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Interview With University Of Pennsylvania Presidential Distinguished Professor And Director, Center For Science, Sustainability And The Media Michael Mann; Interview With Vatican Communications Department Member And Georgetown University Initiative On Catholic Social Thought And Public Life Director Kim Daniels; Interview With Vanderbilt University Law Professor And "Why Flying Is Miserable And How To Fix It" Author Ganesh Sitaraman. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired February 14, 2024 - 13:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: This is a great achievement, a great victory for Ukrainians.


AMANPOUR: Ukraine says it sunk yet another Russian warship as the House of Representatives prepares to block more military support. We have a special


Then, from the ice pack to the rainforest, red flags fly on a climate tipping point. As renowned scientist Michael Mann wins a victory in court

against those who defamed him.

And a battle for the soul of the Catholic Church. Vatican adviser Kim Daniels on the conservative, anti-LGBTQ backlash against Pope Francis.

Also --


GANESH SITARAMAN, LAW PROFESSOR: There are people on the Republican side and on the Democratic side who are outraged at the things that have been

going on in the text base.


AMANPOUR: -- as A.I. technology explodes, Congress is mired in dysfunction. Hari Sreenivasan speaks to regulatory expert Ganesh Sitaraman.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Ukraine continues to rack up military victories, at least in the Black Sea. Today, Kyiv reports sinking a Russian warship in a sea drone attack off

Crimea, claiming a third of Russia's fleet there is now disabled. There's been no comment from Moscow yet.

Still, critical funding for Ukraine's war against Russian aggression is blocked in the U.S. House of Representatives and international pressure is

mounting. Today, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said, Ukraine's security is our security. And he posted, we stand up for freedom. We stick

by our friends and we win. I urge the U.S. Congress to continue its proud support for Ukraine's fight against Putin's aggression.

But Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson says that he has no plans to take up the $95 billion bipartisan Senate bill. Correspondent Melissa Bell has

the very latest.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Caesar Kunikov moments before it was struck by Ukrainian drones. CNN can't independently verify

what happened to the Russian warship, but the drone's own footage shows extensive damage, with Kyiv claiming to have sunk the vessel.

Behind the attack, Group 13, a special forces unit within Ukraine's defense intelligence. The drones they used, the MAGURA, Not the fastest, but

maneuverable enough that they can get past Russian defenses.

CALL SIGN "13", GROUP 13, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES (through translator): Their weapons are not designed for such small sea drones. In most cases,

they use anti-ship guns.

BELL (voice-over): And the drones behind it, part of Ukraine's plan to shift front lines that have seen precious little progress for months now.

MYKHAILO FEDOROV, UKRAINE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION MINISTER (through translator): Technology can really save us. It's already saving us today,

given the shortage of artillery rounds, given the fact that we have much less manpower in terms of numbers.

BELL (voice-over): The strike on the Caesar Kunikov just the latest blow to Moscow's once formidable Black Sea fleet. A third of which has now, says

Kyiv, been either disabled or destroyed.

JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: They have actually been able to push the Black Sea fleet away from the western part of the Black Sea. And

this is a great achievement, a great victory for Ukrainians.

BELL (voice-over): With important consequences also for Ukraine's ability to get grain in and out of ports, a lifeline for a country fighting not

only a land war in the east and south, but an existential political battle to keep allies and funding on side, even as Kyiv ramps up the production of

its own much needed weapons.

FEDOROV (through translator): This year, we'll produce thousands of drones. I cannot say how many exactly, but I will say this, there is no limit.


AMANPOUR: Melissa Bell reporting there. Now, Ukraine is fighting not only for its own democracy, for all of our democracies. But there's another

massive existential fight going on, and that is the climate crisis. And dire news continues to pile up.


2023 is officially the first year global warming exceeded the 1.5 degree threshold, but climate deniers still fiddle while the world burns. Even as

the science is increasingly unassailable, a new report shows a sharp rise in personal attacks on climate scientists.

Well, one widely respected scientist is fighting back. He is Michael Mann, distinguished professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of

Pennsylvania. After a pair of conservative climate deniers accused him of faking his data back in 2012. Mann sued for defamation. And he won. Last

week, a jury awarded him a million dollars in compensatory damages. And Dr. Mann calls the decision a victory for science. And he's joining me now from


So, firstly, you know, congratulations, especially as you, you know, frame it as a victory for science. What was it that -- you know, that caused you

to take on this case and it took you 12 years?

MICHAEL MANN, PRESIDENTIAL DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR AND DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR SCIENCE: Thanks, Christiane. Well, you know, we sort of drew a line in the

sand. It's one thing to criticize scientists. That's all, you know, appropriate in science. In fact, good faith criticism, skepticism plays an

important role in moving science forward. But making false and defamatory accusations, accusations of fraud and comparing a scientist to a convicted

child molester, which is what the plaintiffs did -- what the defendants did in this case, clearly goes beyond the line.

And we sort of -- you know, we had no choice. We asked them to take down those defamatory posts and to apologize. They refused to do that. And so,

we moved forward with the litigation. And it did take 12 years to play out, but we're very pleased that the jury saw, you know, through the smoke and

mirrors that they tried to put up during the trial, saw to the heart of the matter that they had engaged in false and defamatory allegations. They had

done so with malice, hence the award of a million dollars in punitive damages.

