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Pfizer Wants Go-Ahead for Vaccine for Kids; U.S. Senate Approves Compromise, House Vote to Come; Saudi-Backed Consortium Buys Newcastle United; Ghana's LGBTQ Community in Fear Over Draft Anti-Gay Law; Russia Urges Approval of Pipeline to Ease Europe's Gas Crunch; Nobel Committee Set to Announce 2021 Peace Prize. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired October 08, 2021 - 00:00   ET


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Could be available for millions of children, with Pfizer's application for emergency use authorization from U.S. regulators.


It's called sports washing, and for Saudi Arabia, with an appalling human rights record, $400 million will buy not just a legendary football club, Newcastle United, but maybe, an image makeover, as well.

And, it's looking like a cold and hungry northern winter for many, with a global energy crisis sending the cost of oil, gas, and coal to record highs.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.

VAUSE: We'll get to those stories in a moment, but first to Hong Kong, where a large section of scaffolding around a residential building has collapsed. Two constructions workers are trapped under the debris. That's according to public broadcaster who are reporting that news.

Drivers who were trapped under the scaffolding have been rescued and are believed to be conscious at the moment. One driver was injured. He's been taken to hospital.

It all collapsed during heavy rain and wind, hitting Hong Kong as part of the normal tropical cyclone warning systems. Or rather, the systems which appear regularly this time of year.

We'll have more information on this story as we get into it. Right now, those pictures there from Hong Kong, a large section of scaffolding crashing and going to the ground, trapping a number of people, or at least a number of workers, beneath the debris.

Well, moving on, authorization for Pfizer's COVID vaccine for young children could come within just a couple of weeks. It should be available for kids aged 5 to 11, and that will significantly boost vaccination rates in the U.S.

And with the makers of a COVID pill soon to seek authorization as well, an end to the pandemic stage of the coronavirus might just be in sight.


DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: We're going to have, hopefully, a vaccine available for children. And, at some point before the end of the year, we probably will have the orally available drug from Merck, if things go well, and that undergoes a favorable review.

And I think those two things are going to be sort of the bookend on the sort of pandemic phase of this virus. And we're going to be entering the more endemic phase, when this becomes an omnipresent risk but doesn't represent the extreme risk that it represents right now.


VAUSE: And the World Health Organization is now aiming to vaccinate 70 percent of the global population by the middle of next year. The U.N. secretary general believes one of the only reasons why that ambitious target may not be reached will be a lack of access, not global supply.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Vaccine inequality is the best ally of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's allowing variants to develop and run wild, condemning the world to millions more deaths and prolonging an economic slowdown that would cost trillions of dollars.


VAUSE: In the coming days, another 47 countries and territories will be removed from the U.K.'s so-called red list of restricted travel destinations, which includes Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, and South Africa.

And it means fully vaccinated travelers arriving from those countries will no longer be required to stay in hotel quarantine. That restriction, now only applies to the seven countries still on the red list, including Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Peru.

Well, for more now on the pandemic, we're joined live from Los Angeles by Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, an internal medicine specialist and viral researcher. Welcome back.


VAUSE: OK. The timeline here, when we talk about this timeline for children, a child's vaccine, it's now looking to be around early November, in what might seem like an eternity for many parents. Pfizer noted via tweet, "With new cases in children in the U.S. continuing to be at a high level, this submission is an important step in our ongoing effort against COVID-19."

That really understates the extent of the problem, you know, not just in the U.S. but in many countries, as well, when it comes to kids. So on the one hand, we have now this vaccine, which could be approved, imminently. We'll get an authorization, at least. But on the other hand, we now still have a significant number of

parents who, you know, will not get their kids vaccinated. I guess the question here is once those vaccinations starts, once other kids get the jabs, will those hold-outs change their mind very quickly?

RODRIGUEZ: Your guess is as good as mine. I'm hoping that, you know, as more restrictions come on who can do what in what cities in the United States, and hopefully, you know, in other countries, people will, in a way, be nudged to get vaccinated.

And I think it's very important to note that in the United States, last week for the first time, children, the ages of 5 to 17, surpassed the number of per capita new cases, of people, or adults that were over 17. So vaccinating children is very important. That is the last reservoir that the virus has to go to of people who have not been vaccinated yet.

