as well as a half a dozen other attacks around the world over the past 40 days.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN: Later this week, the Trump administration expects to discuss sending additional U.S. military forces to the Middle East in the wake of these tanker attacks.
Ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, the question on many people's mind at the Tory leadership debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've talked about Brexit for 25 minutes now and where is Boris?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Where is Boris?
What's next in the process to select a new prime minister and why was Boris Johnson missing from the debate?
We will talk about it next.
ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: Sudan's prosecutors charged ex-president Omar al-Bashir with corruption on Sunday. Prosecutors accuse him of illegally possessing foreign currency and accepting gifts.
This was Bashir's first public appearance since the military forced him out of office in April. He was overthrown after months of mass protest against his 30-year rule.
The general who helped topple al-Bashir promises to hang whoever is responsible for killing more than 100 pro-democracy protesters during a recent demonstration. Despite that, witnesses say it was the general's troops who carried it out. Ben Wedeman has more on the commander's long history of violence.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sudan's de facto ruler, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemeti, acts an awful lot like the ousted leader, Omar al-Bashir. The transitional military council is the ultimate power in Sudan now, though Hemeti is stressing the transitional.
"Sudan is now safe and stable and we will keep going in the same direction," he told a crowd in Khartoum. "As the military council, we're not holding on to power. We don't want power."
His actions, however, betray his words. The general commands the rapid support forces, who on June 3rd, violently broke up a long- running pro-democracy sit-in outside the military headquarters in the capital. On that day, his troops killed more than 100 protesters with live ammunition and, according to multiple accounts, raped and abused dozens of women.
Since then, Sudan has been under a virtual internet blackout. The Sudanese public prosecutor is investigating the events of June 3rd and the men in uniform promised they'll come clean.
"If the investigation finds that any members of the army or the Rapid Support Forces or the police are guilty," says General Yusif Tharta (ph), "we in the military council will be responsible."
Their record is spotty at best. Hemeti's Rapid Support Forces were once known as the Janjaweed, a regime-supported militia accused by the International Criminal Court and the United States of carrying out genocide against the people of Darfur more than a decade ago. Today, they patrol the streets of Khartoum.
The Sudanese uprising, which began last December and led to the ouster of Bashir, has arrived at a crossroads. Weary of dictatorship, the pro-democracy leaders are demanding a rapid transition to civilian rule. But men who have ruled by the sword for decades rarely give up power without a fight -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Abu Dhabi.
ALLEN: The Conservative candidates vying to become the next British prime minister faced off for the first time in a televised debate. But there was one notable absence. Former London mayor Boris Johnson skipped it.
Organizers left an empty podium on stage, where he would have stood. The other candidates laid out their Brexit strategies, discussed their personalities and asked why the front-runner was a no-show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY HUNT, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: We've been talking about Brexit for 25 minutes now.
And where is Boris?
If his team will not allow him out to debate with five pretty friendly colleagues, how he will fare with 27 European countries?
He should be here to answer that very question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RORY STEWART, BRITISH INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTER: The fundamental issue here is that there is a competition of machismo, everyone is saying I'm Trump. Generally, every time I have this debate everyone is like, trust me, I'm the guy, I can defeat the impossible. And I'm accused of being a defeatist but I'm trying to be realistic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Let's talk about the debate and that no-show with CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas. He joins us from Los Angeles, often our go to guy on Brexit.
Nice to see you, Dominic.
DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Thanks for having, me Natalie.
ALLEN: Let's begin with where in the world was Boris Johnson?
THOMAS: It's absolutely incredible that his team made the calculation that having him on that set was probably more of a risk than simply riding the wave of the success he has had thus far in the process of selecting a Conservative Party leader.
He did very well in round one. Two of the MPs, one who didn't make it through and another one who has withdrawn have since endorsed him, so in some ways he has further extended his lead. But I think what is so absolutely shocking --
THOMAS: -- about this, is that this is someone who was one of the major features in the Leave campaign who did not run in 2016, when ultimately Prime Minister May was selected.
And the reality of that is, the Conservative Party leadership race will also yield what will be the third prime minister since 2016. And this is also an opportunity for these candidates to speak to the British people at this extraordinarily divisive time, especially given the fact that the British people have been denied a second referendum or a people's vote on these kinds of issues and to express their views not only on Brexit but on perhaps what a future leader of the party will do for the country as well.
And Boris Johnson's absence was therefore all the more glaring.
ALLEN: Britain has said over and over again that they are disgusted with their leadership and the fact that their lives are just sitting there, trying to figure out what this means to us. And then you have Boris Johnson acting like, well, it's not that important that I show up.
But does it hurt him enough to hinder his prevailing as being the next prime minister?
THOMAS: Well, no, because at this particular stage it's an election for the Conservative Party leader, who will, because they have the majority in Parliament with the support of the DUP , end up being prime minister. So this leadership race is a completely separate entity. There's this election from the MPs themselves, then it goes to the members of the Conservative Party.
