PH climate delegate vows to fast for UN Action
by FFE PH News staff
The Philippines’ lead negotiator to the UN Warsaw Climate Change Conference made an impassioned appeal before his fellow delegates on Monday, prompting urgent action among stakeholders in working towards a new pact to fight global warming.
Naderev ‘Yeb’ Sano appealed to the conference to act on the climate crisis ‘right now, right here.’ He said he spoke on behalf of those who lost their lives during the super typhoon, and called on the international community to ‘stop this madness.’
Sano choked back tears as he said he was waiting for news from relatives who were caught in the typhoon’s path. He added that ‘Typhoons such as Haiyan and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action.’
He also gave an unscripted pledge during his speech, saying ‘In solidarity with my countrymen who are struggling to find food back home … I will now commence a voluntary fasting for the climate.
‘This means I will voluntarily refrain from eating food during this (conference) until a meaningful outcome is in sight.’
The normally serious atmosphere of the conference was transformed as Sano’s speech was met with a wave of sympathy and received with a standing ovation. The conference offered three minutes of silence in memory of the victims of the typhoon.
Prior to Sano’s speech, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres opened the meeting by saying that Haiyan was a ‘sobering reality’ of the impact of global warming and urged the delegates to ‘go that extra mile’ in the negotiations.
She also reminded the conference that climate change was not a game, saying ‘There are no winners and losers, we all either win or lose in the future we make for ourselves.’
Lead negotiator Olai Ngedikes for the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis) added that the typhoon served as a glaring reminder of ‘the cost of inaction’ which should motivate work towards a ‘mechanism on loss and damage’ to address the climate crisis.
Actions that would address climate change have been urged in the past years in the wake of thurricane Sandy in the US and typhoon Bopha in the Philippines. Despite the renewed calls for action prompted by the devastation of super typhoon Haiyan, no major decisions are expected to come from the Warsaw conference. However, any progress made during the conference may be a crucial factor towards the development of a new deal by 2015.