AMANPOUR: So, to be clear again, you have, you know, fought this because of the science and you said, I hope this verdict sends a message that falsely

attacking climate sciences is not protected speech. And of course, this happens in a year where we've just, you know, reported several times now,

the news, the shocking news that this year -- 2023, the past year, you know, was the first 12 consecutive months of the, you know, passing the 1.5

threshold. What exactly does that mean?

MANN: Yes, you know, I'm glad you asked about that because as it also happens, just a few months ago, I published a book called "Our Fragile

Moment." And it's about really two very important things. The lessons we can learn from studying past climate changes about the climate crisis

today, but it really communicates two very important mutually compatible and complimentary facts that there is urgency, and you've just spoken to


We see the urgency and the unprecedented extreme weather events that we are seeing play out in real-time now. And 2023 was unlike any other year in

terms of the extreme heat, the wildfires, the floods, the devastating consequences were already seeing. So, that's the urgency. But at the same

time, there is agency. It is not too late to act. And it's really important that we convey both of those things because urgency without agency leaves

us nowhere.

It's not too late. Doomism doesn't play a role here. We should not buy into false doomism and despair. Instead, we should be engaged. We should

recognize it's not too late to fight this fight.

AMANPOUR: So, on that fight, as we said, and maybe you can explain it from your perspective, that the climate science appears to be increasingly

unassailable, obviously. So, those who still don't want to do the work of reversing this and stopping this crisis are attacking people like you,

i.e., the scientists, trying any which way to not do the work that it takes.

Do you think -- I mean, are they -- is there any sort of way you have of measuring whether they're being successful in the same way that for decades

the deniers were and the global fossil fuel industry has been?

MANN: Yes. Well, I'll tell you. Actually, it's funny because the book that I wrote prior to that, to "Our Fragile Moment" was called "The New Climate

War." And it's about what you're talking about.

Look, it's very difficult to deny that climate change is happening today. For polluters to deny that it's happening because we can all see it with

our own two eyes. We know it's happening. So, they've moved on to other tactics. That's what the new climate war is about.


To delay, to division, to even doom mongering. Because ironically, if they can convince us it's too late to do anything about the problem, it

potentially leads us down that same path of inaction as outright denial. So, we have to recognize the new tactics that they're using. They're trying

to disengage us. They're trying to convince us it's too late. They're trying to convince us through any means possible that we don't need to take

action. And we do, and it's not too late to do so.

AMANPOUR: So, let's talk about the action for a second. You've mentioned the two books that were really groundbreaking on what lies ahead. And you

also are famous for the hockey stick graph, and we're going to put it up. I mean, listen, as somebody who played hockey and was forced to play hockey

at school, I don't really recognize that, but I see the point, that it's going right up very, very sharply.

And people -- you know, less people even believed you then, and it was made a part of Al Gore's documentary, the one that won the Oscar, "Inconvenient

Truth." And I recently spoke to him about what you're talking about, you know, like people have to do something. But here are the people who really

have to do something, as he told me.


AL GORE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: All we have to do really is to overcome the political power and influence of the fossil fuel companies,

which have, you know, been trying to persuade people that this is not such a big deal, and they're trying to extend their business plan, and the petro

states put up a lot of resistance in the international negotiations.

We are getting there, and we will solve this. People should be of good hope on this. But the question is, will we solve it in time? We have to speed up

this process.


AMANPOUR: So, Michael Mann, I'm sure you agree with that, but the question is how. You know, in one of your books, you -- you know, it shows how

fossil fuel companies have waited like decades, on 30-year campaign to deflect the blame, as we've been saying, and put it on people, on


And, you know, our wonderful reporter, Bill Weir, and many, many others in the climate sphere have been telling us how incredibly invested individuals

are, the recycling, the buying of the, you know, electric vehicles, and this and that, and all the things that they do, eating less meat, all of


How much though, can be ascribed to individuals fixing this? And how much has to be transformative, you know, industry, government policy?

MANN: Thanks. I'm glad you played that clip by Al Gore. Al's become a good friend and he's a hero of mine. He has been fighting the good fight for

decades, and he's still out there making a difference.

And, you know, it's -- we face this false dichotomy when we talk about climate action between individual action and systemic change. The reality

is we need both, right? We should all do everything we can to decrease our own individual carbon footprint. In many cases, those actions make us

healthier. They save us money. They make us feel better about ourselves. They set a good example for others.

But one of the tactics in the new climate war, those D words, there's division, there's do mongering, there's delay, and there is deflection.

They have sought to deflect attention away from the needed systemic changes, pricing carbon, and providing incentives, renewable energy,

leveling the playing field in the energy market. They don't want any of that because it will hurt their profits.

But it's absolutely essential if we are going to, you know, achieve the reductions that are necessary. We need systemic change to do that. So, they

want to, you know, deflect the attention entirely towards individual action as if it's just about us changing our voluntary behavior.

We need both. Let's do everything we can as individuals. But the most important thing we can do as individuals is engage in collective action.

And that means voting. And we have an election coming up here in the United States that will define going forward whether or not we tackle the climate


AMANPOUR: So, actually, I want to ask you about that, about the power and the political power of young people. Because you teach at the University of

Pennsylvania. You teach this climate science there. What are your conversations with the young students and how engaged are they and how

ready are they to go and, you know, put their, you know, sort of money where their vote is?

