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CONNECT THE WORLD

Progress on Climate Change

Aired December 6, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: There's a mood of quiet confidence here at COP 16. Delegates from 192 countries have gathered to reach an agreement on how to deal with climate change.

Live from Cancun in Mexico, I'm Becky Anderson with a special hour of CONNECT THE WORLD.

In the next 60 minutes, you're going to hear about the issues that matter from the people who count.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FELIPE CALDERON, MEXICAN PRESIDENT: Either we change our way of life or climate change will change our lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Mexico's president explains what's at stake and defends his track record. But there's one thing that might be achieved this week -- it's an agreement on deforestation. I'll show you how I found a project in Kenya that empowers local communities. Plus, what seems to be a rare good news story out of the Amazon in Brazil.

And later this hour...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TED TURNER, PHILANTHROPIST, FOUNDER OF CNN: This has been a people first and businessmen second. And they all want to live. And they want their children and their grandchildren to live.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right, searching for an incentive -- Ted Turner with the business of climate change, along with Richard Branson.

All that is up ahead.

First, let's begin with the elephant in the room. I'm in Cancun, but no one has forgotten what happened in Copenhagen. I was there a year ago.

Let's remind ourselves why it still casts a very long shadow one year on and thousands of miles away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM DECEMBER 18, 2009)

ANDERSON: Well, they came, they talked long into the night, but it looks like global leaders will be leaving Copenhagen practically empty- handed. After years of negotiation and two weeks of concentrated effort, the world was unable to agree on a meaningful deal on climate change.

The U.S. had hoped President Obama's flying visit would help salvage some success from the disorder. But, in the end, a slow hand clap as he made his way to the stage mid-morning showed the depths of divisions that still exist between the haves and the have-nots.

China's resistance to monitoring its carbon emissions is a key sticking point for the West.

In turn, China says that while it will report its emissions as part of any international deal, it will not agree to any outside verification methods.

So, they leave here shaking on nothing more than a commitment to agree to agree to agree to something more substantive in the future.

What had been billed Hopenhagen by many activists and delegates who arrived here just two weeks ago may best be remembered as Brokenhagen by many.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: All right, let's come back to the present now, shall we, in Cancun this year, 2010?

Copenhagen's failure means the expectations this time around are fairly low.

I spoke with the UN's climate chief, Christiana Figueres, who told me that there were positives to come out of Brokenhagen that she was hoping to build on this year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIANA FIGUERES, U.N. FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE ,EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, UNFCC: I think Copenhagen was very difficult, process-wise. And we didn't have the transparency and inclusiveness that the United Nations usually has.

But, actually, Copenhagen had very, very important results. For one, we have a pledge of $100 billion per year starting in 2020 that we did not have before. And now, of course, the challenge is to figure out where is that money going to come from. But the pledge is on the table.

Also, as a result of Copenhagen, for the first time, we have proposals, both from all developed countries, as well as from 32 developing countries, on what they're going to do on mitigation. As a sum total, that is more mitigation than we have ever had on the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: But with four days to go and deep divisions between the delegates here, what are Christians Figueres' worst fears?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FIGUERES: That governments may be caught up in their national positions. It is very clear that governments have worked all this time out of their national positions. But this is the moment in which governments need to see beyond their national positions into their long-term interests, which, in any event, long-term, all countries' interests actually converge, because we all have human beings. We all know that the -- we're in this together. We need to solve it together.

So it is the short-term versus the long-term vision here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the host nation's president says he's ready and willing to take action on climate change. Felipe Calderon says it's tied closely to economics and he explain why and also discussed the -- the tangible consequences of climate change with me just a bit earlier on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CALDERON: Well, the -- the point is that we are suffering already the impact of climate change. And either we change our way of life or climate change will change our lives. In Mexico, we are suffering already the impact of that. We suffered this year droughts that we never had before. We can see droughts in -- in Africa, fires in Russia.

