The Latest: US House leader won't pay for climate deal

AP News
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Posted: Nov 30, 2015 3:16 PM
The Latest: US House leader won't pay for climate deal

PARIS (AP) — The latest news from the U.N. climate conference that began Monday in Paris. All times local:

9:15 p.m.

U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says the House will not go along if President Barack Obama tries to commit taxpayer money to support a climate accord reached in Paris.

He says Congress has the authority to decide how to spend U.S. taxpayer dollars, "and I don't think that's the best use of our money."

McCarthy suggested that a must-pass year-end spending bill currently in the works could become the vehicle for language blocking any such expenditure.

The California Republican on Monday also criticized Obama's overall approach at the Paris talks, saying he should be focusing on America's progress in switching to natural gas and thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The House votes this week on several pieces of legislation aimed at confronting Obama on his climate policies, including taking aim at the administration's controls on power plant emissions.

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8:55 p.m.

President Barack Obama is capping a day of high-profile climate talks with a quiet dinner at a chic Paris eatery.

French President Francois Hollande is hosting Obama, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other top advisers at L'Ambroisie — one of the finest gastronomic restaurants in the trendy Marais.

L'Ambroisie's menu is fit for a king — or an occasional president.

According to its website, delicacies like corolla of scallop meet white Alba truffle, and the flavors of tasty lobster fricassee are set off with Saint-Germain mashed peas.

It's not aimed at diners with shallow pockets — dinner can cost up to 360 euros ($380).

The White House dubbed the outing a "working dinner." The group of 12 sat in a cozy, lavishly decorated private room.

Obama told reporters snapping photographs to be careful in the luxurious surroundings, "Don't break the chandelier. You can't afford it."

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8:25 p.m.

The leaders of six countries and the World Bank have called on economies across the globe to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

The heads of France, Germany, Chile, Mexico, Ethiopia and Canada all called for some kind of mechanism that essentially charges a price for each ton of carbon dioxide spewed by industry. It could be a simple tax or a more complex carbon credit trading system, they said.

"We simply cannot afford to continue polluting the planet at the current pace," World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. "Carbon pricing is critical for reducing emissions."

Kim said that the number of countries, provinces, states or cities putting a price on carbon has tripled in the past year.

"Cheap and dirty energy is not cheap for the planet or the health of our people," Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said at the Paris climate summit.

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8 p.m.

Pope Francis has warned climate change negotiators meeting in Paris that "it's now or never" to come up with an agreement to limit global warming.

Speaking to reporters en route home from Africa, Francis said Monday the world is "at the limit of suicide" if it doesn't reverse course and move away from its fossil fuel-based economy.

Francis pressed his environmental message during his Africa trip, urging world leaders not to let special interests derail a deal — a clear reference to the energy industry that has long fought curbs on the greenhouse gas emissions blamed on global warming.

Despite their influence, Francis said he was nevertheless optimistic that something would emerge from Paris. He said: "I hope they will do it, and I'm praying for it."

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7:15 p.m.

Paris' conference on climate is so crowded with world leaders that some of them are having to wait hours for their turn at the podium — a highly unusual situation for the most powerful people in their respective countries.

About 150 leaders showed up, each giving a speech about their plans to fight global warming. After eight hours of speeches, the original schedule is totally out of whack — and it's not over yet.

Meanwhile, at a sidelines launch of a clean energy initiative by Bill Gates, more than a dozen heads of state and government waited for Barack Obama for 45 minutes.

Some formed small informal discussion groups on the stage, while other preferred to sit. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto conversed with the French Environment Minister Segolene Royal, while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talked to Chilean President Michele Bachelet and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg — until they finally decided to begin without the American president.

"I'm in charge of the waiting time," French President Francois Hollande, host of the talks, joked when he started his speech.

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7:10 p.m.

Today's children and their future heirs are getting a lot of attention at an unprecedented diplomatic conference on global warming.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, urging fellow world leaders to pursue cuts in man-made carbon dioxide emissions, said "We should ask what will we say to our grandchildren if we fail. ... Instead of making excuses tomorrow, let's take action today."

