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White House Releases Climate Report; Mother Survives After Driving Off CO Cliff; U2 Spy Plane Caused Southern Cal Air Traffic Problems; Eight More Girls Taken in Nigeria; Coca Cola to Rid Drinks of BVO; This Week's CNN Hero: Ned Norton

Aired May 6, 2014 - 11:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN CO-ANCHOR: So get ready for more droughts, more heat waves, more extreme storms.

The White House says that's coming as it lays out the most comprehensive climate change report ever in the United States.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CO-ANCHOR: The Cold War is over but a spy plane from that era was in the sky over California and it caused all sorts of major travel chaos. How did that happen?

BERMAN: And she has kept her silence until now, Monica Lewinsky -- that's right, Monica Lewinsky -- talking about her affair with president Clinton, that story ahead, @ THIS HOUR.

Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman.

And I'm Michaela Pereira. Thanks for joining us. It's 11:00 a.m. in the East, 8:00 a.m. out West, those stories and much more, right now, @ THIS HOUR.

BERMAN: There is not a human being in the United States who will not be affected by this. No matter where you live, get ready for worse storms, worse droughts, more fires, more disease.

That is according to a new report that the White House is releasing today in which the White House calls for urgent action.

PEREIRA: Hundreds of the nation's top climate scientists have weighed in on this report that says this last decade was the nation's warmest on record, and it also lays out concrete steps in order to cut carbon pollution and prepare American communities for the impacts of climate change that is likely to come in the next 50 years.

We've got the team on it. We have CNN meteorologist Chad Myers. We also have senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta. Gentlemen, good to have you both.

Chad, why don't we start with you? It seems like we had a little taste of this over the winter about what is to come.

You've had a chance to look through this report. What exactly is it saying about what's going to happen and what has already happened? CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I think what we're going to see are fewer normal days. When you watch your local weatherman and he shows you the almanac and he says normal high is 84, it's not going to be 84. It's going to be 96 or 72. It's going to be extreme one way or the other.

The Northeast is going to see more heat waves, more coastal flooding and more flash flooding inland like from Irene and what we saw in Sandy, significant flash flooding here.

Water issues in the Southeast. We've already seen them happen. A lot of people moving into the South not as much fresh water, also flooding from tropical systems, as well.

The Midwest, maybe one positive thing, a longer growing season, maybe more crops, but if there are more heat waves, more droughts and more flash floods, that may counteract any positive that we have there whatsoever.

The Midwest and the Plains a little bit different. The Plains you're going to see warmer temperatures so it's going to cost you more to cool your house. Also, you're going to need more water to water your lawns, water your plants, water whatever is out there, so that's kind of an increased demand there.

The Southwest, more fires, more drought, probably more scarce water and it's already very scarce in the Southwest.

Snow melt in the Northwest earlier than normal causing summer river levels to be low and Alaska sea ice is low. The glaciers are shrinking. Permafrost is melting. That methane release may happen if permafrost continues to thaw. We'll watch that and also the infrastructure with this.

The ground is expected to be frozen. That's how they built the infrastructure. If it's not frozen, things are going to change.

The oceans are absorbing the CO2 as carbonic acid. Ph is changing. That Ph may really affect all the way down through the food chain from the plankton through the crustaceans and all of the way up to what we want to eat from the ocean.

If we kill the ocean, we have likely killed ourselves.

BERMAN: The big question is, what is the White House going to do about all this, because it certainly sounds dire? The predictions are quite dire.

Let's go to Jim Acosta there. Jim, it's not hard to find people who say that this White House hasn't lived up to its promises from 2007, 2008, not pushing as hard as it could have on cap-and-trade and other environmental issues.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. Remember back to the 2008 campaign, it was one of the promises from the president that a lot of people remember. He said, now this is the moment when the rise of the oceans begin to slow and our planet began to heal. A lot of environmentalists out there, John and Michaela, just don't think the president has lived up to that promise.

He had a Democratic House, had a Democratic Senate in the first couple of years of his administration, but could not get climate legislation passed. And so what he has had to do on his own is do sort of these executive actions along the way.

He's got one that starts in June, new limits on emissions from power plants. That has been very controversial. A lot of Republicans and the energy sector has tried to block that from happening. But it cleared through the Supreme Court, so that's happening.

He's also raised fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks.

But again as we said, he has not been able to get climate legislation through the Congress, and there's this whole Keystone pipeline matter that has really been hanging out there for this administration.

That ball has been kicked down the field a little bit longer. They are waiting to see how a court dispute plays out in Nebraska over the route of that pipeline that is going to take oil from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico.

