The Latest: Virgin CEO says failure of Paris climate talks 'too horrible to contemplate'

LE BOURGET, France – The latest news related to the U.N. climate conference in Paris, which runs through Dec. 11. All times local:

4:50 p.m.

Richard Branson has renewed a call by business leaders for leaders to include a goal of reducing global emissions to “net zero” by 2050, meaning no more than the planet can absorb.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the Virgin Group chief executive said a failure to include such a commitment in the Paris climate talks underway until Dec. 11 would result in “an alternative too horrible to contemplate.”

Branson spoke after a meeting of business leaders who met to discuss the status of the week-old climate talks aimed at keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.5 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

Branson said he’s confident that government leaders “will bring in an agreement, but it most likely won’t go as far as the business world would like it to go.”


1:10 p.m.

California Gov. Jerry Brown is brushing off concerns that powerful industries are playing an outsize role in climate policy.

“We need companies of all kinds to collaborate to decarbonize our economy,” Brown said Sunday in Paris, where he is attending global talks toward an unprecedented accord on reducing man-made emissions that warm the planet.

He said it would be “rather impossible to even imagine” reducing emissions without engaging industry.

Brown has faced criticism from environmentalists for allowing continued hydraulic fracturing, and questions over state resources used to investigate the oil and gas potential of his family ranch. His aides have said the actions were legal.

Brown joined governors and other local leaders from around the world signing an accord Sunday to do more on a local level to reduce emissions and protect populations from global warming. Efforts by states and cities are seen as important experiments as governments try to reach an international climate agreement.


1:55 p.m.

U.S. actor and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has met with China’s chief climate negotiator at the climate talks in Paris.

Schwarzenegger said the U.S. and others need to work together with China to fight climate change.

He said the whole world is letting China produce their products and therefore sending the pollution to China, adding “it’s not them versus us, it’s more like how do we do this together?”

He also called on parties at the talks to be more “collaborative” and go beyond “political beliefs, ideology.”

Discussions continue in Paris Sunday ahead of the next high-level round of negotiations that begin on Monday.


1 p.m.

Pope Francis is appealing to those deciding on climate change measures to show courage by also fighting poverty.

Francis told faithful in St. Peter’s Square Sunday that “the two choices go together.” He said those at the Paris climate conference this week need to make every effort to lessen the impact of climate change while also fighting poverty “and making human dignity flourish.”

He is asking for prayers so that those making decisions on climate measures receive “the courage to always use as their criterion of choice the greater good of the human family.”

Quoting from his environment encyclical, Francis asked: “‘What kind of world do we want to leave those who come after us and to children who are growing up?'”