(CNN Student News) -- December 8, 2009
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Students speaking out against their government? We're heading to Iran to tell you that story in today's edition of CNN Student News. From the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz.
First Up: Environmental Concerns
AZUZ: First up, greenhouse gases. You've heard these things mentioned in connection with the environment. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, they could pose a threat to people's health. Lisa Jackson, who heads up that agency, says quote, "the overwhelming amount of scientific studies show that the threat is real." What the EPA has not said is how these gases might affect people's health. A Supreme Court ruling required the agency to take a look at the impact of these gases on the environment and on health before the government tries to regulate certain greenhouse gas emissions.
AZUZ: That, one of the big issues at a climate conference, where world leaders are working on a plan that could limit greenhouse gases. This conference we told you about yesterday is taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark. It started Monday and is scheduled to run through the end of next week. But it's been thrown for a loop by a series of e-mails that suggest scientists might not have been completely truthful about climate change. White House officials say the e-mails won't have any kind of effect on the conference in Copenhagen. But the whole thing is now being referred to by some people as Climate-Gate. And as Jim Acosta shows us, it could have a serious impact on the issue of climate change.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With world leaders in Copenhagen hoping to cut a deal to curb carbon dioxide emissions, there are calls in Washington for hearings into a slew of stolen e-mails that global warming skeptics allege show leading scientists cooking the books on climate change.
REP. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, (R) WISCONSIN: They read more like scientific fascism than scientific process.
ACOSTA: It all started when the University at East Anglia in Britain discovered hackers have seized a file of more than 1,000 e-mails revealing researchers' private discussions on global warming. Climate change deniers have zeroed in on this e-mail that references an American scientist's trick to "hide the decline." That researcher, Penn State's Michael Mann, has since become the target of conservative critics who say he was trying to conceal a drop in global temperatures, a charge he denies.
INTERNET VIDEO: Climate-Gate, I think you have sealed your fate.
ACOSTA: Across the blogosphere of skeptics, Climate-Gate was born. The controversy could not have come at a better time for Republicans. Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe has fought Democrats on climate change legislation for months.
SEN. JAMES INHOFE, (R) OKLAHOMA: One cannot deny that the e-mails raised fundamental questions concerning, among other things, transparency and openness in science, especially taxpayer-funded science.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER, (D) CALIFORNIA: You call it Climate-Gate, and I call it Email-Theft-Gate.
ACOSTA: Last week, Republicans fired up a letter to the EPA, demanding it delay new limits on greenhouse gas emissions until the agency can demonstrate the science underlying these regulatory decisions has not been compromised. The head of the EPA says the e-mails don't affect the scientific consensus on global warming.
LISA JACKSON, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: I have not heard anything that causes me to believe that that overwhelming consensus that climate change is happening and that man-made emissions are contributing to it have changed.
ACOSTA: GOP leaders are warning President Obama to reject any new climate change agreements in Copenhagen.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN, (R) TEXAS: We're not a dictatorship. The president can promise whatever he wants. The Congress has a role. If there is some proposed treaty, the Senate will vote on it.
ACOSTA: But in an era of green jobs, Democrats say denying global warming is not just bad science, it's bad business.
SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D) ILLINOIS: If we ignore it, put our head in the sand, we're going to find countries like China leapfrogging us, moving forward. That's going to create jobs for China but not for America.
ACOSTA: Despite what these e-mails say, many respected climate scientists say the larger data still supports the global warming theory, and the controversy is not stopping the president from going to Copenhagen for the conclusion of the summit. Environmentalists hope that's a sign Mr. Obama wants to be there in person when a climate agreement is unveiled to the world. Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.