VAUSE: You also had this pill, this antiviral pill on the way. The makers, Merck says an application for emergency authorization will be filed soon after the trials. It "lowered the risk of hospitalization or death by roughly 50 percent." They all -- the participants all had mild, or moderate COVID-19.


In the past few days, though, there's been some concerns raised over potential side effects, including cancer. Merck says its own research shows that won't happen. So how do you see the risks here, and also sort of risk benefits here?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, I think people first need to realize that this is not a treatment to prevent COVID. People are going to get COVID. They're going to feel sick. They're going to go to the hospital, and then they're going to get five days of this oral medication that is going to lessen their risk of getting seriously ill or dying.

There's still going to be a time where these people are going to be contagious. So it may not contain much of the epidemic.

Now, the side effects, again, it's a risk-reward ratio. I think it's going to be very low. Take it from someone who's been working in the HIV arena for over 25 years. These antivirals are very similar to the ones that are used for people that are HIV positive. The difference is that those people have to take it every day for the rest of their lives.

So I think five days of a medication, which is what I think it's slated to be given now, is not going to cause many, if any, long-term side effects.

VAUSE: Is it four pills, twice a day?

RODRIGUEZ: You know what? I do believe that's what it is, and I'm not sure on the dosage. It all depends on how they bring it. I thought it was two pills twice a day, but don't quote me on that.

VAUSE: OK. My own curiosity.

The U.S. is now preparing for vaccine mandates for a lot of workers in large companies, healthcare, as well as federal government employees. And the reason why is because, his words. Here's the U.S. president.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Vaccination requirements result in more people getting vaccinated. In the past few weeks, as more and more organizations have implemented their own requirements, they've seen their vaccination rates rise dramatically.


VAUSE: So we're now mandating vaccines, which boost the vaccine rate. We have a child vaccine, a COVID pill on the horizon. All these things coming together. Are we entering, dare I say, the home stretch in terms of the ending the pandemic stage?

RODRIGUEZ: JOHN, you know, I wish that. You and I have been talking almost for two years now.


RODRIGUEZ: And I think one of the dangers that we always come across is when we get too complacent and we think it's almost over, we let our guard down.

You know, and I keep equating this to a storm. The storm is still there. And unless a majority of the world gets vaccinated, we are going to be in this, because who knows what variants happen?

And one more thing: I'm very glad that the president halted requirements. Mandates seem so authoritarian. These are requirements. You don't have to work at this job, but this is a requirement for you to work there. And I think people are coming around, and they will come around.

VAUSE: It does seem, though, that we have the tools and the building blocks, and what we need, though, at the very least, to sort of turn the corner. I want to see something positive there, now.

RODRIGUEZ: Good. Yes, I think -- I think we can turn the corner, and I think as people get experience, and they see that people that get vaccinated are doing fine and doing better, don't have long-term side effects, hopefully, that whole political thing that caused this is just going to dissipate and go down. And we're going to do what is necessary to keep us, our friends, and the world healthy.

VAUSE: That is a good note to end on. Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, thank you so much, as always.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you, John.

VAUSE: Well, in the game of chicken over raising the U.S. debt ceiling, it seems Republicans blinked, offering Democrats a short-term deal which will see the government funded for the next two months, raising the nation's debt ceiling by $480 billion; avoids a potential default by the U.S., which would likely trigger the mother of all financial meltdowns. The lower House will vote on the extension next.

The stopgap measure, though, brings the U.S. debt limit up to $28.8 trillion. That's the amount the government can borrow to pay its bills, which is already owes. That's nothing to do with future bills.

More now on the compromise and the major challenges still ahead from CNN's Ryan Nobles.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It wasn't easy. But the United States Senate has passed a bill that is going to lift the debt ceiling temporarily through the first week of December, averting an economic catastrophe, that could have happened if the debt ceiling wasn't lifted, as soon as next week.

Republicans and Democrats hashing out a deal that would basically just kick this problem down the road a couple of weeks but avoiding that problem in the middle of October.

But it still didn't come easy. Republican leader Mitch McConnell working out a deal with Chuck Schumer that they hoped would mean they could bring that bill to the floor without any Republican opposition, and then just Democrats could vote yes; Republicans vote no.

But the Senate is a fickle place, and Republican Senator Ted Cruz and a few others said no, that they were still going to try and block the legislation. And when you put that filibuster in place, that requires 60 votes total in order for there to even be an up and down vote.


