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Tuesday November 21st, 2017 8:34PM

The Latest: Marshal Islands urges Merkel to halt coal use

By The Associated Press
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BONN, Germany (AP) — The Latest on the global climate talks taking place in Germany (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

The president of the low-lying Marshall Islands is urging German Chancellor Angela Merkel to end her country's use of coal.

Germany gets about 40 percent of its electricity from coal, a major obstacle to meeting the country's goal for curbing planet-heating emissions of carbon dioxide.

Merkel will speak Wednesday at international climate talks in Bonn, Germany, and environmental campaigners hope she'll announce a deadline for phasing out coal by 2030.

Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine said Tuesday such an announcement "would be a signal of hope for my country and for every vulnerable country around the world."

Scientists say the Pacific nation is only about two meters (6 1/2 feet) above sea level and may disappear beneath the waves unless global warming remains well below 2 degrees Celsius.

___

6 p.m.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is going to fly across Germany on Wednesday to attend the global climate conference, a decision that runs counter to the event's emphasis on sustainable transportation.

The German government's own website for the talks in Bonn urges people to "avoid flights if there is a more environmentally friendly way of getting there" and notes "short flights are especially harmful to the environment."

Merkel's office confirmed Tuesday to The Associated Press that she will make the 500-kilometer (311-mile) journey by plane, citing her need to attend negotiations in Berlin on forming a new government before and after the 11-minute speech in Bonn.

Merkel's office said the German government funds environmental projects to compensate for carbon emissions from official travel.

Environment minister Barbara Hendricks traveled to Bonn by train.

___

3:50 p.m.

Climate activists say a report showing oil use will continue to rise for over two decades is too pessimistic, but highlights the need for more action to combat climate change.

The report released Tuesday by the International Energy Agency predicts oil demand will keep growing until 2040 even as the price of solar power falls.

Reducing the use of fossil fuels is a key demand from activists and many governments taking part in the global climate talks in Bonn, Germany, this week.

Lauri Myllyvirta, an energy analyst at Greenpeace, says the Paris-based IEA's report is "absurdly pessimistic about renewables." She says similar forecasts have proven wrong in the past.

Myllyvirta said international targets to curb global warming and reduce deaths from air pollution nevertheless require a greater commitment to renewable energy sources.

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3:40 p.m.

Brazil says the rate of deforestation in its Amazon conservation areas fell by 28 percent over the past year, the second lowest level in decades.

The Latin American nation says satellite data show 159 square kilometers (61 square miles) of protected rainforest were destroyed in the 12 months ending July 2017.

That compares with a loss of 221 square kilometers of protected Amazon rainforest in the previous year.

Brazil is under pressure to clamp down on deforestation, much of it illegal, because the Amazon is plays a key role in soaking up carbon emissions and preserving biodiversity.

The announcement Tuesday on the sidelines of a global climate conference in Bonn, Germany, comes as Britain and Germany pledged $81 million and $72 million respectively to combat deforestation in the Amazon region.

___

11:20 a.m.

Microsoft says it aims to cut carbon emissions generated from its operations by 75 percent by 2030, from 2013 levels.

The software giant's pledge Tuesday on the sidelines of global climate talks in Bonn, Germany, reflects the kinds of efforts large businesses are making to help curb climate change, which is largely caused by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

Microsoft has already cut its emissions from 900,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2013 to about 230,000 tons this year, taking it a long way toward the stated goal for 2030.

But its electricity requirements will grow as the company expands its business, particularly in the field of cloud computing. The Redmond, Washington-based company said it wants to lower emissions by sharply increasing its use of renewable energy.

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