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Surge of Migrants along U.S.-Mexico Border; Prince Charles Dodges Questions; Virus Variants More Prevalent in Brazil; Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine to Be Produced in Europe; Uyghur Genocide Report; Piers Morgan Storms off Set, Quits Show; Two-Thirds of Tropical Rainforest Cover Destroyed. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired March 10, 2021 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, Buckingham Palace responds to Harry and Meghan's grievances. We will discuss the royal response.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Brazil with ICUs near capacity.

Plus, a surge of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border reaching emergency levels as CNN reports.


CHURCH: Good to have you with us. We begin this hour with the royal response. A statement from Buckingham Palace on behalf of Queen Elizabeth herself. The British monarch says the whole family is saddened to learn how challenging the past few years have been for her grandson, Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan.

Her statement goes on to say the issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.

Prince Charles is the first royal to talk here in public since Harry and Meghan's interview aired. He ignored a reporter's questions as he toured a COVID vaccination center in London on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan says they did not plan to comment on the palace's statement. So let's head to CNN's Anna Stewart, live this hour in Windsor, England.

Good to see you, Anna.

The big question, will this much anticipated, short and very loaded statement from the queen be enough to end this crisis? Or was it too dismissive?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, I really think it depends on how people interpret the statement. As you said it is very succinct but there is so much meaning. It is loaded, from the very first line where it says that the royal family are saddened to learn the full extent of Harry and Meghan's challenges, to the part where it says that recollections may vary, which appears to be a diplomatic way, frankly, to say that certain events or conversations relayed by Harry and Meghan may not be true.

At least they don't marry with how the royal family remember them. They made it very clear that they want this matter to be taken privately now. They recognize that some of the issues are serious.

But in that sense, they're really attempting to draw a line under this whole story. They end on a note of hopeful reconciliation, saying that they'll always have love for Harry, Meghan and Archie.

What this is not is an apology. And if anybody was expecting an apology, they will be disappointed. It's more of an acknowledgment of the issues at hand.

So will it quell some of the outrage that has been unleashed against the royal family?

Not least here. The response seems to be mixed. But, Rosemary, in the United States, this has become a Sussex versus royal family issue and plenty of people are siding with Team. Sussex

CHURCH: Right. As we mentioned, Prince Charles was the first royal to appear in public after the tell-all interview. He was asked about it but ignored the questions. Tell us about. That

STEWART: Yes, for Prince Charles, it was sort of business as usual for him yesterday. He went to a vaccination center in London. He had a quick chat with people having vaccines. Then this moment happened here. We can show it to you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, can I ask, what did you think of the interview?

CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES: Thank you very much.


STEWART: It was absolutely inevitable; someone was going to ask the question. This was before the statement had been released, pretty awkward for Prince Charles. We were told from our royal source that the reason the statement came 40 hours later from when they first broadcast this in the U.S., it was because the royal family wanted the U.K. public to have a chance to watch it because it broadcast 24 hours later here. They wanted the British public to be able to absorb it. So for Prince Charles, he wasn't going to make an answer there because they had a very carefully worded statement coming out. And one of the most interesting parts of the statement we've had is that it is addressed not just from the palace but from Her Majesty the Queen, which is actually quite rare. So it has come straight from the top.

CHURCH: Yes, interesting. We will continue to see what happens going forward. Anna Stewart, joining us live from Windsor on a very wet day, many thanks.


CHURCH: Queen Elizabeth may be pledging to take issues of racism seriously but the treatment Meghan says she experienced after joining the royal family is not surprising for many British people of color.


KEHINDE ANDREWS, BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY: The royal family is the premier symbol of whiteness in the entire world. The idea that one woman entering it would change it was always a fantasy.


CHURCH: Joining me now from Los Angeles, film and entertainment journalist and former royal correspondent, Sandro Monetti.

Good to have you with. Us I want to start with the statement obviously issued on behalf of the queen. It is short and masterfully crafted to avoid the big issues. The first line reads, the whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.