So it's a tragedy, actually. And we need to act in order to -- to overcome that situation.

ANDERSON: I don't suppose, for a moment, your fellow panelists would with you on that. What is up for debate is how we go about providing a low carbon future. You want Mexico to act as a bridge between rich and poor countries. You pledged, for example, to be the greenest president ever. And yet your record doesn't necessarily stand up to that. In 2006, you made a much lauded pledge to plant 250 million trees, for example. Three years on, only 10 percent of them have survived.

Your thoughts.

CALDERON: Well, the point is, is that in any plantation is, there is rates of survival. They're very low. But in any case, Mexico is not only planting trees like that.

Yes, in 2006, 2007, we planted more than 100 million trees. And, actually, during four years, we planted more than 500 million trees. But that is not the point of the policy in forestry.

We are pegging (ph) environmental services per family in order to preserve that area. We have more than 2.2 million hectares receiving environmental payments. And with that, we are recovering the forestry in Mexico.

Actually, we have reduced the deforestation rate in Mexico from 355,000 hectares a year to 128,000 hectares this year, in 2010. So we are moving ahead and we are going to get equilibrium in the forestry.

ANDERSON: President Calderon, why has it taken so long to acknowledge that the private sector should be on board?

CALDERON: Well, I don't know. But I realize how important is that. I do believe in that. And I know that several of the measures that we can put in play by private sector are actually profitable. That's my point.

So they've -- I don't know if this project about the -- generates solar energy in Tahara (ph). But the point is if we change, for instance, the land and all the houses and hotels in Mexico, we can save a lot of money and we can do a very profitable business, and, at the same time, we can fight climate change.

And if some -- somebody in the business realized this and I can establish a public policy that will incentivize that kind of measure, we can -- we can allocate, we can bring to the table private sector, make a very good measure, reduce millions of tons of emissions, and at the same time make a lot of business for -- for -- for anyone.

ANDERSON: Let me just put this to you, though, Mexico City, for example, one of the most polluting metropolises on the planet, what are you doing with the private sector to help mitigate that?

CALDERON: For instance, we are -- we've established trains, metropolitan trains in order to stop the vehicles for calling -- for collective transportation. And it's, of course, private sector is this -- is working with that with us in order to -- to mass transportation, to establish mass transportation in Mexico City. And other things, it's how we can improve the quality of the gasoline and how can we improve the quality of the public transportation. And mainly the private sector is able to do that.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Big business needs to get involved.

And you can see the rest of the debate in a special edition of Earth's Frontiers. That is later this month right here on CNN.

Well, the debate is also playing out on the streets of Cancun here, with protesters from around the world desperate to be heard. The largest demonstrations involved Latin America's indigenous population and farmers who want their livelihoods considered in any climate deal.

Italian environmentalists also here, adding their voices to concerns at this time over water conservation. These activists oppose the mass incineration of rubbish and not just because it's a pollutant. They represent the millions of waste pickers from Asia, Africa and Latin America who restock -- recycle garbage to survive.

And controversy, too, for the Japan protesters here, gently urging the country to drop their opposition to an extension of the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012.

These demonstrators adopted South Korean farmer Lee Kyang Hae as their champion. The anti-globalization activist fatally stabbed himself in front of the media at the 2003 World Trade Organization conference -- an act of resistance he did not survive.

And protests also taking place beyond Mexico's borders. In the United States, there have been rallies calling on the American government to take a firmer stand in reducing emissions.

So plenty of pressure to produce results at this year's climate change summit.

And if that isn't enough, how about a call to action from a Hollywood star?

DARYL HANNAH, ACTRESS: We've got to just cut the bull and get down to root of the situation. We need to move away from these dirty energy systems that we've learned have not served us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Actress and green campaigner, Daryl Hannah, is ahead on our special show covering climate change and this Cancun meeting.

Up next, I'll show you what I discovered in Kenya and why it matters to Cancun and the rest of the planet.