McConnell did try and convince his colleagues to get those ten votes necessary to get it to the floor. He was successful, but there were a few anxious moments as the vote went down. Ultimately, there were the ten votes to get there.

For the most part, it was Republican leaders, moderates, and a group of Republican senators who are not seeking reelection that were not afraid to cast that vote to allow the bill to come to the floor.

After that, the simple up or down vote came through, and it passed along partisan lines.

Now, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, sent a letter to her colleagues earlier today, informing them that they should be prepared to come back early from their -- the recess that they're currently on, in order for the House to pass the same piece of legislation.

The president, Joe Biden, has said that he will sign it into law. So the crisis for now will be averted.

And again, to make clear, this has not solved any problems. The same impasse that we were dealing here on Capitol Hill before we got to this point, still exists. It's just now going to exist the first week in December, before we get into the Christmas holiday.

And it's also important to point out that it comes at the same time there will be another issue with the government spending. A government shutdown could loom once again.

And there's still that continued debate over the president's domestic spending plan and agenda. Democrats still haggling out all those issues. So crisis averted, at least at one stage, but a lot more work to go.

Ryan Nobles, CNN, on Capitol Hill.


VAUSE: The English Premier League has approved the controversial takeover of Newcastle United Football Club, now owned by a consortium, which includes a Saudi sovereign wealth fund known as PIF.

The deal has caused a lot of outrage because of the kingdom's human rights record.

The fund is chaired by Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, the same man who, according to U.S. intelligence, approved the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, back in Istanbul in 2018.

The league says the deal passed its owners and directors test, and the league received assurances the kingdom will not try to control the team.

Patrick Snell of CNN's WORLD SPORT joins me now with details of the deal, apparently, worth about 300 million pounds, $400 million. It's a pretty big payday, but a lot of baggage comes with it.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Yes. Absolutely run, John. No question about that.

You know, this deal looked as though it was going to go through last year, and then it didn't. It got delayed.

But now, it is a reality for Newcastle United fans. I think fair to say, the world of football, and beyond. No question about that.

We're all just taking stock of the fallout, the controversy, around the Saudi Arabian-backed, reportedly, $400 million takeover. One of the biggest historical names in English football.

Newcastle United there, history, no question. But currently second from bottom in the Premier League. This really has been a really long running saga, during which time, we have, indeed, seen Saudi Arabia's human rights record, coming under scrutiny.

Now, I want to get a statement from Premier League, because it is significant. We've got this on Thursday. "The Premier League has now received legally-binding assurances that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle United Football Club." That is absolutely pivotal in all this.

How is it all going to work? Now, we've got a three-party consortium that is going to be in play through all this, including, as you mentioned, John, the Saudi Arabian public investment fund. A total estimated asset value in the range of $450 billion.

The consortium also including -- they've got venture capital and private equity company TCP Capital Partners and RB Sports and Media.

I want to get to reaction, because we have a strong reaction from Amnesty International over all this, urging the English top (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to change that league owners and directors test, which the deal ultimately passed. Take a listen.


FELIX JAKENS, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SPOKESPERSON: Ever since this deal was first talked about, over 18 months ago, Amnesty has said that it would represent a really high-water mark for the Saudi authorities, in their efforts to clean up their appalling human rights record by buying into top-flight English football.

It seemed the Premier League was going one -- in one direction on this decision, and another -- had gone in another. And it sets a dangerous precedent that English football is open for business when it comes to sports washing.


SNELL: Strong words, indeed.

Well won by the fans, though. Newcastle fans -- look at this gathering outside of the club's St. James Park on Thursday. The deal instantly making Newcastle -- make no bones about it -- one of the richest clubs in world football, if not, actually, right now the richest.

Magpies fans can now likely expect to see their club flexing those financial muscles in a big, big way.

And we've come up with these figures to put it all into perspective for you, John, take a look at this. As you said earlier, the consortium's estimated assets around the $450 billion mark.

Compare that with Man City's Abu Dhabi's owners and Paris St. Germain's Qatari-based owners. They're currently outside the top five. You get some idea of what's in play here.

And we're going to be watching it all unfold. You can be sure of that.


And of course, CNN WORLD SPORT, give a time check here, coming -- coming your way in about half an hour's time. So plenty more of what is, without question, our top story today, John.

VAUSE: Top, top, top story, absolutely, Patrick. Thank you. See you soon in about 30 minutes from now.

