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New Day Sunday

Republicans Fear Trump's Election Rant In Georgia Could Hurt GOP; U.S. Tops One Million Cases In Just The First Five Days Of December; Today: Atlanta Rally To Demand "Safe And Immediate" School Reopening; Biden Commits To Dramatic Steps To Fight Global Climate Crisis. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired December 06, 2020 - 07:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: I don't know. We could make it happen, Marty.


PAUL: I know.

Your next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number of new cases in California just alarming, shocking really.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bottom line is if we don't act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These closures and stay-at-home orders are flat-out ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are literally suffocating inside our hospitals. They are dying alone. They don't get the luxury to complain about COVID fatigue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump came here to Georgia with a goal of helping support the two candidates running in the runoff election here.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everything that we've achieved together is on the line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He spent far more of his time in Georgia talking about the election that he has just lost.

TRUMP: They cheated and rigged our presidential election. We can't let it happen again.


(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Picture of Miami this morning as we wake up on this Sunday morning, December 6th.

Good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.

SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.

A surge upon a surge. Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that we have not yet seen the effects associated with Thanksgiving as the U.S. is setting a new record nearly every day.

PAUL: Today, several southern California counties are going into a lockdown. Cases there and across the country are skyrocketing.

SAVIDGE: But there is hope on the horizon. An FDA advisory committee is meeting this week to discuss Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine.

PAUL: First, this weekend, all eyes are on Georgia, though. That state is determining the balance of power in the Senate as of January 5th.

SAVIDGE: Several GOP leaders are worried that the president's relentless attacks on the election in Georgia could lead to a number of Republican voters just simply staying home next month.

So, let's begin there.

CNN's Sarah Westwood following the latest from the White House.

And, Sarah, several conservatives worry that the president will only hurt Republicans' chances in that race. What are you hearing?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yeah, Martin, those fears seem to be confirmed last night by the president's performance in Valdosta where he dedicated a lot more of that speech to airing his grievances about the election than he did to helping the candidates and promoting the candidates that he was there to campaign for in Georgia.

Now, Republicans were worried about that going into the rally last night. They were worried that the president's message on the election rather than energize voters to get to the polls in January and vote in this special election would just end up demoralizing them because they may buy into his debunked claims about election fraud.

And we heard a lot from the president about that last night, sort of demonstrating that the president is very far from a concession, very far from an acknowledgment that he has lost this race, and perhaps highlighting the inherent problem with the president's message on election fraud. Trump talked about how many of his friends are saying they don't even want to vote in the Georgia election at all.


TRUMP: Friends of mine say, let's not vote. We're not going to vote because we're angry about the presidential election -- they're friends of mine. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: So that just shows the contradiction in what the president is saying, that they should not trust what happened in November but they should believe that their ballots will be handled securely come January. That's a tough message for the president to sell there.

Now, at one point, he did call Senators Perdue and Loeffler up to the stage to speak briefly. But Perdue in particular almost drowned out by chants from the crowd about election fraud. So, showing you they're much more focused on that than on voting for these senators. And these races will determine which party controls the Senate, and we should note cases in Georgia spiking significantly, but we saw very few masks at that large gathering last night -- Christi and Martin.

PAUL: And, Sarah, there was this the other twist that went into the rally when we learned that the president call's Georgia's governor, Brian Kemp, to push him to convince state legislators to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's win in the state there. What happened from that?

WESTWOOD: Yeah, Christi, this was sort of a shocking development in this ongoing feud between the president and Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia. CNN learned that hours before that rally in Valdosta last night, the president called Kemp on the phone and urged him to call a special session of the state legislature to try overturn those Georgia results which have already been certified after a hand recount. So they have been scrutinized carefully.

And, Gabriel Sterling, the manager of Georgia's voting systems implementation, said there has been no widespread fraud detected.


GABRIEL STERLING (R), GEORGIA VOTING SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION MANAGER: Despite the fact that we did all of our investigations, yes, we found illegal voting, yes there's things like that in ever single election, but nothing likely widespread or ridiculous claims of voter fraud we've been seeing from the president, and his lawyers, and his former lawyers.



WESTWOOD: Now, during that call, the president urged Kemp to order an audit of absentee ballot signatures.

Kemp responded on Twitter saying he has publicly called for the state to do that three times, so saying I am in support of it, but look, I don't have the authority to order them to do that audit.

