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Friday November 15th, 2019 9:19PM

The Latest: Greenpeace activists released in Slovakia

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

2:15 p.m.

Slovakia's prosecutor general has ruled that 12 Greenpeace activists who were kept in detention after protesting against a lignite mining company should be immediately released.

A county court in Prievidza ruled on Sunday that the activists would have to remain in custody until they are put on trial, saying they might continue illegal activity if released. But prosecutor Jaromir Ciznar says their detention was not justified.

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

Greenpeace called their detention unacceptable.

___

11:10 a.m.

Miners are celebrating their patron saint in the southern Polish city that's hosting U.N. climate talks.

Musicians began the "Barboka" Miners Day, dedicated to Catholic Saint Barbara, with a traditional sunrise concert Tuesday in the streets of Katowice.

The procession later moves to church for a Mass in honor of the patron saint.

Katowice has been a center of coal mining for more than a century.

Scientists say the use of coal, one of the most polluting fossil fuels, needs to be radically reduced by the middle of the century to curb global warming.

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10:50 a.m.

Five international banks are pledging to use the billions at their disposal to steer clients away from businesses that emit large amounts of greenhouse gases.

The banks, led by ING of the Netherlands, announced the plan Tuesday on the sidelines of the U.N. climate summit in Poland.

The Katowice Commitment, named after the city hosting the two-week summit, is also backed by BBVA, Standard Chartered, BNP Paribas and Societe Generale.

The banks, with a combined loan book of over 2.4 trillion euros ($2.72 trillion), say they want to support the Paris accord on curbing climate change.

Measures include developing tools to ensure lending is aligned with emissions-reduction goals and financing low-emissions technologies.

The banks say they won't exclude any clients but instead "work with them on their transition."

___

10:05 a.m.

Negotiators gathered for the U.N. climate talks in Poland are getting down to the nitty-gritty part of the two-week meeting.

Diplomats from almost 200 countries began holding a series of technical talks Tuesday aimed at finalizing the rules that define the 2015 Paris accord on curbing global warming.

Decisions on crunch issues are expected to be left to ministers when they return to the southern Polish city of Katowice next week.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a dramatic appeal to governments Monday to confront the threat of unchecked climate change.

Scientists say manmade emissions of greenhouses gases must be reduced to net zero by 2050 to stop catastrophic warming this century.

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

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