And the fact is that the membership, which only represents about 0.2 percent of the whole E.U. population, are an older crowd, in favor of Brexit and ultimately are likely to see Boris Johnson as the person most likely to deliver Brexit for them in what is a single issue raise.
All the other issues they have been talking about are essentially irrelevant. The Conservative Party is engaged in a process of selecting somebody they think will deliver Brexit; and some, therefore, are also concerned about whether that actual leader could do well in the general election as well. That's the split we are looking at in this race.
Boris Johnson essentially has the support right now in place, if nothing changes, to make it through and be one of the last final two candidates that will be sent to the ballots later this month for the Conservative Party membership to select a new leader.
ALLEN: But then, he faces the October 31st deadline, where he has indicated it's OK for a no-deal Brexit. He wants to renegotiate with the E.U. and the E.U. says they have no inclination to do that.
THOMAS: Absolutely. Once this new leader is changed and you go back, you've got the Conservative Party picking the leader. But at the end of the day, if the prime minister himself, because it will be a he, serves at the will of Parliament and nothing has changed in Parliament.
There's a possibility that a leader like Boris Johnson or a real Brexiteer will be unable to change the algorithm and the way in which the European Union has negotiated on this. It's also unlikely to get the full support of Parliament because the we know they will not tolerate a no deal.
The big concern for the Conservative Party as well is going into a general election. But essentially, the Conservative Party have made a deal, first with UKIP, when they gave them the referendum and now this incarnation has been resurrected at the Brexit Party.
And the Brexit Party are essentially controlling the British political landscape. The opposition is concerned about Remain constituents and the Conservative Party essentially sees its future in delivering Brexit.
ALLEN: It could be a long summer, for sure. Dominic Thomas, we always appreciate your insight, thank you so much.
THOMAS: Thank you, Natalie.
ALLEN: Next here, a power outage so massive it is being described as the first of its kind. It affected many countries. We will tell you about it -- next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen, and here are our top stories this hour.
[00:32:45] Demonstrators in Hong Kong are vowing to keep the protests up until the government withdraws a controversial extradition bill. Organizers say 2 million people jammed the streets Sunday, while police estimated the crowd at just over 300,000.
Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, seen right there in the white shirt, was released from prison on Monday and immediately joined the protest. He was the face of 2014's Umbrella Movement demonstrations.
The U.S. and Iran now blame each other for Thursday's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. Iran's parliamentary speaker says Washington resorted to the attacks because U.S. sanctions didn't work. Americans top diplomat says the Trump administration has intelligence that shows Iran did carry out the attacks.
Israel's real's prime minister has proposed that a future settlement in the disputed Golan Heights will be named Trump Heights. U.S. President Trump recognized Israel's sovereignty over the area back in March. The rest of the world considers it occupied territory.
Investigators in the Dominican Republic say they're closing in on the person who ordered the shooting of baseball legend David Ortiz. A prosecutor warned that the person responsible, quote, "won't see the sun again for 40 years."
Ten suspects have been arrested. Ortiz is recovering at a hospital in the U.S.
Power is being restored to millions of people in South America, after a massive mysterious blackout left several countries in total darkness. Argentina says the lights are back on in the capital there, while Uruguay says it is also restoring services. Officials are still investigating, but they don't believe a cyberattack was the cause.
For more about it, here's CNN's Amara Walker.
AMARA WALKER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Street lights off, cars stopped in traffic. Silence and confusion. This is a scene in Argentina after a massive power failure in the country's coastal grid.
[00:35:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): At home, you really can't see anything. I don't know where to go, really. I don't know. And I was reading that it's going to take hours to come back on.
WALKER: Tens of millions of people were left in the dark for several hours, and because the grid is attached to power lines in neighboring Uruguay and Paraguay, residents in those countries, as well as parts of Chile and southern Brazil, were also affected.
Several hours after the power failure, Argentinian authorities have not been able to identify the cause.
GUSTAVO LOPETEGUI, ARGENTINE ENERGY SECRETARY (through translator): We know now at this moment IS that AT 7:07 a.m., a power failure hit the coastal energy transport system, a failure that occurs frequently.
WALKER: Although a powerful failure might be normal, a total disconnection of the system is not, let alone a failure capable of affecting cities past Argentina's borders.
LOPETEGUI (through translator): What's abnormal and extraordinary and should not have happened is the chain of events following the failure that caused a total disconnection.
WALKER: Argentina's president, Mauricio Macri, labeled the blackout as unprecedented and announced a formal investigation to determine the causes. An initial report, however, might take up to ten days.
Meanwhile, social media users have taken to Instagram and Twitter to publish videos of their cities submerged in darkness, while others complained about interruptions to their everyday lives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We were just with my 84- year-old grandmother, and we had to help her down the stairs because the elevator wasn't working. Everything is closed, and there's no movement in the street, but oh, well, you have to keep going.
