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Japan's former Princess Mako Weds Fiance Amid Controversy; Sudanese Troops Detain Officials; Dissolve Government in Coup; Whistleblower Speaks to U.K. Lawmakers about Online Safety; Australia's Climate Pledge; Preservationists Battle Bacteria to Save Rome's Artifacts. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired October 26, 2021 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, I'm John Vause. Ahead here on CNN Newsroom, the best of the bad for Facebook comes under fire in the U.S. Most other countries new details have revealed it's like the Wild West with measures to control harmful content almost non-existent.
Sudan's military responds with deadly force out to thousands take to the streets protesting the overthrow of the civilian led interim government.
And Australia already ranked last on climate action by the U.N. announces net zero carbon emissions by 2050, true to form it's a day late and $1 short.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.
VAUSE: We will have those stories in a moment, but first we head to Tokyo in a press event which began moments ago regarding the royal family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, we will begin.
MAKO KOMURO, FORMER JAPANESE PRINCESS (through translation): COVID-19 is impacting our life. And there are many people who are going through difficulty, I would like to express my condolences and my feelings for you, sympathy and in order to help people, those people who are in trouble and people who are supporting all of us, I would like to express my deep gratitude to those people who are helping us, supporting us.
And today, what I would like to express my feelings are, in order to do that, I had this kind of press conference -- my -- as a royal family member, I spent all this time, and my gratitude and many people were concerned about and supporting us, I would like to express my gratitude. And the course of this, what I felt, what we felt and how my thoughts are, I would like to talk about those feelings and thoughts. In the past, guided by kind people, I, myself give the -- fulfill, try to fulfil my official duties as much as possible as a royal household member. And these 30 years, I was assisted by many people and watched over ends up being supported by many people. And deeply, sincerely, kindly helping me, working with me, I would like to express my deep gratitude to those people.
And places where I visited many people showed that kind attitudes and show the kind of work words to me. And directly I had opportunities to meet people and many people I did not have an opportunity to meet. And although they showed a very warm attitudes to all those people, I would like to express my gratitude to all those people.
And many that -- I had many encounters, and they were so important to me, I cannot express those feelings impossible to express. And that will never change in the future either. That is how I heal my marriage to Kei. And there are many people who have many different thinking and thoughts. I am well aware of that. I deeply apologize to those people who may have been caused trouble as a result, and many people were quietly concerned about me about, and based on some false information not -- they supported me without being bothered by false information. I really express my gratitude to those people.
To me, Kei is a very important existence and to me, indispensable existence. To me marriage is -- this is indispensable choice for us to continue living this life.
KEI KOMURO, HUSBAND OF FORMER JAPANESE PRINCESS: I love Mako, Ms. Mako and this is life only once and I would like to spend my only once in a lifetime with my person that I love, happiness, in happiness and not in happiness, we would like to share our thoughts and we encourage each other in all these days.
This time of the marriage, if I caused any people any trouble, I would like to express my apology for this. There are many things that happened, I would like to live the next life with -- together with Mako. Many people who supported me in the past surrounding us, I would like to express my true deep gratitude to those people who supported us.
K. KOMURO: Up until today, I made the -- there were only limited opportunities to for me to express my feelings in the past. And then there were some misunderstandings that were caused by that. And some part -- some people as you're well aware, there were some wedding was announced. And then there's no change in Kei, for example, about mother and that past fiance. The dealings with that person was handled in the direction I wish and that Kei study abroad, and it wasn't quickened. And I asked him to go abroad and study abroad, you know, quick and schedule, and I was not able to assist him at all, in his staying abroad under the difficult circumstances. He made such gallant efforts, and I really appreciate it, and Kei is done. And he -- there was a criticism that he did that independently, and he did not consider my feelings, there was a speculation, truly unilateral speculation. And as if it was true, it was broadcast as true. And it was spread like I felt a fear about such spread. And I felt saddened as well.
Under such stringent circumstances, many people believed Kei on, and I truly appreciate and thank -- I'm feeling thankful to those people.
K. KOMURO: My mother and her fiance, past fiance, the financial trouble with respect to this, the details are, as I announced, made public in the past, and then the on occasions, I myself and my mother, appreciate the people who supported me in this connection, even now, I'm grateful.