Prince Charles, French President Francois Hollande and the prime minister of Tuvalu were among others who invoked future generations to stress the importance of a long-term deal.

More than 150 leaders met Monday in an unusual diplomatic effort to give impetus to two weeks of U.N.-led talks aiming at a new global climate accord.

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6:10 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the private sector needs to have a seat at the table as the world's governments attempt to curb global warming.

He says that governments will set the targets that nations will try to reach, but it will be scientists, private sector investors and workers who will largely determine whether those goals are met.

Obama's remarks come as part of an event in which at least 19 governments and 28 investors were announcing billions of dollars toward researching and developing clean energy technology.

Obama says Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is correct in noting that improving energy efficiency will only help nations get part of the way toward reaching their targets. New inventions and technology will also be required.

He calls the partnership one of the most significant private-public partnerships even forged to accelerate energy innovation.

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5:40 p.m.

The Paris prosecutor's office says all but nine of the 317 people taken into custody following a demonstration seeking to call attention to climate change have been released.

Police forces arrested 341 protesters on Sunday in the French capital after activists clashed with police at the Place de la Republique, a central point for commemorations after the Nov. 13 attacks that killed 130 people. Most were taken into custody.

Under a state of emergency, France has banned protests ahead of the climate conference that opened Monday.

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5:30 p.m.

Israel's prime minister and the Palestinian president, in France for the climate summit, met and shook hands for the first time in years.

A photograph shows Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas shaking hands and smiling on the sidelines of global climate talks outside Paris on Monday. It wasn't immediately clear if they had agreed to meet or if they spoke.

U.S. mediated peace talks between the sides collapsed early 2014 and the two leaders haven't met in years.

Their meeting came amid heightened tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. Over the past 2 months, almost daily Palestinian attacks have killed 19 Israelis while at least 97 Palestinians have been killed, including 62 said by Israel to be attackers. The rest died in clashes.

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5:15 p.m.

Leaders of small island nations are pleading for their survival, asking bigger countries to do more to cut emissions and help threatened nations cope with rising seas and wilder storms blamed on man-made global warming.

Peter M. Christian, president of the Pacific nation of Micronesia, called on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to declare a worldwide state of emergency.

Christian said Monday: "The challenge is to save ourselves, not someone else, but ourselves."

The prime minister of the Pacific country of Tuvalu, Enele Sosene Sopoaga, adds that "any further temperature increase will spell the total demise of Tuvalu."

They spoke in Paris on the opening day of high-stakes climate talks aimed at reaching a global compromise to cut emissions long-term.

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5:05 p.m.

Bill Gates says he and other investors are pledging $7 billion for research and development of clean energy, and that they're hoping to get others to pitch in more in the coming days.

The Microsoft co-founder is announcing the investment as part of a larger initiative with world governments that are promising to double spending on renewable energy research.

Gates told reporters that he is hoping to see more investors sign on "possibly this week." The money is being raised by individual wealthy investors and the University of California.

Gates said he has warned potential investors that new energy technologies take longer than IT or biotech to launch.

The fund will support a wide range of technologies, Gates said — "biofuels, carbon capture, high wind, fission, fusion - we're unbiased but it has to be clean and possible to scale up cheaply."

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4:15 p.m.

President Barack Obama says India must curb its carbon dioxide pollution even while it works to eradicate poverty, prioritize growth and promote economic development.

Obama is meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of global climate talks outside Paris. Obama says he and Modi agree that climate change is an "urgent threat." He's calling climate change one of the major areas for deeper cooperation between the U.S. and India.

Modi says that economic development and environmental protection "go hand in hand." He says India's responsibilities on climate change "will be fully undertaken and fulfilled."

The U.S. has been pressing poorer, developing countries like India to make ambitious pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as part of the budding climate agreement. But India and others have balked because they say rich, industrialized countries that have polluted the most bear greater responsibility for climate change.

