Even though the Philippines has been hit by more than twenty typhoons this year, nothing could have prepared it for Typhoon Haiyan- called the strongest storm to ever hit land, by some.
The initial death toll of 10,000 is now, luckily, seen as an over-estimate- but communication services in the Filipino archipelago still lay in tatters. Millions of people have lost their homes as a consequence of the storm, farmers have lost their crops, and the Government of the Philippines is still trying to find an adequate response strategy. To make it worse, some areas of the Philippines had been affected by an earthquake only three weeks ago.
Bill McKibben from 350.org called on supporters to take action. He says "Governments are meeting in Warsaw the next two weeks for the annual UN climate negotiations. This ritual has dragged on for years without conclusion, largely because the great powers have done so little". "In short", he says "we need to let world leaders know that their inaction is wrecking the world". 350.org have set up an online petition that will be delivered to negotiators in Warsaw.
Warsaw and COP19 will certainly be the focus of Celsias' attention in the next two weeks. One of the people we will keep our eyes on is Yeb Sano, the representative from the Philippines, who has pledged to fast until negotiators begin to talk about reducing emissions in a serious light. He challenged everyone in Warsaw saying: "To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away from the comfort of your armchair". His speech can be found here.
In New Zealand Green co-leader Russel Norman was mocked because he read a part of Yeb Sano's speech in Parliament. Russel Norman and the Green Party are certain that climate change has contributed to the largest storm ever:
"Extreme weather events like Super Typhoon Haiyan will be more frequent with climate change. We need action at UN climate conf in Warsaw," Russel Norman said in a tweet on Monday.
But other members of parliament heckled and taunted him during his speech. And the media claim he politicised the situation by linking climate change to the disaster. Russel Norman had quoted the 5th IPCC report and upcoming events at COP19 in Warsaw.