And today and several month money was -- we offered -- made an offer to pay and he responded to us it was important for him to see my mother, but my mother is -- got a psychological problem issues. And she -- there was a doctor stop for her to see her past fiance, former fiance, so I would like to handle it, instead of, on behalf of my mother. And then and we express that through our representative and that former fiance and the contact person, weekly magazine reporter gave us answers and towards the settlement, towards the resolution, I would like to handle it as much as possible for the settlement. And then, my feelings -- we would like to settle this hasn't been changed. And these last four years, there was a misinformation was spread as if it were true. And there was a false information and a criticism and Mako felt ill, and I feel truly saddened by that then my mother too, and she had no choice but to quit her work as well. And she felt unsafe about herself.
And these difficult circumstances, people -- there were people who helped us, many people who helped us under such difficult situations. And I feel grateful to those people. I myself, Mako, and we would like to build up a warm, nice family. And at the same time, we would like -- I would like to do the best I can to support Mako. Happy times, not unhappy times we would like to be together, and we would like to be in this indispensable to each other or to each other.
M. KOMURO: We, together will begin a new life together. And from now on living together in a different form, I think difficulties will visit us. However, just as in the past, both of us exert our efforts together cooperation, and we would like to go through life together in that way. So far, we were faithful to our hearts, the reason why we were able to do it, we felt each other that way. And then also there were many people who supported us. And now, I said, there are many people who are going through difficulties in the COVID-19 situation. So warm assistance, and to help from people who around us, I would like to cherish my hearts and society will cherish all these people who are in difficulties that this -- that is my true wish.
K. KOMURO: Next in advance, there were some questions that were presented to us. They would like to answer those in writing and responses in writing will be distributed now to all the attendees.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: We have been listening to the newlywed couple, former Princess Mako, and her new husband Kei Komuro. This is such a big deal because she's giving up her title
as a princess to marry a commoner. It has been a four-year long engagement, not without controversy. CNN's Blake Essig is standby live for us in Tokyo to walk through some of what we've just heard and give us some background and context all of this. But just set about talking about what this day actually means, how significant it is, for remember the royal family of female members of royal family, notably, who has to give up the title, all the trappings of royal life so she could marry the man she loves.
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you know, John, I mean, what we just heard, obviously, the now former Princess Mako, thanking the public for supporting her during her 30 years of serving as a royal and then also her husband, not only thanking the public for their support, but also explaining, you know, some of the issues, you know, that resulted in potentially this delayed marriage. And again, as you said, you know, very significant that you have a member of the royal family essentially stepped back from that life to marry a commoner and per Japanese law of what that means is that she no longer is able to have her royal title.
Now, during this press event, the former princess and her new husband didn't exactly take any direct questions as you heard. Instead, they delivered a brief statement and then they released pre-prepared responses to about five questions that were submitted in advance by the Imperial press corps. And this was a very choreographed event with the intention of shielding the couple from any further media scrutiny following the former princess' recent admission that she has been suffering from complex PTSD as a result of her relationship with Kei Komuro being heavily scrutinized for years. And the Imperial Household agency said that Mako was shocked to know that some of the questions might give the impression that false information was true and that her strong sense of anxiety would be revived by answering questions verbally at the press event.
So again, under Japanese law, members of the royal household must give up their title and leave the palace if they marry a commoner. And in this case, the couple are expected to remain in Tokyo until the end of the year, when they'll move to New York City, hoping to lead a normal life as commoners.
Now, Japan's former Princess Mako and her new husband, commoner Kei Komuro have officially tied that knot. But again, as we talked about earlier, if you were expecting a royal fairytale wedding, prepare to be disappointed. There was no pomp and circumstance whatsoever. Instead, the couple registered their marriage earlier this morning, around 10 o'clock local time of marriage. It was about four years in the making.
Now since the engagement was announced in 2017, their relationship had been met with scandal, public disapproval, and media scrutiny. Originally, the couple who met in college had planned to get married in 2018 before the wedding was pushed back while the Imperial Household said that the reason for that delay was because of a lack of preparation. Many suspect it was because of reports that Komuro's mother had failed to pay back $36,000 that she borrowed from a former fiance and you heard Komuro address that issue during the press conference just moments
That's a situation that led some to believe that he was a gold digger, with the most recent scandal taking off when Komuro arrived in Japan late last month with a ponytail with some believing he was not a suitable spouse.