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3 p.m.

President Vladimir Putin says Russia is ready to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by almost one-third over the next 15 years compared with 1990 levels — although the fall in Russia's economy since 1990 means that it could still increase its current emissions.

Putin made the pledge at a global climate summit just outside Paris Monday. He said that by 2030 Russia is ready to bring its greenhouse gas emissions to 70 percent of their level in 1990.

Since Russia's economy has shrunk sharply compared with the Soviet-era high reached in 1990, it will still have plenty of room for increasing its current emissions while keeping them low compared to the 1990 level.

Putin also said that a future global climate deal must include commitments from both developing and developed countries.

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2 p.m.

Balinese dancers welcomed visitors to the Indonesian pavilion on the first day of vital climate talks near Paris.

The dance by four silk-costumed performers was one of the more exotic attractions in the carnival-like national pavilion hall, which resembled an Epcot Center with countries from Ivory Coast to Brazil showing off their efforts against climate change.

Long lines for expensive concessions was another aspect of the event that brought to mind an amusement park, but here the cups are reusable and paper waste is kept to a minimum — visitors are not even provided a map to the sprawling complex of halls and hangars. Anyone who asked was told to download an app.

While many pavilions opted for rough-and-ready particle board walls, others like the Gulf Cooperation Council went all out with architecture designed to resemble their local buildings. The USA stand looked like a TV talk show set. Germany had a welcoming coffee bar in the middle of its stand surrounded by lots of comfy sofas.

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1:35 p.m.

Chinese President Xi Jinping says an eventual global climate deal must include aid for poor countries and acknowledge differences between developing and established economies.

Xi, speaking at U.N.-led climate talks near Paris on Monday, said an agreement should also include transfer of climate technology to developing countries.

He said a deal should accommodate national interests, adding, "it's imperative to respect differences" among countries, especially developing ones.

"Addressing climate change should not deny the legitimate needs of developing countries to reduce poverty and improve living standards," he said.

The question of what to expect from rich and poor countries is a key sticking-point in the talks. The last climate deal, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, only required developed countries to cut man-made emissions.

Western countries say this time all countries must chip in, including China, the world's biggest emitter.

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1:15 p.m.

Britain's Prince Charles has issued a rallying cry to world leaders to address climate change, describing it as the greatest threat faced by humanity.

Delivering the keynote to the U.N. climate conference, Charles urged world leaders Monday to think of their grandchildren in seeking a deal.

Echoing the sentiment offered by Winston Churchill to Battle of Britain pilots during World War II he argued that "rarely in human history have so many people around the world placed their trust in so few."

The heir to Britain's throne and champion of green causes told delegates: "I urge you to consider the needs of the youngest generation, because none of us has the right to assume that for our today they should give up their tomorrow."

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1:00 p.m.

President Barack Obama is calling the Paris climate talks an "act of defiance" by the world community following the Islamic State-linked attacks two weeks ago.

Obama says world leaders gathered near Paris for global climate talks have come to the French capital to show resolve. He's saluting Parisians for insisting the conference go on despite the attacks.

Obama says it proves that nothing will deter the world from building a future for its children. He says there's no greater rejection to those who want to tear down the world than to mount best efforts to save it.

Obama was also painting a dire picture of the future without aggressive action to curb carbon emissions. He was describing submerged countries, abandoned cities and fields that won't grow. He was also drawing a link to the refugee crisis and saying climate effects will lead desperate peoples to seek sanctuaries outside their home nations.

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12:40 p.m.

A UK-based network of artists has installed more than 600 artworks in advertising places across Paris as part of a protest campaign against the climate change talks.

Peter Marcuse, a member of the Brandalism network, told The Associated Press that it wants to "make the link between advertising and climate change."

He said "advertising is the engine of consumerism, telling us to buy more and more things regardless of the environment impact."

Without seeking permission, the eco-activists placed their artworks in advertising spaces owned by JC Decaux, "one of the world's largest outdoor advertising firms and an official sponsor to the COP21 climate talks."

