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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

White House Unveils Strategy for U.S. to Reach Net-Zero Emissions By 2050; Biden's Administration Defends Cutting Paid Family Leave from Safety Net Plan; Johns Hopkins: Worldwide COVID Deaths Surpass 5 Million. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 01, 2021 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: Good morning, it is Monday, November 1st, 5:00 a.m. here in New York, thanks for getting an early start with us, I'm Christine Romans.

LAURA JARRETT, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: I'm Laura Jarrett, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world, we have reports this morning from China, Senegal and Virginia. But we begin in Scotland this morning, President Biden's urgent goal to address the climate crisis being tested at home and abroad. The president is due to arrive soon in Scotland for a historic climate summit. He's hoping to convince world leaders the U.S. is serious finally about fixing this crisis with an actionable plan.

Overnight, the White House released a 5-point strategy for reaching net zero emissions in the U.S. by 2050.

ROMANS: Key here, moving to 100 percent clean electricity by the year 2035, switching over to electric cars, helping Americans transition from old, wasteful appliances, reducing emissions from super pollutants like those found in air conditioners or refrigerators and scaling up carbon removal, for example, through expanding forests and grasslands.

JARRETT: The president says international support for his approach to the climate crisis is strong, and that he was encouraged by his reception at this weekend's G20 Summit in Rome.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They listened, everyone sought me out. They wanted to know what our views were and we helped lead. What happened here? We got significant support here. Significant support. We're the most -- the United States of America is the most critical part of this entire agenda.


JARRETT: This summit comes at a critical time. A new report out this morning says the earth is now in uncharted territory because of climate change. A top official at the World Meteorological Organization warning that quote, "extreme events are the new norm." CNN's Phil Black joins us live from Scotland, starts us off this morning. Phil, what are you watching for? A big day for the president.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Indeed, Laura. But there's not a lot of optimism going into these talks. And the simple reason is that many of the world's biggest polluters are still signaling they are not willing to make the deep carbon emissions cuts that science says is necessary to hit net zero carbon by the middle of the century.

China is an obvious example, its leader is not traveling to Glasgow for these talks. So, the host, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been gloomily reminding people there's no excuse for failure, we know what's at stake, we know what needs to be done and we're out of time.


BLACK (voice-over): These are just some of the biblical events the world has seen and experienced in 2021. Extreme floods, fires, droughts and record temperatures, across the U.S. and around the world. Proof, scientists say, we're already living in a climate crisis.

TODD STERN, U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: It's here. I mean it's upon us. People see that. People feel that.

BLACK: Todd Stern led U.S. climate negotiations through the Obama administration and helped forged 2015 Paris Agreement.


BLACK: That breakthrough document includes a critical promise. All countries will work to keep the global average temperature increase within 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.

STERN: We've got a hell of a long way to go.

BLACK (on camera): Because the reality is at the moment, we're nowhere near to being on track, to keeping things below 2, let alone 1.5?

STERN: We're not near -- we're not near being on track, but we're -- but we're getting better.

BLACK (voice-over): Better ultimately isn't good enough. At the Glasgow Climate Conference, each country will be judged on whether it's cutting emissions sufficiently to ensure that crucial 1.5 degree target is still achievable. The scientific consensus says the goal is now slipping beyond reach and the consequences will be disastrous.

BOB WARD, GRANTHAM RESEARCH INSTITUTE ON CLIMATE & THE ENVIRONMENT, LSE: Without action to curb green house gas emissions, we could see temperatures go well beyond 3 degrees of warming by the end of the century, something that the earth has not experienced for 3 million years, long before humans were on the planet. It would be a very different world.

BLACK: U.S. leadership through example, is vital at Glasgow to boost other countries' ambitions. The Biden administration's plan is bold, half U.S. emissions by 2030, hit net zero carbon by 2050.

WARD: That's fantastic, but it needs to demonstrate that they can deliver that, and the lack of agreement at federal level and indeed, in many states, to the outside world looks like that will be a major challenge.


BLACK: Success also depends on big, new commitments from China, the world's biggest polluter is responsible for more than a quarter of global emissions. China's long-term goal is becoming carbon neutral by 2060.

STERN: So, it's quite important that China move much more than they have. Again, there's that long-term goal, it's pretty good, but between now and 2030, they haven't pledged really anything.

BLACK: The urgent challenge for China and many developing countries is to stop burning coal for electricity while still rapidly growing their economies and lifting populations out of poverty. The issue is going to be a key focus at Glasgow, along with finance from rich countries to help poorer countries make the change. But even before the conference opens, it's clear there are tensions over some countries' unwillingness to offer detailed, ambitious commitments.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. CLIMATE ENVOY: We're behind, and we have to stop the B.S. that is being thrown at us by a number of countries that have not been willing to sign up to what Great Britain has signed up to, we've signed up to, Japan, Canada, the EU -- that is, to keep 1.5 degrees alive.