MANN: I love my students. I love the kids here at Penn. They are wonderful. They're great students. They're inquisitive. They're curious. They work

hard. And they're working hard to change the world and make it better. And so, I see my role, as a professor here, to help provide them the tools, the

training and the tools to go out into the world and make a difference. And so many of them are charting a course to do just that. And that's one of

the things that gives me hope.

People ask me why I'm hopeful. Where do I get my optimism from? It's from young folks. It's from the passion and the engagement of young people who

recognize that this is about the world that they and their children and grandchildren are going to inherit.


And if we don't act now that -- you know, we leave behind a degraded planet for future generations. It would be deeply unethical and immoral. And I

have faith that young folks are going to be the critical ingredient here in why we actually rise to the occasion. We rise to the challenge. We will do


AMANPOUR: And I know that, you know, obviously doom mongering doesn't help anybody, but we do keep seeing these reports. And today, a study release

says that the Amazon rainforest known as the lungs of the world, I think, could reach a crucial tipping point in 2050. That's not that far from now.

I mean, it's about 25 years or so.

It's, up till now, prove pretty resilient to this crisis, you know, 65 million years. It's threatened now. Tell us about the studies. Tell us

what's at stake, what it means. Can that be reversed?

MANN: Yes, it's actually one of the themes in, you know, "Our Fragile Moment" is that the climate system, to an extent, the earth system is

resilient up to a point, but if you push too hard, you leave that sort of zone of resilience and you enter into the domain of fragility. And we're

right on that edge. That's what this latest study shows with respect to the Amazon rainforest.

There was a study out just a few days ago showing that there's another potential tipping point in the collapse of the great ocean conveyor. This

was popularized in the film "The Day After Tomorrow." The film was a caricature of the real world. But bad things would happen if this climate -

- if this current system were to collapse.

There are lots of these potential tipping points that lie out there. We don't know exactly where they are. So, the only sensible strategy, it's

like the blind person walking towards a cliff, the only sensible strategy is to stop walking towards the end of that cliff. And that's what we have

to do when it comes to the climate crisis. That's what we have to do when it comes to reducing our carbon emissions. We can still do it. There's

still a window of opportunity, but we have to take advantage of it now.

AMANPOUR: So how do people like yourself who under, you know, regular attack and also, you know, all those scientists who contribute to the

annual or the periodical U.N. reports on the climate crisis, some of them have said over the years that, you know, we might as well not bother if

nobody's going to listen to what we're recommending. You know, it's very depressing for us. This is our life's work. These are the alarm bells that

are flashing and it just doesn't seem to be, this part of it, reaching a tipping point. How do you all in this field continue really?

MANN: Well, we continue because we do see progress. And it's really important for us to keep these seemingly contradictory notions in our minds

at the same time. It can be true -- it could be both true at the same time that we're making real progress and that we're not yet making enough

progress. We have to accept that duality.

And we have seen carbon emissions level now globally. They need to come down and they need to come down rapidly. But the first step is to stop

going up that mountain. We've reached the summit of that mountain. We've got to go down the other side, and we've got to reduce carbon emissions by

50 percent over the next decade to avert a catastrophic 3-degree Fahrenheit warming of the planet.

And, so that window of opportunity is shrinking, but it's not yet gone. And if we see the policy actions that build on the progress we've already made,

we can do it. I'll come back to this next election because this next presidential election is going to determine the future path of global

action on climate. Without U.S. leadership, there will be no global leadership on climate.

We have to set an example and we have to do so by electing -- you know, by electing politicians, policymakers who will act on our behalf, who will act

on the climate crisis rather than just be tools of special interests and polluters.

AMANPOUR: And I just want to ask you for a little bit of a personal thought on what you thought was achieved at the UAE. The Dubai Climate COP just

happened. And the next one is going to be held in Central Asia, another massive fossil fuel country.

And in addition to which, the government has, apparently, you know, put no women forward to be on their boards or anything like that. And many people

say that's ridiculous because women are very conscious and are really much on the front lines all over the world of the climate crisis and the

reverberations. What hope do you have for the next COP?

MANN: Yes, let me just start out by saying that educating women, you know, in developing countries is probably the most important thing we can do to

solve the climate crisis. The more empowered women are with education, the more likely it is that they will be in a position to make the changes that

we need to make.


And so, I have been disappointed and I haven't hidden it. I've been outspoken about the last climate conference in UAE, where, first of all,

there were all sorts of issues about the host country and human rights, you've already alluded to that. And there was no real progress because the

host country was a petrostate. And the head of COP 28, the head of the conference was a formal -- former -- actually, not even former, was a

fossil fuel executive.

And so, the U.N. climate conferences have almost become a caricature in recent years, and they're straying from their mission. And we haven't seen

the progress since COP 26 that we hope to see. COP 26, two years ago, it was a real breakthrough, and it was the developments of COP 26 that led to

an agreement among the countries of the world to lower carbon emissions in a way that probably now keeps us below 3 degrees Celsius, below 5 degrees

Fahrenheit. That's real progress because we were headed towards maybe twice that much just a decade ago.

We made real progress at COP 26. We've seen carbon emissions levelized. But they've got to come down. We need more progress, and we haven't seen it at

COP27 and COP28. In my view, there needs to be fundamental revision of the U.N. COP process right now, because it is broken.