But how is that even possible, given Meghan was refused the help she requested. And Prince Charles stopped taking Harris calls when he was trying to talk to him about the difficulties they faced. Plus, all the negative tabloid stories about Meghan.

How would they not know what the couple was going through?

SIMON: You call it a statement, I call it understatement. Saddened?

I hear they are ready to unleash the corgis. It was very played down, an attempt to calm the whole situation.

For me, the most interesting part was what is not in the statement. And that is the titles. It's the first time I can remember that the queen, in an official statement, calling them Harry and Meghan, not the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. And we know how important titles are to them.

It was mentioned in the interview itself. And to me, this was almost a coded warning, a dagger wrapped in a velvet glove. It was sending the message that, yes, we have taken away a lot of your patronages but maybe we could take away the Duke and Duchess titles as well if you name names and take this any further.

To me, it was very carefully worded that the titles were not included, the first names were.

CHURCH: Interesting. Of course, the next part of the queen's statement said the issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning while some recollections may vary they're very taken seriously.

It's the words "some recollections may vary," that appears to cast out on Harry's version of several conversations about his own son's skin color.

How wise was it to be so dismissive of the couple's concerns over race and cast doubt over what Harry heard?

MONETTI: Let me tell you how these statements will work. There have been lots of draft going back and forth. The queen will be there with the red pen. Everybody will get together with the advisers. So this statement will have changed many times.

The decision will have ultimately come from the top. Yes, we don't want to admit anything, we do acknowledge; we'll look into it but that might not be enough for some in a PR war.

Yes. And during the Oprah interview, Harry said that Meghan was one of the greatest assets to the commonwealth, that the family could have wished for and gave the royal family an opportunity to become a diverse family that reflected their multicultural society.

Why did they reject that opportunity?

And what damage is being done as a result of that?

MONETTI: It's damage that could hamper their future work. Because the queen, of course, is not just the ruler of Britain but also the commonwealth, a multicultural community of more than 50 countries and more than 2 billion people.

So a lot of their work, presently and going forward, is supporting diversity causes. That work is clearly hampered and damaged by this statement. And it doesn't admit anything. It does not acknowledge. It is almost like it has been written by the lawyers rather than just the PR team.

This whole interview is -- we heard the case for the prosecution. And the defense, rather than doing a huge argument, has rested on a 3 paragraph statement. I can see the attempt to calm matters and to keep calm and carry on in very British fashion. But in the modern media landscape, I don't think that is going to be enough.

CHURCH: Yes. We will see whether it is enough in the days ahead of. Course Sandro Monetti, thank you so much for talking with, us we appreciate. it.

A fast spreading coronavirus variant and a slow paced vaccine rollout appear to have worsened the COVID outbreak in Brazil. On Tuesday alone, the country reported nearly 2,000 deaths from the virus, its worst daily death toll since the pandemic. Began

Grieving families say that they have had enough and are demanding immediate change.



PAMELA GABRIELA OROZCO, DAUGHTER OF COVID-19 VICTIM: every minute, a family member is lost. This is not normal, this cannot be trivialized. We are paying the cost for the selfishness that we see at the end of the year and at the beginning of the year.

Now more than ever, people have to understand the seriousness of this. Unfortunately, every family is paying for the irresponsibility of others.


CHURCH: And experts fear that the crisis could still get worse. Intensive care units in 13 Brazilian states 90 percent full. Several more operating at 80 percent capacity. The worst is the southern state of Rio Grande du Sol, which is completely full. And Rio's biggest city, Rio de Janeiro, is also near collapse with 93 percent of ICU beds now taken.

Well, Brazil's health ministry said that it has already provided extra resources to address the problem. And it promises more ICU beds in the weeks to come. Stefano Pozzebon has more on how the government is managing the crisis.


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Coronavirus is continuing to spread in Brazil with devastating affects, pushed mainly by the new COVID variant that was first detected in the South American country.

On Tuesday, Brazil recorded yet another new number of record COVID-19 deaths, with almost 2,000 casualties in one single day. To give a idea of how widespread this new wave of the virus is across the country, in a statement to CNN, the Brazilian health ministry told us that they are sending extra beds to increase ICU capacity in 22 states out of the 27 that make up Brazil.