So a war of words now spilling out in public between these two former allies over the election results, Martin and Christi.

SAVIDGE: Yeah, certainly is. Sarah Westwood, thank you very much for that.

Now let's go to CNN correspondent Kyung Lah for a preview of the crucial Senate debate tonight in Georgia. And it really is going to be -- well, normally we wouldn't have a Senate debate that is focused or nationally broadcast, but this is a whole different story tonight.

What else is different?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's a whole different ball game, Martin, because what we're looking at is national politics really landing here in the state of Georgia. In the balance is control of the U.S. Senate.

If these two Republican incumbent senators can hold on to their seats, then Republicans maintain control. If the Democrats can flip them with Vice President Kamala Harris, Democrats officially take control of the Senate. So, that is a huge nationalized issue when it comes to what we're going to be seeing tonight.

What we're focusing on, though, and what there has been a lot of emphasis on is not who's going to be there or what's going to be said, but who's not going to be there. Senator David Perdue, just heard Sarah Westwood talking about how he was on stage with the president, he is not going to show up.

It's not that he can't come, it's just that he won't come. He told the organizers of the debate that he's not going to show up. But we saw him at the rally with the president. He spent all day yesterday on a bus campaign tour across Georgia.

So he is out and about. He just does not want to face Jon Ossoff in this particular format. And what we've seen from his competitor, Democrat Jon Ossoff, is he's been beating him up on the campaign trail. He has been hammering him on ads. One released just yesterday that said has anyone seen David?

So that has turned into an issue for the Democrat, that he is hoping to use to his advantage.

The other senator, who is defending her seat, is incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler. She faces off with Reverend Warnock. They both will be on the same debate stage. We've been talking about how this is, you know, national politics coming to land here in Georgia, take a listen to what the candidates have been saying --


REV. RAPHAEL WARNOCK, GEORGIA SENATE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: If you vote we will send a signal all across the United States of America that there is a new Georgia rising.


It is open, it is inclusive, it is ready for the future.

SEN. KELLY LOEFFLER (R-GA): We are standing strong for President Trump because he's fought for us every single day, every day. Georgia, we need you to vote January 5th. If you're our voice on January 5th, we'll be your voice for years. We have to make sure that we keep America strong.


LAH: Joe Biden, Donald Trump, you will not see their names on this ballot. But certainly their presence here and national politics cannot be ignored -- Martin, Christi.

PAUL: That is a great point there, Kyung.

Kyung Lah for us, thank you so much.

As we've been say, Senator Kelly Loeffler and Reverend Raphael Warnock debating each other right here live on CNN. Watch "DEBATE NIGHT IN GEORGIA" tonight, it starts at 7:00 Eastern.

SAVIDGE: Tomorrow, President-elect Joe Biden's expected to be recertified as the winner after Georgia's second election recount.

PAUL: Yeah, a lot of congressional Republicans have a hard time it seems accepting this. According to a "Washington Post" survey, look at this, a small number of Republicans are -- who are acknowledging Biden's win.

CNN political reporter Rebecca Buck is with us on that this morning.

Good morning, Rebecca.


Well, as you mentioned, Joe Biden remains the clear winner of this presidential election. And as we've seen President Trump's legal challenges have failed spectacularly, and yet over on earth two in this alternate universe where Republicans are currently residing, most of the Republican Party still is refusing to acknowledge that Joe Biden is the president-elect. "The Washington Post" put that question, a relatively easy question under most circumstances, to Republicans in Congress, and just 27 of them said that they do acknowledge Joe Biden is the president-elect and has won this election.


Now, that's a small fraction of Republican lawmakers. Even so, it was enough to ruffle the feathers of President Trump who tweeted over the weekend that he would like to see a list of those RINOs, that is Republicans in name only, who said that Joe Biden is the rightful president-elect.

Well, one of those Republicans, Congressman Denver Riggleman, raised his hand virtually on twitter saying, "I'm on the list."

Now the list itself is no state secret. If our viewers or even the president want to go to the "Washington Post" website, all of the responses or non-responses that they got from Republicans are listed there by name, their full statements are available for people to view.

One of the interesting things about those 27 Republicans who did say Joe Biden is the president-elect, well, seven of them, pretty big part of those 27 Republicans, seven of them will not be returning to Congress next year, Christi and Victor, tells you a lot about the future of the Republican Party.