AMANPOUR: Even though they did call for a transition away from fossil fuels eventually. Michael Mann, thank you so much.

MANN: It was some lip service. Yes.


MANN: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: I hope it's more than lip service, but we'll -- you know, we'll all keep them accountable and hold their feet to the fire. Thank you so

much indeed.

Now, one major world leader who does put climate change front and center is the pope, Pope Francis. Almost a decade ago, he penned the first ever

pontifical letter dedicated to this crisis. And recently, he's made headlines, though, for other reasons, from meeting the legendary American

filmmaker Martin Scorsese as he works on a new movie about Jesus, to talks this week with his former critic, the Argentinian president, Javier Milei.

But it's the pope's landmark decision to allow informal blessings for same sex couples that's provoked a fierce backlash from conservative clergy,

with the pontiff in turn accusing them of hypocrisy. Kim Daniels Vatican's Communications Department, and she knows all about the inner workings. And

she's joining the show from Washington, D.C.

On this day, which as we can see is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in the Christian and Catholic calendar leading up to Easter. So, Kim Daniels,

welcome to the program. So, talk to us about the significance and the backlash of what the Pope has done for the LGBTQ community. And I just want

to remind you that a long time ago, 2013, you know, more than 10 years, he said, if a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge?

KIM DANIELS, DIRECTOR, INITIATIVE ON CATHOLIC SOCIAL THOUGHT AND PUBLIC LIFE: Well, I'm so glad you highlighted that interview because I think it's

really important to put this in the context of Pope Francis' global vision of renewal. It's a hopeful vision. It's a dynamic vision. And what he says

is he says, it's not about making the church a fortress, it's about the church being a home with open doors where everyone is welcome, especially

the poor, the vulnerable, those who have been left behind, those who are made to feel less than.

And so, I think what Pope Francis was doing with this recent action is to say to LGBTQ people that too often the church has not acted, with humility,

has not acted with treating people, as children of God with a dignity that everyone deserves. And because of that, we have to engage with welcome. We

have to engage with offering these kinds of blessings to everybody.

AMANPOUR: So, let's break down a little bit, though, of the backlash, because the pope's reforms have drawn whether -- on many, many issues, have

drawn fierce pushback from the very, very dyed in the wool conservatives.

And those, for instance, in Africa, which have, many countries have practically criminalized being gay, frankly. And now, we have a group of

African bishops saying this papal, you know, announcement of blessings would be in direct contradiction to the cultural ethos of African

communities. The pope in turn has said the following, no one is scandalized if I give a blessing to an entrepreneur who perhaps exploits people, and

that is a most serious sin. Whereas they are scandalized if I give it to a homosexual. This is hypocrisy. We all have to respect each other. Everyone.

How, though, does he think that he can convince everybody?

DANIELS: Well, again, it's about proposing. It's not about imposing. This is an idea of welcome and mercy. And Pope Francis is saying that God's

mercy is overflowing. We cannot limit.


Of course, there will be opposition. People live in different cultures, different contexts around the world. We are a global church of 1.4 billion

people. And more than anyone, Pope Francis recognizes the diversity of this global church and the unity that we have to find at the center of it.

But so, he allows different expressions of church teaching in many places. But at the same time, when it comes to backlash, conservative backlash, we

also have to see that so much of that is narrow, it's small, here in the United States in particular, and rooted here. And we have to say that, in

fact, so many people see Pope Francis as a moral leader who is offering this hopeful, dynamic vision for the church going forward.

AMANPOUR: And do you think the -- you know, many of the lay people who come to church agree with the pope? Do you have any way of knowing how -- you

know how much support there is? Because as you say, from the United States, where you are, there's a -- it's a center of resistance, right? There's a

real sort of central group of very important Catholic cardinals who just don't like this pope at all or his reforms or his attempts at reforms.

Cardinal Raymond Burke is the most critical. He's constantly being critical. He's been stripped of his pension. The pope moved him out of his

house. And he recently had a meeting with him. And when Cardinal Burke came out and people said, how did it go? He said, well, I'm still alive.

Why is the United States such a focal center of resistance against these kinds of reforms?

DANIELS: Well, first, let me back up to your first question about how do we know what's happening in the pews in the United States? And one thing we

know is that Americans have an overwhelmingly positive vision of Pope Francis. That -- I think it's something like 80 percent of American

Catholics, according to Pew, have a very positive view of Pope Francis. Something over 60 percent, I believe, of Americans generally.

So, certainly within the Catholic Church, broadly in the United States, it's an amazingly positive view of this -- again, this hopeful, dynamic

vision of renewal for the Church. Now, there is a small, concentrated center of opposition in the United States, and that has something to do

with the size of media platforms, that has something to do with power in the church.

But at the end of the day, the other context we have to place all of this in is the fact that U.S. Catholics are some 6 percent of global Catholics

around the world. We are a church of 1.4 billion Catholics in countries around the globe. And so, when you put it in that context, I think that the

opposition to Pope Francis is much less important than it sometimes seems.

AMANPOUR: So, we're women. And there is a deep disappointment amongst many Catholic women, although some are still very entrenched in the Catholic

doctrine, against any route to ordination or any actual formal executive role, leadership roles in the Catholic Church. And -- though in October,

for the first time ever, women were allowed to vote in a global meeting of bishops. It's called the Synod of Bishops.

