WARSAW, Poland – The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan cast a gloom over U.N. climate talks Monday as the envoy from the Philippines broke down in tears and announced he would fast until a meaningful outcome is in sight.
Naderev Yeb Sano’s emotional appeal was met with a standing ovation at the start of two-week talks in Warsaw where more than 190 countries will try to lay the groundwork for a new pact to fight global warming.
U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres also made reference to the devastating impact of the typhoon in her opening speech, and urged delegates to go that extra mile in their negotiations.
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 it reins in the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming the planet.
We can fix this. We can stop this madness. Right now, right here, Sano told delegates in Warsaw.
Choking on his words, he said he was waiting in agony for news from relatives caught in the massive storm’s path, though 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, Sano said.