PAUL: Definitely does. Thank you so much, Rebecca Buck.

BUCK: Thank you.

PAUL: Still ahead, new coronavirus lockdowns are taking effect in California. The state is quickly running out of ICU beds. We have a live report next.

SAVIDGE: We'll debate, of course, the impact of virtual learning and what it's had on children, teachers, and parents. How do we keep our kids safe as more schools attempt to return to the classroom, and how best to serve students during this unprecedented pandemic. That and a whole lot more, next.



PAUL: Fifteen minutes past the hour.

And an FDA committee is meeting this week to talk about Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine. The first candidate that's up for emergency use authorization. It's meeting to discuss the Moderna vaccine the following week.

This is a piece of hopeful news obviously to hold on to as nearly every day we are now see something new coronavirus record set.

SAVIDGE: Yeah. I mean, we definitely would like to see that good news.

CNN's Alison Kosik is tracking the latest from New York for us.

And, Alison, we talked about there before, but these numbers, they almost become numb. Yet we know that inside of hospitals, they are strained, and health officials are making life and death decisions.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. These numbers clearly matter. This is another grim milestone in the pandemic. The U.S. on Saturday actually hit its second-highest number of people currently in the hospital who have COVID. It's those rising numbers that could wind up crippling health care systems across the country.


KOSIK (voice-over): The latest wave of COVID-19 is taking a devastating toll in the U.S., with more than one million people diagnosed with the virus in the last five days alone. Across the country, the number of people hospitalized topped 100,000 for a fourth straight day. DR. SHIRLEY XIE, ASOSCIATE DIRECTOR OF HOSPITAL MEDICINE, HENNEPIN

HEALTHCARE: I think that sometimes when you hear statistics like that, you become numb to what those numbers mean. For us, the people that are taking care of these patients, every single number is somebody we have to look at and say, "I'm sorry, there's nothing more I can do for you." And it's just another family we have to call to tell them that their loved ones are going to die.

KOSIK: Cases are rising across the country. At least four states reported record numbers of new cases on Saturday. In California, some 33 million people will be under some sort of mandated government lockdown by Sunday night. Restrictions implemented as ICU bed capacity dipped below the 15 percent threshold set by Governor Newsom. Those lockdowns expected to last at least three weeks.

DR. ROBERT WACHTER, CHAIRMAN, DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE AT UNIVERSITY AT CALIFORIA SAN FRANCISCO: The trend lines we're seeing now are disastrous. They're heading straight up in terms of the number of cases, the number of hospitalizations. So it really is time for us to pull back on the activity and see if we can turn this around before hospitals get overwhelmed. If they get overwhelmed, patients are going to get harmed and die because we will not have the ability to take care of them in the way we want.

KOSIK: Officials in Colorado are warning of a dangerous December with one in 40 Coloradoans already infected with the coronavirus. This before the vast majority of Thanksgiving cases have even come in. And as the number of cases and deaths escalate, so does the pressure being put on the medical system and those working to save lives.

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Our hospitals are filling up, and our workers are getting sick. Our floors are short on techs, on respiratory therapists, on nurses. And we are on the verge of being in a crisis state.

KOSIK: And with holiday preparations already underway and expected to rev up in the coming weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had a simple plea Saturday, urging people on Twitter to just wear the mask.


KOSIK (on camera): And the tweet from the CDC, not just saying wear the mask but implying wear it correctly. Don't just cover your mouth, cover your nose, as well.

The agency also warning that if we don't act together and do what we can to slow the spread of this virus, that thousands more could die -- Martin and Christi.

SAVIDGE: Alison Kosik, thank you very much for that.

Many teachers are stressing, of course, that caution is needed before returning to the classroom. But in New York City, they're already moving ahead with reopening elementary schools. We'll get both sides of the issue coming up, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



WACHTER: I think it's reasonable to expect that the kids will be back in school in the fall, not so much because all of them have been vaccinated, although I hope they will, but that everybody around them has been vaccinated, and the rate of virus in their communities has fall tonight a point that is perfectly safe for them to be in school.


SAVIDGE: School districts across the country face some really tough choices now. How they're meant to keep children in classrooms while keeping them and their teachers safe.

PAUL: Yeah, there's still so much that we don't know about the impact of school routines that have been upended now. There are concerns about the physical toll. One expert at Seattle children's hospital warns of a, quote, decrease in life expectancy for U.S. children, a decrease in life expectancy.