Marcuse said other big corporate sponsors of the negotiations including "Engie, Renault-Nissan, and some banks like BNP Paribas have caused big pollution problems and can't present themselves as being part of the solution."

Brandalism said that the artworks, some of them mocking the conference's sponsors, were created by more than 80 artists from 19 countries.

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12:15 p.m.

The United States, Canada and nine European countries have pledged nearly $250 million to help the most vulnerable countries adapt to rising seas, droughts and other impacts of climate change.

The pledge was announced at the start of U.N. climate talks outside Paris on Monday and includes contributions of $53 million from Germany, $51 million from the U.S., and $45 million from Britain.

The money will be made available to a fund for the least developed countries hosted by the Global Environment Facility, a major funder of environment projects worldwide. Other countries that contributed include Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland.

Money for adaptation is a key demand by developing countries in the U.N. climate talks.

The money would be used for things like helping vulnerable nations develop new agricultural practices for a hotter climate and boosting their preparedness to cope with extreme weather events linked to climate change.

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12:10 p.m.

More world leaders are in the same place at the same time than ever before at a critical global climate conference in Paris.

The French organizers say 151 heads of state and other leaders are at the talks that started Monday.

U.N. climate agency spokesman Nicholas Nuttall said it is the largest such gathering of world leaders on the same day. The annual U.N. General Assembly in New York also gathers world leaders, but the event is spread out over several days and not all leaders attend at the same time.

French President Francois Hollande, hosting the talks, said "no conference has ever gathered so many leaders from so many countries ... but never before have the international stakes been so high."

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11:50 a.m.

The international Red Cross is calling for delegates at the Paris conference to make a priority of helping poor and vulnerable people to deal with the impact of climate change.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies called Monday on negotiators to ensure that money is provided for communities that will face, or already face, fallout from rising temperatures.

The federation's secretary general, Elhadj As Sy, said that "the consequences of climate change are already being felt by the world's poorest and most vulnerable communities." He added: "It is crucial that any new global agreement emphasizes the need to support these communities to become more resilient and reduce the climate risks they face."

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11:45 a.m.

The French football federation says it wants to reduce the impact the sport can have on climate change.

In a partnership with the French agency in charge of environmental and energy-related issues, the soccer federation has issued guidelines for its members aimed at reducing pollution and carbon emissions.

"With one million matches played every year, 3 millions of kilometers (1.9 million miles) traveled every weekend, it is also football's responsibility to contribute to limit the impact of this activity on the environment," it said in a statement.

The federation has published an electronic guide available to its 18,000 clubs stressing for instance the need to resort to carpools at weekend matches across France or to save energy by using a reasonable amount of light on football pitches.

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11:35 a.m.

French President Francois Hollande is urging a strong, binding global agreement to fight climate change.

Hollande told other world leaders gathered near Paris on Monday that a solid global warming deal would help ensure world peace for future generations and reduce the number of refugees fleeing increasingly extreme weather.

He linked the fight against global warming to the fight against extremism, weeks after deadly attacks in Paris.

"What is at stake with this climate conference is peace," he said at the opening of two weeks of talks.

"The fight against terrorism and the fight against climate change are two major global challenges we must face," he said.

He called for a "deep change" in human attitudes toward resources and the planet.

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11:30 a.m.

One of the worst spells of air pollution in recent years is hitting Beijing as negotiators meet in Paris to combat global warming.

The city reported extremely hazardous levels of the tiny, poisonous matter PM2.5 on Monday afternoon, 25 times more than what the World Health Organization considers safe.

The pollution, the worst in 2015, prompted Beijing authorities to issue a rare orange alert — the second-highest in the four-level urgency system. Schools have suspended outdoor activities, and factories must reduce production.

The warnings came as the U.N. climate conference opened in Paris, aiming to create a landmark agreement to fight global warming.

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11:20 a.m.

