The Latest: UN chief says leaders' support on climate a plus

AP News
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Posted: Dec 03, 2015 3:45 PM
The Latest: UN chief says leaders' support on climate a plus

LE BOURGET, France (AP) — The latest news from the U.N. climate conference in Paris, which runs through Dec. 11. All times local:

9:40 p.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he's encouraged that 150 world leaders — an "unprecedented" number — told the opening of the climate summit that they were in Paris to deliver an agreement to tackle global warming.

The U.N. chief told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York before flying back to Paris on Thursday night that this gave strong impetus to negotiations. Now, he said, the negotiators have a lot of work to do because "key issues remain unresolved, and there is not much time left."

Ban said the leadership of the U.S., the world's largest economy, "is crucially important" and he expressed appreciation for President Barack Obama's "strong leadership" and "very strong commitment."

He said mobilizing $100 billion from developed nations by 2020 to help developing nations cope with climate change "is doable," but he also called on developing countries to help others if they can.

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5:45 p.m.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, one of the most prominent advocates in the fight for global warming, made the rounds Thursday, mostly talking business and China.

Gore said he was "grateful that China has been so industrious" in developing solar and wind power for use at home and abroad.

He said smart business leaders know that investing in cleaner technology makes more than sense, it makes dollars:

"Those who want to take the risk of continuing to put their investments into in the old, dirty ways of the past risk a business catastrophe - not unlike the one faced by investors who put their money into what we called in the US 'sub-prime mortgages'," Gore said.

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5:35 p.m.

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change Janos Pasztor, like others, was optimistic about chances for a successful climate deal in an interview with The Associated Press.

"I think the stars are really aligning here," Pasztor said. "We had very strong political support, we have the private sector, we have the civil society, it is coming together. Of course there is still some hard work to do and that is what we are going to have to do in the next few days."

"I think the presence of 150 heads of state and government here on the first day was phenomenal and it provided what we all hoped it would: a very strong political momentum, a political impetus, that this is important."

Pasztor said developing nations are joining richer nations in trying to control emissions, even as they try to develop.

"Developing nations understand that they also have an increasing responsibility while recognizing clearly that the developed countries have to still take the lead," Pasztor said.

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5:30 p.m.

Decades ago Stanford University climate scientist Ken Caldeira was arrested protesting the building a nuclear power plant in New York. On Thursday, he was at the Paris climate talks with three other scientists promoting nuclear energy as part of the way to wean the world off fossil fuels that cause global warming.

"We need to stop using the sky as a waste dump," Caldeira said in a news conference with MIT's Kerry Emanuel, University of Adelaide's Tom Wigley, and former NASA climate science chief James Hansen, who is often considered the godfather of global warming research.

The scientists said the problem of global warming was so dangerous and that renewables not quite enough that nuclear power, which has near-zero carbon dioxide emissions, has to be part of the solution.

"We don't care whether it's nuclear, solar or hydro," Emanuel said. "Whatever works. The numbers don't add up unless you put nuclear in the mix."

Another MIT professor, John Sterman, who wasn't part of the event, said nuclear won't help so much because it takes too long to build enough plants and by that time, global warming will be far worse.

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2:45 p.m.

Negotiators have produced a new draft of a climate agreement that's supposed to set the world on a path toward cleaner energy and reduce the carbon pollution blamed for global warming.

The new draft is 50 pages long, just four pages fewer than a previous draft issued before the start of the two-week talks taking place north of Paris.

It leaves the main crunch issues unresolved, including how to spell out the obligations of countries in different stages of development.

Environmental campaigners observing the talks lamented the lack of progress and urged negotiators to step up the pace before environment and foreign ministers join the talks next week.

"Overall, the text is mostly unchanged from what they were working with going into Paris," said Tasneem Essop of WWF. "Right now, they're still just rearranging the deck chairs on the ship to get a better view of the iceberg."