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Philippines makes plea on warming


DOHA, Qatar » As disputes intensify at the already bogged-down United Nations climate negotiations, the Philippines called Thursday for urgent action to halt global warming, citing its own experience with a deadly typhoon as a nightmare scenario countries might face more frequently if climate change is left unchecked.

The appeal from Philippine envoy Nade­rev Sano came as activists and other ministers at the talks in Doha, Qatar, are increasingly alarmed that nothing significant will come out of the conference, which ends today. Rich and poor countries are feuding over how much aid should help the poorest cope with climate change, and to what extent rich countries should cut emissions in the coming years.

"As we vacillate and procrastinate here, we are suffering. There is massive and widespread devastation back home," Sano said of the aftermath of Typhoon Bopha, which killed hundreds. "Heartbreaking tragedies like this are not unique to the Philippines."

Sano’s appeal was the bluntest since the talks began nearly two weeks ago.

"Open your eyes to the stark reality we face," Sano said. "It’s about what is demanded by 7 billion people. No more delays. No more excuses. Let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around."

Nations have struggled for two decades to come to agreement that would keep global temperatures from rising more than 3.6 F, compared with preindustrial times. Temperatures have already risen about 1.4 F, according to the latest report by the U.N.’s top climate body.

A recent projection by the World Bank showed temperatures are expected to increase by up to 7.2 F by the year 2100.

A deal was never expected at the Qatar meeting, but even the minimal goals appear now to be in doubt. Participants were supposedly to agree to extend the Kyoto Protocol, which will expire this year.

But so far Japan, Canada, Russia and New Zealand have opted out of the deal, leaving the 27-member European Union, Australia and several small countries representing only 15 percent of global emitters.

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