The Latest: Obama, Rousseff call targets conclusion of talks

AP News
|
Posted: Dec 07, 2015 7:18 PM
The Latest: Obama, Rousseff call targets conclusion of talks

PARIS (AP) — The latest news related to the U.N. climate conference in Paris, which runs through Dec. 11. All times local:

___

1 a.m

President Barack Obama and Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff are calling for cooperation between their countries to successfully conclude global climate talks.

Obama and Rousseff spoke by phone on Monday. The White House says they discussed progress in the talks, slated to wrap up on Friday, and that the leaders emphasized their "personal commitment" to achieve an ambitious agreement. The leaders also said they'd stay in touch during the remainder of the talks.

The U.S. has been working to persuade developing countries like Brazil to take aggressive action on climate change, a major sticking point in the talks. Poorer and developing countries have said they are less able to deal with climate change and bear less responsibility than industrialized nations that have heavily polluted for decades. Brazil and India have resisted attempts to establish a long-term goal to phase out carbon emissions during the U.N. climate talks.

___

6:15 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says that even without a specific temperature change limit and legally binding structure, a climate change agreement that negotiators are hoping to reach this week in Paris has the potential to change the world.

Kerry said Monday that if the more than 190 nations at the Paris conference sign on to a plan in which they have confidence, the private sector will take the reins and innovate new sustainable power technologies that will ease climate change.

"Even without a fixed number and a legal shell, we are going to see an enormous amount of movement," Kerry told a gathering on the sidelines of the climate conference in the French capital.

"I have absolute confidence in the ability of capital to move where the signal of the marketplace says 'go' after Paris," he said.

Kerry said he was hopeful that the negotiations would reach an agreement by a Friday deadline, but would not be surprised if the talks bled over into the weekend.

"I think the stage is set, I think the attitude is currently there," he said.

___

6:10 p.m.

A surprising new study suggests global carbon dioxide emissions may be dropping ever so slightly this year.

The unexpected dip could either be a temporary blip or true hope that the world is about to turn the corner on carbon pollution as climate talks continue in Paris, said the authors of a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Some are skeptical of the results — notably one scientist who offered a $10,000 bet that world emissions will keep rising. Others cheered the report.

Using preliminary data through October 2015, the international team of emission trackers project that worldwide emissions this year will end up 200 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (220 million U.S. tons) less than the 35.9 billion metric tons (39.6 billion U.S. tons) they calculated for 2014.

___

5:55 p.m.

The governments of three Canadian provinces have signed an agreement to further collaborate to fight climate change, on the sidelines of Paris' conference on climate.

Prime ministers Greg Selinger of Manitoba, Kathleen Wynne of Ontario and Philippe Couillard of Quebec signed a memorandum of understanding Monday aiming at reducing greenhouse gases emissions and helping transition to a low-carbon economy.

"This agreement allows us to have more tools to make a difference when it comes to climate change, to learn from each other's experiences," Selinger said.

The memorandum will pave the way for Manitoba to join the Western Climate Initiative, a group of U.S. states and Canadian provinces moving to develop a carbon market in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that already includes Ontario and Quebec.

___

5:50 p.m.

The European Union appears to be softening its position on its demand that emissions targets in a potential Paris climate accord need to be legally binding.

EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete on Monday told reporters he understands "the political situation in the United States," where Republicans in Congress would be unlikely to approve binding targets for carbon dioxide emissions. Many U.S. Republicans question whether climate change is happening and oppose emissions limits out of concern that it would hurt U.S. industry and jobs.

Canete said in a statement in Paris that the EU still favors internationally binding targets, but "at the same time, we have signaled our readiness to discuss alternative approaches which would ensure that the Paris agreement can provide a robust legal framework and maximum certainty in parties delivering on their targets."

The EU has been among the most outspoken advocates of binding targets.

___

4:40 p.m.

India's environment minister is hinting that the country might contribute to a global climate donor fund — as long as richer countries fulfill their commitments first.

The U.S. and other countries have collectively pledged to scale up climate financing to developing countries to $100 billion annually by 2020 to help them adapt to climate change and reduce their emissions.

That "should come first, because that will give us the confidence," Prakash Javadekar said at the Paris climate talks on Monday. "Everything cannot be resolved here in Paris, let us leave something for future" climate meetings.

He shrugged off concerns that India is being considered as a villain of the climate negotiations for insisting that rich countries take most responsibility for global warming, saying he considered it a compliment.

He also said developed countries need to shun their apprehensions about sharing technology with developing countries that need technological support from the developed world.

___

3:20 p.m.

The head of the International Energy Agency is urging an end to government subsidies for fossil fuels, as world governments try to reach an accord to slow global warming.

Fatih Birol said in Paris that "Last year, about half of all the new power plants were renewables," with the rest going to coal, oil, gas and nuclear plants. "In the years to come, we are expecting that out of every $10 invested in new power plants, $6 will be for renewables."

He said "We would like to see fossil fuel subsidies phased out. There are more than $500 billion today," which he said provides an incentive to continue producing emissions that scientists say are warming the planet.

___

2:40 p.m.

Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Paris to participate in the climate talks.

On arrival Monday, Kerry briefly met with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, president of the conference.

"I've reviewed the situation with him, where we are, what progress has been made and what are the sticking points", Fabius told reporters. He did not elaborate.

Over the course of the week, Kerry and other foreign and environment ministers will join the talks to negotiate what is envisioned to become a lasting, universal pact to fight global warming.

___

11:30 a.m.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy says Republicans and others fighting the Obama administration's efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants are going to lose — and might as well get over it.

Despite a lawsuit and Congress voting to repeal to the regulation, McCarthy said Monday that state governments are already working to implement the complication plan. The president will reject Congress' efforts and the EPA has a track record of winning these lawsuits and will win again, she said.

In an interview with The Associated Press in Paris, McCarthy said the clean power plan is "alive and well," and adds that "it's going to be the law of the land and it's going to last."

The plan is crucial to the U.S. effort to reduce heat-trapping emissions by up to 28 percent from 2005 levels within 10 years and is a key part of negotiations here.

McCarthy says the plan "provides a sound basis for us to talk to other countries about how you can grow the economy in ways that are shifting toward a low carbon future."

___

10:50 a.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants the world's wealthiest economies to take the lead in addressing climate change, with poorer countries increasingly playing a role.

Ban spoke to government ministers from around the world as Paris climate talks entered their crucial second week Monday, aimed at a lasting pact to fight global warming.

He says: "Developed countries must agree to lead, and developing countries need to assume increasing responsibility in line with their capabilities."

He argued for an agreement that includes strong monitoring of government pledges, and funds to help vulnerable countries. He described meeting a young girl in the island nation of Kiribati who asked "What will become of us? What can the United Nations do for us?"

Negotiators submitted a 48-page draft agreement Saturday that is full of competing options, leaving it to ministers to work out sticking points over what different countries will do and how much it will cost.

___

8:55 a.m.

India's environment minister is urging industrialized nations to take strong action and make sacrifices to fight climate change, as Paris climate talks enter a second, crucial week.

Prakash Javadekar said in a statement Sunday night that "India is here to ensure that rich countries pay back their debt for overdraft that they have drawn on the carbon space."

In a statement released in New Delhi, Javadekar warned that while negotiators were midway through the two-week climate talks, "substance-wise we are not midway but sometimes at crossroads."

He said India was "determined" to ensure these talks are not like past climate summits, "where we all returned home with false optimism and fictitious hopes."

Government ministers take over the negotiations in Paris Monday after technical teams submitted a draft accord Saturday on tackling global warming over the long term.