You're watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, welcome back to a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, live in Cancun.

Well, with so much on the line here, I wanted to find out for myself what's being done to protect some of the planet's most critical wildlife areas.

In Kenya recently, I checked out one of the UN's red projects. Now that is reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation -- a bit of a mouthful, I know, and it's also got its critics, I've got to say. More on that a little later on.

Right now, though, let me show you what I found out about a vital stretch of land only two hours north of Mombassa, Kenya's second biggest city.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: (voice-over): The Kasigau Corridor in Kenya is a crucial wildlife lifeline between two national parks. For years, this forest and savannah has been under threat from over grazing and deforestation.

ROB DODSON, OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, WILDLIFE WORKS: You see, you can get a very good aerial perspective of what the forest looks like from out there.

ANDERSON: Thousands of hectares of land stripped of its lush forests, now a designated U.N. red project.

(on camera): What they're trying to do here at Kasigau is to provide the indigenous communities with some real economic alternatives to regular policies of slash and burn.

Let's go and see one of those projects.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The purpose of the red is to prevent deforestation whilst basically empowering communities financially to better look after their environment.

ANDERSON: So what are these guys doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charcoal is the main form of -- of energy for most rural communities in Africa. Charcoal traditionally is made by chopping down trees and burning them. And that's causing tremendous deforestation. This is a method of making charcoal where you don't have to cut down trees, you don't have to kill the tree. You just prune the tree. And we're finding this is a great alternative to deforestation.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The work that's going on here in the greenhouses encourages the local community to buy into the red project.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We purchase the trees when they're very young from the community. We then bring them to this tree nursery and propagate them. When they're about a year old and strong enough to survive in the wild, they go back out into the community and they're planted in the forest under the trees

That have been taken out through many years of charcoal burning.

ANDERSON: Red financing is finite. For a project like this to have a lasting impact, communities must find a way to provide a sustainable income. To that end, here locals produce organic clothing sold to the U.S. and European retailers.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: All right, it's not only Kenya, though, that has some good news to report.

In Brazil's Amazon Rainforest, deforestation rates are actual declining. Later in the program, I'll find out why money could be the key to the forests' survival.

Up next, though, one man who knows how to make a quick buck. Richard Branson tells me how big business can make a big difference.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, live here in Cancun, where thousands of delegates and ministers from 192 countries around the world are meeting for what's known as the COP 16 meeting.

Here, everyone has a part to play to tackle climate change.

But are business leaders serious about taking on the challenge?

Well, I put that to Richard Branson, the founder and chairman of the Virgin Group and to Ted Turner, the man who, of course, started CNN.

And I began by asking them about the huge task ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TURNER: I'm optimistic about the -- about the future. And -- and certainly, we're going to have to have everybody involved in saving -- saving humanity. We're going to have to have the business community, the educational community. Government obviously has to be a very big part of it. But it -- it can't be done alone. It's going to have to take -- it's going to take all of us working together to -- to save ourselves, because that's what the stake is, the future of life on Earth.

RICHARD BRANSON, CHAIRMAN & FOUNDER, VIRGIN GROUP: Yes, there is a danger the government is not going to get its act together. And -- and therefore, I think business has got to step in and -- and -- and be ready to do it for government.

ANDERSON: Ted, it sounds good in principle, but is Richard, for example, friend or foe?

TURNER: Oh, friend. I mean his heart's in the right place. And I hope he can be as successful in his work on the environment as he has been in business.

ANDERSON: give us some classic concrete examples of what you think can be done, Richard, by the business community.

BRANSON: Well, I mean if -- if you take the airline industry, if you start building planes with carbon composite materials rather than metal, you can save something like 20 percent of emissions. If you can put winglets on the end of every wing on -- on the planes, you can retrofit them, you save another 10 percent.

