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The Latest: Catholic pilgrims bear climate change warning

December 10, 2018
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Swedish young activist, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg, right, speaks to climate activists during the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, as the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference takes place in the city. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

KATOWICE, Poland (AP) — The Latest on climate talks taking place in Poland (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

A dozen Roman Catholic pilgrims have arrived at an ongoing U.N. climate summit in Poland after walking hundreds of miles across Europe.

The pilgrims were greeted Monday by the head of the U.N. climate office, Patricia Espinosa, who thanked them for raising awareness of the impacts of climate change.

Joanna Sustento said her parents, brother, sister-in-law and 3-year-old nephew were killed in Typhoon Haiyan, the 2013 typhoon that devastated the Philippines. Scientists say a warmer world makes for stronger hurricanes.

Sustento said: “I hope that we do not wait for another catastrophe to happen, for us to really fully commit and take action on climate.”

Some of the pilgrims spent more than two months walking to Katowice, Poland from Rome, covering a distance of about 1,500 kilometers (nearly 950 miles.)

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6:05 p.m.

Saudi Arabia says more research is needed to understand “gaps” in scientific understanding of global warming, amid criticism of its negotiating stance at this year’s U.N. climate talks.

The kingdom issued a statement Monday saying it recognized the efforts of scientists who worked on a landmark report about the Paris accord’s target of keeping temperature rises at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.)

But the oil-rich nation said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report “still requires further research and analysis in order to address these gaps.”

Saudi Arabia was among four countries — along with Russia, Kuwait and the United States — that blocked a motion Saturday to welcome the IPCC report during the two-week talks in Katowice, Poland.

The move prompted criticism from other governments and environmental groups. The issue is likely to come up again as soon as Tuesday.

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2:45 p.m.

The president of the U.N. climate talks taking place in Poland says their success lies with the determination of almost 200 participating nations, not with him.

Poland’s Deputy Environment Minister Michal Kurtyka was criticized Monday by the environmental group Greenpeace International, which said he was not doing enough to ramp up the meeting’s ambitions to curb global warming.

Kurtyka told a news conference at the talks’ venue in Katowice, that their success is in the hands the nations.

He said the role of the presidency is to “make sure that the (negotiating) process is transparent, is inclusive, is taking everybody on board.”

He said the presidency was doing its utmost to build bridges and that his “deepest wish” was for success.

“It is in the hands of parties and it will be a success of (the) parties or it will be our collective failure,” Kurtyka said.

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1:50 p.m.

Indigenous and youth groups are protesting an event on fossil fuels hosted by the American delegation at the U.N. climate talks.

The groups disrupted the start of the event on Monday, chanting “keep it in the ground” — a reference to ending the extraction of coal, oil and natural gas.

The United States government has announced it is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate accord, but has sent a small delegation to the summit in Poland because the U.S. technically is still part of the agreement.

The protest by about 100 people mirrored a similar action taken during a U.S.-hosted panel at last year’s climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

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1:05 p.m.

The executive director of environmental group Greenpeace International is criticizing the way Poland is presiding over the U.N. climate talks.

Jennifer Morgan said Monday the chair of the summit isn’t doing enough to ensure countries discuss ramping up their ambition to curb global warming.

Poland’s deputy environment minister, Michal Kurtyka, faces a difficult task during the two-week talks in Katowice, bridging the differences of almost 200 countries.

Morgan told reporters on the sidelines of the summit that her organization is “deeply concerned about how he is running these negotiations.”

Citing a public bust-up Saturday over whether to endorse a scientific report on keeping global warming at the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), Morgan urged Kurtyka to establish a dedicated working group that will send an ambitious signal about the world’s willingness to tackle climate change.

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12:20 p.m.

An environmental group says at least 14 foreigners have been detained or deported by Poland’s Border Guard since the start of the U.N. climate conference in the Polish city of Katowice.

Svitlana Romanko of the 350.org group said Monday those deported were from Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Germany.

A border guard spokeswoman, Agnieszka Golias, said earlier that 161 people were banned from entering Poland on Saturday, when some 3,000 protesters marched through Katowice to urge more action against climate change.

Romanenko accused Polish authorities of “using repressive powers” and said the U.N. should pressure Warsaw to make sure that civil society activists can take part in the climate meeting.

Border Guards say a temporary measure put in place for the climate conference bars entry to people who potentially pose a security problem.

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11:20 a.m.

Groups that monitor countries’ performance in tackling climate change say Sweden remains top of the league, while the United States has dropped in the index.

The Climate Change Performance Index released Monday on the sidelines of a U.N. summit on global warming has no countries in the top three ranks because none does well in all categories assessed.

But Sweden took the best spot, fourth, as last year, while Morocco’s efforts to ramp up renewable energy pushed it up a notch to fifth place.

The European Union as a whole rose from 21st to 16th place, but its biggest economy, Germany, fell from 22nd to 27th because of its reliance on lignite coal, a big source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The New Climate Institute, Climate Action Network and Germany, which produced the index, said the U.S. dropped from 56th to 59th place due to high emissions and poor ratings for the federal government’s policies.

Saudi Arabia came last, in 60th place, partly due to its obstructive role during international climate negotiations.

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6 a.m.

Some 415 asset managers, including major pension funds and insurance companies, are calling on governments to phase out coal-fired power plants and put a meaningful price on carbon to help tackle climate change.

The funds, with over $32 trillion in assets, issued their appeal Monday as ministers gathered in Katowice, Poland, for the second week of a U.N. climate summit.

Burning fossil fuels such as coal is a major source of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, and scientists say it needs to end by the middle of the century to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit).

The United States has announced it is pulling out of the 2015 Paris climate accord. It is hosting an event at the U.N. talks to promote innovative fossil fuel technology.

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This item has been corrected to show the number of investors backing call for coal phase-out is 415, not over 450.

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