And there's evidence that the pandemic's mental toll according to a national survey published in the Journal of Pediatrics, 20 percent of parents reported worsening mental health for themselves, 14 percent reported worsening behavioral health for their children.

SAVIDGE: Schools remain fully or partially close in 11 states and the District of Columbia, that according to Education Week. The nation's largest district, New York City, will bring back in-person learning for some younger students. Doing that in phases starting tomorrow.

PAUL: Yeah. Atlanta public schools recently announced they're looking to welcome kids back to classrooms starting in January of next year, 2021, with a virtual option.


And the district superintendent says the back to the classroom challenge is personal.


LISA HERRING, ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT: I'm one of the few superintendents who has been personally tested by COVID. And I want you to know that that is a part of the filter that I look through, that lens, when making decisions. But I also want you to know that I am even more convinced and convicted in making certain that our children are not only well but that we can do all that we can to teach them.


PAUL: There's a protest planned in Atlanta today, calling for a safe and immediate return to face-to-face learning.

One of the parents who plans to be there is Molly Sipp. She's a mom of four kids in the Atlanta public school system, and explained to our producers this -- she says, "I have four children at home in virtual school, and it's verdict hard to watch. We have to show the children that we can figure it out without putting them in the middle. If restaurants, hospitals, and small businesses can open, so can schools. Kids first, it is time.

And Molly is with us.

Molly, thank you so much.

Talk to me first of all about -- I mean, your kids have been in virtual school since March. So, what changes have you seen in your kids since then?


Yep, since March 13th, I would say they're just little robots. There's a lot of -- their personalities have just changed. They're more quiet. They're more reserved.

They go downstairs and put these giant headphones on and do what should be done instead of playing and running around and talking and seeing their friends. They stare at a computer for eight hours a day.

PAUL: I know that you've got a 13-year-old, an 11-year-old, a 6, and an 8-year-old. That's a lot for you to manage at home, as well.

SIPP: Yes.

PAUL: So they should be doing the things, the interacting that they have with other kids. But how is your daughter? Middle school's hard enough as it is.

SIPP: Middle school is socially a time in which they learn how to manage interactions with other people that they will carry into adulthood. So for me, it's very upsetting to think that she is not having those social interactions that will teach her how to be a good adult. It's super disappointing.

And again, really hard to watch. I worry about the long-term effects of that it looks like for a 13-year-old to sit on a computer all day long.

PAUL: I was going to say, what are your biggest concerns emotionally and mentally for the growth of your kids, let alone just their health in general?

SIPP: I worry about their emotional well-being. I worry about how they are coping with it. I have those that speak out and cry and fall apart. I have those who don't talk. Of course, I worry about what that means. I worry about academically where we're going. I mean, how are they going to fix these -- all these days that they

haven't gone to school, where -- where are they going to fill that in? They're not growing. They are stagnant and emotionally, they're definitely falling behind. We have a psychiatrist that we see.

PAUL: Okay. And you know, I was going to say you're not the only one that we've heard that from. I've heard from people who say their kids are in therapy, because it just -- because it's been so long that this has been happening.

SIPP: I would say that's the biggest frustration at this point. It's been going on forever. Why -- first it was to slow the spread. The CDC never said to close the schools down. The American Academy of Pediatrics, even Dr. Fauci says it's time for them to go back.

School is what -- where these children are supposed to be, and it's -- we're all so frustrated. And we are numb to it all at this point. I see the fight gone in a lot of the parents and in the children. And that is -- it's not normal for mothers to not try anymore, and they've quit trying.

PAUL: I mean, you know that you're in a bad place when as a mother you just feel like you can't do anything else. We know that APS is saying as of January 25th, pre-K through second grade is going to be returning to face-to-face learning. Third through sixth grades and ninth and tenth back by February 1st. Everybody else February 4th.

So, hopefully, we can say to our kids that there's an end date on this.

SIPP: Yeah.


PAUL: And we have to get through the holidays which they're going to have time off anyway. But there are schools that are open around you.

SIPP: Oh, yeah.

PAUL: Most of the private schools in Atlanta are open. Have your kids seen that? Have you been able to explain that to them?

SIPP: We drove by our school last week, and my 8-year-old said, mommy, why do some kids get to go back to school but I can't go to my school?