But as long as the government of president Jair Bolsonaro is not imposing a new national lockdown to trying to curb the spread of the pandemic, the next few days will be very critical for Brazil. For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.


CHURCH: The latest figures show that the country's medical system is on the verge of collapse. I asked one expert how big a role a variant of the virus is playing in driving this new surge of infections and if the international community should help with vaccinations.


DENNIS CARROLL, INFECTIOUS DISEASES EXPERT: It is a matter of leadership failing to really mobilize the resources that are within Brazil.

Secondly, we can't look at Brazil isolated from the reality that the whole world is vulnerable to the spread of these variants.

And at some point, the global community has to begin addressing the shared risk of how a variant like this could undermine the progress that is being made elsewhere where these measures of the masks and social distancing, but also the vaccinations are bringing this virus under control. It's really vulnerable to a variant of the type that is not spreading.

So, it's not just a Brazil issue. It is a global issue that ultimately is going to require a shared global response.


CHURCH: We will have more of that interview next hour.

An incredibly fast rollout of the COVID vaccine in Israel with restrictions now being lifted, life is beginning to look more like the days before COVID. But the neighboring Palestinian Territories remain in the grip of the pandemic.

Hospitals and intensive care units are overflowing with patients. Reuters reports facilities are at 100 percent capacity in parts of the West Bank. Many Palestinian cities remain under lockdown.


DR. AMJAD KHADER, WEST BANK HOSPITAL WORKER: Currently, the biggest problem we are facing is that we have 28 beds and all of them are full. We have six beds in intensive care and we have a lot of patients that need intensive care in other departments.

We try to find them space in other places but usually that is hard because all COVID-19 institutions in the West Bank are full.


CHURCH: For the first time, Russia's Sputnik V vaccine will be made in Europe. The Russian direct investment fund says that it has struck production deals with several European countries. A few others are already using Sputnik V even though the European Medicines Agency is still reviewing it.

Europe has been struggling with a slow vaccine rollout and new cases are still quite high in some parts of the region. CNN's Matthew Chance picks up the story from Moscow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Production of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V is set to begin in Europe this summer after Russian officials tell CNN deals have been struck with facilities in Italy, Spain, Germany and France.


CHANCE: The Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the deal, it would say it will see the Italy become the first E.U. country to produce Sputnik V. A Russian vaccine which is now being approved by at least 46 countries around the world has not yet been formally registered for use by the European Union, although several E.U. countries of whether vaccine shortages have independently given it a go ahead.

E.U. officials have expressed concern that the Kremlin is using Sputnik V as a political tool to sow divisions in Europe. One European medical official recently comparing emergency approval of the vaccine to playing Russian roulette. The Russian authorities have demanded an apology for that.

Moscow Russia says its vaccine, which is shown to have been one of the world's most effective, is important in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


CHURCH: Meanwhile, in the U.S. nearly one in 10 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with about 94 million doses administered. Those lucky enough to get the vaccine are enjoying a taste of freedom and some precious and long-awaited hugs.


CHURCH (voice-over): This is beautiful. And a tender moment shows a fully vaccinated Evelyn Shore, hugging her granddaughter in New York. Shore is a widow in lives alone so this was her first hug in a year.

Her granddaughter actually got a doctor to write a prescription for that hug and put it in a sealed envelope for Shore to open.

It reads, "You are allowed to hug your granddaughter."


Well, still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM it's the biggest migrant surge in years on the U.S.-Mexico border. But what exactly is driving the influx? We will speak directly with some of the people seeking asylum.

Plus, China's ambitious plans to overcome a major economic weakness, reliance on U.S. technology. Back with that in just a moment.




CHURCH: Another Myanmar official from Aung San Suu Kyi's political party has died in custody. That's two members of the National League for Democracy to die in detention in two days. There are allegations both died after being tortured.

Meantime, the military's crackdown against coup protesters is intensifying. The U.N. says people are being taken arbitrarily in nighttime raids and families are left without answers to their fate.

Security forces are also raiding independent media offices.

