Guest blog by Lidy Nacpil, Convener of the Philippines Movement for Climate Justice (first published by Huffinton Post)
My colleague Claire and I are now at the international climate talks in Warsaw – we got out of Manila just as Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful in recorded history, was making landfall in the Philippines, our home.
All our worries were confirmed when the first video coverage appeared after several hours of complete black out as all communications were down. I have many friends and colleagues in the worst hit area.
These friends and colleagues lost children. They lost parents and grandparents. They had their families shattered. They had to drag bodies out with their bare hands. They are still without proper food, water or shelter.
Philippine government agencies estimate that thousands are feared dead in Leyte island alone. CNN reports more than 800,000 people are dislocated. 800,000 souls ripped from their homes.
This is the fourth super-typhoon to hit the Philippines this year. These extreme weather events are increasing in severity. This is in line with what the science suggests: more ferocious extreme weather, driven by human emissions of climate changing gases.
A year ago during the UN Climate Summit in Doha, Qatar – the Philippines made the news with Typhoon Pablo making its destructive way through Mindanao (Southern Philippines), leaving over a thousand people dead, dislocating tens of thousands of families, destroying homes, crops and livelihoods and changing the landscape across a vast area. Those areas have not yet substantively recovered. Everyone acknowledged then that Typhoon Pablo underscored the urgent need to arrive at international agreements for decisively addressing climate change – both its causes and consequences.
Here we are one year later, at the beginning of another UN Climate Summit, with news of even greater devastation in the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan, and still no real progress in international climate negotiations.
Our sorrow and our rage should make us fight harder, in all arenas at all levels, to demand that those responsible for this planetary crisis take immediate decisive action towards just and equitable solutions. It should make us work faster in building our movements and scaling up our actions, in effecting a shift in power relations and transforming the unjust and destructive system that is at the root of climate change.
Now in Warsaw, we are once again working with Friends of the Earth to raise the voices demanding change and building on our joint work over the last month during our global month of action: Reclaim Power.
We are urging international Governments to increase climate pollution controls and ban new dirty energy projects – and to deliver clean energy through people-controlled, democratic systems. And sadly, because it is now necessary, calling for an international system to deal with the loss and damage caused by the climate change we can no longer avoid.
Lidy Nacpil is convener of the Philippines Movement for Climate Justice, which includes Friends of the Earth Philippines