The Latest: Charities offer to kick-start climate aid fund

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — The latest on the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow:

GLASGOW, Scotland — Several charities are offering to provide funds to kick-start a separate and independent mechanism for rich countries to support vulnerable nations from climate change.

The groups say in a statement that they will contribute an initial $3 million to start with for the “Glasgow Loss and Damage Facility”’ — effectively a vehicle to give money to poor nations for irreversible damages from climate shocks.

This proposed separate fund is one of the crucial stumbling in negotiations, with rich nations opposing it.

The non-profit Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the European Climate Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and others are inviting all nations and financial institutions to lend support to the fund.

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GLASGOW, Scotland — Climate talks in Glasgow are at a “bit of a stalemate” and the United States, with support from the European Union, is holding back talks, according to Lee White, the Gabonese minister for forests and climate change.

White said Friday there’s a lack of trust between rich and poor nations over payments from rich countries to the poor for damage from the worst effects of global warming, funds for adapting to climate change and carbon markets.

Developing nations went to a meeting Thursday thinking they had come to an agreement to create an independent fund for loss and damage finance. But Gabon’s White said rich countries weren’t ready and felt that they hadn’t been consulted enough. “They said, we never agreed to that. It won’t work. It’s too complicated.”

White said rich countries are reluctant to create a new fund, and developing nations feel that existing climate finance mechanisms are already overstretched. “So, we’re at a bit of a stalemate … The U.S. is reluctant to give money for adapting to climate finance, and want it to be purely voluntary.” White added that the EU is supporting the American stance.

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GLASGOW, Scotland — As the clock hit 6 p.m. in Glasgow, government negotiators were still hard at work, seeking consensus on thorny issues including the future of fossil fuels and money for poor countries to handle the effects of climate change.

Running late is nothing unusual for the U.N. negotiations. The previous climate conference, in the Spanish capital of Madrid in 2019, went well beyond its Friday evening deadline, ending on the following Sunday.

How long the Glasgow talks will continue is anyone’s guess, but many delegates are preparing for a long night Friday.

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LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says coming up with more money for countries at greatest risk from climate change is key to securing a deal at the United Nations’ COP26 conference in Glasgow.

As negotiators strained to reach consensus among almost 200 nations, Johnson said the developing world “needs to see the cash on the table.”

He said: “That’s what needs to happen in the next few hours. People need to see that there’s enough cash to make a start, and there’s enough commitment to make a start.”

Johnson, who is not in Glasgow, said he is pressing world leaders to do more. He spoke Friday with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

He urged countries to agree to the draft text of the final summit agreement, which is still being tweaked. The conference is scheduled — but unlikely — to end at 6 p.m. (1800GMT) on Friday.

“We either find a way of agreeing it or we risk blowing it,” Johnson said.

He said: “If they can have the courage to do this deal, to agree the cover decision that’s on the table today, then we will have a road map that will enable us to go forward and start to remove the threat of anthropogenic climate change.”

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GLASGOW, Scotland — While the word “urges” may sound more pressing on its face than “requests,” it’s the other way around in the diplomatic language used at the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow.

That’s why environmental activists applauded when the latest draft of a potential summit agreement had the section on nations setting new national emission-cutting goals in 2022 presented as something that merited an updated emphasis, with “requests” in place of “urges.”

Environmental Defense Fund Vice President Kelley Kizzier, who used to be a lead negotiator on carbon markets for the European Union, said the definitional distinction confused her when she first got involved in negotiations, but now it’s just part of the lingo to her.

“It’s quite a passive-aggressive place,” she said.

“You know in common English, ‘urge’ is stronger,” Kizzier said. But diplomats told her “request” is like a legal requirement, which is stronger than encouragement “urge” carries, she said.

Within the context of the closing days of the Glasgow conference, the change would represent a big move, if it stays in the final decision, she said.

In 2015, negotiators debated about requiring new emission-cutting targets in five to 10 years. Now, they are talking about one year, Kizzier said.

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GLASGOW, Scotland — U.S. climate secretary John Kerry says his country is backing part of a draft U.N. climate deal that calls for phasing out use of “unabated” coal and ending at least some fossil fuel subsidies by governments.

Kerry spoke to fellow national delegations in the closing hours of the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland on Friday, laying out the U.S. take on what should be in the final agreement by about 190 governments.

Kerry supported one of the most-talked-about new provisions in the draft deal — a statement that would encourage governments to stop the dirtiest-burning kind of coal-fired power plants and “inefficient” subsidies to fossil fuel industries.

Climate groups welcome the explicit targeting of climate-wrecking fossil fuels in the draft. But like a lot of the terms being debated, it’s not clear just what negotiators mean by “unabated.” That could range from standard scrubbers on smokestacks to cutting-edge technology.

“We’re not talking about eliminating” coal, Kerry told fellow climate diplomats. Referring to coal’s particularly damaging impact on the environment, he asked, “how could we possibly in 2021, knowing what the evidence is, be wishy washy on that subject?”

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GLASGOW, Scotland — The European Union’s climate chief says clinching an agreement is a “personal” issue for negotiators at the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow because it will affect the lives of their children and grandchildren.

Frans Timmermans told fellow negotiators on Friday that he had received a picture of his grandson in the morning.

“If we succeed, he’ll be living in a world that’s livable,” Timmermans said. “If we fail, and I mean fail now in the next couple of years, he will fight with other human beings for water and food. That’s the stark reality we face.”

“This is personal,” he stressed, noting that the consequences of climate change would be even more dire for representatives of low-lying Pacific islands and other nations vulnerable to flooding “because you’re standing with your feet in the water.”

Timmermans called for “strong action on coal power and subsidies for fossil fuels” to be included in the final agreement, and called for holding all major emitters accountable.

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GLASGOW, Scotland — U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and European Commission climate official Frans Timmermans have huddled for about an hour with diplomats of island nations whose survival is threatened by rising oceans.

Negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland on the world’s next moves in response to global warming entered their final hours Friday.

Many of the island nations at risk of disappearing under water under the current track of global warming are among the blocs pressing hardest to resolve some of the key debated points in the negotiations. Those include cutting fossil fuel pollution fast and soon enough to sharply rein in the Earth’s warming, and demands for the U.S. and other developed nations historically responsible for much of climate change to provide financial aid to developing countries.

In a statement, diplomats of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific said sticking to an emissions-cutting target that would allow theirs and other island nations to survive must be the “North star” for any deal.

They also demanded an end to government subsidies for fossil fuels, and doubling of financial support to help less-developed nations deal with climate change.

Kerry went out a different door after the talks and did not speak to reporters. Timmermans, asked about his mood on the last day of scheduled talks, pulled down his face mask to show his smile.

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GLASGOW, Scotland — Alok Sharma, the British official presiding over this year’s U.N. climate talks, has dismissed suggestions that he is trying to ratchet up pressure on negotiators in an effort to get them to seal a deal at the Glasgow meeting.

“I think people have sometimes described me as ‘no drama Sharma’,” he said Thursday, barely cracking a smile.

Sharma said the draft agreements already circulated showed that “a lot has been achieved.”

“But we are still some way away from finalizing those very critical issues which have been outstanding,” he added. “And I don’t think we can overemphasize how difficult this is. If it was easy we would have resolved this over the past six years.”

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