How significant was that? What does it mean that they were allowed to, you know, actively participate? What were they able to do? And what might that

lead to?

DANIELS: Well, I think the first thing to note is that Pope Francis has taken many steps towards increasing women's leadership in the church. He's

changed canon law to allow women to have more access to ministries. He has appointed women to leadership roles in the Vatican, including to his very

important council on the economy, and obviously in senior staff roles. And we see women leading in so many places in the church.

Women Religious, of course, are just the hope of so many Catholics, and we look to them for their service to the poor, which is just what we are all

about. But I also want to point out in the United States, we have so many women leaders leading major social service ministries like Kerry Robinson

at Catholic Charities. We have leaders of universities like Tania Tetlow at Fordham. And so, that's so important to put in this context when we talk

about it.

Now, I have to say, of course, that we are a church that thinks in centuries. We are a church that is global. And so, in some steps -- some

sense, these are important steps forward. But of course, in another sense, it's just so hard that we're still having this conversation. Because what

it means is that the church is leaving so much talent, so much excellence, so much wisdom and compassion off the table when we look to who is going to

be a part of decision-making.

And before we even get to any contested questions, there's just so much room for women's increased leadership roles in the church at every level.

Now, having said that, another really important step that happened was global gathering that you talked about earlier called the Synod. It's

really a remarkable story, right? The church -- the world's oldest and largest organization, sometimes creaky organization calling together this

global listening effort to bring together people so that we can listen to each other, so that we can deepen our connectedness, so that we can broaden

participation in the church.


And this is a long process, a three-year process that will be ongoing after that. But one of the things that Pope Francis did is say, of course, women

should have a vote in this process. And so, Sister Nathalie Becquart, for instance, is one of the leaders of this effort.

And at the meeting, I was very glad to be at this session in October in Rome on the floor of the session where everyone sat around tables and

listened to each other. And it was really remarkable as a woman, as a Catholic to see bishops, young people, people from around the globe, women,

other lay people sitting together, listening respectfully to each other, and again, participating in decision-making.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you about the pope's obvious encounter with his own mortality, because he's been talking about where he wants to be buried,

outside the walls of the Vatican, you know, in keeping with the fact that he has -- you know, he lives, you know, not in the Vatican as his

predecessors. He wants to make, as he said, a final trip to his home country of Argentina, essentially to say goodbye. He's 87. You know, his

health has caused some problems in recent years.

But my question is really about whether his reforms can be relied upon to be continued, or will it be, you know, one moment in history of the Vatican

that then is pushed back, and the conservatives, you know, go back to dominating the agenda as they did before him.

DANIELS: Well, I think it's important to focus on something you just mentioned, which was this Synod process. So, Pope Francis really sees this

as key to the church moving forward in the 21st century, bringing Vatican II, this major gathering that the Catholic Church had in the 1960s that

brought us into the modern era in so many ways, bringing that forward and making sure that it's not just about Pope Francis again, but about a church

and this vision of renewal and hope continues through the 21st century and beyond.

And this Synod process that Pope Francis has really moved forward again, about listening to each other, about broadening participation, about

deepening our connectedness is really something that is not just a one time or two-time gathering in Rome. What it's about is having this process go

down through the local churches around the world, again, in every different context so that we can best live our mission of serving the poor and

vulnerable in those contexts.

AMANPOUR: Kim, can I just ask you a question that's really just come to my mind, given the context of the world right now, given your very visible

Catholic Christian symbol on your forehead.

As you know, right now, Jews around the world are very nervous about wearing their own symbol. symbols, Muslims as well, very nervous about --

and all over Ukrainians, Russians, all over, you know, the idea of identity is incredibly difficult and threatened right now. Can you just talk about


DANIELS: Sure. You know, it's really interesting. Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation. It happens in the middle of the week on a work day.

And yet, it is one of the days of the year when any Catholic will tell you that those pews are full. When you walk into a church, Catholics are there

and they're there.

And you ask yourself why. You know, what is it? And I think that part of it -- there's so much. First of all, of course, the most important is that

we're entering a season of Lent for prayer and fasting and almsgiving where we get ready for Easter. We get ourselves ready and we also look to help

how we can help those who are in need.

And at the same time, I think it's a chance for us to stand together as Catholics, as you said, to recognize that we are together, we are a

communion, we are people who stand together. And that's very important for all of us, again, because that's how, when we build this connectedness

among each other, when we build solidarity, we can best live out our mission of serving the poor, serving the vulnerable, welcoming those in


AMANPOUR: And everybody should be able to wear their own symbols as well. Thank you so much, Kim Daniels.

Now, holding industries to high safety standards seems like an obvious requirement, but the reality is far from it. From deep fakes to mass data

collection, Vanderbilt University professor Ganesh Sitaraman says, it is time for Congress to muzzle the rampant A.I. before it gets too big and

tighten regulations on the aviation industry, for instance, especially since Boeing is under the microscope again after being found at fault for

last month's door plug blowout incident on an Alaska Airlines flight.

His recent book, "Why Flying is Miserable and How to Fix" it details how guardrails could improve airline businesses. And Ganesh Sitaraman joins

Hari Sreenivasan now for this conversation.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Professor Ganesh Sitaraman, thanks so much for joining us.