Now despite the disapproval of Mako has gone ahead with a marriage with some people that we talked to earlier today hoping that the couple can find happiness but at the same time you still have a lot of people that don't feel that Kei Komuro was a suitable spouse for an imperial daughter. John.
VAUSE: Well, they're married now so I guess that doesn't really matter. So former Princess Mako is now Mrs. Komuro. We wish them all the very best. Blake. Blake Essig there live for us in Tokyo. We appreciate the update.
We're taking short break now here on CNN Newsroom. When we come back, thousands of protesters on the streets of Sudan after the military seizes power and the rest civilian political leaders, the very latest developments in a moment.
VAUSE: Sudan's military has declared a state of emergency after seizing power detaining civilian leaders and in the process dashing hopes of a peaceful transition to democratic rule.
In the Capitol and beyond, thousands had taken to the streets opposed to the coup. At least three people have reportedly been shot dead, at least 80 others wounded with allegations soldiers opened fire on protesters.
Under a power sharing arrangement agreed to after the longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir two years ago. The military was just weeks away from handing control of the country's transitional authority to civilian leaders. At this hour the location and the health of the interim Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok remains unknown. Notably though the information ministry says he remains the legitimate transitional authority in the country. We have more now from CNN's Nima Elbagir.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sudan once again forced to a crossroads one month after a failed coup attempt. The military arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Monday, along with other civilian members of the transitional government, bearing all the hallmarks of military takeover, a coup.
Since the toppling of long serving ruler, Omar al-Bashir in 2019 military and civilian groups have been sharing power in the Northeast African nation, intending to lead eventually to democratic elections in 2023. The transition has seen Sudan emerge from international isolation under Bashir's nearly three-decade rule. That Democratic experiment now hangs in the balance.
Via a televised address the head of Sudan's armed forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who is also the head of the transitional sovereign council announced that the military has dissolved the government and declared a state of emergency.
GEN. ABDEL FATTAH AL-BURHAN, SUDANESE MILITARY LEADER: The stress here that the Armed Forces intend to complete the democratic transition until the country's leadership is handed over to an elected civilian government.
ELBAGIR: Prime Minister Hamdok's home appeared to be surrounded by armed forces on Monday. According to the information ministry, apparently still loyal to the country's elsewhere civilian rulers Hamdok was told to release a statement in support of the takeover but instead called on the people to take to the streets in protest.
Tens of thousands demonstrated in Khartoum, burning tires and barricading roads. One eyewitness told CNN three key bridges had been blocked by protesters in the Capitol. And the crowd could be heard chanting, the people are stronger and going back is impossible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the military is doing now is a big betrayal to all the citizens on all levels. Now it is important that every individual Sudanese citizen acts and takes to the streets to not let any armed vehicle move.
ELBAGIR: Military forces stormed Sudan state broadcaster in the city of undermanned and detained staff according to the information ministry, which also said live bullets were fired at protesters outside Sudan's Army General Command.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, in part responsible for the 2019 uprising issued a call to action, saying, "We urge the masses to go out on the streets and occupy them close all roads with barricades, stage a general labor strike and not to cooperate with the putschists and use civil disobedience to confront them."
Flights from Khartoum International Airport have been suspended, and the Internet and the mobile phone network have been severely disrupted.
Sudan has been in the midst of a deep economic crisis marked by record high inflation and shortages of basic goods. The United States Embassy in Khartoum issued a statement saying it was gravely concerned saying, "we call on all actors who are disrupting Sudan's transition to stand down and allow the civilian led transitional government to continue its important work to achieve the goals of the revolution." Nima Elbagir, CNN, London
(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Cameron Hudson was Chief of Staff with U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan. He's now a non-resident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council's Africa Center. Welcome to the show, continue with us.
CAMERON HUDSON, NONRESIDENT SENIOR FELLOW, AFRICA CENTER, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Thanks very much.
VAUSE: OK. So, in the hours after the coup, the U.N. Special Representative in Khartoum described the situation in the Capitol like this. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLKER PERTHES, U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SUDAN: We look at out of the window, and indeed, it is getting dark, we still have cans burning, and we have -- we can hear occasional gunshots. So of course, there is a risk that there would be more violence or more clashes when night falls. And there would be very, very little means for us to have any influence on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And the hours since the unrest, and the protests have only grown in number as well as location. So, did the military miscalculate here, the level of support for the civilian government? Are they not care what it is? I mean, how do you see, you know, the level of support which currently exists for the civilian led government and what the military may do if these protests continue? How violent could this get?
