Return to Transcripts main page

Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Heat Wave Prompts Concern For Coral Reefs Off Florida; Brian Harman Wins First Career Major At British Open; UPS And Teamsters To Meet Tuesday Ahead Of Possible Strike. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 24, 2023 - 05:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Here is today's fast-forward lookahead.

Today is the deadline for Texas to start negotiating with the Justice Department. Governor Greg Abbott maintains the state has sovereign authority to defend the U.S. border and is refusing to pull a floating barrier from the Rio Grande River. The Justice Department has threatened to sue Texas if the barrier is not removed.

Amid widespread protests, the Israeli Parliament is scheduled to vote next hour on part of that controversial plan to overhaul the judiciary. It comes after Prime Minister Netanyahu was fitted with a pacemaker.

First lady Jill Biden is heading to Paris today to make the U.S. decision to rejoin UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. She will also honor U.S. troops who died during World War II.

At least 35 million people are under excessive heat warnings this morning as dangerously high temperatures bake areas that have been scalding for weeks. This unrelenting heat could break even more records in the days ahead with little relief in sight.

CNN's Derek Van Dam has the forecast. This has been unrelenting. How is the extreme heat affecting the environment?


Well, this extreme heat is really not an equal-opportunity employer here. It's scorching the Earth and baking the pavement, sending people to the hospital with third-degree burns in Phoenix, Arizona. But it's a completely different heat unfolding across the southern portions of Florida and I'll try to get to the details there and how that's impacting the ecosystem.

But we've had 5,000 record heat locators across the country since the past 30 days. We have another 150 possible heat records possible here within the next coming weeks. So, Phoenix continues to rewrite the history books. They have had 24 consecutive days where the actual air temperature was above 110 degrees. No relief in sight. You have to look towards next week to actually see that mercury in the thermometer dip below 110.


So here's the 35 million Americans under the excessive heat alerts. This is a very different heat across the Southwest -- very dry -- compared to that into southern portions of Florida. We have excessive heat warnings for the Miami-Dade region.

But this is all because of the surrounding waters throughout this area. We have had 43 consecutive days where the heat indice, which takes into consideration the amount of humidity in the air and the actual air temperature. And we continue to set records in Miami, particularly.

But it's all because of this. Look at the water temperatures just off the coast of Florida. We zoom in a little bit closer. Some of the buoys here in very shallow water just off the Everglades approach 97 degrees. That's near global-record temperatures.

And this is having a serious impact on the very fragile ecosystems, namely the coral reefs that line the Florida coastline. Take a listen.


VAN DAM (voice-over): A heat wave off the coast of Florida is sending water temperatures to unprecedented highs. While that's not a problem for some swimmers it is a major concern for coral reefs. Corals thrive with ocean temperatures in the mid-80s but lately they have been soaring into the 90s.

VAN DAM (on camera): Where in the world are they measuring these off- the-chart record ocean temperatures?

VAN DAM (voice-over): Including this NOAA sensor one research scientist showed me near Miami. It's broken its daily record the past four days in a row.

South Florida's abnormally warm water could put area corals on the verge of extinction.


VAN DAM (voice-over): Dr. Andrew Bacon, a professor of marine biology and ecology at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School.

BAKER: The marine heat wave is more or less throughout the Caribbean at this point. Certain parts of the Caribbean, like Belize, are already bleaching and bleaching pretty severely. And Florida is where Belize was about a month ago.

VAN DAM (on camera): This is a healthy brown piece of coral. If it was to bleach it would turn all white and could potentially die. That is what scientists are concerned about if this marine heat wave continues to build.

VAN DAM (voice-over): Losing coral could be costly. Coral reefs generate billions of dollars for Florida's economy through activities like fishing and tourism, which wouldn't be possible without reefs to protect the species that rely on them.

BAKER: And we've been working for several years on ways to make corals more thermally tolerant.

VAN DAM (voice-over): Engineering coral that can withstand even a five-degree temperature increase in our oceans will mitigate the effects of stronger marine heat waves that are expected in the future.

Corals are one of the most sensitive ecosystems to the effects of climate change. Without them, we could lose a natural defense system as healthy corals help protect our coastlines during hurricanes.