We'll take a short break. When we come back, the terror of being gay in Ghana. As the government considers passing a new homophobic law, violent anti-gay vigilantes are forcing some to live in hiding. And they speak to CNN. That's next.


VAUSE: U.K. government has launched a new inquiry into issues raised by the conviction of a former London police officer who brutally raped and murdered a woman earlier this year.

Activists say it's just not enough. They're calling for new measures to stamp out acts of police violence against women.

Here's CNN's Nada Bashir.


NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Enough is enough. Sixteen silhouettes for the 16 women researchers say have been killed by a serving or former police officer since 2009.

It's a troubling statistic gathered by an organization which tracks femicide in the U.K. and brought into the spotlight following the murder of Sarah Everard, killed by former police officer Wayne Couzens, who used his authority as a serving policeman to falsely arrest, abduct, and rape her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I absolutely know that there are those who feel their trust in us is shaken.

BASHIR: It's this erosion of trust that officials in the U.K. are now trying to tackle. Increasing police presence in busy public spaces, and advising women to ask key questions if they are approached by a lone officer.

JANE CONNORS, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPUTY ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER: If somebody doesn't feel safe, and they're not comfortable in the environment, and they're dealing with a police officer, then ask them some questions. Where are you from? Why did you stop me? Where are your colleagues? And that way, they can start to feel safe.

BASHIR: But for the many still shaken by Sarah's murder, these measures do little to restore public confidence in the police.

ANNA BIRLEY, CO-FOUNDER, RECLAIM THESE STREETS: Yet again, it puts the onus of safety on women. The suggestions are all actions women, yet again, have to take to keep themselves safe, rather than women being safe because we can trust a police officer.

BASHIR: Sarah's murder has brought into sharp focus the issue of police perpetrated acts of violence against women.

Between 2018 in 2019, 143 allegations of sexual assault by police officers were recorded in England and Wales. And in 2019, a police watchdog found that more than 400 referrals were made in relation to abuse of power for sexual purposes over just three years.

Zoe Billingham, who led that inquiry, says that while these cases represent a small minority of police officers, even one case is one too many.


ZOE BILLINGHAM, FORMER INSPECTOR OF CONSTABULARY: The evidence speaks for itself. Predators have found their way into policing. And until matters change, I can't say with certainty that policing is free from those predators and that victims would always be kept safe by those that are there to protect them.

BASHIR (on camera): Do you think there's a culture within the British police force that allows police officers to commit such crimes with some level of impunity?

BILLINGHAM: There is a degree of tolerance within policing, which is an unacceptable degree of tolerance, of misogynistic behavior. And that needs to change.

BASHIR (voice-over): The government has now launched an inquiry into the issues raised by the conviction of Wayne Couzens, including wider issues across policing, such as vetting practices, workplace behavior, and disciplinary action.

The campaigners say that the abuse of power by some police officers is just one part of a wider epidemic of violence against women.

BIRLEY: There is a wider, deeper, more structural issue around women and the way that they police women, and that currently won't be addressed by the report, so I hope that scope will be widened.

BASHIR: And just as flowers continue to be left for Sara, months after her brutal murder. The demand for police reform, and greater accountability, persists.

Nada Bashir, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Ethiopian Airlines again denying evidence uncovered by CNN that its commercial aircraft were used to shuttle weapons and ammunition between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea.

A CNN investigation of flight documents, photos, witness statements, and other materials confirmed the flights took place in the November 2020, the early days of a civil war in the Tigray region.

Experts believe those activities nay have been a violation of a U.S. trade agreement, as well as international war.

The airline is owned by the Ethiopian government, and on Thursday, it again offered an official rebuttal. "Ethiopian Airlines strongly refutes the recent allegations by CNN and would like to confirm that, to the best of its knowledge and its and records, it has not transported any war armaments in any of its routes by any of its aircraft."

The evidence uncovered in CNN's exhaustive and extensive investigation can be found at

In western Africa, many in Ghana's gay community have already been forced into hiding because of rising attacks by vigilantes. And soon, a yet-to-be-passed law would make it illegal to be gay, with long prison terms for the guilty.

Activists say if that law is passed, it would be a green light for increased attacks on those within the gay community.

CNN's David McKenzie has this exclusive report. But it comes with a warning. Some of the video is disturbing.




(voice-over): We're heading to a safehouse in a Nakara (ph) --

(on camera): We're probably about 15 minutes from your live location now.