HUDSON: Well, I think with respect to the military's calculations, they walked into this situation with eyes wide open. There was a million-person march, just three days ago, demanding civilian rule in the country. Following on the heels of that the U.S. Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa, came into cartoon, spent three days of intensive meetings with the military leadership and civilian leadership, basically warning them of all the assistance that would be cut off from the United States and the international community if they couldn't resolve the tensions that existed. And if the military chose the path that has taken. So, it went in knowing full well what the consequences would be, if they chose this path of confrontation, and military coup, they did it anyway.
I think presumably calculating that they could withstand the external pressure, and frankly, even the internal pressure. But I think that's the real crux of the problem right now. We have seen what were, once peaceful protests take to the streets with a growing level of anger and frustration, calling for civil disobedience. We haven't seen that before in Sudan, we've seen peaceful protests, but not a kind of civil disobedience, setting up of roadblocks and really confronting the military. And so now as the U.N. Special Representative said as night falls in Sudan, I think there's a heightened fear that these protests could turn violent as the military begins to fan out across the city and secure various strategic targets around the Capitol cartoon.
VAUSE: Well, we once look to the man who stays secure, he was now calling for unity, and calm. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL-BURHAN (through translation): Let's all work starting today up until the general elections in July 2023 to improve people's lives and ensure their safety and security as will as creating the suitable environment for political parties in order to reach the specified date for elections while they will be more prepared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, would you expect the military to remain in control? And what are the chances those elections scheduled for two years from now actually take place?
HUDSON: Well, certainly the military's plan is to maintain control until those elections. The General announced elections a year before they're supposed to be held right now. But let's remember Sudan has absolutely no history of free and fair elections or any kind of democratic transition. They were under military dictatorship for the last 30 years. So, the idea that the military is now going to usher in free and fair elections is really farcical. I think what the military is trying to do right now is position itself as the defenders of the revolution as the defenders of the ideals of the revolution in Sudan and trying to blame civilian politicians for the lack of progress in this transition and the growing frustration among the Sudanese people. But I think the reality is that the military has been playing a very coy game of kind of death by 1000 cuts, blocking and slow rolling elements of forward momentum in this transition to create a crisis of its own making.
VAUSE: In the last few years, the civilian led government has struggled with political instability, the economy has been in trouble as rising unemployment, rising prices for basic goods. But how much of these problems if you like, have been created by the military as a pretext to take control or to seize power?
HUDSON: Well, no, I mean, I think the civilian government has inherited these problems from the previous military government. I think this current military government that has just seized power has been stymied efforts by the civilian cabinet to try to reform the economy. Let's remember that 80% of this economy is still controlled by the military. And so, when we when we blame civilian authorities for not moving quickly enough, or effectively enough to transform Sudan's economy, we have to really question who controls the levers of power behind the scenes of Sudan's economy? It's certainly not the civilians. Yes, they can adhere to World Bank and IMF requirements and take modest economic reforms. But when such a large portion of the economy of the country is still going to military ends, it's really hard to place blame on civilians for their inability to reform an economy that they don't fundamentally control.
VAUSE: Yes, good point to finish on Cameron. Thank you so much. Cameron Hudson, there, former Chief of Staff for the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan. We appreciate you being with us, sir. Thank you.
VAUSE: When we come back, the criticism of Facebook just keeps coming, thousands of leaked documents, showing some of its controversial policies, we'll tell you what Mark Zuckerberg is saying about the latest delegation, that's in a moment.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
Facebook has come under relentless criticism in the U.S. in recent weeks, fueled by thousands of leaked internal documents and damning revelations from whistleblower Frances Haugen. That the social media giant knew about the harmful impact it has on teenage girls, their body image and suicide. It knew that spreading hate and anger was undermining the fabric of democracy.
The lawmakers in Britain heard directly from Frances Haugen, but as bad as Facebook seems in the U.S. almost everywhere else, it is even worse, there's less effort, less investment to control harmful content.
Here's CNN's Nick Paton Walsh.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unquestionably, he's making it worse.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Familiar words looking for a new, angry audience. Francis Haugen, Facebook whistleblower, hoping she can influence or speed new laws aimed by the U.K. parliament here, to above all, protect children online.
FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: 10 to 15 percent of 10-year- olds were on the platform. Facebook can make a huge dent on this if they wanted to and they don't because they know that young users are the future of the platform, and the earlier they get them, the more likely to get them hooked.