BLACK: It's expected Glasgow will deliver progress, but will it be enough? As frequent extreme events demonstrate the growing dangers of failure, scientists are sure there's now very little time left to prevent climate change on a devastating scale.


BLACK: The just wrapped G20 Conference in Rome shows why this is going to be so challenging. The final statement there did not include a specific commitment to a time frame for ending the use of coal to generate electricity. The reason we're told is specific countries like China, India, Japan, Australia push back on the language. Now, quitting coal, moving on from coal power is going to be a key theme in Glasgow. But that same push-back could be expected to continue there as well, Laura.

JARRETT: All right, Phil, thank you so much for your reporting. The climate of course also critical to the president's domestic agenda, which is a big step closer to reality this morning. In a virtual meeting on Sunday, most house progressives signaled a willingness to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the president's larger social safety net bill. Both are likely to come for a vote this week. Sources in that meeting tell CNN, President Biden made a commitment that all 50 Senate Democrats will support the legislative text that passes the house and they're taking him at his word.

ROMANS: On the climate issue, Biden has been slowed somewhat by Democratic in-fighting and fossil fuel interests. But the plan still includes more than $550 billion in climate and clean energy improvements. That is the largest single investment of its kind in American history and the largest chunk of all of this Biden agenda. CNN has also learned there's been extensive progress on drug price reform, but Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders says upgrades are still needed.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I have worked yesterday, we're working today, we're going to work tomorrow to strengthen that bill. It is outrageous that we continue to pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, and that one out of four Americans cannot afford the prescriptions that their doctors write. That is not acceptable.


ROMANS: The Democratic leadership is not expected to bring up the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan again until that larger social safety net package is finalized.

JARRETT: There is one glaring agenda item now missing from the president's plan -- paid family leave, the chance for moms and dads to spend time caring for newborns or taking care of sick loved ones was dropped from the plan in stages, from 12 weeks to 4 weeks to finally zero. On Sunday, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo says this isn't the end of the road.


GINA RAIMONDO, SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: As a woman, as a working mother, I know how essential this is. You know --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you said paid leave was essential to get women back into the workplace --

RAIMONDO: Paid leave is essential too, and we will --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's not in this.

RAIMONDO: We will continue to fight for that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The argument though throughout this had -- from Democrats has been if not now, when? This is a unique historic opportunity, it has to go all now in this big bill, and this is something you were so passionate about.

RAIMONDO: And I am still passionate about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But this is not going to happen if Democrats lose the majority, is it?

RAIMONDO: I don't believe that's going to happen. Again, the president's package, which we believe will be passed very soon, probably hopefully this week, provides tangible improvements to people's lives, better roads, better bridges, better airports, Broadband for everybody, child care, public pre-K. It is historic. Then we get to work continuing to fight for paid leave.


ROMANS: The path forward, so, for paid leave, where is it? It could end up in a bipartisan effort. Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand told reporters she's talking with Republican Senator Susan Collins about plans to bring it back to the Senate floor. But time and again, when we get close to the finish line for this, it just evaporates, it disappears.


We are alone in the world as a rich country that doesn't -- that doesn't secure the financial future of a family who is either sick -- we know that millions of people go to work sick every year --


ROMANS: Because they can't afford --

JARRETT: They can't afford to stay home.

ROMANS: To stay home. And we know that women are held back in the workplace because they have to take a financial hit when they have a baby.

JARRETT: One of only eight countries.

ROMANS: Let's do something about that. All right, President Biden addressing supply chain disruptions and how to fortify the supply chain eco-system long-term before heading to Glasgow. Here is the big picture of the supply chain buckling under the weight of the pandemic at a time when consumer demand is surging, tossing labor shortages and overseas manufacturing delays and you get higher transportation costs and potentially crippling inflation in Glasgow. President Biden is laying out how each country can identify and resolve bottlenecks, emphasizing greater coordination between nations.

The White House says the U.S., the E.U. and 14 other countries have agreed to quote, "foster greater international cooperation and near- term supply chain disruptions, and to strengthen and diversify the entire eco-system from reliance on certain raw materials to manufacturing, shipping and distribution. On Sunday, President Biden signed an executive order authorizing the Pentagon to release materials from the national defense stockpile for a quicker response to supply shortages. I think what it shows us, this whole just-in-time economy that we are all used to, and manufacturing that spread out across the world, COVID simply broke it --

JARRETT: Broke the system --

ROMANS: And fixing it is really -- have been troublesome.

JARRETT: Well, still ahead for you, the climate crisis of course being felt all over the world, but in one town in Senegal, once idyllic beaches are now filled with chicken feed, dead fish and goats, all thanks to rising seas. CNN takes you there live next.