BAKER: And so, with restoration efforts that are ongoing right now are really taking steps to plan for climate change to try to make sure that we restore it to be suitable for a future environment and not the victims of it.

VAN DAM (voice-over): Ken Nedimyer is the technical director at Reef Renewal USA. He works to restore coral reefs in the Florida Keys and is hopeful about the future.

KEN NEDIMYER, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, REEF RENEWAL USA: There are corals that can live in hotter water. We just have to find them and try to repopulate with them.

VAN DAM (voice-over): After one year, Dr. Baker's research is hitting its initial milestones, already seeing results with corals surviving in slightly warmer temperatures.

BAKER: We've had a few pilot experiments out there on the reefs that we've manipulated to try to make corals more thermally tolerant, and this will be a natural test of that.

VAN DAM (voice-over): Not ready to throw the towel in just yet. Optimism amid record-breaking weather patterns with no immediate signs of cooling off.


VAN DAM: And Christine, who would have thought that thermally tolerant coral reefs could be the next climate solution? But we need to be realistic about the situation. This is NOAA's coral reef watch and they have issued the highest alert level for the Caribbean and the southern portions of Florida -- that's the dark red there -- as they anticipate this widescale coral bleaching event to occur. And there are already signs that it currently is occurring as these temperatures continue to soar off the charts -- Christine.

ROMANS: Yes, thank you for the look at that. Thank you. All right, American Brian Harman is a Major champion for the first time, winning the British Open in dominant fashion.

Carolyn Manno is here this morning with the Bleacher Report. Good morning, Carolyn.


Good things come to those who wait, right? That's what they say. At 36 years old, Brian Harman is the oldest player to earn his first Major since Sergio Garcia won the Masters back in 2017 at the age of 37.

It was far from certain early on. We thought he might be able to get this done but his start matching the dreadful weather at Royal Liverpool yesterday as he bogeyed two of the first five holes. But he was able to right the ship, shake off the nerves -- back-to-back birdies on six and seven, finishing at 13-under par, six strokes clear of the field to become just the third lefty ever to lift the Claret Jug in the Open's 151-year history. It was Harman's first win in six years.


And afterwards he did admit there were times that he doubted himself.


BRIAN HARMAN, 2023 BRITSH OPEN CHAMPION: I've always had self-belief that I could do something like this. It was just -- you know, when it takes so much time it's hard not to let your mind falter, like, maybe I'm not winning again. To come out and put a performance like that together -- like, start to finish -- you know, I just had a lot of control.

I don't know why this week but I'm very thankful that it was this week. It's pretty surreal. It really hasn't sunk in yet. I'm not going to let it out of my sight for the time being for sure.


MANNO: Well-deserved.

It took 15 years but Michael Phelps' last individual world record has finally fallen. Leon Marchand, a 21-year-old from France, shattering the record in the 400-meter individual medley by more than a second at the World Championships in Japan yesterday. That is a mark that Phelps has owned since the 2008 Olympics so it was fitting that he was there working the event.


ANNOUNCER: Leon Marchand gets accolades from Michael Phelps.

MICHAEL PHELPS, FORMER OLYMPIC SWIMMING GOLD MEDALIST: Let's go! Sorry, buddy. I'm just pumped about this swim. Oh my gosh.


MANNO: As you heard there, the GOAT excited to be there to witness it. He even gave him the gold afterwards -- a very special moment, I imagine, for Marchand.

It was a record-setting Sunday afternoon in New York, too. The Liberty breaking the WNBA record for points in a quarter, dropping 44 in the first against the Indiana Fever. New York made its first nine shots of the game -- 15 of their first 18. They led by 27 after one. New York went on to win by 18. They now find themselves in second place behind the Las Vegas Aces, just past the halfway mark of the season.

And if Shohei Ohtani's days with the Angels are numbered he sure gave the fans a way to remember him. Ohtani unleashing his league-leading 36th home run of the season -- an absolute laser to dead center field and a win over the Pirates.

Yesterday was the Angels' last home game before the August first trade deadline. Ohtani, in the final year of his contract, has never made the postseason with L.A. and the team is four games out of a playoff spot this year. So making the two-way star potentially the biggest trade chip since Babe Ruth. I know a lot of fans are going to be sad to see him go if he does go. He is just incredible.