You know, if, say, measures that, you know, that Virgin Airlines is doing, you -- you put your profits into trying to develop clean fuels for planes and actually manage to develop clean fuels for planes, things like isobutanol or -- or an algae-based fuel, hopefully, we'll be able to actually fly our planes from fuels that are not emitting any carbon at all.

And so we've just got to keep, you know, keep working hard to try to come up with the answers.

ANDERSON: Businesses that have gathered here admit that they are here to help shape and influence the agenda. Correct me if I'm wrong, but what is -- or might be sold as altruism is, in fact, global business. And certainly our viewers might feel this is global business shaping the agenda so that the cost isn't too much to them going forward.

What would you say to those who are raising a cynical eyebrow?

TURNER: Businessmen are people first and businessmen second. And they all want to live and they want their children and their grandchildren to live. This -- so there's a -- a built in prejudice for doing things to -- to save the planet and cleaning up the energy. It's time to say goodbye to coal and oil. They've -- the -- the Industrial Revolution, the smokestacks 200 years ago, I mean that -- they were all we had.

Now, we know how to do solar and wind and -- and geothermal. We -- we could completely redo our energy system in 15 years and be completely clean and -- and -- and be much healthier because the coal and the -- and the oil pollute the atmosphere and it's hurting our lungs as well as our children's.

ANDERSON: How much more difficult is it, given the current economic cycle, to -- to convince your own employees and the industry that what you're saying is right for the future?

BRANSON: What the public need to realize is it's not going to cost them more money. And all we're doing is saying, you know, switch it from - - you know, start switching your -- your energy into clean energy, which is not going to be taxed.

But I'm saying, you know, I'm an airline, you should -- you should tax me. And as long as you tax all airlines the same, you should take -- you should tax it. And -- and -- and, you know, if I come up with clean fuels, which I'm hoping to do, and I can fly my planes on clean fuels that are -- that are not emitting any carbons, then, well, you shouldn't tax it.

ANDERSON: Does business really not need a seat at the negotiation table?

It doesn't have one at this point.

TURNER: It's a question of time, how quickly can we move. And we're not -- they -- you know, humanity is pretty good at staying where it is. And we have to fight inertia on this like we've never fought it before. We've never had a challenge like -- like this before. And I like us. I like human beings. And I am one. And -- but -- but -- but we've got to -- we've got to stop acting like monkeys and start acting like sophisticated, educated, civilized human beings.

BRANSON: We're intelligent enough to and -- and to whip this problem. And I think with enough determination, we will do so.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

TURNER: And let's whip this problem and not build more nuclear weapons, for instance. Let's -- let's plan to live rather than plan to die.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Ted Turner and Richard Branson for you here in Cancun.

Well, one Hollywood actress who will agree whole-heartedly with what Ted Turner said there is actress and activist Daryl Hannah. The film star is your Connector of the Day. And ahead, we'll have my interview with her.

You're watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD live from Cancun in Mexico.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson in Cancun in Mexico, covering the COP 16 meeting, a far cry, as you can see, from the angst ridden corridors of Copenhagen a year ago.

Coming up on this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD, a positive story about climate change -- or is it?

Deforestation rates are down in Brazil, but the reason, well, that may surprise you.

Also, our Connector of the Day has made a splash. Daryl Hannah tells us why she's devoting herself to the climate change battle and why you should, too.

And adventurer Bear Grylls explores uncharted waters in the Arctic. In the process, he tries to melt away some major misconceptions about global warming.

All those stories are ahead in the next 30 minutes for you here on CNN.

First, let's get to Max Foster in our London studio for the other stories making headlines this hour -- Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: Becky, Hillary Clinton says the US, South Korea, and Japan share a common goal, reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula. Clinton and her counterparts meet in Washington today in the wake of North Korea's shelling of a South Korean island that killed four people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, US SECRETARY OF STATE: It is landmark trilateral meeting between three strong partners. This meeting takes place at a time of grave concern in northeast Asia amid the provocative attacks from North Korea.