A day after the release of a new report which says China bears responsibility for the alleged genocide of Uyghur Muslims, one of the experts who helped compile the report says China needs to be shamed.


CHURCH: The Chinese government is accused of violating the U.N.'s genocide convention and committing systematic atrocities against the ethnic Uyghur minority. The former U.S. ambassador at large on war crimes spoke to CNN's Christiane Amanpour.


DAVID SCHEFFER, FORMER U.S. WAR CRIMES ENVOY: We need to call them out, particularly at the leadership level of governments, for the big lie, because they do propagate the big lie.

So, first of all, at the diplomatic level, they need to be called out repeatedly, consistently and not just temporarily.


CHURCH: China has long denied genocide allegations but the U.S. State Department said Tuesday there is no reason to believe the atrocities in western China have stopped.

Meantime, China is making plans to become more self reliant when it comes to science and technology. The National People's Congress is set to pass a 5 year plan to reduce reliance on U.S. technology. Kristie Lu Stout reports on the master plan and the potential obstacles ahead.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: China has big ambitions. The world's second largest economy expects to grow by more than 6 percent this year. If China achieves that, it would be on track to match the U.S. GDP by as early as 2028.

But China also has a big vulnerability, it's dependence on overseas technology, like the parts that power smartphones, computers and next generation gadgets. And China is determined to end that. The latest 5 year plan gives new insight into how Chinese authorities

plan to strengthen the high tech might. On the first day of the National People's Congress, the Chinese premier emphasized the importance of innovation.

According to the 2021 work report, innovation remains at the heart of China's modernization drive. We will strengthen our science and technology to provide strategic support for China's development. He added China plans to increase spending on research and development by more than 7 percent a year.

In recent years, Chinese tech firms like Huawei and SMIC have been targeted by punishing U.S. sanctions that cut off access to vital components. So in the 5 year plan, China is planning to boost its domestic expertise in a number of key areas, including next generation artificial intelligence, quantum computing and


China's ambition for high-tech self reliance is not a new one. Its recent 10-year plan called Made in China 2025, was created to shed the country's dependence on foreign technology, including goals for 40 percent of chips to be produced domestically by the year 2020.

That was supposed to increase to 70 percent by 2025. According to IC insights, in 2019, less than 16 percent of the chips China needed were produced at home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When it comes to high end advanced manufacturing of semiconductor chips, China is actually lagging quite significantly, 7-10 years behind. Even if China doubled down on these resources and commitment from this moment onward, Chinese companies will find themselves chasing a moving target.

STOUT (voice-over): Analysts point to another tech speed bump for China, regulation and government interference that could dampen innovation. In November, Chinese regulators forced Alibaba's financial affiliate ANT Group to postpone its record-breaking IPO and ordered the company to overhaul its business.

In a recent research report, Eurasia Group analysts write, "As Xi pursues ambitions for China at the cutting edge of technology, Beijing recognizes that a top down approach has limits. But Beijing's willingness to leave more to the market will be challenged by Xi's sense of urgency and frequent preference for a strong hand for the party and state."

The fate of China's most famous entrepreneur revealed the risk of too much success and how a nation's declaration of tech dominance is easier said than done -- Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


CHURCH: Just ahead, Buckingham Palace finally responds to Harry and Meghan's allegations of racism as comments from a British broadcaster prompt an angry reaction and his resignation.





CHURCH: Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth and the royal family are saddened to learn how challenging the past few years have been for Harry and Meghan. Some British newspapers are highlighting divisions among the monarchy. The "Daily Telegraph" pulls from the palace's own statement with the headline, saying the issue of race is concerning but recollections vary.

The "Daily Mail" front page focused on public backlash, with a poll suggesting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex should be stripped of their titles.

The Oprah interview was a ratings bonanza, though. CBS says more than 49 million people watched worldwide. ITV saw an average of 11 million viewers in the U.K.

"Good Morning Britain" cohost Piers Morgan is out of a job after some harsh criticism of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and this on-air temper tantrum.