Fulton County is back. Their schools are less than two blocks away from other APS schools. These are the exact same data and metrics in the same county, and somehow they're making it work. Yet we aren't.

The world's leading organization is the CDC. It is in Atlanta, and they are saying it's time to go back. How can --

PAUL: I'm sorry. I only have about ten seconds left, but I wanted to ask because you say you don't want your kids to be used as a political pawn. If you could sit -- what do you mean by that? And if you could sit down with somebody from APS, what would you say to them? What do you want them to know?

SIPP: I want them to know that the American Academy of Pediatrics says it's time to put the children back. And that's what we need to do with full transparency and all the safety measures for the teachers and the children. This is for all the children. It's time to go back to school.

PAUL: Molly Sipp, mom of four, we appreciate you being with us. Thank you so very much.

SIPP: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Absolutely.

And again, she will be at that rally today which I believe we're going to be covering as a lot of parents and students are going to be there from Atlanta and DeKalb Counties. Thank you so much.

There's so much pressure --

SIPP: Thanks, Christi.

PAUL: You're welcome. Thank you, Molly. Appreciate your time.

There's a lot of pressure obviously on superintendents, including those in and around Atlanta.

Superintendent of city schools of Decatur, Georgia, David Dude, is with us.

David, I want to get your reaction to what you heard from molly.

DAVID DUDE, SUPERINTENDENT, CITY SCHOOLS OF DECATUR, GEORGIA: It's something I hear a lot, as well. We have a lot of parents who want to get their kids back to school. So, I'm not surprised to hear that in our neighboring district in Atlanta, as well.

PAUL: So, what do you think to her point when she says there are a lot of schools in the area that are open, and there's another -- Cobb County is open. All the private schools are open.

What -- what is happening that some of these districts aren't able to open and some are?

DUDE: I think some of it is due to resources and what's available at a private school versus a public school. I also think it's a different environment with the amount of choice that employees and students have in getting back to work.

So that's where we're trying to balance within our school district is, how do we balance that choice for students which is an obvious choice with the choice for staff which is less obvious and making sure we strike a balance there.

PAUL: So what has to happen then, David, at this point, for Decatur to be able to open? DUDE: So one of the big things obviously is making sure we can really

robustly implement mitigation measures. And the big ones for us are cohorting of students, so keeping small groups of students together throughout their time in the school and not intermixing.

Mandatory masks, of course, I think that's just a no-brainer at this point. Everybody needs to be wearing masks.

And then the social distancing. Making sure we have small enough classes that our kids can maintain that social distancing. Those are the big things for us right now. Although we would like to see some more things done with some virus testing and I'm just -- I'm very encouraged by what's happening with vaccines right now.

PAUL: So a lot of people will look at this and, listen, we know that you've been working really hard to make this happen. A lot of people say this happened in the spring, we had spring and summer, and now fall to prepare for this. Why is it taking so long?

DUDE: Well, I think part of it is this is new. This is a novel coronavirus. And we're learning a lot about it as we go.

We are learning that maybe having kids in school is actually more valuable than not having them in school in terms of transmission, but it's still early. There's still research being done to see if that's true or not. And so there's a lot that we're learning as we go. We're buildings the ship -- the airplane as we're flying it.

PAUL: So, what has been your biggest hindrance? Is it resources? Is it money?

You're right. This virus is fluid. But again, there are a lot of schools around you and around Atlanta that are open and that are making it work and doing well. And a lot of them are public schools.

DUDE: I think resources, obviously, are a big issue. I think another issue is that we just have to make sure that our employees feel safe. If our employees don't feel safe, they're not going to be effective in the classrooms.

And so, a big part for us has been making sure we can do everything we can so that our employees know that when they come back to work in person, that they can do so in a safe manner and not worry about themselves getting sick or them bringing the illness home to their families, as well, because the students have a choice, and the employees don't always have a choice.


And we're trying to figure out how to balance that out.

PAUL: Yeah. I mean, there's definitely concern for teachers, particularly teachers who might be a little bit older and feel more vulnerable to the virus.

What is the percentage? Do you know the percentages of teachers? I'm sure they all want to come back. But do you know how many are comfortable coming back?

DUDE: Well, so we had about -- we have about 500 teachers, and about -- I think about 100 of them put in for accommodations when we asked if they would need an accommodation. And so, we're working through that process.

