The Latest: Redford says fighting global warming is urgent

AP News
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Posted: Dec 04, 2015 3:33 PM
The Latest: Redford says fighting global warming is urgent

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

9:30 p.m.

American actor and environmental activist Robert Redford says global warming is "an urgent matter" and is encouraging mayors to reduce local emissions even as world diplomats are trying to work out a global climate accord.

Redford, trustee of the NGO Natural Resources Defense Council, told The Associated Press that the U.N. climate conference under way in Paris is "key."

Redford was invited to a climate meeting of mayors and local leaders in Paris. He announced a new extension of the City energy project, a joint initiative of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation aimed at helping cities boost energy efficiency of buildings and therefore cut carbon pollution. The new round of funding provided an additional $10.5 million, raising the fund to $20 million in total.

The Paris conference on climate runs through Dec. 11.

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7:45 p.m.

Researchers say a simulation has showed that it is "technically possible" to reach a climate deal and succeed in limiting global warming.

Climate Interactive, a research group that models the effects of cutting emissions, took their models to the Paris climate talks Friday and invited regular people to role play, with MIT professor John Sterman as the United Nations chief.

Following the first round of negotiations, national pledges left global warming temperatures unaffected as no team was ready to compromise.

After more than an hour of arguments over who should bear the brunt of damage and reparation costs, a strong push from the Chinese delegation and the Europeans sealed the deal and succeeded in lowering global warming temperatures.

"It's fun to be part of. It's tough," said 43-year old Martin Lehmann who was playing Chinese President Xi Jinping to 17-year-old Raymond Fong's Barack Obama.

Andrew Jones, Climate Interactive's co-director, said the program shows that "a 2 degree future is technically possible. Perhaps not politically and socially accessible today, but possible."

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6:55 p.m.

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, has been appointed the head of a new global taskforce aimed at assessing risks companies face to climate change.

The appointment was made Friday in Paris by Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England who is chairman of a body promoting global financial stability.

Noting concerns over the ability of many firms to adjust to a lower carbon future, Carney expressed hope that the task force would become a "one-stop shop" for a better flow of information on a raft of issues related to climate change, including potential costs and technological innovations.

In his capacity as chair of the Financial Stability Board, Carney has been at the forefront of efforts to highlight the risks related to climate change.

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5:25 p.m.

The head of the U.N. climate change agency says high-intensity negotiations in Paris are on track so far, and says her biggest concern now is that the negotiators get enough rest and stay focused.

Christiana Figueres, chief of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, insisted that an international accord fighting global warming should include legally binding parts, and said it's impossible to quantify how much it will cost the world to clean up and protect populations affected by climate change.

Five days into the Paris talks, "we are where we thought we could be," Figueres told The Associated Press in an interview Friday. The talks are scheduled to end Dec. 11.

She said her greatest concern at this point is "that everyone remains focused, that everyone gets a least a minimum of sleep, that everyone remains healthy so that they can all do the work that needs to be done."

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4:20 p.m.

The U.S. special envoy for climate change says "a high-ambition coalition" is emerging in talks on a new climate pact in Paris.

Envoy Todd Stern tells reporters Friday that "it includes many countries, it does not include everyone." He spoke as negotiators neared the end of the first week of the two-week talks. Stern said the U.S. is committed to taking the "tough decisions" needed to get an agreement among the 195 countries taking part in the talks.

He say the United States is "really focused on getting that kind of strong agreement that is not watered down and does not kind of go to a lowest-common denominator or a minimalist agreement."

The new drafts of the agreement that emerged Friday still show a host of sticking points, including how to spell out the obligations of developed and developing countries.

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2:50 p.m.

Activists wearing baby clothes and bibs are urging negotiators at critical U.N. talks to reach a "grown-up" agreement to cut man-made emissions that scientists say are changing the climate.

The protesters from the group Avaaz used over-sized baby blocks to spell out "100 percent Clean" on the pavement Friday at the talks outside of Paris.

Protester Ermana Ruby Sachs said "the building blocks are all there. This is simple, we need 100 percent clean, long-term goal. ... The leaders have the chance to be adults and deliver this right now."

The stunt was among several protest actions Friday at the climate talks, which last through Dec. 11.

Governments are negotiating steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help poor countries adapt to climate change, but there are tensions over how much it will cost.

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2:35 p.m.

The hosts of critical climate talks outside Paris say multiple issues remain unresolved as negotiators face a midway deadline.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Frida, "what can we conclude at this stage? ... We're not there yet."

Climate negotiators are to submit the latest draft of a potential accord to fight global warming on Saturday. The accord will then go to government ministers for further discussion.

Fabius told reporters Friday it's "imperative" the conference reaches an accord the end of the climate conference, scheduled for Dec. 11.

But Christina Figueres, head of the U.N. climate change agency, said "there is no one single issue that is currently on the table that will be finalized" by Saturday.

Neither would spell out what the remaining sticking points are.

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12:40 p.m.

Mayors from around the world are sharing their experiences in making construction, transport and waste management more environmentally friendly.

"We have set reducing our carbon emissions as a goal for every project we do," said Ralph Becker, mayor of Salt Lake City. He argued that cities can take their own actions without waiting for national laws or an international agreement.

He met Friday with scores of other mayors in Paris on the sidelines of high-stakes U.N. negotiations on a possible accord to reduce the man-made emissions that contribute to global warming. While some governments are reluctant to making binding promises to cut emissions because of the economic costs, cities around the world are already experimenting with lower-emission construction and transport.

The mayor of the British city of Bristol, George Ferguson, talked about a project where every child in primary school plants a tree. "It's a little thing that starts with a single person planting a tree but can make a huge difference across the world."

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11:55 a.m.

French President Francois Hollande is encouraging mayors of the world to get involved in fighting climate change and praising those that are already setting an example with low-emission buildings and public transport policies.

Hollande said Friday that "no region in the world can feel protected from climate disorder."

He opened a large global gathering of mayors and local officials focused on climate change, on the sidelines of the U.N. conference on climate taking place outside Paris through Dec. 11.

Hollande says "by 2050, two-thirds of mankind may be living in cities." He is urging mayors to keep urban growth under control.

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11:25 a.m.

Activists have staged a 'die-in' at the Paris climate talks, collapsing onto the pavement to represent vulnerable populations threatened by rising seas and extreme weather prompted by man-made global warming.

"Climate Justice Now!" chanted two dozen activists, some on the ground and some standing holding photos of poor countries that are feeling the effects of global warming.

The activists want an eventual global climate accord to include promises of aid for the losses and damages caused by global warming.

The stunt was one of several by activists at the Paris climate talks Friday, where negotiators are haggling over wording in a draft accord.