Planet in Peril...
BEIJING, China -- If you've been wondering why we're going to such great lengths -- and distances -- to tell the stories of threats to our planet and its inhabitants, now we can finally tell you.
We're working not just on dispatches for the daily "360" broadcast, but also on a four-hour documentary titled "Planet in Peril." It will air on CNN October 23rd and 24th. The documentary will investigate deeply some of the themes we've explored on "360" in recent months -- species loss, overpopulation, deforestation and climate change. We've also launched a companion Web site: Planet in Peril
We'll take you around the globe and show you how all of these threats aren't just future predictions but instead are happening right before our eyes. Through reports from Anderson, wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, you'll meet the people working to address these issues; you'll also see a shadowy world of wildlife trading where billions of dollars, and lives, are at stake. We think it's a story you should know.
Beijing and rural China are our latest stops for "Planet in Peril." We've just arrived and through Sanjay's reporting we'll examine how China's explosive economic and industrial growth is affecting not only its natural resources, but the people around the globe who depend on it. You likely already know China is the world's most populous nation, but here are some things that might surprise you:
- China consumes more steel, meat and grain than any other country on earth;
- In 2000, China had around 4 million cars; in 2005 that grew to 19 million.;
- Every week or so another new coal-fired energy plant comes online in China;
- According to World Bank, 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in China;
- China is now the number one emitter of greenhouses gases, according to research from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency;
- At least one quarter of the Chinese population lacks access to clean drinking water.
China, for its part, recognizes it has a problem, but it is caught between cleaning up its environment and continuing it's breathtaking growth. China comes under constant criticism for rejecting mandatory curbs on its carbon emissions, but it points out that the United States refuses to accept curbs as well. It also makes the following point:
"What many Western consumers wear, live in, even eat is made it China," government spokesman Qin Gang recently said. "On the one hand you want to increase this production in China. On the other hand, you want to condemn China over the issue of emissions reductions."
You can see that like many of the stories we've been covering, there aren't any easy answers. While governments continue their back-and-forth, we're going to try and dig into how average people's lives, and with Sanjay's expertise, their health is affected. We hope you'll enjoy the reports.
-- By Charlie Moore, "360" Senior Producer