Rallying cries at Paris Climate Conference
PARIS (AP) — Britain's Prince Charles has issued a rallying cry to world leaders to address climate change, describing it as the greatest threat faced by humanity.
Delivering the keynote to the U.N. climate conference, Charles urged world leaders Monday to think of their grandchildren in seeking a deal.
Echoing the sentiment offered by Winston Churchill to Battle of Britain pilots during World War II he argued that "rarely in human history have so many people around the world placed their trust in so few."
The heir to Britain's throne and champion of green causes told delegates: "I urge you to consider the needs of the youngest generation, because none of us has the right to assume that for our today they should give up their tomorrow."
President Barack Obama is calling the Paris climate talks an "act of defiance" by the world community following the Islamic State-linked attacks two weeks ago.
Obama says world leaders gathered near Paris for global climate talks have come to the French capital to show resolve. He's saluting Parisians for insisting the conference go on despite the attacks.
Obama says it proves that nothing will deter the world from building a future for its children. He says there's no greater rejection to those who want to tear down the world than to mount best efforts to save it.
Obama was also painting a dire picture of the future without aggressive action to curb carbon emissions. He was describing submerged countries, abandoned cities and fields that won't grow. He was also drawing a link to the refugee crisis and saying climate effects will lead desperate peoples to seek sanctuaries outside their home nations.
A UK-based network of artists has installed more than 600 artworks in advertising places across Paris as part of a protest campaign against the climate change talks.
Peter Marcuse, a member of the Brandalism network, told The Associated Press that it wants to "make the link between advertising and climate change."
He said "advertising is the engine of consumerism, telling us to buy more and more things regardless of the environment impact."
Without seeking permission, the eco-activists placed their artworks in advertising spaces owned by JC Decaux, "one of the world's largest outdoor advertising firms and an official sponsor to the COP21 climate talks."
Marcuse said other big corporate sponsors of the negotiations including "Engie, Renault-Nissan, and some banks like BNP Paribas have caused big pollution problems and can't present themselves as being part of the solution."
Brandalism said that the artworks, some of them mocking the conference's sponsors, were created by more than 80 artists from 19 countries.
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.
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."
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."
The French football federation says it wants to reduce the impact the sport can have on climate change.
In a partnership with the French agency in charge of environmental and energy-related issues, the soccer federation has issued guidelines for its members aimed at reducing pollution and carbon emissions.
"With one million matches played every year, 3 millions of kilometers (1.9 million miles) traveled every weekend, it is also football's responsibility to contribute to limit the impact of this activity on the environment," it said in a statement.
The federation has published an electronic guide available to its 18,000 clubs stressing for instance the need to resort to carpools at weekend matches across France or to save energy by using a reasonable amount of light on football pitches.
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.
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.
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.
The European Union's environment agency says air pollution remains the single largest environmental health risk in Europe, causing more than 430,000 premature deaths in 2012.
The agency says the data, based on monitoring points across Europe, shows that people living in cities are still exposed to air pollution of "levels deemed unsafe by the World Health Organization" and resulting in serious illnesses, including heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer.
Hans Bruyninckx, head of the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency said that air pollution also has "considerable economic impacts" by increasing medical costs and reducing productivity through lost working days.
The annual air quality report was released Monday as the U.N. climate conference opened in Paris, which aims to create a landmark agreement to fight global warming.
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.
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.
Paris police say 317 people were detained after an unauthorized protest seeking to call attention to climate change, which ended with police firing tear gas at protesters throwing bottles and candles.
The Paris police department had said Sunday night that 174 were detained in the protest, then said Monday morning that the figure had grown to 317. It did not give a reason for the growing number.
France is under a state of emergency after Nov. 13 attacks that killed 130 people. It banned protests ahead of landmark climate talks opening Monday, citing security concerns.
But thousands of people formed a human chain along the route of a long-planned environmental march Sunday. It was largely peaceful.
President Francois Hollande denounced the violence as "scandalous."
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.
Wide Paris-area highways usually packed with commuters are cordoned off to clear the way for President Barack Obama and 150 other world leaders joining critical talks about fighting global warming.
Riot police vans and plainclothes officers are stationed around the capital and the northern suburb of Le Bourget, where the U.N.-led climate conference is being held Nov. 30-Dec. 11.
The security measures are especially tight after Islamic extremists killed 130 people two weeks ago in Paris and targeted the national stadium Stade de France, near the climate conference venue.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and French President Francois Hollande will greet each of the leaders Monday morning then each will give a speech about what their countries are doing to reduce emissions and slow climate change.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.