An Emotional, Powerful Speech On Climate Change

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My country is being tested by this hellstorm called super typhoon Haiyan. We remain uncertain as to the full extent of the damage and devastation as information trickles in in an agonizingly slow manner because power lines and communication lines are cut off and may take a while before they are restored. The initial assessment shows that Haiyan left a wake of massive destruction that is unprecedented, unthinkable and horrific. And the devastation is staggering. I struggle to find words even for the images that we see on the news coverage and I struggle to find words to describe how I feel about the losses. Up to this hour, I agonize, waiting for word for the fate of my very own relatives. What gives me renewed strength and great relief is that my own brother has communicated to us and he has survived the onslaught. I speak for my delegation, but I speak for the countless people who will no longer be able to speak for themselves after perishing from the storm.

I speak also for those who have been orphaned by the storm. I speak for those people now racing against time to save survivors and alleviate the suffering of the people affected. We can take drastic action now to ensure that we prevent a future where super typhoons become a way of life. Can we ever attain the ultimate objective of the convention – which is to prevent dangerous and tropogenic interference with a climate system. By failing to meet the objective of the convention, we may have ratified our own doom. We have to confront the issue of loss and damage. Loss and damage is a reality today across the world. We cannot solve climate change when we seek to spew more emissions. In solidarity with my countrymen who are struggling to find food back home, and with my brother who has not had food for the last three days, with all due respect, Mr. President – and I mean no disrespect for your kind hospitality – I will now commence a voluntary fasting for the climate. This means I will voluntarily refrain from eating food during this cop until a meaning outcome is in sight. Until concrete pledges have been made to ensure mobilization of resources for the green climate fund.

We cannot afford cop with an empty GCF. Until the promise of an operalization of a loss and damage mechanism has been fulfilled. Until there is a assurance and financial adaptation. Until we see real ambition on climate action in accordance with the principles we have so upheld. Mr. President, this process has been called a farce. It has been called an annual carbon intensive gathering of useless frequent fliers. It has also been called saving tomorrow today. We can fix this. We can stop this madness. (Applause) Thank you Philippines for your great speech. It’s always hard to attribute a single weather event to climate change, but we know that science is also clear that climate change will mean more intense typhoons, potentially. Even if we cannot attribute Haiyan to climate change directly, my country refuses to accept a future where super typhoons will become a regular fixture.

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