WALSH: Demands for action in Britain where many blame social media for more divisive politics, perturbed by the damage Instagram has reportedly done to teenagers.
HAUGEN: When kids describe their usage of Instagram, Facebook's own research described it as an addict's scenario. That kids say this makes me unhappy, I feel like I don't have the ability to control my usage of it. And I feel if I left, I will be ostracized.
I am deeply worried that it may not be possible to make Instagram safe for a 14 year old, and I sincerely doubt it's possible to make it safe for a 10-year-old. I am incredibly excited and proud of the U.K. for taking such a world leading stance, with regard to thinking about regulating social platforms. I can imagine Mark isn't paying attention to what you're doing.
WALSH: CEO Mark Zuckerberg, his wife on his Instagram here, perhaps hopes to sail on to calmer waters with his new reported metaverse project and rumored rebrand.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: On rewriting the entire --
WALSH: Facebook told CNN, yes, we're a business and we make profit, but the idea that we do so with the expense of people's safety or well-being, misunderstands where our own commercial interests lie.
(on camera): Protesters promised a 13-foot (ph) Mark Zuckerberg outside U.K. parliament today, but instead we got this. He is barely even the size of me, which raises really the question after months of a persistent opposition drumbeat against Facebook.
Are they becoming the giants in society or is it still him.
(voice over): Still, it is extraordinary to hear Haugen spell out what she says the platform does routinely.
HAUGEN: The algorithms take people who have very mainstream interests, and they push them towards extreme interests. You can be someone center left and we're going to push to the radical left. You can be center right, we're going to push to the radical right. Even when you're looking for healthy recipes, you'll get pushed to (INAUDIBLE) content.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You might be interested to know that you're trending on Twitter. So people are listening.
WALSH: Whether that changes anything will depend on the tide here changing itself.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.
VAUSE: Joining us now from Washington is Adrienne LaFrance, the executive editor at "The Atlantic", the latest piece on Facebook is titled, "history will not judge us kindly."
Welcome to the show. Good have you with us.
ADRIENNE LAFRANCE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE ATLANTIC": Thank you so much for having me.
VAUSE: OK. So when it comes to moderating hated, harmful content, Facebook in the U.S., seems to take priority, compared to everywhere else around the world.
I want you to listen to Frances Haugen appearing before lawmakers in Britain. Here she is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAUGEN: I'm deeply concerned about their investment in non-English languages, and how they mislead the public, that they are supporting them. so Facebook says things like we support 50 languages when, in reality, most of those languages get a tiny fraction of the safety systems that English gets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Haugen went on to say that the safety at Facebook is seen purely, as a cost issue. But, beyond that, can the decision to allow harmful content to, you know, essentially run free on platforms outside of the U.S. be tied to Facebook's strategy, to expand the business by seeking growth in the number of users internationally?
LAFRANCE: Well, you know, when I learned through these documents, and certainly through conversations with people at Facebook, now, and former Facebook employees, is that there is this real pressure on everyone there to sort of have growth the primary decision making function above all.
LAFRANCE: So growth matters most sort of any harm mitigation comes second. And so there is a sort of direct tension between doing what could help keep people safer and doing what could help Facebook grow.
VAUSE: Well, part of CNN's reporting found that of the 1.8 billion daily active Facebook users, more than 70 percent are outside of North America and Europe and internal documents from Facebook also indicate the company has, in many cases, failed to adequately scale up staff or add local languages resources to protect people in these places."
And that will be places like Ethiopia. Again, I want to you to listen to the whistleblower, Frances Haugen. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAUGEN: A core part of why I came forward, was I looked at the consequences of choices Facebook was making, and I looked at things like the global south. And I believe situations like Ethiopia are just part of the opening chapters of a novel that is going to be horrific to read.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And Again, from CNN reporting, that's includes armed groups in Ethiopia, using the platform to incite violence against ethnic minorities, in the context of civil war.
If that's just the opening chapter, how much worse does this get?
LAFRANCE: Well, I mean I think we have good evidence that Facebook is of course, working against democratic society. It sounds dramatic because it is. And in terms of sort of how the United States in particular compared with the rest of the world, there is this really strong sense that comes through these documents that shows that America really has the best version of Facebook. And if you're in America, and you know what that's like, you know that that's not a good thing.