And finally, a bit of a snafu during the post-race celebration at yesterday's Formula One race in Hungary. While trying to open his giant champagne bottle by slamming it on the podium, second-place finisher Lando Norris accidentally broke Max Verstappen's first-place trophy. But you know what's funny about this? You can see Norris kind of barely give a second look before just kind of moving on. He's like oh, I guess that happened.

But Verstappen has quite a few of those. I mean, he has won seven straight races. He's a two-time champ.

But a little bit of a 'my bad' there. It's just a shame when your champagne bottle gets in the way of breaking your trophy as a Formula One driver. You know what I mean?

ROMANS: Exactly, right?

MANNO: Who can relate? Right?

ROMANS: Just a day in the life.


ROMANS: All right, nice to see you, Carolyn Manno. Have a great morning.

MANNO: You, too.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" Trump's documents trial date set for May of next year. What that means for his case and the presidential campaign. And next, right here, we're counting down to a possible UPS workers' strike. What that could do to supply chains that struggled to recover from COVID.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

Your Romans' Numeral this Monday morning, one. We are one week away from what could be a nationwide UPS strike. Thousands of part-time workers were pushing for higher pay. If no deal is reached by July 31, the Teamsters Union, which represents 340,000 UPS workers, has vowed to walk off the job. It would be America's biggest strike in 60 years. More on that in just a moment here.

But looking at markets around the world this Monday morning, Asian markets finished mixed. The Hang Seng finished two percent lower, dragged down by weak Chinese property stocks. European markets are mixed this morning.

And on Wall Street, stock index futures are leaning higher here. The S&P and the Dow finished higher last week. The Dow notching 10 straight days of gains. That has not happened since 2017. The Nasdaq fell, though, driven by a sell-off in Tesla and Netflix.

On inflation watch, gas prices rose a penny overnight to $3.60 a gallon -- still, considerably lower than a year ago.

It is a very busy jam-packed summer week for investors. The economic calendar is really full here. The Fed is expected to raise interest rates this week, and we have some big names in tech reporting earnings. You can see Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet on the docket.

All right. Tomorrow, UPS and the Teamsters will be back at the negotiating table. They're trying to reach a new contract agreement to prevent a possible strike that could cost the country billions of dollars.

Teamsters Union president Sean O'Brien spoke about the situation on Saturday.


SEAN O'BRIEN, PRESIDENT, TEAMSTERS UNION: This week is going to be the defining moment in the Teamsters Union. It's going to be the defining moment for labor. We're organized, we're strategized, and now it's time to pulverize.


ROMANS: Pulverize.

Let's bring in Abe Eshkenazi, CEO of the Association for Supply Chain Management. Nice to see you again, Abe. I wonder, is the U.S. supply chain strong enough to sustain or withstand a possible strike?


Unfortunately not. We're on the back side of the significant number of disruptions -- the coronavirus, terrorists, geopolitical, the war in Ukraine. This is just another blow to our supply chains that are just starting to recover from a lot of the disruptions that we've experienced.

ROMANS: And certainly, all of those events have showed just how fragile the global supply chain is.

The Teamsters president brought up the supply chain on Saturday. Here is part of -- part of what he said.



O'BRIEN: ...our members that deliver goods and services in this country. Deliver seven percent of gross national product. So the supply chain solution will take a huge hit. But more importantly, they -- UPS -- if they don't do the right thing they could throw this country into a recession.


ROMANS: What's your reaction there? I mean, what happens if you have six or seven percent of GDP essentially stalled?

ESHKENAZI: The unfortunate part isn't -- there isn't a lot of capacity that we have in the system right now, so a strike of this magnitude with the amount of -- the volume of goods that are sent from organizations to a lot of consumers and patients alike, there aren't a number of alternatives that could pick up the number and just the volume that UPS delivers today.

The Postal Service and FedEx, and some other delivery channels may pick up some of the slack. There aren't enough options available to the businesses and consumers alike today to replace the volume that UPS handles.

ROMANS: Yes, it's just so big. There's no other combination of sources that can just pick up all of that -- all of that slack here.

