December 18th, 2009
11:11 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Can Obama change the climate change summit?

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

President Obama is at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen today. He told other delegates that they are “running short on time” to reach agreement on a deal. Obama said there is no time to waste and that there has to be movement on all sides. He sounded impatient with the progress of the two-week summit so far and said the discussions had produced little more than talk.

So what is Obama expecting to accomplish? Why, in the midst of domestic challenges such as the economy and health care, is Obama taking such a prominent stand in the climate debate? he last time he was in Copenhagen – in October to try to win the 2012 Olympic bid for Chicago – he came back empty-handed. Will he be successful this time?

We’re not taking sides in the climate change debate, we’re reporting the facts. What kind of changes are we seeing in the environment? During our reporting for Planet in Peril, Anderson traveled to the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. It produces about 20 percent of the Earth’s oxygen and plays a big role in controlling the climate of the entire planet. It’s also home to more species of plants and animals than any other ecosystem on Earth – about 30 percent of the world’s total. But approximately one-fifth of the Amazon has disappeared in the past three decades. Most of this is because of deforestation which has occurred over the years because of logging – both legal and illegal, construction and agri-business. Don’t miss Anderson’s report tonight.

The violence continues in Mexico. This week, the leader of one of the largest drug cartels was killed by Mexico’s navy. Six other cartel members and one naval petty officer also died in the raid and three people were arrested. Although the death of the leader of a major drug cartel is a victory for the government, many worry it could spur more retaliatory violence. Michael Ware has been following the drug war in Mexico and will have the latest for us tonight.

We’re getting more details on what exactly happened at the sweat lodge ceremony in Sedona, Ariz. two months ago. James Arthur Ray, the self-help guru, was in charge of the program that left three dead and more than 19 hospitalized. CNN has been told by investigators that it will be January at the earliest before the investigation into the incident is finished. Ray faces the possibility of serious charges in connection with the deaths, but we’re told the investigation is more involved than expected because other Ray programs and events are also being examined. Gary Tuchman speaks to a former Ray employee who was with him the day of the sweat lodge tragedy. She has some eye-opening and disturbing things to say about Ray and his events.

The health care debate continues to boil over on Capitol Hill. Yesterday afternoon, Democratic Sen. Al Franken refused to let Sen. Joe Lieberman finish his speech on the Senate floor. Lieberman was speaking about preserving the Medicare trust fund. After his allotted 10 minutes, Lieberman asked for more time to finish his speech (a request which is typically granted) but Franken objected. Sen. John McCain jumped in to say that “never in his 20-some years” had he seen that happen. According to a Franken spokesman, he was trying to enforce strict time limits so that they could get to the health bill. Apparently, Lieberman and Franken reconciled because they were seen talking and laughing on the Senate floor later in the afternoon.

What else are you following today? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET!

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Conserve' for USA

    Sure he can change their minds. How many billions is that going to cost us taxpayers per year?

    December 18, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  2. Cindy

    I doubt very seriously that Obama can get anything done in Copenhagen for climate change. He talks a good game but isn't good at strong arming to get the results to back up that talk.

    We get Mic Ware again tonight..ALRIGHT!! I like having him on! He needs to at least be on once a week. He is great!! His report last night on Roy Hallums was awesome. I can't imagine living 10 months in a tiny cell like that scared that every minute may be your last.


    December 18, 2009 at 10:52 am |