V3: And also what's happening in the United States too, with the insurrection back in January, there was direct connection between everything that was happening in Facebook and everything that was happening on Capitol Hill.
LAFRANCE: Absolutely. I mean, you saw the president of the United States use Facebook and other social platforms that certainly primarily, Facebook, to incite violence. And it worked.
And you saw that the people who are charged with committing crimes that day, were also using Facebook to organize their activities and so, you know, you read through the indictments that have come out since January 6 and you can just see over and over again, Facebook is just woven throughout the stories of that day. It's really intertwined in a striking way.
VAUSE: And Mark Zuckerberg, at least when it comes to internationally, and you know, spreading hate and promoting hate anger an online, can't really plead ignorance because he apologized back in 2018.
He said Facebook had been used to stoke hate, during the genocide of the minority Rohingya Muslim population.
He admitted it. He said they need to do better, and he apologized to the activists. So when he comes on to say stuff like this, like he said on Monday, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZUCKERBERG: Good faith criticism helps us get better. But my view is that what we are seeing is a coordinated effort, to selectively use leak documents to paint a false picture of our company.
The reality is that we have an open culture where we encourage discussion and research, about our work to so we can make progress on many complex issues that are not specific to just us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: How can that statement be taken seriously?
LAFRANCE: Well, I mean it will be easier putting out the contradictions, right. Like touting an open, culture of criticizing the open and free press. But, you know, obviously, Facebook is feeling a lot of pressure these day because the public is finally getting a look at what this company is really like. And so in some, I think it's probably a net good first society, that the public can see the inner workings of this company.
But there's still so much for us to understand, and you know, any sort of, entity or institution, or powerful figure who attacks the free press, you always have to ask questions about why.
VAUSE: Absolutely. Adrienne, thank you so much for being with us. Adrienne Lafrance, executive, editor at "The Atlantic".
LAFRANCE: Thank you.
VAUSE: Still ahead, Australia's conservative government finally signs on to net zero emissions by 2050, but won't budge on more ambitious, short term reductions.
VAUSE: Five days now until the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. And a new U.N. report finds mitigation efforts are falling dramatically short of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees.
The World Meteorological Organization's Green House Gas bulletin, finds carbon dioxide levels are the highest in 3 million years and right now, we're on track to hit more than 2.5 degrees of warming.
(INAUDIBLE) key leaders will be no shows at COP26 including Xi Jinping of China, the world's biggest carbon emitter which means they are now concerned about how much meaningful progress can be made at this summit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It will be very, very tough this summit. And I'm very worried because it might go -- it might go wrong. We might not get the agreements that we need. And it's touch and go. It's very, very difficult. But I think it can be done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Australia has finally announced a net zero target for carbon emissions by 2050. For years, the conservative government there has opposed to net zero, only now, giving into pressure at home and widespread criticism abroad.
While this move is seen as a major shift for a prime minister who one proudly held up a lot of coal in parliament, there's been no commitments on ramping up short term goals for reducing carbon emissions. That will be good news for Australia's booming coal industry while multiple reports have found phasing out coal is crucial. The coal loving prime minister says forget it for now.
CNN's Anna Coren has more now reporting in.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A boat carrier, sitting low in the water weighed down by thousands of tons of coal. Exiting the port of Newcastle, it is on its way to a buyer, who likely, paid record high prices for its cargo. Ending the use of coal is among the stated objectives of next month's COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow but Australia's export industry is booming. Happy to satisfy craving as global energy shortages bite.
Australia is the world's second largest coal exporter. How long it remained so, depends on how serious its customers are about their own climate goals.
GEORGINA WOODS, LOCK THE GATE ALLIANCE: Our major coal customers make the transformation toward renewable energy, they say they're going to. you know, then the market for our coal will dry up.
How quickly that will happen is a matter of debate. But no one is in any sort of illusion that we need to get some plans in place to create new industries and new job opportunities to replace coal.
COREN: Georgina Woods is for expansion to local fossil fuel projects in the nearby Hunter Valley with the organization Locking the Gate Alliance.
She says Australia's transition away from coal must happen now while local mining jobs are secure.
WOODS: A region like ours has sacrificed a great de al for the prosperity, and energy security of New South Wales and Australia for a long time and we now need support to make a new kind of future that isn't dependent on this industry.
In the Hunter Valley, that sacrifice is clear. Famed wineries and pristine farmland pockmarked by mega mines.