WALKER: The power outage disrupted local elections being held in Argentina, and, according to Twitter users, also ruined Father's Day celebrations across the countries.
Amara Walker, CNN, Atlanta.
ALLEN: A jaw-dropping amount of ice has melted away in Greenland. We take a look next at what might have caused it, and explain why the sheer scale of the loss is alarming scientists. Stay with us.
ALLEN: On just one day this past week, Greenland lost a staggering two billion tons of ice. To put that in perspective, imagine 146 soccer fields filled with water to a height four times higher than the Eiffel Tower.
And while Greenland is a big island filled with lots of ice, it is highly unusual for that much to melt in the middle of June. Let's talk about it with our guest, Thomas Mote, a research scientist at the University of Georgia who studies Greenland's climate.
Mr. Mote, thanks so much for joining us. So I want to ask you why this was so staggering and even surprising to scientists that this much ice suddenly -- there was a colossal melt on Greenland. THOMAS MOTE, RESEARCH SCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA: To give you
some perspective of the amount of ice sheet melting right now, it's roughly the area of the state of Texas. So that constitutes about 30 to 35 percent of the ice shield over the past few days that we've seen that's been experiencing surface melt. Not by itself. It's happened in the past several times, but usually in the middle of summer, usually in the middle of July. And so to see that much melt occur in the first half of June is rather unusual.
ALLEN: Greenland saw temperatures soar up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit above normal Wednesday. So help us understand the impact of that temperature on the region.
[06:40:05] MOTE: It's interesting, because we've seen an extended period with warmer than normal temperatures during this spring. In fact, we actually saw a melt starting to occur in Greenland and late April, at a time of year when melt is not very common. It does occasionally occur, but it was occurring more widespread this year quite early.
We've had an area of high pressure that's been locked in. We refer to it as a locking ridge located over southeast Greenland that has been persistent through much of spring. It's had some interesting effects.
One of the effects, actually, is that it's led to some very high snowfall, actually, in southeast Greenland. But it's also brought in much warmer and more humid weather over the most of the ice sheet and produced this warm spell that we're seeing here in early June that has led to a large area of melt and mass loss.
So you mentioned the two gigatons of ice. We've seen that for a few days now, massive losses of ice from the ice sheet. To put that into some perspective, in the past several years, over -- really, over the past two decades, we've been averaging two to three gigatons of ice per year. So two gigatons in a day is a pretty substantial loss.
ALLEN: So talk with us about the impact. How does the Greenland ice sheet affect the world's climate?
MOTE: Certainly. The biggest effect of this mass loss was on a global sea level. So we know that the Greenland ice sheet is one of several contributors to global sea level rise. We also have losses to other smaller ice sheets and ice caps. We have losses from the Antarctic ice sheet, particularly from west Antarctica, and also just changes in the ocean itself.
But Greenland has become an increasingly important contributor to global sea level rise.
I mentioned, for example, that every year recently, we've been seeing mass losses on the order of two to three hundred gigatons per year. About 350, 350 gigatons per year will give a millimeter of sea level rise.
Now, a millimeter isn't much. It doesn't sound like very much, but this is all cumulative. So this -- every year, we're seeing additional sea level rise that's being contributed to by the Greenland ice sheet.
There may be other impacts, as well, too. We don't know how this fresh water, for example, is affecting ocean circulation. Our group here at the University of Georgia has been involved in some research on this. Other groups have looked at this, as well. Where is this fresh water that's leaving the ice sheet going? How is it affecting deep water formation in the North Atlantic, for example? How does it affect ocean productivity, the growth of phytoplankton in the ocean? That's something else we've been looking. So there may be many other effects, but the biggest effect, certainly, is on a global sea level.
ALLEN: I want to ask you, though, what could turn this around? Is it too late?
MOTE: Well, certainly, in the short term, we're expecting that the pattern we've been seeing to relax a little bit. Some of the weather models are suggesting that we'll see some cooling over Greenland. We expect this melt will start to die back.
But this is self-reinforcing over the ice sheet. So when we warm the show, and certainly when it begins to melt, it's already warmed to the freezing point. Even if it refreezes, it stays near the freezing point. It melts much easier later in the summer.
Refrozen snow is also darker. The ice that becomes exposed to snow melt is darker, and so it absorbs more sunlight and melts more easily.
So we'll continue to see affects over this summer from this early melt. It will become much easier for the ice to melt -- for the ice sheet to melt going forward this summer.
ALLEN: We will talk with you again as we see what happens next month and the next month there and the impact. We really appreciate your expertise. Thomas Mote for us, thank you.
MOTE: Thank you.
ALLEN: And thank you for watching. I'm Natalie Allen. I'll be back with more news in 15 minutes. Next here, it's WORLD SPORT.
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