New UN global warming talks open
Published 11/11/2013 | 11:31
United Nations climate talks meant to lay the groundwork for a new pact to fight global warming have opened in Warsaw with t housands of delegates from nations and environment organisations from around the world
UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said the typhoon which has devastated the Philippines was a "sobering reality" fact.
Scientists say there is no conclusive link from a single storm to global warming. And the link between warming and hurricane activity is unclear.
However, rising sea levels are expected to make low-lying nations more vulnerable to storm surges.
And extreme weather such as hurricanes often prompts calls for urgency at the UN talks. Last year Hurricane Sandy's assault on the US east coast and Typhoon Bopha's impact on the Philippines were mentioned as examples of disasters the world could see more of unless it reins in the greenhouse gas emissions that some scientists say are warming the planet.
The envoy from the Philippines broke down in tears and announced he would fast until a "meaningful outcome is in sight."
Naderev "Yeb" Sano said: "We can fix this. We can stop this madness. Right now, right here."
Choking on his words, he said he was waiting in agony for news from relatives caught in the storm's path, although he was relieved to hear his brother had survived.
"In the last two days he has been gathering bodies of the dead with his own two hands," he said.
"In solidarity with my countrymen who are struggling to find food back home ... I will now commence a voluntary fasting for the climate," he added. "This means I will voluntarily refrain from eating food during this (conference) until a meaningful outcome is in sight."
On the sidelines of the conference, climate activists called on developed countries to step up their emissions cuts and their pledges of financing to help poor countries adapt to rising seas and other impacts of climate change.
Tense discussions are also expected on a proposed "loss and damage" mechanism that would allow vulnerable countries to get compensation for climate impacts that it's already too late to adapt to.
Although 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, the new watershed year in the UN-led process after a 2009 summit in Copenhagen ended in discord.