And I had a chance to get on a conference call earlier this morning, guys, to sort of ask what administration officials are thinking in terms of what can get passed up on Capitol Hill.

They're painting this dire scenario, so shouldn't they get something done about it with the Congress?

They are saying Republicans, many of them just don't believe that man- made climate change is happening, and they're calling it a very real challenge trying to change minds up on Capitol Hill, so at this point all they can really hope for is putting out reports like this, sitting down with meteorologists as the president will do later on this afternoon to sort of make it real, make it local for people around the country.

But in terms of getting climate legislation passed, there is just really no hope of doing that while this president is in office with the way things are up on Capitol Hill. They are just really at loggerheads over this issue.

BERMAN: The problem is, Jim, even if people support this report, even if people believe the predictions that are in here, for many Americans, it's just not a priority, which explains why more action hasn't happened.

Chad Myers, Jim Acosta, Great to have you with us today. Really appreciate it.

Other stories we're following in the headlines @ THIS HOUR, for the first time, we're hear from investigators about with they believe sunk that South Korean ferry killing at least 267 people, most of them students.

Police now say excessive cargo and a failure to bind it down properly contributed to that ship capsizing and ultimately sinking.

Meanwhile, the grim task of retrieving bodies is still going on, 35 people still unaccounted for and sadly a diver lost his life today. He apparently had problems with his oxygen supply while searching for victims.

PEREIRA: And challenging, many other divers have been hurt in this, as well.

A former aide to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is testifying under oath about last year's "Bridgegate" scandal.

Christina Renna is the first of five people subpoenaed to appear before a legislative -- a special legislative committee.

Renna worked for the top Christie deputy believed to have set in motion that traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge to punish a Democratic mayor.

Christie has said he didn't know about the lane closures until after the fact.

Quite a story to tell, a single mother of four survived at least five days trapped and alone in her crushed, upside-down car. She had driven off a scenic highway last week in Colorado.

Nobody knew where she was until a man stopped to take pictures and spotted her overturned car. He alerted authorities, told them there might be a body in that car. Turns out she was injured and severely dehydrated but alive.


DEAN ENRIGHT, COLORADO STATE PATROL: The crash alone would have taken a toll on her. It's surprising that she survived the crash at all and then to be down there for that amount of days without your food and water.


PEREIRA: Sadly doctors had to amputate the woman's feet. She's in critical but stable condition at this hour.

A man credited with rescuing her, one of the search-and-rescue people, will be joining Ashleigh on "LEGAL VIEW," coming up, next hour.

BERMAN: We have some news just in from Nigeria. Terrorists strike again, kidnapping eight more girls there. We're just getting the details about this latest abduction. It comes weeks after more than 200 girls were kidnapped from a school.

PEREIRA: The terrorists group behind that mass kidnapping is threatening to sell those young girls. Our Isha Sesay joins us from the Nigerian capital of Abuja. Really good to have you with us, Isha.

What are we learning about this group of eight girls that have been kidnapped? What happened here? What do we know?

BERMAN: We're having a hard time getting through to Isha, but this report which is just first in from Reuters said there was yet another incident where eight more girls were kidnapped overnight.

This of course follows what happened now about three weeks ago when 200 girls were taken from a school in the north of the country by the terrorist group Boko Haram.

I believe we do have Isha Sesay now. Isha, what can you tell us about this group of eight new girls who have been kidnapped? Sorry?

I'm sorry we do not have Isha at this point. We're going to take a break and talk to Isha when we can.

So, coming up, what caused a huge computer outage across Southern California paralyzing flights? How about this? How about a spy plane? That's right. It was a spy plane.

So what is a spy plane doing over California, you ask. That's ahead, @ THIS HOUR.


PEREIRA: A very old plane is causing very big problems for thousands of travelers or at least it did.

Remember that computer glitch that paralyzed flight operations in Southern California last week?

BERMAN: Yeah. So it was caused by your everyday U2 spy plane. Yes, a U2 spy plane.

You know, you knew them and loved them when they flew reconnaissance missions during the Cold War, but now apparently, they are getting in way of air traffic control in California.

Our Rene Marsh is with us. Also joining us, Mary Schiavo.

Rene, let me start with you here. U2 spy plane, what's it doing there and what went wrong?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Right, so that's the big question. I love the way you say your everyday, average U2 spy plane as if we knew that these things are flying overhead in California.