We anticipate when we do come back, about half of our students wanting to come back. So that would mean we'll need roughly half of our staff to come back. And so, we're looking at the accommodations process to see if we can scoop more people in that maybe have vulnerable family members at home that would need to remain virtual so that they don't bring the virus back into the household.

And so, that's how it we're approaching it. We do have teachers who want to come back and we have teachers who are fearful of coming back. And so, we're trying to balance out between those two.

PAUL: There have been conversations -- in fact, we talked with former secretary of education, Arne Duncan, yesterday about some of these kids who are getting lost in the system. They're not even -- they just don't have some of their parents work, so they don't have anybody there to help them log on. And so they're just absent.

And there are questions about what kind of education they're missing out on and how far back they may be, how much catch up is going to have to be done for them. Do you have any idea how many of your students are unaccounted for in that regard for virtual school for the district? And any provisions being made to try to help them catch up once they get back?

DUDE: Yeah. We invest heavily in our student support systems. And so, we have social workers who check in on families when teachers notice that kids aren't connecting. And we have other counselors and other school staff that check with those families.

So, I think for the most part we're doing well with keeping kids connected and keeping them engaged, although like the parent before me said, it is impacting our children. And it's something that we're very worried about.

So -- but luckily, we do have a pretty -- a pretty significant infrastructure so that we can try to support those students even in this virtual environment.

PAUL: Do you anticipate that once those kids come back there will be a greater need to expand emotional and mental health support to those kids? And are you able to do that?

DUDE: Yeah. I think that's a need even before the pandemic, the behavioral health of our students has been a focus of our district. I think it's something this just highlights even more importantly how important it is to provide those resources for our kids. And so, we will invest even more heavily as we come back to in-person learning to provide that. And we have been providing counseling services and things like that to our students, as well, through the staff that we already have on hand there. So we will definitely need to revisit that when students come back in

terms of academic and social/emotional health, as well, and will be providing supports.

PAUL: Yeah, just threw everybody for a loop.

The superintendent of Decatur, David Duty, we appreciate you talking with us today, sir. Thank you.

DUDE: Thank you so much. It's my pleasure.

SAVIDGE: President-elect Joe Biden has promised a renewed focused on the climate crisis. We'll talk to a climate activist about what they'd like to see from a Biden administration and how they'll fight to make it happen, next.



SAVIDGE: Intense hurricanes, record wildfires, and, of course, more frequent drought, heat waves, and floods. As the climate change worsens, there -- these events are becoming more and more severe, and they continue to have a devastating impact in our communities.

President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to take bold action to fight this global crisis. So the question is, what might that look like?

Joining me now to discuss is Bill McKibben. And he is the co-founder of, an international grassroots climate campaign. He's a contributing writer for "The New Yorker". He's written extensively on the impact of global warming.

Thank you very much, Bill for being with us this morning.

BILL MCKIBBEN, CO-FOUNDER, 350.ORG: A pleasure to get up this morning with you.

SAVIDGE: Yeah, appreciate it.

What's the first thing you expect that Joe Biden will do when it comes to climate change?

MCKIBBEN: Well, I think the first he'll do on the first day, quite symbolically, is rejoin the Paris Climate Accords. That was the shameful decision that President Trump made to excuse the nation that put more carbon in the atmosphere than any other from the only global effort to do something about it. And it will be good at least in symbolic terms to be back engaged in that process.

SAVIDGE: You know, just to put in perspective, I know this nation, the world, is focused on coronavirus. But the truth is climate change over the long term could impact far more lives, right?

MCKIBBEN: Yes. Probably even over the short term. And you know, there is no vaccine for climate change. There's something that's going to come along and let it go away. It's the existential crisis for our civilization in this century the way that fascism in Europe was a century ago. And so we're going to have to deal with it with every tool that we've got.

Joe Biden comes into office better able to do that because the engineers who have done such a good job of driving down the price of solar power and of wind power, the batteries that store that power, that's now the cheapest energy that there is.


And so he has the ability to move for quickly than any his predecessors have had.

SAVIDGE: Do you -- let me ask you this on protocol, I believe that Biden has suggested the U.S. could be carbon neutral by 2050. Do you think that's realistic?

MCKIBBEN: I think it's entirely realistic. I think it's much too slow. The science tells us we have to do most of the job in the next ten years.