Word to the Wise
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
dissent (noun) disagreement with a government or political party
AZUZ: So, some people show their dissent by protesting. The freedom to do that, part of the U.S. Constitution. It is not part of Iran's, but many Iranian students are doing it anyway, speaking out against their government several times this year, including yesterday, when there were reports of demonstrators clashing with police in the capital city of Tehran. Michael Holmes has more on these protests.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: The crowds of protesters were comparatively smaller than those we've seen in recent months at other demonstrations against the government and the June election result. But it was significant that they were on the streets at all in any kind of numbers, and there were thousands of them. Observers are saying that this is a simmering movement, an evolving movement, that no one day of demonstration is meant to achieve anything in particular; that it will carry on. And we've seen this on just about every anniversary day that's cropped up, significant anniversary day in recent months, these protesters have been on the streets. On this occasion, mainly students involved; on other occasions, we've seen a wider demographic, older people, men, women.
Now, most of the demonstrations this day were centered around the universities in Tehran. But also, significantly, in other cities around the country. You see here video of students hiding behind the gates to a university; security forces on one side. The students are yelling "Down with this regime" and "Get lost!" Now, we can't independently verify the exact location of these pictures, where these pictures were taken, or indeed what day they were taken, but they fit with what we are being told by our contacts on the ground as what's been happening in Tehran today.
We've also heard from people, reports of security forces using plastic bullets, water cannon, tear gas, of students being beaten. That's also coming from an Iranian human rights groups. They also say that streets and universities sealed off as these demonstrations continued throughout the day. Michael Holmes, CNN, Atlanta.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! James Watson and Francis Crick won the Nobel Prize in what field? If you think you know it, shout it out! Was it: A) Chemistry, B) Literature, C) Economics or D) Medicine? You've got three seconds -- GO! Watson and Crick won the 1962 Nobel Prize for Medicine for their work with DNA. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: One of the winners of this year's prize for medicine is a mother of two and one of just 40 women ever to be awarded a Nobel Prize. Can you imagine what that would be like career day? Someone showing up, saying, "Hey, I'm Gwen's mom. I'm a doctor. Here's my Nobel Prize. It's going to be tough to beat. Doctor Sanjay Gupta shows us how this award-winning doctor balances work and family.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Dr. Carol Greider is your typical working woman. She's a researcher at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a mother of two. She splits her time between job and family. And up until last October, she would have agreed she lived a pretty normal life. That's until she won the Nobel Prize for Medicine.
DR. CAROL GREIDER, NOBEL PRIZE WINNER, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: My kids were sleeping, of course, so I went upstairs and woke up the kids and told them, "By the way, I just won the Nobel Prize, but you can go back to sleep for a little while."
GUPTA: Greider and two other doctors were given the prize for their discovery of telomeres -- these are substances that help protect our chromosomes -- and for their work on telomerase, which is the enzyme that causes the chromosome ends to lengthen and divide. Understanding telomerase is important when looking for cures for cancer and other degenerative diseases. Although Greider knew there was always a chance the Nobel committee would recognize her accomplishments, it still came as a shock when she got the call at 5 a.m. A shock she had to get over pretty quickly.
GREIDER: My kids are in school, and I still have to make them lunches and dinners, and all that will keep me grounded.
GUPTA: So, Dr. Carol Greider is a mom first. It just so happens she's a mom with a Nobel Prize. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
AZUZ: Okay, so the end of the semester is almost here. And many of you want to see your class here: on the Shoutout. We get a lot of requests for this on our Facebook site; some come through e-mail. This is how you do it: Have your teacher take a photo of your school, send it to us as an iReport. It's the easiest thing in the world. You just upload it on your computer, and you go to CNNStudentNews.com, and we show you just how to get it to us as an iReport. That will help you get your school featured on CNN Student News. Do it now!
Before We Go
AZUZ: All right. You know those stories they try to scare kids with about Santa getting stuck in some chimney somewhere? Well, if this hadn't worked out, it could've been much worse. 'Twas the night before Christmas doesn't say anything about the jolly old elf, one of his sidekicks, and even Rudolph's in there somewhere. They're rappelling down the side of a building. The trio geared up to get down at a Christmas event in Cincinnati, Ohio. Yes, all three made it down safely.
AZUZ: Getting to the bottom in the 'nick' of time. Don't be rappelled from coming back tomorrow, when we bring you lots of news, no commercials. I'm Carl Azuz, and we wish you a merry Tuesday.