ROMANS: It's called the Venice of Africa. But a coastal town in Senegal is paying a big price for the climate crisis. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen live in St. Louis, Senegal. Fred, tell us how global warming is affecting the people there.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know what, Christine, all the dire warnings that we're hearing out of, for instance the COP26 conference, but also that climate change expert had put out there as well as the global warming causing rising sea levels, all of that is already a grim reality right here in Western Africa. As you mentioned, the site is a UNESCO Heritage site, it's also known as the Venice of Africa, but have a look at what erosion and climate change are doing to the coast here. You can see, all of those buildings along the coastline have been destroyed by erosion and also by storm surges.

And by the way, there's still people living inside those houses. The people there say -- a lot of them say they have no place to move, and they're staying in those houses even though they know their house could be washed away next, their room could be washed away next. Other people have been displaced by the storm surges that have been going on, many people displaced, and others have been turned into climate refugees, which means that they have fled to other places around the world. So, you can already see the effects that climate change and global warming and especially rising sea levels are having here in this place.

Now, one of the things that they're trying to do here is they're trying to construct a sea wall, and there's many people here who believe that it might be too little, too late, as these storm surges simply continue here, and 3,000 people have already been displaced by all of this. There are many people who say that It's possible that this town and the future might have to be abandoned. Now, there's two things obviously that experts are saying need to happen, on the one hand, of course, emissions need to be curbed so that the ocean doesn't continue to rise, and we don't have these similar kind of storm surges on the scale that would destroy big buildings like right here, but also infrastructure is obviously a big thing.

Things like fortifying the coastal defenses, and that's one of the things where countries like Senegal really don't have the money to do that on a large scale. So, that's certainly something that the leaders that are currently talking about this are going to have to make some big decisions and possibly put up money to help save communities like this one right here, Christine.

ROMANS: A real world example of climate change at work. Climate refugees. Thank you so much, the video is amazing, that drone video, Fred, thank you so much. Laura?

JARRETT: Some grim breaking news this morning. The number of people who have died from COVID-19 worldwide has just surpassed 5 million. The global tally of deaths from Johns Hopkins University now stands at 5,000,425, it's just incredibly sad we are now in the preventable phase of this and that many deaths, it's just incredible here. It's followed -- the U.S. has the most deaths followed by Brazil and India.

And for the second time in as many months, a major airline is playing catch up. Why American Airlines canceled almost 2,000 flights, and when will things go back to normal? That's next.



JARRETT: Welcome back. Huge headaches for travelers this weekend as American Airlines was forced to cancel more than 1,700 flights. Passengers were left stranded all over the country. We get more now from CNN's Pete Muntean.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, the truth is that no airline is immune to these cascading kind of problems. First, it was Southwest Airlines three weeks ago, now it is American Airlines. The airline canceled more than 800 flights on Sunday, more than 500 on Saturday, more than 300 on Friday. That means about one in every 10 American Airlines flights were canceled over that three-day period.

But American says the problems all really began on Thursday when bad weather and high winds hit its biggest hub at Dallas Fort Worth. That led to a chain reaction of cancellations leaving planes and crews out of position. American COO David Seymour sent a letter to the entire airlines, saying that they wanted to build certainty into the operation, so it started proactively canceling flights. But that left thousands of people stranded in long lines at Airports across the country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure it's terrible for a lot of people, yes, places to be and family to be with and as do I, I'll go to work tomorrow. So --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's annoying because it wasn't just American, it was Southwest a couple of weeks ago. So, kind of leaves us stranded for a while because they just keep canceling and canceling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't understand why it's canceled. I've heard that they don't have enough staff -- well, you sold me a product, I paid for it, now it's your job to get me there.



MUNTEAN: Remember, this is not just about staffing, that is only part of the issue here. But the good news is, American says 1,800 flight attendants who were on pandemic leaves of absence returned to the job on Monday. American says things should start to return to normal soon. Christine, Laura?

ROMANS: All right, Pete Muntean, thank you for that. Southwest Airlines says it is investigating one of its pilots after a report that he insulted President Biden over the plane's PA system during a flight on Friday. An "AP" reporter who happened to be on that flight says he pilot signed off his typical greeting to passengers with the phrase, "let's go Brandon". That phrase has become right-wing code for F-Joe Biden ever since NASCAR driver Brandon Brown was being interviewed last month.

A reporter first speculated the crowd was chanting "let's go Brandon", but it became clear they weren't.

JARRETT: A judgment indeed. Election night in America, the stakes are sky high in the race for governor in both Virginia and New Jersey. Plus, who will be the next mayor of New York City? Our special live coverage starts tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. on CNN.