That's the penalty we pay for having delayed the last 30, for letting the oil industry mount this campaign of denial and disinformation that kept us on the sidelines. Now we have to cram into a very short period an awful lot of action. And you know, it's an open question. But it's (INAUDIBLE)

SAVIDGE: You know, I have to ask also, too, when it comes to the nation's weather, which is also not just the day-to-day forecast but looking ahead for what the impact of climate change is, this has been totally overlooked by the current administration. I would hope that there now is going to be a renewed focus on it.

MCKIBBEN: Yeah, it's not just that it's been totally overlooked. They've done the best to break the system of which Americans should be very proud.

Most of our understanding about climate and weather came out of those -- out of American universities and out of those federal government research labs out of NOAA and so on. And it will be really important to stand them back up again. We desperately need information.

You know, we've just come through a period where our weather forecasting was the president of the United States taking a sharpie to a map and pretending to know where hurricanes were going to go.

SAVIDGE: Right. Yeah. We need to get back to the science.

Bill McKibben, I'm sorry I haven't got more time to talk. But we'll have to get you back again. Thank you.

MCKIBBEN: All right. Take care.

SAVIDGE: And we'll be right back.



SAVIDGE: As the COVID-19 pandemic shows no sign of letting up, the NFL still believes that it can finish the season safely.

PAUL: Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Good morning, Coy.


2020, as we all well know, a year like no other, that means we're seeing a football season like we've never seen before. No fans in stadiums, teams playing without a quarterback, cases spiking across the league, but the NFL's chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, told our Wolf Blitzer just last night he is confident the regular season will first name on time.


DR. ALLEN SILLS, NFL CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: I think our NFL facilities are the safest places in their community. The reason I have that confidence is we have detailed protocols in place. We're testing our players, coaches and staff every day.

And we have a very innovative and detailed contact tracing program that far exceeds what's in place in other elements of society. So, we all share concerns and we're all monitoring the situations, but I believe our facilities are safe.


WIRE: So far into week 13, the NFL has not missed a single game all season.

All right. In the NBA, health and safety guidelines for the upcoming season getting even stricter. According to multiple reports, players and staff are banned from going to bars and clubs or attending large gatherings. During road trips, teams will only be permitted to leave hotels for dining, and that's only if they'll be eating outdoors or in private rooms at restaurants.

Potential punishments are warnings to fines and suspensions. Preseason games are set to tip off at the end of the next week.

To college football now, where the game of the day was scheduled just two days ago due to COVID-related issues, but number 13 BYU, number 18 coastal Carolina going at in the battle of undefeateds, and it becomes a thriller.

BYU down, with just seconds to go, and this is the play, Martin and Christi. Big time bowl game eligibility on the line, Johnson clears defense, making the big stop in school history. Coastal Carolina pulls off the upset, becoming the first team from the Sun Belt conference to ever start a season 10-0, never ranked in the top 25 before this season. Now they could be headed to a lucrative New Year bowl game.

All right. Number four Ohio State against Michigan State without head coach Ryan Day, out due to a positive COVID-19 test. Instead, defensive line coach Larry Johnson, making history as the first black head coach for the Buckeyes. And coach Johnson gets his first win 52- 12, and he gets a Gatorade bath to go along with it, too.

But, the celebration didn't stop there, and take a look at the coach getting down in the locker room. Coach Johnson showing you how Marty Savidge dances when a Sunday day is over.

Congrats to coach, and, Marty, don't forget to stretch before you do that --

PAUL: I've seen it. You're right, Coy. Thanks, Coy.

I know it's a busy time right now. For Santa and the elves, of course, they're working around travel restrictions and distancing rules like the rest of us. Thank goodness a little extra help is on hand. And that's thanks to a kind and brave soul.


PAUL: That is Mateo. He is five years old. He's battling leukemia, but he's working really hard, extra hard here, to help get letters to the North Pole. And she's sharing some Christmas carols along the way, obviously, there you go. He's working with Santa is part of the Make a Wish program.

He's one of the kids whose wishes are on hold during the pandemic. He's thinking about becoming a mailman when he grows up because posting letters is one of his favorite things.



PAUL: Mateo, buddy, I hope you get everything you want for Christmas, and I hope you get better.

SAVIDGE: Absolutely. Absolutely.

PAUL: We can learn so much from those kids, Marty. It's been good to have you here today.

SAVIDGE: Thank you, Christi. It's been a pleasure, too. Thank you.

"INSIDE POLITICS" with Dana Bash is up next.