You wrote an op-ed recently that talked about the, it is time for the government to regulate A.I. There's a lot of conversation about that very

question right now. So, let's kind of dive into a little bit of it. And perhaps also your expertise in the airline industry that will kind of

dovetail here. So, how should we be looking at regulating A.I.?

SITARAMAN: Well, I think one of the real challenges is just getting our handle around what is A.I. and how does it work? And I think one of the

things that I've found very helpful is understanding how we get to the A.I. applications that people have found so exciting like ChatGPT.

And so, when you use ChatGPT and you put in an input asking it to write you a letter or provide some information, that system works because the

application is operating on top of what's called a foundation model, which is run by a company called OpenAI. And those models are training on lots of

data, billions and billions of pieces of data that have been collected. And the reason they're able to work is because they can train all that data on

extraordinarily large server farms that are called Cloud computing or Cloud infrastructure.

And that Cloud infrastructure only works because of processing power from semiconductors, which are computer chips that are just very, very

sophisticated. And what's really striking is when you work your way down these layers in the tech stack from applications to models to Cloud to

computer chips, you see that there's more and more concentration as we go down in terms of the number of companies that are in those models.

So, at the level of computer chips, there's really only one company that manufactures them at the most sophisticated levels in the whole world. And

there's only one company that designs the most sophisticated chips. When you think about Cloud infrastructure, the processing power, there's only

three companies, and they're the biggest tech companies in the world. Amazon, Google, Microsoft.

And so, one of the challenges, I think, that we need to think about is how do we deal with the concentration in the technology companies that we've

already seen is causing lots of big problems from antitrust lawsuits against these companies, to hearings in Congress about all the harms that

they've done to children in some cases of social media, for example. And when we have that bigness and it goes unregulated, we've seen the harms

already in the tech context. And as we move into A.I., I think that really needs to be a big focus.

SREENIVASAN: So, how does government step in and help even a playing field? Because this is something that even somebody who is very pro free market

would probably disagree with so much consolidation of power.

SITARAMAN: I think that's right. And part of the hope that I have is that we actually have a great tradition in the United States of regulating big,

powerful companies that are monopolies or oligopolies, which is just fancy way of saying a couple of companies in the sector. And we've done that for

hundreds of years. We did it for railroads. We did it for airlines. We did it for the telephone.

You know, your electric utility is a monopoly, but it's not abusive because we have regulations in place to make sure you get a fair price for energy

coming to your house and that everyone in your neighborhood has access to energy. So, we found ways to do that, and I think that's what we need to do

again. And there are simple ways we could do this.

So, one policy rule is called a nondiscrimination rule. And what that just means is there's a level playing field. If you're a Cloud provider who is

offering all this computing access, you should offer it on even terms to everyone. Don't price discriminate. Same deal for everybody. Everyone

should be able to get access.

You shouldn't be able to give preferences to companies you like or dislike, or maybe have an investment in. And you don't want these entities picking

winners and losers, because what we want is for small companies, for startups, for new entrants to be able to thrive. And for that, they're

going to rely on these core infrastructures like services at these lower layers in the tech stack if we want A.I. to be a generative, innovative,

and exciting field in the future.

SREENIVASAN: You know, you drew a parallel to seeing some of the technologies that are working here like utilities, right? And so, how would

you look at access to A.I. tools as something that would fall into that category? Because I can immediately see the tech companies saying --

similar to, say, big pharma or anybody else and say, no, no, no, no, no, no. Hold on. We spent all the money. We are doing all the R&D. It takes

tons of computing power. It costs us millions and billions of dollars to do this and create this language model that you can enjoy. You can't force us

to give some of that away to all the entrance in the field.

SITARAMAN: So, I think one of the important things is there's nothing being given away in many of the regulatory proposals. So, when you think about

Cloud computing or fair access to models, any users would still have to pay for it. The key thing about a nondiscrimination rule is that the level --

the playing field has to be level when you're paying for it. You can't charge one person higher than another, or one business higher than another.


And part of the concern that I think many people are worried about is that if the company, like Microsoft runs its own Cloud service, but also has a

huge investment in OpenAI, which runs a model, and also runs ChatGPT, and Microsoft has Microsoft Word and Excel and all these other services, you

know, they could integrate all of the A.I. services directly in their system, run everything on their Cloud. And if there's a new entrant who

comes in with a big idea for how to do something, they might not be able to get any market share or get an edge wise at all because Microsoft has

controlled the whole stack, up and down.

And that's the concern, is that if you're providing that Cloud service and there's some other model that wants to use it, you've got to have equal

terms. You can't favor your own businesses. You can't favor the company that you have a deal with, OpenAI, over someone else who wants access.

SREENIVASAN: When you looked at the research on historically how the government has chosen to regulate different monopolies, how did the

government in the past figure out that electricity should be deemed a utility, and this is how it should be used, this is how competitive it

should be, this is how it should allow access, versus probably the companies that tried to get that energy out of a river and hydroelectric or

whoever said, no, no, no, no, we're, we're pouring all this money into it. We're pouring all this time into it. You can't just turn that into a


SITARAMAN: Yes. So, there really have been two ways in which this has happened. You now, one of my favorite cases from the 19th century is just

five years after the telephone was invented, a telephone company was denying service to a carriage company. And the reason was because they

owned another carriage company, and they didn't want their competitor to be able to, you know, have folks call them and get rides to different places.