(voice-over): -- run by gay activists.

(on camera): Can we carry in the cameras or do we need to keep the cameras in boxes?

"JOE": I think let's go into the (ph) boxes.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): We're meeting "Joe." We agreed to hide his identity, because he's afraid of being attacked again.

(on camera): Take me back to that moment when those men came and started harassing you.

"JOE": I was shaken when they took me to that room, and they said they had cameras. And I was crying.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): His crime, the Ghana man said, approaching another man.

"Is it true that you told him that you like him?" they asked.

"Yes," he whispers.

"JOE": Like, how can this happen to me? They beat me. How am I to living, all these times they beat me. I wanted to kill myself. For me, when I saw this video, I was like, it would be better I kill myself, because I have nowhere to go.

MCKENZIE (on camera): And your dad threw you out.

"JOE": Yes.

MCKENZIE: And what was that moment like?

"JOE": I cried like never before.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Captured in videos too graphic to show and shared on social media.

Part of a pattern of brutal verbal and physical attacks by vigilantes to humiliate LGBTQ Ghanaians. Soon, the community fears, they could be targeted by the state.

(on camera): What is your message to someone who is LGBT in Ghana right now?

EMMANUEL BEDZRAH, GHANAIAN MP: Well, we love them. We always say we love them.

MCKENZIE: But you want to send them to prison.

BEDZRAH No, we are asking them not to do it.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): A draft law to be debated in weeks coerces LGBTQ Ghanaians to choose between jail time and so-called conversion therapy, seen by U.N. experts as torture.

It prosecutes same-sex displays of affection, even punishes activists supporting the community. Activists call it a homophobe's dream.

(on camera): Today in 2021, you believe that someone who supports or openly the LGBT community should potentially go to prison for 10 years?


BEDZRAH: Of course.


BEDZRAH: Because it's against our culture. It's against our norms. It's against our tradition. And we don't want things that are against our sensibility to be, you know, given priority in our society.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Tragically, THE LGBTQ community here says that tolerance was slowly improving in Ghana.

GREGORY ANDREWS, AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER: And I know that African cultures are cultures of tolerance, diversity, acceptance, and participation.

MCKENZIE: When they opened a support center in January, it rallied conservative lawmakers, who said that being gay is un-African, a western import. Backed by powerful religious groups, the leadership of the million

strong Pentecostal church, say LGBTQ organizations are a national security threat. We

(on camera): Are you struggling a little bit to get hold of someone.

(voice-over): But they refused to speak to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We talk to our leadership.

MCKENZIE (on camera): To the leadership?

(voice-over): And the security stopped us from filming.

(on camera): We're just trying to speak to some people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not allowed.

MCKENZIE: It's not allowed.

(voice-over): The religious support for the bill here is absolute.

(on camera): It's one thing promoting the values of the church. It's another thing to prosecute those who are identifying like this. So why take that extra step?

ARCHBISHOP PHILIP NAAMEH, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC BISHOPS COUNCIL, GHANA: It is not the values of the church. It is the values of the human species. The human being is created to be in a family, and to propagate itself. It's not just the church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the same Bible told people to love their neighbor as ourself, why would you want to torture your own neighbor? Why would you want to torture your child?

MCKENZIE: This prominent gay activist has already gone underground. The draft bill calls on all Ghanaians to hand in their LGBTQ neighbors for prosecution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are waiting for the bill to pass so that they can actually beat you up, they can do whatever they want with you.

MCKENZIE: The limited space Ghanaians like Joe had just to be themselves could soon vanish. And they'll need to move further into the shadows.

(on camera): What is your message to those politicians?

"JOE": We are all human beings. They are sons, and they're daughters, can be like you and me. My answer to them is, they should put a stop to it.

David McKenzie, CNN, Akra, Ghana.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Still to come here on CNN, soaring prices for oil and natural gas, shortages of coal causing rolling power outages. Now that the world's energy crisis has arrived, how long will it last? Details in a moment.



VAUSE: Welcome back. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

And back now to that developing story from Hong Kong. A short time ago, a large section of scaffolding, on a high rise building, collapsed.

Rescuers are now trying to free two construction workers, trapped under the debris. According to local media reports, who drivers who were also pinned under the twisted metal have been rescued. One has been taken to hospital.