We are committed to our partners, and we are committed to the preservation of peace and stability in northeast Asia and on the Korean peninsula.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: More discussions are set for Tuesday over Tehran's disputed nuclear program. Iranian and international officials met on Monday in Switzerland, and a source says they exchanged views and concerns. In Washington, US senator John Kerry talked about what the future might hold for Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I think there's going to be a very serious discussion at the United Nations and the National Security Council, there'll be a very serious discussion with our allies, about steps to take to really ratchet down significantly the sanctions.

If the Iranian leadership doesn't get it by now, and they're not willing to be a legitimate partner in non-proliferation efforts in the country, then we're going to have to take stronger steps to push them in that direction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is making arrangements to meet with British police regarding a Swedish arrest warrant. That's according to his attorney. Assange is wanted on sex crime allegations. He says the accusations are part of a smear campaign.

Lawyers for Continental Airlines and a mechanic are rejecting a guilty verdict in the deadly 2000 Concord crash. Continental was fined and the mechanic received a suspended sentence after being found partially criminally negligent.

Officials in Pakistan say at least 50 people were killed and 70 wounded when suicide bombers struck a government building in the northwest. Reza Sayah has more on the attack and the target.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The Pakistani Taliban claiming responsibility for Monday's attack that targeted an anti-Taliban, pro-government militia. Over the past year, we've seen a lot of these attacks targeting militias, which are essentially local villagers who've grown tired of the Taliban and are standing up against them.

This was one of the deadliest attacks we've seen in recent months in Pakistan. The attack carried out by two suicide bombers. They targeted a government building in Mohmand Agency. This is one of the seven districts in Pakistan's tribal region along the Afghan border, a region plagued by militancy.

Officials say a meeting was about to take place in this government building between government officials and members of this militia when the suicide bombers attacked. One of them managed to get inside the building. That's where he blew himself up. Another suicide bomber, officials say, blew himself up at the gate of this complex.

Officials say the local hospital where this attack took place was way too small to handle all the victims. Many of the victims diverted to a hospital in Peshawar an hour away.

Monday's attack underscores that the fight against militancy is a long and bloody one. Mohmand is a district where Pakistan security forces have been fighting militants for years, now. But Monday's twin suicide attacks show that those militants have yet to be eliminated. Reza Sayah, CNN, Islamabad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Those are the latest headlines. I'm Max Foster in London. Back to Becky, now, who's in Cancun, for more on the climate summit there.

ANDERSON: Thank you very much, indeed. Yes, this is a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. A little earlier, we took you to Kenya for a look at how one of the UN so-called Red Projects actually works. Now, the initiative aims to reduce emissions by preventing deforestation, a problem in Kenya caused by slash and burn agriculture, the slashing and burning of trees for charcoal. Well, the Red Project is providing Kenyans with an alternative, more sustainable way to get this vital fuel.

While this scheme is finding success in Kenya, it is costly to implement, and that makes it difficult to sustain. As I've found in Brazil, money is what can save the country's forests. But at the same time, it's also what can potentially destroy them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): The Amazon rainforest, Brazil. Deforestation rates here are in decline. Latest figures show that damage to trees could be at its lowest since records began in 1988, down by almost 50 percent.

PAULO ADARIO, AMAZON DIRECTOR, GREENPEACE: The Amazon is the icon of the movement and of the environment as well. Brazil is the best country in the world, now, in terms of fighting deforestation. Brazil is giving a very good example.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The health of the Amazon affects us all. The whole world depends on this ecosystem for the air we breathe and the water that we drink.

EDUCARDO BRAGA, BRAZILIAN SENATOR-ELECT: It's very easy in Brazil to create and protect the area. What's really hard, it's a really huge challenge, is implementing that on the field.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Sophisticated satellite technology monitors the forest, taking detailed measurements every two weeks. The images show changes to ground cover, allowing the authorities to act on what they see.

