August 22, 2019, 16:26

The Latest: Greenpeace activists held for anti-coal action

The Latest: Greenpeace activists held for anti-coal action

The Latest on the U.N. climate talks taking place in Katowice, Poland (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

Greenpeace is condemning a court in Slovakia for ordering the continued detention of activists who protested a lignite mining company.

A county court in Prievidza ruled on Sunday that the 12 Greenpeace activists would have to remain in custody until they are put on trial, saying they might continue illegal activity if they are released.

The activists from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Finland and Belgium were arrested for displaying anti-coal mining banners on a mining tower in Novaky. The Slovakian court’s order came as negotiators from around the world assembled in neighboring Poland for two weeks of talks on curbing climate change.

Greenpeace says the 12 face unfounded criminal charges and could face prison terms of up to five years if they are convicted. It called their detention “unacceptable.”

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2:35 p.m.

The governor of Germany’s most populous state says it’s premature to set a firm date for phasing out the use of coal-fired power plants, as environmental campaigners are demanding.

North Rhine-Westphalia state governor Armin Laschet told Germany’s Funke media group that such a move shouldn’t be tied to the global climate conference starting in Katowice, Poland, on Sunday.

German officials had hoped to present a blueprint for the country’s exit from coal at the Dec. 2-14 meeting, but an expert committee postponed issuing its recommendations until next year.

Laschet says Germany’s decision to stop mining and burning lignite coal “must be considered seriously and decided with broad consensus.”

Laschet, whose state has large lignite mines, warned that even if a date for exiting coal is set, it should be reviewed in the 2030s to avoid jeopardizing electricity supplies.

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10 a.m.

Negotiators from around the world began two weeks of talks on curbing climate change Sunday, three years after sealing a landmark deal in Paris that set a goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Envoys from almost 200 nations gathered in Poland’s southern city of Katowice, a day earlier than originally planned, for the U.N. meeting that’s scheduled to run until Dec. 14.

Ministers and some heads of government are joining in Monday, when host Poland will push for a joint declaration to ensure a “just transition” for fossil fuel industries like coal producers who are facing closures as part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The meeting received a boost over the weekend, after 19 major economies at the G-20 summit affirmed their commitment to the 2015 Paris climate accord. The only holdout was the United States, which announced under President Donald Trump that it is withdrawing from the climate pact.

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Follow Frank Jordans on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/wirereporter

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Read more stories on climate issues by The Associated Press at https://www.apnews.com/Climate

Source: abcnews.go.com

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