As thousands of people cope in the wake of Typhoon Bopha, global leaders are convened at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Doha.
Democracy Now! caught up with Naderev "Yeb" Saño, a lead negotiator for the Philippines delegation in Doha and the Commissioner of the Philippines Climate Change Commission. He says Typhoon Bopha and Hurricane Sandy, which recently devastated the U.S. East Coast, "are clear examples that climate change is really happening." Typhoon Bopha is the most southerly typhoon ever recorded in the Western Pacific
"Climate change is a global problem. It requires a global solution," Saño says. "In the past few days, the Philippines, together with many developing countries, have put forward a lot of proposals to move the negotiations. Developed countries--mainly the EU, the U.S.--they are insisting that we need not talk about certain issues that are important for developing countries, and therefore, I would ask, who are the blockers? Who are the deniers in all of this? It is very clear that developed countries do not want to see finance, for example, for developing countries. They don't want to talk about raised ambition. They don't want to talk about higher targets. And that leads us to think that the sincerity is not present here in Doha."
President Obama's re-election to a second term has fueled hopes across the world of a concerted U.S. effort to address global warming. But so far even the devastation of Superstorm Sandy does not appear to have shifted the Obama administration's stance opposing binding emission targets. On Monday, the U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern took questions for the first time from reporters at the U.N. climate change conference in Doha. Stern indicated no change in the role of the United States in global climate negotiations
"I believe this is the biggest human rights issue of the 21st century," says Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland and former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights during an interview between meetings at the climate summit. "It means that we have to take into account the injustice of the fact that it's the fossil fuels growth in the United States, Europe and other developed parts of the world, which has contributed to undermining development of very poor people, undermining their livelihoods. ... We can actually change the quality of life for both rich and poor countries in a way that doesn't undermine happiness and good livelihoods."
A shocking new report commissioned by the World Bank is warning temperatures could rise by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, causing devastating food shortages, rising sea levels, cyclones and drought -- even if countries meet their current pledges to reduce emissions. If these promises are not met, the increase could happen even sooner.
"This is an imminent risk that will affect every living person on the planet if we push the ecosystems of the world into a mass extinction crisis," says Bill Hare, a leading physicist and environmental scientist who helped produce both of these latest reports. Hare is CEO and managing director of Climate Analytics and the lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 reports, "Mitigation of Climate Change" and "The Synthesis Report."
Democracy Now! is broadcasting a live one-hour program from the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Qatar. Tune in through December 7 at 8-9am EST or 4pm local time in Doha and stream at http://www.democracynow.org.
See additional Doha climate summit reports, as well as a ton of other recent reports on climate change in our news archive.
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