The scaffolding came crashing down, and fellow into a huge tangled mass at the base of the tower amid heavy rain and strong winds, which have been hitting Hong Kong. The city is under a tropical cyclone warning.

We'll have more details as this story develops, right here on CNN.


VAUSE: Well, power stations in India are desperately searching for coal as stockpiles have dropped to critically low levels. India's central electricity authority says nearly half of the country's coal- fired power plants have only two days' supply left.

The country could face electricity shortages in the coming months.

Rolling blackouts have already begun for some residents in China. Its growing power supply crunch has also forced factories to cut back on production.

Soaring energy prices in Europe have left the continent scrambling to find fuel. But now, Russia -- Russia is offering to help.

As CNN's Anna Stewart explains, that may hinge on the future of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline.


ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Gas prices have increased eight-fold over the last year. They did ease Thursday, after President Putin said Russia could look at exporting more gas to Europe, which is something the IEA called for, two weeks ago.

At the same time, Russia's deputy prime minister suggested that a speedy certification of its new pipeline, Nord Stream 2, would bring down gas prices. Now, this has increased concerns that Russia could be holding back gas

from Europe, to keep prices high, and thereby lend weight to its argument for a quick approval of Nord Stream 2.

This is the pipeline that was completed last month, and German regulators have four months to approve it.

It's been fiercely opposed for years by some European nations, as well as the U.S. One of the major reasons being that it bypasses Ukraine. That means Ukraine would lose out on valuable gas transit fees.

The Biden administration reached a deal with Berlin in July, saying it would allow the pipeline to go ahead in exchange for financial aid to Ukraine.

There are many reasons, though, far beyond Russia, for high gas prices in Europe, both when it comes to supply and demand.

Next week, the E.U. will publish a toolbox of measures to help member states respond to the crisis. It will include grants, and energy tax cuts, and helping support consumers through a winter which could be devastatingly expensive.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Joining us now is Catherine Rampell, a CNN economics and political commentator, and opinion writer for "The Washington Post."

Catherine, good to see you.


VAUSE: OK. So a confluence of very diverse events is driving this spike in energy prices. Everything from no wind in the North Sea, which impacts Britain's energy supplies, to a coal shortage in China, made worse by diplomatic standoff with Australia.

Individual events no one could have predicted, all happening at once, as demand surged after the lifting of the pandemic restrictions.

We've kind of seen this before, though. Unremarkable events, combining in a way which triggers some kind of major global crisis. Is that where we're heading?

RAMPELL: I think people are accurately understanding all of these events to be transitory, short term, because there are about these kind of one-off supply shocks. Or to some extent, it's enormous supply shock, but, it is a temporary one. Or, at least, that's the reasonable interpretation of what's going on here.

So yes, I think Europe is going to be in for a hard winter, with high energy prices. China has to figure out its way out of this energy crunch, as well. A number of different parts of the world, all facing very similar constraints.

But, I'm not sure that I would interpret any of what we're seeing right now, as -- as a particularly motivating factor in -- in preventing a similar crisis in the future.

VAUSE: Rising energy costs mean rising food prices, and the U.N.'s food price index just found an increase of 1.2 percent from August to September, almost 33 percent compared to the same time last year.

The biggest increase in a decade comes despite a record output for cereal this year.

And as we head into the northern winter, you have a lot of people who will be cold; a lot of people who will be hungry. Governments are trying to provide some relief right now about essentially subsidizing energy costs, which means, in effect, subsidizing climate change.

So the U.K. prime minister says this last month, talk about moving to greener energy sources. Here it is.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: When Kermit the frog -- Kermit the frog sang, "It's not easy being green," do you remember that one? I want you to know that he was wrong. He was wrong. It is easy. It's not only easy, it's lucrative, and it's right, to be green.



VAUSE: It's actually not that easy, in fact. It's -- in fact, Boris Johnson could be dead wrong, especially when you look at the complex challenges of making this transition.

RAMPELL: I think that the transition, itself, will have some painful parts to it.

In the long run, it's the thing that the globe needs to do, right, to keep the planet habitable. We need to move away from fossil fuels. We need to go toward lower carbon, or, preferably, zero carbon energy sources. But there will be some challenges.

And I think, as a species, we need to come to grips with that, and to figure out a way to -- to make that transition less painful. But you know, some of it just going to depend on human ingenuity, so that we can develop, again, the technologies that we need, in order to be able to store energy and have more reliable, resilient access to it.

