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Excerpt: "While scientists are careful not to connect any single weather event to climate change, it's clear that global warming is loading the dice for devastating events like Typhoon Haiyan. Rising seas, warmer waters and a warmer and wetter atmosphere, all contribute to supercharge storms like Haiyan and Hurricane Sandy."

The severe weather is on the rise, this photo is from last year. (photo: AP)
The severe weather is on the rise, this photo is from last year. (photo: AP)

Philippines Negotiator Ties Massive Typhoon to Global Warming


12 November 13


iplomats, negotiators and civil society representatives from around the world held their breath this afternoon at the United Nations Climate Talks in Warsaw, Poland, this afternoon as Yeb Sano, the lead negotiator for the Philippines, began to address the opening of the conference.

More than 10,000 people are feared dead in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which slammed into the Philippines this weekend, causing apocalyptic devastation across a number of islands.

While scientists are careful not to connect any single weather event to climate change, it's clear that global warming is loading the dice for devastating events like Typhoon Haiyan. Rising seas, warmer waters and a warmer and wetter atmosphere, all contribute to supercharge storms like Haiyan and Hurricane Sandy. Scientists have warned that extreme weather events will only increase in intensity and frequency if climate change is left unchecked.

Addressing the UN Climate Talks on behalf of the Philippines, Sano didn't hesitate to connect Typhoon Haiyan to climate change and the fossil fuel industry's role in fueling the crisis.

He began by thanking the global community, and especially young people, for the support and solidarity that they have shown the people of the Philippines.

"I thank the youth present here and the billions of young people around the world who stand steadfast behind my delegation and who are watching us shape their future," said Sano. "I thank civil society, both who are working on the ground as we race against time in the hardest hit areas, and those who are here in Warsaw prodding us to have a sense of urgency and ambition.

"We are deeply moved by this manifestation of human solidarity," Sano continued. "This outpouring of support proves to us that as a human race, we can unite; that as a species, we care."

Sano spoke of the terrifying devastation that Typhoon Haiyan has wrecked upon the Philippines, before connecting the dots directly to the climate crisis.

"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 you armchair," he said. "I dare you to go to the islands of the Pacific, the islands of the Caribbean and the islands of the Indian ocean and see the impacts of rising sea levels; to the mountainous regions of the Himalayas and the Andes to see communities confronting glacial floods, to the Arctic where communities grapple with the fast dwindling polar ice caps, to the large deltas of the Mekong, the Ganges, the Amazon and the Nile where lives and livelihoods are drowned, to the hills of Central America that confronts similar monstrous hurricanes, to the vast savannas of Africa where climate change has likewise become a matter of life and death as food and water becomes scarce."

"Not to forget the massive hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern seaboard of North America," Sano continued. "And if that is not enough, you may want to pay a visit to the Philippines right now. What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness."

Sano said that he identified with the young people and activists around the world who are standing up to the fossil fuel industry, protesting in the streets and committing civil disobedience. He shared their frustration and appreciated their courageous action. The same sort of leadership was necessary here in Warsaw, he said.

"We can take drastic action now to ensure that we prevent a future where super typhoons are a way of life," said Sano. "Because we refuse, as a nation, to accept a future where super typhoons like Haiyan become a fact of life. We refuse to accept that running away from storms, evacuating our families, suffering the devastation and misery, having to count our dead, become a way of life. We simply refuse to."

Sano then went off the prepared script of his remarks that were released to the media to announce that he would be commencing a voluntary fast.

"In solidarity with my countrymen who are struggling to find food back home and with my brother who has not had food for the last three days, in all due respect Mr. President, and I mean no disrespect for your kind hospitality, I will now commence a voluntary fasting for the climate. This means I will voluntarily refrain from eating food during this COP until a meaningful outcome is in sight."

Meaningful action, he explained would involve real commitments around climate finance.

"We call on this COP to pursue work until the most meaningful outcome is in sight," Sano said further. "Until concrete pledges have been made to ensure mobilization of resources for the Green Climate Fund. Until the promise of the establishment of a loss and damage mechanism has been fulfilled; until there is assurance on finance for adaptation; until concrete pathways for reaching the committed 100 billion dollars have been made; until we see real ambition on stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations. We must put the money where our mouths are."

"Let Poland, let Warsaw, be remembered as the place where we truly cared to stop this madness," Sano concluded. "Can humanity rise to this occasion? Mr. President, I still believe we can."

At the end of his speech, the entire room here at the negotiations rose to their feet in a standing ovation. As the applause continued for minute after minute, a chant started up up in the back of the room, "We stand with you! We stand with you!"

The Philippines, and Yeb Sano have become a voice for the billions of people around the world who are already feeling the impacts of climate change.and are worried about their and their children's future. Let's hope that not only the public, but our politicians, can find the courage to stand with him and all of those pushing for action here at the talks in Warsaw. your social media marketing partner


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+7 # Fishmonkey11 2013-11-12 09:36
I Stand With You!
+1 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-11-12 10:50
Bill Maher (OK, I love this guy) said trying to teach a Right Winger about global warming is like offering someone EX-LAX who has a cork up their "arse."
+3 # Glen 2013-11-12 11:51
This isn't the first time leaders and citizens have spoken out to attain action in areas where there are major storms, rising seas, melting permafrost, and all the rest of the obvious coming emergencies. Most have gone unheeded in favor of supporting government and corporate denial.

Those "on the ground" in various parts of the world, observing, suffering, having to move, suffering drought and general chaos with the climate, should have had a say in all this, years ago.
+2 # tigerlille 2013-11-12 12:25
A good man. Let us here in the United States remember that the ravages of nature being experienced largely in the third world, at this time, largely by our nation's disproportionat e use of scarce resources.
+1 # tigerlille 2013-11-12 12:27
Oops...I meant to say that climate warming was set in motion by our disproportionat e use of scarce resources.
0 # Charles3000 2013-11-12 19:20
It is silly to speak of an event being the result of or not being the result of global warming. We have just a single thermal system with one one set of parameters defining the statistics and the inflow and outflow of energy. All of our weather is defined by this system that has increased energy, elevated temperatures and greater retention of solar energy. Everything that occurs is the result of this present system and its properties. The old system is gone and has no effects whatsoever.
0 # bingers 2013-11-13 00:28
Would RSN please check out Care2 to see how you can have advertising without polluting your site? I love this site, but factors over the last few years have prevented me from donating lately.

That said, Climate change denial is like saying not eating is not a factor in starvation.
0 # itchyvet 2013-11-13 03:38
WOW ! Hang on a sec, the Philippines are smack dead center of a huge area that build these storms every season. In even mild storms, the whole place gets inundated with water and folks are flooded out of their homes, EVERY YEAR without fail.
The question I have is this , the Philippine Government over the years has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to combat the results of these storms. The evidence is obvious in the pictures of the 'before' locations, which are basically slums by the look of them. I would suggest some heads of the Philippine Govt need to roll as a result of this disaster.
0 # itchyvet 2013-11-13 03:48
Sorry for the double post, but it needs to be said, where are the plans of the Philippine Govt to wean it'self off the fossil fuel teat ? Where is their electric public transport system ? What incentives does their Govt offer their people to buy electric vehicles, solar panels ect, ect ? It's up to their Govt to lead by example, and the people will follow. However, the realities evident will show business as usual, OK, so few thousand died, tough business goes on.
Think I'm kiddin ? HAH, watch developments there and see for yourself.

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