Australia held out for as long as it could on a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. As its government takes that pledge to Glasgow, it just approved three new coal mines including one here in the Hunter Valley.
State fossil fuel subsidies, run into the billions of dollars each year.
JOEL FITZGIBBON, AUSTRALIAN LABOR MP: Our coal is the world's best. People want it. Countries need it. And you know, self-interest will come first every time. When they need our coal, they'll buy it.
COREN: Opposition Labor Party MP Joel Fitzgibbon has represented the Hunter region in federal parliament since 1996. He argues, Australia can achieve net zero emissions while continuing to export coal, maintaining thousands of highly paid jobs in his constituency.
FITZGIBBON: Our relatively, clean and efficient coal displaces inefficient coal. So if we were stop sending thermal coal to Asia tomorrow, it would be replaced by something less efficient, and would add to, not subtract from viable (ph) emissions.
COREN: Australia does not omissions from the coal it exports to its carbon tally. But the International Energy Agency says, if the world is going to keep temperatures to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times, it is clear, countries like Australia need to stop opening new coal minds now.
In the shadow of an expanded coal mine is John Krey's home. Gray mounds now visible from his veranda.
JOHN KREY, HUNGER VALLEY, AUSTRALIA RESIDENT: We've got enough coal here to sell whatever the demand is. And yet we are giving approval to open more mines.
COREN: Krey says the dust, lights, and noise from the mine site are making his otherwise idyllic home, unlivable.
KREY: I think the world will push Australia into doing the right thing. I think it is too late for us here.
COREN: Far more of our world in danger of becoming unlivable unless, Australia leaves far more of its coal in the ground.
Anna Coren, CNN.
VAUSE: Jeffrey Sachs is director of Columbia University's Center for Sustainable Development. He is also the author of "The Price Of Civilization".
Welcome back, Jeffrey, thanks for being with us.
JEFFREY SACHS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Great to be with you.
VAUSE: Ok, so Australia finally announcing this goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. No word on ramping up a short of reduction of emission.
Is this all about 15 years too late to keep global warming to around that -- you know, limit it to around 1.5 degrees?
SACHS: Well, let's start with the good news. This announcement is good news. It shows that world pressure and climate reality have reached the Morrison government and this is happening around the world tonight.
I think people should understand that. President Putin said Russia would reach net zero by 2060. Saudi Arabia has declared a net zero goal which is actually amazing. Turkey has adopted a net zero by 2053 goal.
What's happening in the lead up to Glasgow is that the major emitting countries are stating these goals. Of course, stating goals and achieving them are two different things. But you don't achieve the goals without stating them first.
And we are seeing around the world, the major countries acknowledging climate reality. Then you ask, is this enough. Well, of course, it's desperately late. We're already at 1.2 degrees Celsius, warmer than in the so-called pre-industrial temperatures.
The warming is continuing at about 0.3 of one degree each decade, which means that in the next few years or the next decade, depending on short term swings, we could hit that 1.5 degrees Celsius limit.
So, we're late in the day, but reality is penetrating governments finally.
I view the announcement as a good thing, and a real step because the pressures will intensify now to actually honor the commitment.
VAUSE: At least there's acknowledgment that climate change is real, and it is so real. I want you to listen to the Secretary General from the World Meteorological Organization where we're at right now and where we're heading. Here he is.
PETTERI TAALAS, SECRETARY-GENERAL, WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION: So far, we have got critical support for (INAUDIBLE) ambition of mitigation, but the concrete pledges have still been missing and at the moment we are heading towards 2.5 to 3 degrees warming rather than 1.5 to 2 degrees.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And Australia as well, there's countries refusing to budge on increasing short term goals for reducing admission. Sticking to the commitments made during the Paris accord in 2015.
it kind of feels like we're on board the Titanic, we can see the iceberg ahead and Australia and a few other governments want to debate over how much we should slow down, instead of a need to change course.
SACHS: Wherever there are fossil fuels, and let's put the United States in this as well. The fossil fuel interests -- the oil, gas, and coal companies are fighting.
And this is absolutely against the interest of humanity. It's a small vested interest group. They often contribute a lot of money to politicians.
Reality is seeing though, it's felt everywhere in the heat waves, the droughts, the floods, the extreme storms, the forest fires. So, we need to take these commitments that are now happening all over the world and hold every government accountable. Get moving.
