The Latest: None satisfied with Paris draft, none rejects it

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Posted: Dec 09, 2015 5:02 PM
The Latest: None satisfied with Paris draft, none rejects it

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

11:00 p.m.

Just about all countries have reservations about the latest draft of a global agreement to fight climate change, though none has rejected it outright.

In a plenary session late Wednesday, delegates from India and Malaysia said the draft needs stronger commitments from wealthy nations to provide financial support for poor nations to cope with climate change. Malaysian negotiator Gurdial Singh Nijar said the help from rich countries so far amounts to "paltry dribbles."

Wealthy nations, which want the new agreement to apply to everyone, say there are too many paragraphs in the draft with one set of rules for rich countries and another for poor ones.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, hinted that it won't accept a long-term goal of keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) — a demand by island nations and other vulnerable countries.

There are two remaining scheduled day of talks, but the yearly U.N. negotiations rarely finish on time.

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8:50 p.m.

Hundreds of protesters have held a sit-in demonstration against a new draft agreement released Wednesday at the Paris climate talks.

Protester Kyle Gracey said "it is still not enough. It is not enough across the board. We are calling for much stronger action across the board."

The new draft leaves key issues unresolved just two days before the talks are due to end. It doesn't settle whether governments are aiming to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) above pre-industrial times or closer to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F).

Janet Redman, with the Institute for Policy Studies, said "I won't be surprised if the Paris deal does not deliver what we need. I think it's a travesty but it is not a surprise."

Some protesters chanted "what do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now!"

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6 p.m.

Island nations are keeping up the pressure on negotiators at the Paris climate talks for a strong accord against global warming.

Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga said a new draft accord released Wednesday is "looking good," but warned "the next few hours are extremely important." The talks are scheduled to end Friday.

He said he considers it an "achievement" that key issues are still in the latest draft, such as responsibility for damages caused by future climate change, even though the final language remains unresolved.

The foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, Tony De Brum, said he met with U.S. Republican members of Congress who warned that a Paris accord might not "fly at home."

De Brum, however, says "it has to fly ... there has to be commitment from everyone. It doesn't matter what party they belong to."

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3:45 p.m.

Negotiators have released a new, shorter draft of an international accord to fight global warming that removes many previous questions but leaves several key issues unresolved.

The talks in Paris are scheduled to end in two days. The draft document released by U.N. climate agency Wednesday is 29 pages, down from a 48-page version released Saturday.

It does not resolve the question of the long-term goal of the accord — whether it is to remove carbon emissions from the economy altogether, or just reduce them.

Nor does it settle whether governments are aiming to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) above pre-industrial times or closer to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F).

There are about 100 places where there are decisions still to be made — either multiple options in brackets, or blank spaces.

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3:35 p.m.

The host of Paris climate talks says negotiators have completed a new draft of a global climate accord, two days before the high-stakes conference is scheduled to end.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius distributed the draft to delegations on Wednesday. He said it's down to 29 pages, from a 48-page version released Saturday.

He said "three-quarters" of the brackets in the previous version have been deleted, meaning negotiators have come to agreement on some of the many sticking points.

Fabius said that "we've made progress but still a lot of work remains to be done."

The sticking points include how to define the obligations of countries in different stages of development in fighting climate change.

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2:55 p.m.

Star Wars heroes are trying to save Earth from getting too hot.

Activists dressed as Yoda and Storm Troopers appeared at the Paris climate conference Wednesday in one of many authorized protest stunts around the talks.

They're part of a push by the activist group Avaaz for governments to abandon oil, gas and coal in favor of renewable energy. That's one of the sticking points in the Paris talks, which run through Friday.

Amid a ubiquitous international promotional campaign before the Dec. 18 release of "The Force Awakens," the spirit of Star Wars appeared to be on many minds at the Paris conference — one security guard greeted visitors Wednesday with "may the force be with you."

