Chinese official: Beijing smog shows need for clean energy

Chinese official: Beijing smog shows need for clean energy

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

3:30 p.m.

The head of China's delegation at U.N. climate talks says that the heavy smog in Beijing in recent days shows how significant it is for the country to transition to clean sources of energy.

p>Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative for climate change, told reporters that it's normal for countries in the process of industrialization "to be suffering from pollution problems."

He pointed to London, which had serious problems with smog linked to pollution from coal plants in the 20th century.

"That's why we are stressing a low-carbon development in a transition to a green economy," Xie said.

The latest bout of pollution in Beijing was the first to trigger a red alert under a two-year-old system. The smog has persisted despite the Chinese government's stated priority of cleaning up the legacy of pollution left from years of full-tilt economic growth. Most of the smog is blamed on coal-fired power plants, along with vehicle emissions, construction & factory work.

China is the world's top consumer of coal yet has moreover become a leader in renewable energy, with rapid expansion of wind & solar power.

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3:15 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he conferred with UN chief Ban ki-Moon on the state of global climate alter talks Tuesday.

Kerry is in Paris to attend U.N. climate talks aimed at producing an agreement by the end of the week to fight global warming.

Speaking after his meeting with Ban, Kerry said they "talked approximately where we are in the negotiations & the steps we need to take to be successful."

Ban "made some suggestions on things we are already focused on & trying to resolve," Kerry said.

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10:25 a.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is mocking climate alter doubters who downplay the effect of rising sea levels.

Speaking to a U.N. Foundation meeting in Paris on the health of the world's oceans, Kerry took his criticism a step further Tuesday, saying the refusal to recognize the threat is "insane" & "insulting to everything we learned in high school approximately science."

"We have people who still deny this: Members of the flat earth society who seem to believe that the ocean rise won't be a problem because the water will just spill over the edge," Kerry said to appreciative laughter from the audience that included U.N. Foundation founder Ted Turner.

Kerry is in Paris to attend U.N. climate talks aimed at producing an agreement by the end of the week to fight global warming.

While most scientists say man-made emissions are warming the planet & causing increasingly extreme weather, many Republicans in the U.S. Congress doubt climate alter is a serious problem, & worry that cutting emissions would injure U.S. industry & jobs.

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9:15 a.m.

The Vatican is lending itself to environmentalism with a special public art installation timed to coincide with the final stretch of climate negotiations in Paris.

On Tuesday night, the facade of St. Peter's Basilica will be turned into a massive backdrop for a photo light show approximately nature organized by several humanitarian organizations.

The initiative, featuring images by National Geographic & well-known photographers including Sebastiao Salgado, is similar to ones that used the U.N. headquarters & the Empire State Building in New York as backdrops.

Pope Francis has strongly backed the environmental cause, issuing a landmark encyclical in which he blasted the fossil-fuel-based economy for impoverishing much of humanity & destroying the planet.

Organizers offered the installation as a gift to Francis to mark his Holy Year of Mercy, which began Tuesday.

Source: “Associated Press”