SACHS: In the United States, we still have the coal industry. We still have Senator Joe Manchin trying to hold off actually taking the actions that we need globally.
So we need to hold the politicians to account. Otherwise, the planet will be wrecked and wrecked for our children and grandchildren. It's unbelievable how long we've waited.
VAUSE: What is also stunning, is that whenever there is pushback, whenever there's an argument against doing something, it's always framed in terms of damage to the economy. How much this will cost, which seems completely, totally asinine, given that study after study after study have shown the cost of doing nothing far outweighs the cost of moving towards that zero emissions.
ZACHS: We're having catastrophes every year in all parts of the world. In my city, New York City, people died in flooding from a hurricane because we're seeing these extraordinary storms, these mega downpours taking place.
Massive forest fires -- for people to say it's bad for the economy to shift, is as you say, you said asinine, it's just absolutely, well it's just greed and short term vested interest. I don't think people mean what they say when they say this, they're just defending short term money interests. But the world desperately needs a change of direction.
VAUSE: Yes. And for that we need leadership. And that is something which I think is missing right now. But hopefully Jeffrey that will emerge in the coming days and weeks.
And thank you so much for being with us. We always appreciate your time.
SACHS: Great to be with you. Thanks.
VAUSE: Thank you.
Well, still to come here, Rome battling an unseen enemy as it fights to save its artifacts. That enemy is bacteria.
After the break, the unlikely ally being used to battle centuries of grime and decay.
VAUSE: More details have emerged by the accidental fatal shooting on a film set, where actor Alec Baldwin unknowingly fired a live round killing crew member Halyna Hutchins. CNN has learned that Dave Halls, the assistant director who handed the gun to Baldwin was fired from a previous movie after a crew member was injured in another gun incident.
That's according to Rocket Soul Studios, the company that produced the 2019 film "Freedom's Path". Halls was also the subject of complaints over safety on another film set, according to several sources who've worked with him in the past. Halls could not be reached for comment.
No charges have been filed over the shooting on the set of the film "Rust". Police investigations though continue.
Well, bacteria has been both the villain and the hero in Rome's constant battle to save artifacts from decay. In some cases it fights against that can erode stone. In others, certain strains are used to clean the human filth of hundreds of years.
Ben Wedeman reports on the new technology.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A laser burns away the grime of 18 centuries, caked on to the Arch of Septimus Severus in the Forum.
Rome may be the Eternal City, it's ancient artifacts however are not. Under unrelenting assault by the ravages of time, pollution, acid rain, and the sweat and breath of millions of tourists.
WEDEMAN: Conservator Alessandro Lugari and his colleagues are using the latest technology to try to salvage the city's treasures.
"See the block", he asks, "it's about 4 cubic meters, several tons, and inside there are billions of bacteria."
Bacteria that ever so slowly disfigures and erodes the marble. "We built a box, so it would be dark," Lugari guard explains. "The temperature and humidity should be relatively high to recreate conditions on the outside, like those inside."
They then cover the outside of the marble with enzymes, drawing the bacteria out to the surface where it calcified, strengthening the stone.
Increasingly restoration work is being done on the molecular level. But of course for Italy the challenge is huge, because it has archeological sites on a monumental scale.
While some fight bacteria, others are using it to eat away grease and dirt. Micro biologist Chiara Alessi (ph), and her team at ENEA, Italy's national agency for new technologies search for potentially useful strains of bacteria in industrial waste sites, abandoned mines, and from the distant past.
"They've already been selected by nature to develop potential abilities which we can test and study and apply," she says. This strain we collected from an Etruscan tomb."
"It's a complicated process, isolating individual strains that thrive on the right kind of filth, sequencing the DNA and then putting them to work."
Sylvia Borgini (ph), shows us the results in the garden of the Museo Nazionale Romano (ph). With a toothbrush she removes gel suffused with bacteria from a block of marble once part of a 4th century Roman bridge.
The clean strip was covered for 24 hours with the SH7 strain.
"It's easy to apply and afterwards the artifacts stay clean," Sylvia says. It doesn't harm the environment. It's not toxic for us or the flora in the garden. It's perfect. And therein lies the paradox, a single celled organism could help preserve the city's ancient glory.
Ben Wedeman, CNN -- Rome.
VAUSE: That's it for me.
CNN's Rosemary Church takes over after a short break.
See you tomorrow.