And a judge looked at that and said, that's unfair. You know, this telephone company is kind of like a utility. It should have to serve

everyone equally. And that was only five years after the telephone was invented.

So, judges were willing to say, we analogize by seeing other situations that look similar. And the core things they were looking at were, is this

likely to be competitive? Is it an essential service or an important input into lots of different kinds of activities? And is this an area where, as

you suggested, there are really high investment costs to get in?

And you didn't have to have all of these factors, but these were some of the factors that were really important in thinking about whether something

would likely be a monopoly, whether literally or pretty close to it, or whether this was an industry that was actually extremely competitive.

The second way we did it was that same kind of analysis, but Congress stepped in and actually just passed laws doing that. And the real benefit

of having Congress do it as opposed to judges is it meant you had a uniform set of rules across the whole country? And it also meant that you prevented

bad things from happening in the first place.

Because the problem with lawsuits is you have to wait till someone's injured before you can sue. Whereas Congress can stop bad activities from

happening before they ever happen.

SREENIVASAN: Look, that sounds theoretically very plausible, but, you know, what also happens in Washington is an army of lobbyists. So, on the one

hand, you have the CEOs kind of testifying in front of Congress every once in a while, saying, hey, hey, absolutely, guys, go ahead and regulate this.

And at the same time, they're funding an army of people who are coming up and either watering down that legislation or saying, no, no, no, this is

going to be a job killer or phrasing it in some way where that kind of law doesn't pass.

SITARAMAN: You know, one of the really striking things that we've seen is people on both right and left getting together. So, you know, Lindsey

Graham and Elizabeth Warren have a bill on regulating big tech companies. Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley have a bill on regulating big tech

companies. You have people on both the right and the left interested.

And when you look at some of these hearings, including a recent one where Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to families who had been harmed by

their Children using the platform Facebook, you know, he -- when you see that hearing, there are people on the Republican side and on the Democratic

side who are outraged at the things that have been going on in the tech space.

And so, I think that commonality suggests maybe there could be an opportunity if people can get together and actually make this work now.

SREENIVASAN: So, what is something that Congress can, and in your opinion, should do in the place that we're in when it comes to regulating A.I.?

SITARAMAN: So, I think the 1st thing is that Congress could pass these nondiscrimination type of rules that would say for Cloud providers and

others, you have to serve everyone in equal terms. There can be no favoritism or special deals, and that we really want this level playing

field so that there's access for lots of companies to these really critical services.


I think if Congress was really being bold, they could go a step further. You know, in a lot of these other sectors, one of the rules that was in

place was if you own one of these infrastructure businesses, you really shouldn't own the businesses that depend on it also.

You know, we can have a rule like that, you know, just a prohibition. So, you don't have this conflict of interest where companies would be favor --

you know, favoring their own businesses. That would be a step further.

I think the third thing that Congress could do is create a public option for this Cloud provision. And that's something that some people have

proposed. And the reason why you might want a public option is, first, so that the government would be able to use it for its own purposes, military,

national security needs, and other things without being dependent on one or a few companies, which can mean higher prices, which means higher cost to

taxpayers. But it's also a thing that we could use for scientific development and for researchers.

And, you know, if we really want to have cutting-edge research that is not in service of just making more profits but is actually about solving public

problems and just advancing the frontiers of science, you know, public option might be another possible way to democratize the use of A.I. so that

there's really access to these important utility-like services for a wider range of people who are not big companies, but are nonprofits or


SREENIVASAN: Well, one of the reasons we're having this conversation with you right now is because you took a very close look at the airline industry

and the steps that the government took to regulate and deregulate it. And you've got a new book out that's called "Why Flying is Miserable and How to

Fix It."

Do you see analogies in what has happened to the airline industry and what we could do about the industry or the tech sector?

SITARAMAN: Certainly. And, you know, of course, every industry is different and has its own characteristics to some degree, but there are also a lot of

similarities. And one that I think is important is that the airline industry is not very competitive.

You know, we have four big airlines right now, and they have a bigger market share today under our competitive system, so-called competitive

system, than they did during the period of regulation in the 1970s. At some airports we now have airlines that have 70, 80 percent share of that

airport. In regulation, they had 30 percent. You know, that was actually a more competitive period than we have now.

And so, one of the challenges, I think, is when we unleashed airlines to do whatever they want, fly wherever they want, charge us whatever they want,

we didn't get a system of real competition with hundreds of airlines flying around all operating efficiently, what we actually ended up with was deep

consolidation, which is similar in the tech context, where -- it's an area where we don't have a lot of competition.

SREENIVASAN: You know, it seems that the goals of our status quo of regulation or lack thereof have not worked. I mean, I -- just, as a

consumer and a flyer, the prices aren't drastically lower. The service has certainly gone downhill. So, it doesn't seem like what we did achieved any

of the things that we wanted to create this marketplace. So, how do we change that?

SITARAMAN: I think that's right. And part of the challenge is, you know, the promises of deregulation, as you suggested, just haven't been born out.

You know, the pitch was you're going to get lower prices, more competition, no worse quality service, it'll be better for labor, better for safety, or

at least as good. And cities wouldn't lose service. Everything will be fine. And it'll be more competitive and cheaper.