World leaders gathered for a critical climate conference are holding a moment of silence in honor of people killed in recent attacks in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, Tunisia and Mali.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared the moment of silence as he launched two weeks of talks in Paris Monday aimed at a long-term deal to slow man-made global warming.

Organizers sought a high-level kickoff to the talks in hopes of providing impetus for a strong agreement. They say 151 world leaders are expected to attend.

Some leaders have visited the sites of the deadly Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. President Barack Obama laid a flower at a concert hall where dozens of people were killed.

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10:45 a.m.

The European Union's environment agency says air pollution remains the single largest environmental health risk in Europe, causing more than 430,000 premature deaths in 2012.

The agency says the data, based on monitoring points across Europe, shows that people living in cities are still exposed to air pollution of "levels deemed unsafe by the World Health Organization" and resulting in serious illnesses, including heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer.

Hans Bruyninckx, head of the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency said that air pollution also has "considerable economic impacts" by increasing medical costs and reducing productivity through lost working days.

The annual air quality report was released Monday as the U.N. climate conference opened in Paris, which aims to create a landmark agreement to fight global warming.

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10:10 a.m.

High-level climate talks have begun in Paris with the goal of a long-term deal to reduce man-made emissions.

Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal, who played host to the last U.N. climate conference in Lima, declared this year's meeting open Monday morning.

A total of 151 world leaders have converged on Paris to launch the two-week talks in hopes of giving an impetus for an ambitious agreement.

Vidal said a deal would show the world that countries can work together to fight global warming as well as terrorism. The talks are occurring just two weeks after deadly attacks in Paris by Islamic State extremists.

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10:05 a.m.

President Barack Obama says nowhere has coordination between the United States and China been more fruitful or critical than on climate change.

Obama says 180 nations followed the lead of the U.S. and China on climate change. He says "our leadership on this issue has been absolutely vital."

Obama is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the climate conference.

Xi says climate change is a huge challenge. He's calling for the U.S. and China to build a new model of cooperation, using diplomatic language long preferred by Beijing.

China emits about 30 percent of the world's greenhouse gases and the U.S. about 16 percent.

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9:20 a.m.

Paris police say 317 people were detained after an unauthorized protest seeking to call attention to climate change, which ended with police firing tear gas at protesters throwing bottles and candles.

The Paris police department had said Sunday night that 174 were detained in the protest, then said Monday morning that the figure had grown to 317. It did not give a reason for the growing number.

France is under a state of emergency after Nov. 13 attacks that killed 130 people. It banned protests ahead of landmark climate talks opening Monday, citing security concerns.

But thousands of people formed a human chain along the route of a long-planned environmental march Sunday. It was largely peaceful.

President Francois Hollande denounced the violence as "scandalous."

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8:20 a.m.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and French President Francois Hollande are greeting heads of state and government from around the world for high-stakes talks aimed at fighting global warming.

One by one, some 150 leaders are arriving at the conference center near the Le Bourget airfield just north of Paris. Ban, Hollande, the head of the U.N. climate change agency Christina Figueres, and French Environment Minister Segolene Royal are standing in front of the conference center to greet them.

Afterwards, each leader will give a speech laying out their countries' efforts to reduce man-made emissions and cope with climate change.

The event opening Monday lasts through Dec. 11 and is under extra-security after Nov. 13 extremist attacks in Paris.

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7:30 a.m.

Wide Paris-area highways usually packed with commuters are cordoned off to clear the way for President Barack Obama and 150 other world leaders joining critical talks about fighting global warming.

Riot police vans and plainclothes officers are stationed around the capital and the northern suburb of Le Bourget, where the U.N.-led climate conference is being held Nov. 30-Dec. 11.

The security measures are especially tight after Islamic extremists killed 130 people two weeks ago in Paris and targeted the national stadium Stade de France, near the climate conference venue.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and French President Francois Hollande will greet each of the leaders Monday morning then each will give a speech about what their countries are doing to reduce emissions and slow climate change.