BRAGA: We've cut deforestation 75 percent since 2002. So, satellite has been a very important key to the success that we had in the last years in the Amazon.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The Brazilian government has worked hard to protect and manage the forest. But still, the deforestation occurs.

ADARIO: So, what you can see here is the result of deforestation of the Amazon. This is real.

ANDERSON (voice-over): This is Boca do Acre in South Amazonas, the country's most populated state. Pockets of land here are burned and razed to grow crops and rear cattle.

ADARIO: This big stump is the remains of a Brazil nut tree. It's an icon of the Amazon, and this tree takes some 300 to 400 years to grow. And it's forbidden by law to cut. They are cutting trees like this, it's fundamentally for feeding kids in the Brazilian schools to plant dates. This is corn. Four months to produce corn, and they destroy 500 years for this.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Greenpeace is wary of the deforestation data. It attributes the decline in rates to a decline in a global economy and a dip in the profitability of food production. One thousand miles away in Manaus, Brazil's third-biggest economic hub. Environmentalists, though, are worried. Big infrastructure projects here will open up new areas of the Amazon.

PHILIP FEARNSIDE, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR AMAZON RESEARCH: Roads are the most powerful force in driving deforestation. Wherever a road has been built in the past, you get deforestation. And it spreads out from the highways.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Seventy-five percent of all deforestation happens within 30 miles of a road. The BR 319 is an arterial road through the jungle, impassable since 1988. The route is now being repaved.

FEARNSIDE: You can't expect deforestation to keep going down the way it has been in the last few years if you think that you're free to just build roads all over the Amazon wherever you want. But once you build it, you have thousands of people spreading out into the region, each one with their chainsaws and so forth. And they're the ones that are deciding what's happening.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The government is keen to push through international strategies, like Red, to fund the forests, to pay the people who live there to look after their environment.

BRAGA: We need to pay the funding to finance the Red mechanism. And maybe COP 16 is a new moment to create those funding. The tick-tock, tick- tock, tick-tock of the watch is running, and people who live by the forest is waiting.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Becky Anderson, for "Earth's Frontiers."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, the Red Project is proving to be a controversial issue here at the summit in Cancun. The group known as Via Campesina has been protesting against it. The international movement says Red and all carbon-trading plans rob millions of peasants, small producers, rural residents, and indigenous people around the world of their right to self-sustainability. The Via also rejects the World Bank's participation in funds and policies related to climate change.

Here in Cancun, group members from Asia, Africa, and Latin America meet daily to prepare their strategies. They say what they want, quite simply, is to be heard so that they can play a part in any decisions that will impact on their livelihoods.

Well, it's time for action, not just words. That call from the Hollywood actress and activist Daryl Hannah. Our Connector of the Day answers your questions. Up next, find out why the star of "Kill Bill" and "Roxanne" is right here with me in Cancun. And later --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEAR GRYLLS, ADVENTURER: We're just trying to pick our way through, kind of like a maze, a game of checkers, trying to find a route through all of this sea ice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: And adventurer Bear Grylls takes on the issue of melting ice. Stay with us, live from Cancun, this is a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: She's played a mermaid in "Splash" and an android in the film "Blade Runner," roles which are, quite simply, out of this world. But it's our world and our planet that gets actress and activist Daryl Hannah fired up. Right now, she's here in Cancun, pushing for global action on climate change.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): You may well know her as the one-eyed assassin Elle Driver in the hit film "Kill Bill." But these days, the US actress Daryl Hannah has both eyes firmly focused on climate change.

Passionate about the environment, the activist was famously arrested in 2006 after she chained herself to a tree for three weeks to try and stop developers from bulldozing an urban farm in Los Angeles.

The actress is committed to bio-fuels and even auctioned off her bio- diesel El Camino car in 2008, along with its own fueling station.

Whether she's featured in a film or speaking out on environmental issues, Daryl Hannah brings star power to the global fight against climate change. I asked her just why she gets involved.