We've heard that 95 percent of the contract has been agreed upon. Higher pay for part-time workers is one of the -- one of the issues. They are about 55 percent of the 340,000 Teamsters. That likely will be a point of focus I'm sure for tomorrow.

ESHKENAZI: Oh, for sure. I think you take a look at a number of industries that have experienced significant job disruptions and transportation and warehousing continue to face those types of challenges. Our unemployment rate for transportation and distribution jobs is significantly higher than the national average. So we're talking about an industry that has had some significant challenges attracting workers. Now, with this pending strike, it even exasperates a system that's already stressed.

ROMANS: Talk to me a little bit about nearshoring. We mentioned that last time I spoke with you. The global pandemic really highlighted how some of -- some of the supply chain was so far-flung and frankly, unreliable that we needed to start focusing on nearshoring.

Does this issue with UPS and the Teamsters, I guess, back that up?

ESHKENAZI: Absolutely. I think this creates another challenge for that strategy. We've seen inbound freight either from air or from shipping reduced significantly since the pandemic started. When we take a look at the inbound freight from Mexico and Canada to very nearshoring attractive locations, for the first time, Mexico has overtaken China in terms of the volume.

And so, this is a significant impact to a strategy but, again, that's a long-term strategy. The impact that we're seeing right now, I think most of us hope that it's a short-term hit if the strike occurs. But unfortunately, as organizations take a look at other alternatives -- specifically, nearshoring -- we're going to need more -- away from more intermodal to more road transfers, which would require more truck drivers and more warehouses locally than we're experiencing -- than we have available to us today.

ROMANS: Just a quick question. If there is a strike, what does it look like for the American consumer on day one of that strike?

ESHKENAZI: Unfortunately, you've got a lot of goods that are in transit today. And so, what happens to those products?

Additionally, consumers -- we've conditioned them to expect significant delivery of volumes. I call it the Amazon effect.


ESHKENAZI: They have -- consumers significantly expect more from e- commerce and so there will be shipping delays. More than likely we're going to see higher volumes or higher costs with other shippers that are picking up some of the slack. But unfortunately, we just don't have the significant amount of volume or capacity in an already stressed system to pick up that kind of slack.

ROMANS: All right, Abe Eshkenazi, thank you so much. We'll be monitoring all those meetings and whether they can get past that deadline. Thank you, sir.

ESHKENAZI: Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: OK, Twitter now has a new logo. Owner Elon Musk has replaced the famous blue bird with an X. You know, Musk has already renamed Twitter's business as X Corp, and now redirects to The letter X has been on just about everything Musk has touched for more than 20 years. It's in his SpaceX company name. It's the name for the new -- the Tesla SUV.

All right, Texas officials facing a deadline today to enter talks over the dangerous and illegal floating barriers in the Rio Grande. What the Biden administration is threatening to do if they don't, ahead.

And Israel's controversial judicial overhaul bill getting a vote today after 29 weeks of protests.



ROMANS: Our top of the morning, the top movies on Barbenheimer weekend.


Clip from Warner Bros. Pictures "Barbie."


ROMANS: Ken, his rollerblades, and Barbie are number one, taking in $155 million.


Clip from Universal Pictures "Oppenheimer."


ROMANS: "Oppenheimer" at number two -- $80 million. Not bad for a serious drama in midsummer.

And at number three.


Clip from Angel Studios "Sound of Freedom."


ROMANS: That's the hit that -- the "Sound of Freedom," which only costs $15 million to make, raking in $20 million in its third weekend.

All right, celebrities -- they really are just like us. Singer Lana Del Ray was recently spotted waitressing at a Waffle House in Alabama. We don't know why Del Ray is in Alabama, much less why she was working at the Waffle House.



DAVID LETTERMAN Are you making cookies?


LETTERMAN: Oh, chocolate chip?


LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN, WRITER, PRODUCER: They are the best. All right, I'm going to put the chocolate chip in here with the cat food. Is that alright?


ROMANS: And that's David Letterman bagging groceries at a Hy-Vee Store in Iowa over the weekend. Letterman was reportedly in Iowa for the Hy-Vee Indy car race. The car he co-owns came in 13th.

All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans. "CNN THIS MORNING" starts right now.