VAUSE: I guess the real question is how difficult is that transition going to be as prices go up, and a real choice has to be made? You either have to suffer through high energy costs for the greater good in the future, or do you subsidize it now, and provide some relief?

And this is the tricky part here, because you know, this is where the whole climate agenda sort of starts getting unstuck, in many ways. As people -- you know, the rubber hits the road, and they start living through these high prices, it's very hard to think about the future when you are hungry, and cold.

RAMPELL: It is. But again, if we want to keep the planet habitable, we need to endure some of that pain. We're enduring other kinds of pain, because we're not sufficiently dealing with the climate crisis.

We're having more frequent severe weather events. We really need to think about policy choices that will ease that transition, which maybe involves paying people off, so that they can -- they can deal with the higher prices in the near term, because we know that the higher prices are -- are necessary to force this transition.

And my fear, honestly, is the opposite. That everyone will presume that these price spikes that we're dealing with her transitory, because, probably, they are transitory. And so it won't be sufficiently motivating to make the investments in the clean energy technology that we ultimately need to make.

This is why I favor a carbon tax. A lot of economists favor a carbon tax. Because the price tells you, you know, what -- how your behavior should change, and how your long-term investments need to change.

If you think that the price spike is only temporary, maybe that means you don't change your behavior. You don't, you know, change where your energy sources for your home, the local power plant doesn't switch over, et cetera. We don't make the investments we need to make, because we figure the pain is too short-term.

VAUSE: Catherine, couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you. Appreciate that.

RAMPELL: Thank you.

VAUSE: In just a few hours, the -- this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner will be announced. And this year, climate crusaders, COVID campaigners, and reporters without borders, all considered to be among the favorites.



VAUSE: Well, the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize will be announced in just a few hours from now. Last year, the World Food Programme, the world's largest humanitarian organization, was honored for fighting hunger in the midst of a global pandemic.

As for the front runners this year, here's CNN's Kim Brunhuber.


KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR (voice-over): Locked behind a highly protected door, a list of the 329 nominees to win this Nobel Peace Prize. One of the world's most prestigious awards will go to one of the individuals or organizations on that list. But until Friday's announcement, the winner remains a mystery, about which we can only speculate.

Each year, the Peace Research Institute, Oslo, or PRIO, does just that, with an esteemed prediction of likely frontrunners.

HENRIK URDAL, DIRECTOR, THE PEACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE OSLO: First, Doctors without Borders. I think a journalist prize this year would be very important, as they both do their fight against fake news, and the important work that journalists are doing in conflict areas all over the world.

BRUNHUBER: Those protecting freedom of speech are high on PRIO's shortlist, followed by those defending democracy.

PRIO's director says another likely candidate is Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya. She's an exiled Belarusian human rights activist and opposition leader at the forefront of a resistance against the country's authoritarian president.

If the Nobel Committee chooses to avoid political dissidents, possible winners could include jailed Russian activist Alexei Navalny. Or Iustitia, a group of judges in Poland defending civil rights.

Beyond that, PRIO thinks there are several other likely contenders.

URDAL: One of the most important questions these days, of course, is climate change, with the IPCC just launching their sixth assessment report, demonstrating that this is the major global threat that we're facing.

BRUNHUBER: The award will be announced just three weeks before world leaders gather for a critical climate summit. So the prize winner could be a champion of climate change activism.

Eighteen-year-old Greta Thunberg comes to mind in this category. The Swedish activist has helped catalyze a worldwide movement among youth to fight climate change.

Others are predicting a nod to groups critical in the coronavirus pandemic, like the World Health Organization, or COVAX, a vaccine sharing initiative aimed at fairly distributing lifesaving vaccines worldwide.

Altogether, it's a long list of possible winners, evaluated for a prize with a singular, but complex meaning.

BJOERN VANGEN, LIBRARIAN, THE NORWEGIAN NOBEL INSTITUTE: On a general basis, the Peace Prize is given out not for being people being angels, say, but for people making enough effort to make a better world, a better organized world, and a world with less war, and more peaceful existence between the peoples.

BRUNHUBER: Whose endeavor best fits that description? Well, we'll soon find out.

Kim Brunhuber, CNN.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. I will be back with more news at the top of the hour. In the meantime, please stay with us. WORLD SPORT is up next with Patrick Snell.