DARYL HANNAH, ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST: I get such an amazing infusion of wonder and awe and sense of magic from the natural world. And I think I have a somewhat of a -- like an urge to defend the innocent from the bad, you know?

ANDERSON (on camera): Good for you, and why not? Why not? You --

HANNAH: Why not?

ANDERSON: Both you and I were in Copenhagen last year.

HANNAH: Yes.

ANDERSON: A meeting many people called a bust, effectively. Are you more optimistic about this year's meeting here in Cancun?

HANNAH: Well, yes. Definitely a lot of people were disappointed with the outcome of Copenhagen. But I am optimistic, because I have really noticed a huge call to action from people. There -- it is a growing movement. And people all across the globe have really bonded together to insist upon global action.

What is a little bit frustrating is that here we are in Cancun, and three of the biggest -- the heads of state of the biggest carbon emitters couldn't even be bothered to show up.

ANDERSON: President Philippe Calderon of Mexico says, effectively, time for talk is over. Let's get on with it.

HANNAH: That's so great. That's exactly how I feel. And I think that's really how most of the people in the world feel. We've got to just cut the bull and get down to the root of the situation. We need to move away from these dirty energy systems that we've learned have not served us. To get away from industrial agricultural models, to start dealing with things in a more holistic, common sense picture.

And it's just -- it seems so clear, but yet, it's just -- it's bound in all of these sort of negotiations and people not wanting to mess with their -- the things that they're used to and the status quo. And we're ready for a change, I think. We're ready for a really -- we're ready to make that shift.

ANDERSON: And it feels so right when you're sitting here on the beach.

HANNAH: Which is hilarious. We're sitting on the beach in Cancun in perfect weather conditions, and yet this conference is being held in this giant behemoth structure with air conditioning on. It's like, what's up with that?

ANDERSON: Let's get to some viewer questions, shall we? What do you say to people, Renato asks, who think that global warming is a myth?

HANNAH: The science is clear. I think the -- this isn't really a debate amongst people who understand the way a thermometer works. But if there was a debate, it's probably about whether or not we have an impact on the situation.

But the fact of the matter is, no matter what your belief system is, a transition to a clean energy economy, a transition to wise chemical-free, less industrialized agricultural systems addressing all of these problems are going to be better for everyone in the end. And so, we need to make those changes.

ANDERSON: Louis has written to us. He says, "If climate change has a lot to do with the greed of people," he says, "How do we fix that?"

HANNAH: I really don't think it's the greed of the people. People have already shown a great willingness to change and adapt their lifestyles and are educating themselves about how to do that.

I really think that if we're going to point fingers and blame, that it really comes down to governments and the corporations who fund them, and the dirty fossil fuel industry and the dirty resource extraction industry that are still, even in this economy where everyone is suffering, are making record profits, and stealing the future from all of us.

ANDERSON: Daryl, Dave writes, he says, "You are one of the few celebrities who really knows a lot about the causes that you promote. Do you feel frustrated that everybody else, effectively," he says, "just does press conferences and don't get as involved?"

HANNAH: I just would like to encourage everybody who's out there who's using their voice to educate themselves as thoroughly as possible so that they can be their most effective. And -- because right now, we need to urgently act, and we need all hands on deck.

So, it really doesn't matter what job you have, butcher, baker, candlestick maker, rock star, actor, whatever. We need all hands on deck, and we need everybody speaking out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Yes, you do. Daryl Hannah, there, is your Connector of the Day today. Hollywood actress among thousands of people here in Cancun pushing for action on climate change.

There is a lot of frustration being expressed, here. Members of the Sierra Club staged a rather literal protest. They're having a dig at the countries they believe are avoiding the climate change issue. Members of the World Wildlife Fund also demonstrated on Cancun beach, lighting candles to remind the COP 16 delegates that this is all about a bright future for Mother Earth.