So here's what we found out from the Air Force. We know that it was on a training mission. It had left Beale Air Force Base, and again, they're calling this a routine training mission. We know that they do still use these spy planes for missions, but they expect to retire them in 2015. But short answer is, routine flying mission when everything pretty much went wrong there.


PEREIRA: So that's what they say. Mary, let's talk to you about this. How does all of this happen that this plane was in the air, they're in a routine training mission, or at least a routine flight? How is it that these lines could get crossed in such a way?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Perhaps the best way to think of this is a generation gap. The U2 spy plane is obviously Cold War-era, and it speaks the language of those of us born in the '50s.

It talks old computer language, and we're building a brand-new air traffic control system. It's called NextGen. If it's ever finished, it will be marvelous and it will make midair collisions and problems in the air things of the past.

But it speaks a new computer language. And what it assumes is your plane is going to go directly where it wants to go, but these older planes and this old equipment fly waypoints in the sky, much like we saw in Malaysia 370.

They thought it was hitting these waypoints when in fact it was probably flying a direct route. And so the computer interpreted this spy plane as hop scotching across the Southern California sky and getting in the way of other planes, even though it was probably at 70,000 feet.

So really what happened is the two computers were having problems talking to each other, because one was probably speaking, you know, Fortran or whatever, from the '50s or '60s, and the other is the new system, which isn't done yet, but these problems plague it from time to time just literally having old equipment trying to talk to a new system. It's happened many times.

BERMAN: Someone on twitter said to me maybe the U2 was spying on Cabo san Lucas.

PEREIRA: Nothing to see there.

BERMAN: While we have you, Mary, let me ask you about Flight 370. Leaders of China, Malaysia, Australia, getting ready to talk about the future of this investigation. What do you think will come from this meeting?

SCHIAVO: I think there are several things coming out of the meeting. One is they are going to get a working plan in place and hopefully stick to it. A lot of people were concerned when they then ran off to the Bay of Bengal. Well not them, Bangladesh did. They want to go forward with a very clear plan, with clear lines of responsibility. So what country will do what. They are asking for new equipment. They need additional underwater resources, including underwater vehicles that can go deeper than Bluefin. And then they look for some money. They want additional countries to contribute including -- this was kind of an interesting statement. They want countries who contributed -- who made the equipment, i.e. Boeing, to contribute to the investigation as well. Then of course they want to put a plan in place of how to take care of the families. Much needed and very, very necessary.

PEREIRA: All right, Mary Schiavo and Rene Marsh. Thanks for bringing us up to date on a little bit of old world/new world aviation technology and also on the latest on the search for flight 370.

BERMAN: I think we have our communications square with Nigeria right now where terrorists have struck again, kidnapping eight more girls there. We're just getting details again about this latest abduction of eight girls that comes two weeks after more than 200 girls were kidnapped from their school.

PEREIRA: The terrorist group behind that mass kidnapping is threatening to sell those girls. We want to get Isha Sesay to give us an idea. She is in Abuja in the Nigerian capital there. This news just coming out, eight more girls were taken by armed gunmen.

Isha, what do we know? Is there a chance this was Boko Haram once again?

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there John, hi Michaela. The feeling on the ground here is that this is indeed Boko Haram operating once again in the northeast of Nigeria, the area they laid siege the last couple years, raiding and killing and making off with people's children, as if the situation could get any worse.

We know about 200 plus girls snatched from their beds, some three weeks ago, and now overnight we hear that eight more girls taken from their homes. We are hearing that their age is between 12 and 15. That these armed militants came in in vehicles overnight. They raided homes, took goods and money but most distressingly of all they took these children with them.

I think really one just has to pause for a moment and just try to fathom the heartbreak and terror these parents must be going through right now. This new family of these eight children because they heard from the Boko Haram leader on this tape when he spoke about taking previous girls and his intentions for them. So to have this happen on the heels of that is heartbreaking and just distressing because it speaks to the growing capabilities of Boko Haram. Boko Haram is operating in a part of the country that is supposed to be under a stage of emergency. Yet they managed to do this again. John and Michaela.

PEREIRA: Isha, it is distressing. It is heartbreaking. Coming up @ THIS HOUR, we'll speak to someone who thinks more has to be done. I think the world over agrees that more has to be done and the Nigerian president has to take stronger action in trying to get those girls back. Isha Sesay, thank you so much.

BERMAN: You are left with a sense of impotence from Nigeria. Not only can they not find the 200 girls who were kidnapped, but they can't keep more girls from being kidnapped. Clearly a serious issue here. We'll talk about that in a little bit.