ALEX BERESFORD, "GOOD MORNING BRITAIN" ANCHOR: I understand that you don't like Meghan Markle. You've made it so clear a number of times on this program.

Has she said anything about you since she cut you off?

I don't think she has but yet you've continued to trash her.


BERESFORD: No, no, no --

MORGAN: Sorry.


MORGAN: You can trash me, mate, but not on my own show. See you later.

BERESFORD: I'm being --

MORGAN: Sorry. Can't do this.

BERESFORD: -- absolutely diabolical behavior.


CHURCH: Not very grown-up there. Broadcaster ITV announced Morgan's departure later in the day. CNN's

chief media correspondent Brian Stelter has more.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Piers Morgan has joined Harry and Meghan on the front pages of the British newspapers today. His decision to storm off the set of ITV's "Good Morning, Britain" and then the network's announcement hours later that he is off the show effective immediately is something of a morning TV mystery.

People wonder if they should connect the dots between the two and wondering what exactly happened.

Why did Morgan suddenly leave the show?

We know that Piers Morgan is larger than life, someone fans either love or love to hate, a former CNN host, who has been on ITV for many years now and has crowed about the ratings gains for the breakfast program.

He has been an incendiary critic of Meghan Markle, Prince Harry as well but especially of Meghan. On Monday, after the Oprah interview, he even questioned if Meghan really truly had suicidal thoughts.

His criticism of Meghan has caused a torrent of criticism directed in his direction and at ITV. It's been a problem for management. The CEO had to address it on Tuesday. On Tuesday afternoon, Ofcom, the U.K. media regulator, announced it was opening an investigation into Monday's episode of "Good Morning, Britain" when Morgan made those charged comments.

About an hour later, ITV said that Morgan had decided to leave the show and that the network accepted the decision. Morgan has not said much since then. But knowing Morgan, he will have a lot to say about this in the coming days or weeks, et cetera -- Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.


In fact, Piers Morgan tweeted just about an hour ago, that he still doesn't believe what Meghan said in her interview with Oprah Winfrey.

He says, "If you did, OK. Freedom of speech is a hill I'm happy to die on. Thanks for all the love and hate. I am off to spend more time with my opinions."

Well, you do that.

For more news about the British royal family, be sure to visit our website. We now have a weekly newsletter. Sign up at

U.S. agents have encountered or arrested more than 100,000 migrants on the southern border over the past month. That's the most for that timeframe in 5 years, according to data obtained by CNN. Most were single adults but there was also a spike in the number of children and families.


CHURCH: Ed Lavandera spoke with some of the migrants now seeking asylum.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a tent city near the U.S.-Mexico border, Lijia Giselle Amador Zavala waits with her two children. She says she left Honduras nine months ago to seek asylum in the United States.

Lijia said she jumped the border two times illegally because of desperation to find work. Both times she was sent back to Mexico. Now, she says she'll wait for a legal way to cross. The anticipation spreading through this tent city in Tijuana, Mexico, speaks to the hope these migrants have that the Biden administration will be more receptive to their plights.

Sandra Caballero says she has spent a year sitting on the border's edge with her husband and three children. She says they left the endless crisis of violence in Honduras to seek asylum.

Sandra tells us she hopes President Biden will open the door to the border because we need a better future for our children. The increasing surge of migrants on the southern border is reaching emergency levels for the Biden administration. U.S. authorities have arrested and encountered more than a hundred thousand migrants in the four weeks before March 3rd. The highest levels for that same time period in at least five years.

And new data reviewed by CNN shows there are more than 3,400 unaccompanied children in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. Federal immigration officials are scrambling to make room.

LAVANDERA: We're here in the town of Donna, Texas, on the Mexico border. And CBP has just opened up this massive tent facility.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): This temporary processing site for migrants was opened just over a month ago. A Homeland Security official told CNN the facility is significantly overcrowded mostly with children. Republicans and some Democrats say the Biden administration isn't moving fast enough to keep the migration crisis under control.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): They are completely unprepared for what is going on in the border now and they're going to be even more unprepared for what will be happening in the coming months.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): The Biden administration says the majority of migrants are being turned away at the border and refuse to describe the situation as a crisis.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, I don't think we need to sit here and put new labels on what we have already conveyed is challenging, what we have conveyed is a top priority for the President.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): But many more families are being allowed to wait in the U.S. for their immigration court dates. We met Jose at a church shelter. We were asked to protect his identity. He says desperation and fear is driving them to the border. He left Honduras with his son three months ago.