And where we ended up is in a place that's less competitive, where airlines are now having boom years, where they're flush with cash, like, in the

2010s. But then after crises come running to Congress asking for taxpayer support and bailouts. Then, you know, we add to that, if you live in one of

the 74 cities that has lost service from a major carrier, it's even hard just to get on a plane to go anywhere.

And there's some cities, you know, Dubuque, Iowa, Toledo, Ohio that have lost all big carrier service altogether. And these aren't small places. I

mean, these are pretty hefty cities. And so, I think we have a real problem in this country in the airline industry, and we need to have a national

conversation about how to fix it. And that starts with recognizing that our system right now isn't working, but that really started with deregulation.

SREENIVASAN: How do we prevent it from being kind of a unified command and control structure from sort of central authority where there is still an

ecosystem where these private companies can function or public companies can function, but at the same time, the service can be improved for the end


SITARAMAN: Yes, I have three principles for how I think about this. And, you know, my principles are based on learning about the pros and cons of

regulation and the pros and cons of deregulation and both had positives, both have had negatives. And I think we should learn from the past, but we

shouldn't go backwards. We should try to go forward.


And so, my three big principles are first, no more fly over country. We should have a system in which people can get around, including to mid-size

cities, including to smaller places that are a little bit more remote and there should be access to those places.

You know, an easy analogy here to think about is the post office. You know, you can send a letter from New York to D.C., but you can also send a letter

from New York to Topeka, Kansas, or to, you know, somewhere in South Dakota and it's the same price for that stamp to go anywhere.

You know, we can have a system where if you're in a smaller place, the airlines have some obligation to serve some number of those smaller places.

And one of the ideas I proposed is we have a sort of NFL style draft where there's a number of smaller cities and the airlines are like the sports

teams and they get to pick cities out of the out of the draft. And they would have to serve those cities, and it would be an obligation because,

you know, you can't just start an airline. It's a privilege that we, the people, give them to be able to fly over our airspace and to land and to

fly over our homes. So, you know, with some privileges should come some obligations to serve the public too.

My second principle is no more bailouts and no more bankruptcies. We need a stable airline system that is going to do better overall, including in big

crises. And I think one easy way to do that is we should require that the airlines have crisis management plans.

You know, they should have to have a plan that they publicly put out and show to the Department of Transportation about what they are going to do

the next time there's a big crisis, like 9/11, like COVID, and demand goes way down for six months or for a year and how they're going to manage that

and how they're going to bounce back.

And then third, we need a fairer and transparent -- more transparent pricing system. And I think that also will be something that helps

passengers. So, for example, you know, we've seen that as airlines have unbundled their systems, you now get bigger or smaller seats and you can

pay more or less for those. You pay if you want to take one bag or no bags. You know, what's striking is I've never met anybody who's flown, you know,

halfway around the world, or 4,000 or 5,000 miles and had no need for any bags whatsoever, you know. If you're traveling a long way, you're going to

need a bag, but they can charge extra for that.

So, I think we need some minimum standards. You know, what are we getting for our prices? And that can also include minimum seat standards so that

there's a little room, which is, you know, partly a safety issue, but it's also about convenience. You know, when somebody puts their seat back and

that starts a brawl on the plane, that's not a good thing for anybody. And so, you know, we should have some basic rules around those things as well.

SREENIVASAN: Author and law professor from Vanderbilt University, Ganesh Sitaraman, thanks so much for joining us.

SITARAMAN: Thanks so much for having me.


AMANPOUR: And finally. tonight, what's age got to do with it? Apparently, nothing beyond just a number. 100-year-old Iranian diver, Taghi Askari,

amazed crowds taking off from this springboard at Doha's World Championships. And Askari was overcome with emotion as spectators cheered

him on. This was an exhibition dive ahead of the Masters next week, where he will be the oldest competitor.

And how about this number? This Valentine's Day, 52 years married. What's the secret to a long-lasting relationship? Well, Linda and George might

have some clues. Here's their story.


LINDA PORTER: George was very good looking. He still is. But he was -- my friends at home were dead impressed, as you can imagine.

My name is Linda Porter.

GEORGE PORTER: And my name is George Porter.

L. PORTER: And we met at JFK Airport in New York, 1971. And have been married for?

G. PORTER: 52 years.

L. PORTER: I had been living in Paris before I went to New York. And I was going there to take up a part-time academic post in the northern Bronx. So,

I was very excited and also rather apprehensive.

G. PORTER: I was from a very small town in Northern Arkansas. I had been in New York City working on my first full-time employment as an architect, and

absolutely enjoying learning my way about some place that was very, very different to me.

An old friend of mine said, would you please meet this person that she had met in Paris?

L. PORTER: She suggested that it might be nice if George could come and meet me at the airport.

G. PORTER: New York was a very, very interesting place at that time. And a lot of things that I'd discovered about the city and the air that I thought

it'd be fun to share with somebody. And I hadn't found it exactly the right person to do that, though at that age you were looking a bit.

L. PORTER: You are, yes. I was entranced by driving through New York in a taxi before these huge buildings lit up. It's almost as if you're driving

through a canyon.


It was just one of those natural things where you feel the person is right and the time is right.

G. PORTER: A lot of things changed, but indeed the time was right and the person was right.



AMANPOUR: A lasting and lovely chance encounter.

That is it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. And remember, you can always

catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media.

Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.