Meanwhile, coming up, did you know that a chemical used in flame retardant is also used in some soft drinks? We'll tell you about a company's pledge to stop using that chemical with a very special guest ahead.

Look who is here.


BERMAN: You don't like drinking flame retardant? Then you'll be happy to hear that Coca-Cola says it is going to get rid of a chemical linked to them.

PEREIRA: It is called Bromide. It's found in Fanta, Fresca, and some citrus flavored fountain drinks. It is also used to keep plastics, upholstered furniture and kids clothing from bursting into flames. Not so refreshing sounding anymore, is it?

Christine Romans is here. Everyone is wondering why this would be in our beverage to begin with?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well it is BVO, they call it BVO. It's a chemical that helps different ingredients stick together. When you talk about --

PEREIRA: Keep them from separating.

ROMANS: To keep them from separating, yes. Keeps it a smooth blend. It's one of these chemicals they've long used that stabilized different flavors inside the drink. It is also used as a flame retardant in plastics and it is banned in the E.U. and Japan. Coca- Cola says it's safe and all of their beverages are safe, including those with BVO, and they always have been safe, that is what Coca-Cola keeps stressing. That they comply with regulations in countries where they are sold. Well in some countries they are not allowed to have that flame retardant in the drink.

BERMAN: So why the change? Coke just didn't wake up this morning and say let's get rid of BVO.

ROMANS: No, and they sort of quietly started getting rid of BVO. In 2012, a young woman started a petition on because she wanted Powerade, which is owned by Pepsi, to take it out of that drink. That was her favorite drink -- or I think it was Gatorade. Gatorade is owned by Pepsi, she wanted it out of the Gatorade. Powerade is owned by Coke.

There is starting to be this ground swell. A couple hundred thousand people saying why is there something that is patented as flame retardant in something I'm drinking? Is it bad for you? Coke says no. A lot of science groups say there's a reason it's not allowed in other countries. Mayo clinic on its website links BVO to memory loss and skin and nerve problems for people who drink it a lot. Think about some of those sports drinks. Or think about kids who are drinking a lot of the same kinds of flavored citrus drinks. Some people do drink a lot of this stuff.

PEREIRA: Here is the thing, it makes me wonder if it's been in coke products, what other products could it be in that we're consuming?

ROMANS: It's in a lot of different products and a lot of different products we touch. And I don't know what the difference -- When you talk to chemical activists, the people who are concerned about how many different ways we are exposed to different chemicals, they worry about it in our drinks and stuff that surrounds us that we touch, use and wear all the time too. There's a new movement toward natural products. I think this happens for Coke and other drink companies at a good time because people want to know that stuff is out and it sells.

BERMAN: There is this new drink, that I think is completely safe, it is called water.

ROMANS: Exactly.

BERMAN: Water. And it is hydrating.

PEREIRA: Is it widely available?

BERMAN: Widely available and refreshing. Christine Romans, thank you so much.

PEREIRA: You're surrounded by your TV wives today.

BERMAN: Either a dream or a nightmare or both.

Coming up, she didn't want to talk about it until now. Monica Lewinsky on her affair with president Clinton. These are words we have not seen before. We'll have them ahead @ THIS HOUR.

PEREIRA: First, here's a look at this week's CNN hero.


NED NORTON, CNN HERO: When I'm running, I feel limitless. Feeling emotion makes me feel free. When you really push yourself, that's when you really feel alive. But there are millions of people around the world that are facing severe physical limitations. They can't be independent. They can't live their lives. I spent years training Olympic athletes, football players, body builders. One day a young guy, newly spinal cord injured, came to the gym asking for help. At first I didn't know what to do. We worked together and he made tremendous progress.

Take a breath. Reach out. Reach out. Bring it back. Before you knew it, my phone rang off the hook. People asking for help. Bring it up. So I opened a gym designed to fit their needs. Ready to go to work?


NORTON: For the last 25 years I provided strength and conditioning training for people with disabilities. Nice job. People come to me when they're at their lowest. Up. Up. Up. Hold it. Rack it. You come to the gym and all of a sudden you have a natural support network.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1971, I broke my back and I have been in a wheelchair ever since. Thank to Ned I keep my upper body strength at a maximum. I've been able to live a full life.

NORTON: I never worry about what they can't do. I worry about what they can do.


NORTON: Yes, you can. Good job.


NORTON: Building them up and building them stronger so they can go out and live life like they are supposed to.


PEREIRA: Those words I can do it are so wonderful to hear. Each week we honor a new CNN hero. An every day person making a big difference. Do you know someone that deserves that recognition, tell us about them.