COP21: Asia’s role in the Paris climate talks
Share this on

COP21: Asia’s role in the Paris climate talks

PARIS (AP) — The latest news from the U.N. climate conference that began Monday in Paris containing relevant details about the role of Asia-Pacific nations at the conference, and how climate decisions in Paris may influence them. All times local:

___

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.

___

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.

___

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.

dump

A thick blanket of smoke is seen against the setting sun as young ragpickers search for reusable material at a garbage dump in New Delhi, India. Pic: AP.

___

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.

___

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.

___

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.

 

ChinaHebeiPollution

Miners shovel coal at a mine in China’s Hebei province. Pic: AP.

___

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.

___

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.”

___

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.”

___

 

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.

___

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.

Beijing-Pollution-Forbidden-City

Visitors walk through a hilltop park near the Forbidden City on a polluted day in Beijing, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. Pic: AP.

___

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.

 

___

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.

___

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.

 

___

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.