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A Heartbreaking Plea For Action On Climate Change From The Philippines Delegate
December 6, 2012
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The Doha Climate Change Conference (COP18) is wrapping up tomorrow after two weeks of talks in Doha, Qatar, and one delegate got emotional today as he pleaded with the assembled representatives to take action.

Naderev Saño, the lead negotiator of the Philippines delegation, spoke today about the tragedy that's unfolding in the Philippines after typhoon Bopha hit the island of Mindanao.

In his speech, he reminded the assembly of what's happening in the Philippines: "As we sit here in these negotiations, even as we vacillate and procrastinate here, the death toll is rising. There is massive and widespread devastation. Hundreds of thousands of people have been rendered homeless."

About halfway through, he paused, and spoke through tears:

"I appeal to the whole world, I appeal to leaders from all over the world, to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face. I appeal to ministers. The outcome of our work is not about what our political masters want. It is about what is demanded of us by 7 billion people.

"I appeal to all, please, no more delays, no more excuses. Please, let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around. Please, let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to find the will to take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?"

You can see video of the whole speech on the Guardian.

The situation is grim on the island of Mindanao.

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Bopha has killed hundreds (the official toll is 379 as of this afternoon, and nearly 400 people are still missing), and left thousands of people homeless.

The storm is unusual - typhoons don't usually hit this far south in the Philippines. A rare storm in the south last December killed more than 1,200 people.

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The COP18 Climate Change Conference is a meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, the countries that signed on to the Kyoto agreement in 1997.

Kyoto is set to expire at the end of 2012. The goal of the conference is to come up with a new framework to tackle climate change in the coming years.

It doesn't sound like things are going too well.

According to Barbara Lewis and Alister Doyle of Reuters, talks are "on the brink of collapse."

Their report says that during today's proceedings, "bickering over when rich nations will step up aid towards a promised $100 billion by 2020 to help developing nations tackle the effects of climate change threatened to derail" the talks.

Some governments have expressed willingness to make further legally binding cuts in emissions until 2020 - the European Union, Australia, Ukraine, Norway and Sweden have all stepped forward.

But those countries account for less than 15 per cent of world emissions.

Canada has pulled out of Kyoto entirely, along with Russia and Japan. All three countries claim it doesn't make sense to continue when emerging nations like China and India have no binding emissions goals.

Related:

New World Bank Report Aims To "Shock Us Into Action" On Climate Change

New Report Says Many Of The World's Natural Disasters In 2011 Were The Worst Ever; Is It Because Of Climate Change?

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hit Record High In 2011; Will Remain In Atmosphere For Centuries

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