Greenpeace has also been active on the streets. They say enough of the rubbish. It's time to make a choice. The group pushing for greater commitments, including tougher emission reduction targets and a dedicated climate fund.

And, finally, caricatures of world leaders are being paraded as central figures in the debate behind the masks. Protesters who claim consumers can't make a difference alone. Governments, they say, need to lead the way.

The wind is getting up here in Cancun. Next up, one man who is leading the way through one of the most treacherous parts of the world. Stay with us for the mission that this adventurer hopes won't end in a meltdown.

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ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD special with me, Becky Anderson, live here in Cancun at the COP 16 meeting. Now, ice is all that links the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in the Arctic circle. A treacherous path, even for the most seasoned adventurer.

But that is not deterring Bear Grylls, who is trekking the northwest package -- package? Let me start that again. He's trekking the northwest passage to deliver a chilling message about climate change.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRYLLS: The northwest passage has always attracted adventurous spirits. Sometimes, you'll just see ice as far as you can see, and the wind, obviously, blows off the ice, and it's very, very cold. And we saw some really big things up there, and it's a very intimidating place to be.

But, on the other hand, there are other days where I kind of -- you think, this really is the most spectacular place on Earth.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Thirteen days, 3,000 kilometers, sub-zero temperatures. Adventurer Bear Grylls is on an expedition through the northwest passage to witness one of the most worrying changes ever seen by climate scientists. A four-meter-thick blanket of ice that once enveloped Canada's arctic water channels now melts away each summer.

Many of us can see the evidence in photographs from space, but few of us have the courage or the skill to take a close-up look. Bear is a man well-equipped to take on such a challenge.

GRYLLS: I'm just seeing if there's a way through, hold on.

We had no idea what the ice conditions were going to be like.

Do you see that? Channel, you are, 1:00, guys.

All right, we're just trying to pick our way through, kind of like a maze, a game of checkers, trying to find a route through all of this sea ice.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The ice of the arctic acts as a giant reflector. As this girdle melts, newly exposed sea water soaks up the sun's heat, creating warmer oceans that melt more ice. That process is taking place so rapidly that scientists fear all sea ice during the summer months could vanish by 2030.

GRYLLS: Lots of things kept me up at night before this trip, just because, I think, partly we were so far away from anybody or anything, that if something goes wrong, your chance of rescue are kind of slim.

Yes, we're just assessing the state of entry at the moment.

And it's no doubt pretty scary being in a small boat in monster sea big waves. And Ben took a big whack on the head, just hit some really big seas we had one day. He just got thrown off the seat and smacked his head on some bit of metal and, before you know it, you're fighting waves, fighting ice, and trying to stem blood. Everyone was getting a bit crazy.

All right, so we don't -- so we can stop the bleeding, basically. Just now --

We're going places that -- parts of the Arctic that nobody would have ever been before.

All this water is just uncharted. Any reef ships have ever gone is the other side of this island. This is the route out of the northwest passage. But what's exciting for us is, in a little boat, we can explore areas that nobody has ever been able to explore before. This is what it's all about.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Uncharted arctic waters contain the essence of adventure. But they are also proof of a forever changed world. Disappearing sea ice may open up new trade routes and offer new thrills, but it will also destroy coastlines and reclaim land. Melted water, like Bear Grylls, can't stand still. It has to find somewhere to go.

GRYLLS: I think there's something very thrilling about just being on a small boat with a small group of people and having no idea what's about to happen. And realize that if you can't push through this ice, you've now got no retreat, and it's make or break, it's do or die. And what a privilege to be able to have those moments in today's world.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Becky Anderson, for "Earth's Frontiers."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: That's right. Bear Grylls, closing out our coverage from Cancun. That's your lot. The summit, though, has another four days to go. Who knows what they'll achieve? We'll keep track of all of it for you all week here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

That's your world connected this evening. Going to take a very short break, but Max Foster will be back with the headlines, followed by "BackStory," tonight with John Vause. Good-bye.

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