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2:20 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is announcing that the United States will double its commitment to helping vulnerable nations adapt to climate change impacts such as increased extreme weather events.

Kerry says the U.S. will increase the amount of money it provides for climate adaption grants to $860 million from $430 million by 2020. The money will be part of an existing promise by wealthy countries to jointly mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate finance. Developing nations have been demanding more money for adaption in talks on a new global climate agreement in Paris.

The U.S. money, which must be approved by Congress, will help fund domestic weather services, tracking systems to better assist poorer nations in forecasting and coping with major storms and other extreme weather events.

It wasn't immediately clear whether this is money that has already been promised in other aid packages.

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2:15 p.m.

A coalition of rich and poor nations calling for a binding and ambitious global pact on climate change is emerging as a new, potentially powerful bloc in U.N. climate talks outside Paris.

The European Union has been taking the lead in recruiting countries to the alliance, which includes more than 100 countries, including small island nations and some African and Latin American countries. Major developing nations like China and India aren't part of it.

Though U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern referred to it as a "coalition of ambition" earlier this week, a negotiator for another developed country said the U.S. hadn't yet joined the group.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because the talks were ongoing, the negotiator said that the alliance is expected to announce common positions on crunch issues later Wednesday.

The negotiator said they include having a legally binding agreement with a reference to the desire by vulnerable nations to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees C, compared with pre-industrial times, as well as a commitment to review countries' climate targets every five years, starting before 2020.

There were still discussions with the U.S. about how to deal with climate finance for developing nations, the negotiator said.

—By Karl Ritter

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1:45 p.m.

Actor and climate activist Alec Baldwin says he wants to see an American oil company go out of business, and more attention paid to indigenous people in a global climate accord under negotiations in Paris.

Baldwin said that while he doesn't want to see mass U.S. job losses, "I'd love to see a major oil company go out of business in the United States. That would be a tremendous sign of progress," he told The Associated Press in an interview on the sidelines of the Paris climate talks.

He praised work of indigenous people "who can report what's really going on" with the planet's climate, thanks to NGOs providing them drone technology and cameras to post images and data online. "I'm more eager to rely on people like this ... than to rely on governments and industry."

Many U.S. lawmakers oppose a binding agreement in Paris to limit carbon emissions because they fear it would hurt U.S. industry and jobs.

Baldwin was in Paris to host the Equator Prize awards ceremony, a U.N.-sponsored event honoring people contributing to the fight against climate change and poverty. One winner was Farkhunda Ateel Siddiqi from Kabul, who described her work to reduce poverty and malnutrition after a remote province in northeastern Afghanistan had run out of traditional resources.

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12:15 p.m.

Climate conference organizers waiting to see the latest draft of the Paris climate accord will have to wait a bit longer: It's been delayed a few hours.

A French official says the draft, expected for release at 1 p.m. (1200 GMT), will not be released until at least 3 p.m. (1400 GMT). The official says negotiators are working to "harmonize" one or two points in the text.

The official, not authorized to be publicly named speaking about the high-stakes negotiations, would not elaborate on which points.

It's the first official delay in the negotiating process so far.

The two-week talks, the culmination of years of U.N. efforts to fight global warming, are scheduled to wrap up Friday. Sticking points have included how much of it should be legally binding, and what rich countries should do to help poor countries adapt and reduce climate change.

—By Angela Charlton

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9:45 a.m.

The Paris climate talks have a new visitor: a two-story-high, mechanically operated polar bear.

Activists from Greenpeace rolled the bear into the conference venue Wednesday morning. It's among many scattered protest actions around the two weeks of talks.

"We want the bear to represent everyone hoping in the next 72 hours" for a robust climate deal, said Greenpeace's Ben Stewart. The talks are scheduled to wrap up Friday night.

The same bear protested in front of the headquarters of Royal Dutch Shell as part of campaigns against oil drilling in the Arctic.

Activists are trying to call attention to melting glaciers, rising sea levels and other results of man-made emissions that contribute to global warming.