The Philippines’ lead climate negotiator has told a UN conference that “climate madness” has to be stopped.
“What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw.”
The negotiator, Mr Yeb Sano, whose home town was devastated by super typhoon Haiyan, told the opening meeting of the UN Climate Change Convention in the Polish capital that he would start a voluntary fast until progress is made in negotiations.
"In solidarity with my countrymen who are struggling to find food back home, I will now commence a voluntary fasting for the climate…until a meaningful outcome is in sight."
In his address to the Climate Change Convention's 19th Conference of the Parties in Warsaw, the negotiator, Mr Sano, issued a stern challenge to skeptics: “To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away from the comfort of your armchair.”
“Science tells us that simply climate change will mean more intense tropical storms. As the earth warms up, that would include the oceans. The energy that is stored in the waters off the Philippines will increase the intensity of typhoons and the trend we now see is that more destructive storms will be the new norm.”
Mr Sano called for urgent action: “We may ask: ‘If not us, then who?’, ‘If not now, then when?’, ‘If not here in Warsaw, where?’
The UN Climate Change Conference began yesterday with calls for governments to harness the strong groundswell of action on climate change across all levels of government, business and society and make real progress here towards a successful, global climate change agreement in 2015.
In her opening speech Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) pointed to the sobering realities of climate change and the rise in extreme events that climate science has long predicted, including the devastating Typhoon Haiyan. She urged delegates to "win the Warsaw opportunity" in order to safeguard present and future generations.
"Political will and public support favour action now. A new universal climate agreement is within our reach. Agencies, development banks, investors and subnational governments are on board. The science from the IPCC is clear. Parties can lead the momentum for change and move together towards success in 2015,” Ms. Figueres said.
The UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw (11 to 22 November) is currently being attended by government delegates, representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations, research institutions and the media.
More than 100 Heads of State and Government and Ministers are scheduled to attend the high-level segment of the meeting, which begins on 19 November and ends with a decision-making plenary on 22 November.
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