Big investors call for carbon price, end to coal power


KATOWICE, Poland (AP) — Protesters disrupted a U.S. government event at United Nations climate talks Monday, criticizing the Trump administration’s policy of backing the extraction of fossil fuels that contribute to global warming.

About 100 people from groups representing indigenous peoples and youth stood up and chanted “Keep it in the ground” near the beginning of the American presentation. As cameras swarmed around them, some of the protesters explained the extraction of coal, oil and natural gas affects their communities.

The U.S. event, titled “U.S. Innovative Technologies Spur Economic Dynamism,” took place on the sidelines of the ongoing U.N. meeting in Katowice, Poland. After several minutes, the activists left the room chanting “Shame on you.” Their actions mirrored a similar protest during a U.S.-hosted panel at last year’s U.N. climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

Wells Griffith, a Trump administration adviser at the Department of Energy, said after the interruption that the United States would continue extracting fossil fuels, including through hydraulic fracking. Speaking at the event, Griffith warned against “alarmism” over climate change, adding that “all energy sources are important, and they will be utilized unapologetically.”

The panel’s premise — that fossil fuels can be made “clean” through innovation — stands at odds with recommendations from scientists who say countries should transition to renewable energy sources as soon as possible or risk catastrophic levels of global warming by the end of the century.

Missing 17-Year-Old Girl Found Dead After 'Devastating, Mind-Blowing' Discovery Next Door Brings Months-Long Search to an End

Investors, too, have backed a shift away from fossil fuels. On Monday, 415 pension funds and insurance companies, with over $32 trillion in assets, called on governments to phase out coal-fired power plants and put a meaningful price on carbon to help tackle climate change.

Jan Erik Saugestad, the chief executive of Storebrand, a Norwegian fund that manages $85 billion in assets, said even highly efficient coal plants are highly damaging to the environment and carbon capture technology — touted by some as a way to pull emissions out of the air again — isn’t economical.

“Investors are not going to be sold fake news on coal, which seeks to mask the rapid decline of the U.S. coal industry and disregards the solar and wind growth markets,” said Saugestad.

Even as the Trump administration promoted coal abroad, new figures show coal consumption by the U.S. power grid this year will be the lowest since 1979 as a wave of coal-fired power plants shut down.

Andrew Light, a former U.S. State Department official, said the U.S. event was unlikely to affect the landmark Paris agreement to limit global warming.

Most of the world’s countries are signatories to the 2015 agreement, while President Donald Trump has said he will withdraw the United States from it.

“This event has the audience of one person and that is President Trump,” said Light, who is now a senior adviser with the environmental group World Resources Institute.

He said the U.S. government’s arguments were more likely to upset than win over other governments represented at the talks in Katowice.

Over the weekend, the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait prevented endorsement of a scientific report on keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) — the most ambitious target in the 2015 Paris climate accord. The State Department said U.S. officials didn’t discuss their position in advance with the other countries.

Hackers Affiliated with US Adversary Have Breached Critical Systems Across Multiple States, Feds Say

Washington sent a small delegation to the summit in Poland because the U.S. is technically still part of the accord.

Ministers and senior officials arrived Monday in Katowice for the second half of the meeting, which still has numerous hurdles to take before the scheduled end on Dec. 14.

Michal Kurtyka, the Polish official who is presiding over the talks, said Monday it was his “deepest wish” to have a successful conclusion.

“It is in the hands of parties and it will be a success of (the) parties or it will be our collective failure,” he said.


This story has been corrected to show the number of investors backing call for coal phase-out was 415, not over 450.


Follow Frank Jordans on Twitter at


Read more stories on climate issues by The Associated Press at

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City