Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Typhoon carnage in the Philippines spurs passion for poor at climate talks

Mary Sibierski in GMA News via AFP: Negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) rarely show on the public's radar, except perhaps in the scenes of bickering over who's to blame for global warming and who will foot the bill for it.

The talks are as complex as they are important, involving technical issues that lack color and emotion – and for many ordinary people, bewildering or mightily tedious. But this year's round in Warsaw has been jolted into life by the catastrophe that has struck the Philippines, providing a passionate reminder of the life-and-death issues that underpin the grinding UN process.

The spark has come from the Philippines' negotiator, Naderev Sano, whose father's home town is Tacloban, flattened by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). As the COP19 conference heads towards its climax, Sano told AFP Monday some his relatives had "perished" and that he was still waiting to hear whether others are dead or alive.

At the start of the 11-day talks, Sano won a standing ovation for a desperate appeal for countries to strike a deal to avert mass tragedies of this kind. Sano put his convictions on the line by going on "a water-only fast" for the duration of the meeting in solidarity with suffering Filipinos and to ramp up pressure on fellow negotiators....

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