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'Stop This Madness,' Tearful Filipino Pleads At Climate Talks

Nov 11, 2013

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His eyes filling with tears and his voice choking with emotion over the disaster inflicted on his country, the delegate from the Philippines pleaded at U.N. climate talks Monday for his colleagues from around the world to agree on ways to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists blame for global warming.

Distraught over the devastation wreaked on the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan, Yeb Sano also said he will fast during the Warsaw Climate Change Conference, which opened on Monday and is set to run through Nov. 22. Shortly after his remarks, which drew a standing ovation, Sano tweeted that he was on "DAY 1. #FastingForTheClimate."

As The Associated Press writes:

"Scientists say single weather events cannot conclusively be linked to global warming. Also, the link between man-made warming and hurricane activity is unclear, though rising sea levels are expected to make low-lying nations more vulnerable to storm surges.

"Nevertheless, extreme weather such as hurricanes often prompt calls for urgency at the U.N. talks. Last year Hurricane Sandy's assault on the U.S. east coast and Typhoon Bopha's impact on the Philippines were mentioned as examples of disasters the world could see more of unless the world reins in the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming the planet."

Sano drew a link between the Haiyan disaster and climate change. "We can fix this. We can stop this madness. Right now, right here," he said.

The Climate Change Conference is posting videos from its meetings here. A clip of Sano's emotional appeal hasn't yet been put up there, but at least one version is on YouTube here.

The AP adds that "though no major decisions are expected at the conference in Warsaw's National Stadium, the level of progress could be an indicator of the world's chances of reaching a deal in 2015. That's the new watershed year in the U.N.-led process after a 2009 summit in Copenhagen ended in discord."

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