The Latest: Activists: Why are coal, oil firms at UN talks?

The Latest: Activists: Why are coal, oil firms at UN talks?
Smoke billows from a chimney in IJmuiden, Netherlands, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. The climate change conference, COP24, takes place in Katowice, Poland, from Dec. 2-14, 2018. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

KATOWICE, Poland (AP) — The Latest on the two-week U.N. climate meeting in Poland (all times local):

3:35 p.m.

Environmental activists are questioning the presence of coal, oil and gasoline companies at this year’s U.N. climate talks.

Pascoe Sabido of the Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory claimed Wednesday that firms responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions are getting access to negotiations and holding high-profile events during the U.N. climate talks in Poland.

Sabido accused companies such as Polish coal and gas firm Tauron, which is offering free rides around Katowice in electric cars, of using the event to “greenwash” their activities.

Activists noted the ties between energy companies and national or state governments at the conference lobbying on their behalf.

Sabido suggested there should be a “firewall” between corporations and delegates similar to the one that the World Health Organization established to prevent tobacco firms from influencing anti-smoking negotiations.

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2 p.m.

The United Nations says curbing climate change will have huge benefits for people’s health worldwide.

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that meeting the 2015 Paris accord’s goals would significantly cut global air pollution, saving a million lives each year by 2050.

Fossil fuels that produce air pollution, such as coal, gasoline and wood, are also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

In a report released at the U.N. climate summit in Poland, WHO said the savings on health expenditure will far outweigh the cost of tackling global warming.

WHO said climate change will also affect drinking water supplies, the level of nutrients in staple foods such as rice, and the likelihood of natural disasters, while measures to curb it, like promoting cycling over driving, have proven health benefits.