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Philippines warn Typhoon Bopha heralds new age of climate disasters

The head of climate change in the Philippines says the world is at a “critical juncture” and that it only has a few hours left to avert the development of dangerous climate change.

Addressing the main plenary in Doha, Naderev M. Saño reminded delegates that the death toll from Typhoon Bopha, which struck the Philippines earlier this week, was 300 and rising fast.

A World Bank report released ahead of the summit predicted that current emission pledges could lead to the world warming by 4C, a rise which scientists believe will lead to an dramatic increase in extreme weather conditions.

Saño’s speech received the longest and loudest applause of the morning – we have republished it in full below.


Madam Chair,

Thank you for giving me the floor. I wish to make a statement on behalf of my own country.

At the onset, let me fully support the statement made by Algeria on behalf of G77 and China.

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, its 7,100 islands, and 100 million people. I also speak on behalf of the hundreds who have perished in the tragedy back home.

Let me thank you, Madame Chair, your Vice-Chair and your facilitators, for guiding us with the work that has resulted in progress on many of the key issues. I thank the secretariat as well for the support they have provided for our work in the AWG-KP. I wish to also thank Parties who have earnestly worked hard toward arriving at an ambitious successful outcome here in Doha. I do sincerely thank Parties and groups of Parties who have remained sincere, including those Annex I Parties who remain sincere in sustaining the KP regime.

Let me also take this opportunity to thank the many Parties, organizations from civil society, individuals, friends and colleagues, and youth organizations who have expressed solidarity for the Philippines in this very trying times for my country. I wish to specially thank the youth organizations who have profoundly touched our hearts for standing with us.

We are deeply concerned about where we stand now. Have we done enough? Have we managed to give justice to what the world demands of us? Have we honored the package we got out of Durban? Do we see a glass half full? A glass half empty? Or an empty glass altogether?

Naderev M. Saño, Commissioner, Philippines Climate Change Commission

While we have seen substantial progress in the development of the text we have in front of us, this text remains reflective of a wide divergence among Parties, especially still fraught with options that fail to respond to the realities that we face.

Developing countries have put forward concrete proposals, and have painstakingly worked on arriving at a common ground on many issues, including the ambition mechanism, carry-over of surplus AAUs, eligibility, provisional application, and numbers, in the earnest endeavor to make the 2nd commitment period a meaningful one, a 2nd commitment period that can provide the crucial basis for further enhancing global ambition.

We are likewise worried in terms of how we move progress in the work under the various negotiating fronts, most importantly on how we ensure that we pursue high level of ambition for the second commitment period of KP, and ensure means of implementation to enhance global ambition, both for mitigation and adaptation.

We are worried, also because of the context of what is happening in other tracks in relation to ambition and means of implementation, especially on finance, but to include all the important issues of adaptation, technology, capacity building.

This day marks a very crucial moment. We are 25 days away from the end of the 1st CP of KP. But we don’t really have 25 days. We have a few precious hours left. We are at a critical juncture.

The next few hours represent a crucial opportunity for us to ensure that we are on the right trajectory to address the climate crisis. KP is the linchpin of success here in Doha, and the cornerstone of ambition, if not the whole multilateral regime. Failure is simply not acceptable.

We have made ourselves believe that a successful ambitious outcome in KP is within reach. Under your able guidance, and with the hard work of your Vice-Chair and your facilitators, this may be in sight. However, as we close this AWG, ambition continues to elude us.

An important backdrop for my delegation is the profound impacts of climate change that we are already confronting. As we sit here, every single hour, 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 without homes. And the ordeal is far from over, as Typhoon Bopha has regained some strength as it approaches another populated area in the western part of the Philippines.

Madam Chair, we have never had a typhoon like Bopha, which has wreaked havoc in a part of the country that has never seen a storm like this in half a century. And heartbreaking tragedies like this is not unique to the Philippines, because the whole world, especially developing countries struggling to address poverty and achieve social and human development, confront these same realities.

Finally, Madam Chair, I speak on behalf of 100 million Filipinos, a quarter of a million of whom are eking out a living working here in Qatar. And I am making an urgent appeal, not as a negotiator, not as a leader of my delegation, but as a Filipino.

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 ?

Thank you Madam Chair

Naderev M. Saño
Commissioner
Climate Change Commission

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