LAVANDERA: Did you see a lot of children traveling by themselves?

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Jose tells us he saw many children along the way begging or cleaning windows for money. He says not all of them will be lucky enough to make it.

LAVANDERA: Critics of the Biden administration say that the president is not acting fast enough to get the migrant situation under control on the U.S. southern border. President Biden and his team insist that what they are trying to do is develop a much more humanitarian approach to immigration here in this country -- Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.


CHURCH: Well, in what is being called the largest study of its kind, the World Health Organization says that one in three women worldwide have been subjected to physical or sexual violence. And data shows the violence starts alarmingly young.

The report finds one in four young women, who have already been in a relationship, will have experienced violence by an intimate partner by the time they reach their mid 20s. An estimated 37 percent of women in some of the poorest countries were subjected to violence at some point in their life.

In some places that number is closer to 50 percent. The author of the report calls it "a wake up call."


CLAUDIA GARCIA-MORENO, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Prevention entails actions at many different levels and in many different sectors that we need to address, women's access to medication and economic empowerment and access to paid employment. We need to address the acceptability of this violence in many places and the gender inequality that underpins this violence.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: And still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM, new data suggests that humans have ravaged about two thirds of the world's original tropical rainforest. The impact it is having on climate change, that is next.

Plus, for several years now, mysterious giant craters have been appearing in the Russian tundra. Now scientists know what is causing them. We'll explain.





CHURCH: Russia and China are teaming up to go to the moon. They have announced plans to build a lunar research station. They will work together to plan, design and implement the project which they say will be open to all countries and interested international partners.

The move could be a sign Russia is ready to move on from its partnership with the International Space Station.

Well a new study suggests two thirds of the world's original tropical rainforests have been destroyed or been degraded. Humans are to blame. The report from the nonprofit Rainforest Foundation Norway says it is often because of logging and land conservation.

The group now sounding the alarm, saying, as more rain forests are destroyed, there is more potential for climate change.



CHURCH: Massive craters have been popping up in Siberia and for a long time no one knew why but now scientists appear to have solved the mystery. Meteorologist Jennifer Gray has that story.


JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): For several years now, mysterious giant craters have been appearing in the Siberian tundra, like golf holes in a game played by giants. At least 17 have been found so far.

With the help of 3D mapping drones scientists have begun to work out how they formed. It starts with the buildup of methane gas in the permafrost.

EVGENY CHUVILIN, SKOIKOVO INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (through translator): As the pressure in these gas accumulations increases, a mound forms. Once the pressure passes a critical point defined by the density of the upper layers of ground, an explosion throws debris hundreds of meters. That's how these craters, which can be 30 to 40 meters deep and over 30 meters wide, are formed.

GRAY (voice-over): Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, trapping Earth's heat and warming the climate. As the warmer climate melts the Siberian permafrost, more methane escapes, sometimes in the form of these exploding craters.

That sends more methane into the air, heating the planet even more. These exploding crater have been mainly limited to two Siberian peninsulas. That's because these areas have unique conditions, very thick permafrost that's highly saturated with methane that also contains pools of liquid water.

SUSAN NATALI, WOODWELL CLIMATE RESEARCH CENTER: So far this is where we have seen them and these characteristics are pretty common in this area. So I'm not saying it can't happen but it's much more likely to happen when you have these features.

GRAY (voice-over): Natali also says these craters and other changes are indicative of a rapidly warming and thawing Arctic. And that can have severe consequences for Arctic residents and the globe.


CHURCH: Thank you so much for joining, us I'm Rosemary Church, you can connect with me on Twitter at any time @RosemaryCNN. Love to hear from. You I'll be back at the top of the hour with more news. "WORLD SPORT" is coming up next.