Monday, December 13, 2010

  • Bernie Sanders Denounces Obama-GOP Tax Cut in 8.5-Hour Senate Speech, Says U.S. Becoming "Banana Republic"


    The U.S. Senate is holding a key test vote today on President Obama’s controversial legislation that would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. The bill caused an uproar when it was announced last week, but no one voiced more powerful opposition than Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). He took to the floor of the Senate at 10:24 a.m. on Friday morning to denounce the tax-cut plan. He did not yield the floor back until 6:59 p.m., more than eight-and-a-half hours later. We play highlights of his address. [includes rush transcript]

  • Climate Deal Reached in Cancún: Will the Agreement Help Save the Planet?


    The U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancún came to a close early Saturday morning after 193 countries signed on to a modest agreement to combat climate change. The deal, known as the Cancún Agreements, commits all major economies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions but does not lay out how far overall global emissions should be cut. Researchers from the Climate Action Tracker said the pledges would set the world on course to warm by 3.2 degrees Celsius, which could spell disaster for many of the world’s poorest countries on the front lines of climate disruption. The deal also establishes a green climate fund and reaffirms a goal of raising an annual $100 billion in aid for poor countries to combat climate change by 2020. We speak to Kate Horner, policy analyst at Friends of the Earth, and Andrew Light, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. [includes rush transcript]

  • Groups Protest U.N. Climate Summit for Shutting Out Civil Society


    As the Cancún climate talks headed toward a conclusion on Friday, civil society groups spoke out against what they said was a flawed United Nations process. As the talks wrapped up inside the conference rooms of Cancún’s luxurious Moon Palace resort, civil society groups protested the process—and found themselves increasingly iced out. John Hamilton files a report from Cancún. [includes rush transcript]

  • Life or Death: Small Island Nation of Tuvalu Pleads for Climate Resolution


    One of the most impassioned speeches at the U.N. Climate Change Conference last week came from the head of the delegation of Tuvalu, the small Pacific island nation. “We cannot afford to have endless meetings,” said Enele Sopoaga, Tuvalu’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, speaking at the main U.N. plenary in Cancún. “Most importantly, we cannot afford to be held hostage by countries finger-pointing on climate change, particular those who cause climate change... This is a ‘life and death’ survival issue for Tuvalu.” The Alliance of Small Island States, including Tuvalu, signed on to the agreement reached over the weekend called the Cancún Accord. [includes rush transcript]

  • Young Environmentalists Challenge U.N. Climate Delegates: "Stop Talking. Start Planting"


    In a courtyard outside within the Moon Palace Resort in Cancún, young environmentalists dug holes for 193 baby trees, one for each nation in the world. Their message for the delegates at the U.N. Climate Change Conference: “Stop talking. Start planting.” Felix Finkbeiner, the 13-year-old founder of Plant for the Planet, says their goal is to plant one million trees in every country, a feat that has already been accomplished in his home country of Germany. We speak to Felix and 10-year-old Alessa Miridis Monroy of Cancún. [includes rush transcript]