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Monday, November 18, 2013

Climate Change Delegates Continue To Fast, With Progress Slow To Materialize

Jamie Henn/Twitter)" href="//s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2013/11/1118_climate-delegates.jpg">Adam Greenberg, a delegate with SustainUS at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland, is interviewed along with other fasters. (Jamie Henn/Twitter)

Adam Greenberg, a delegate with SustainUS at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland, is interviewed along with other fasters. (Jamie Henn/Twitter)

The scientific jury is still out on the role that climate plays in causing tornadoes, but there is agreement that a warmer planet means not only more storms, but also more intense storms — including events like Superstorm Sandy last year and last week’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which was responsible for nearly 4,000 deaths.

Today, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland, enters its second week, and Haiyan is dominating the agenda. Last week, Here & Now reported the emotional plea from the Philippines’ chief delegate to the conference, who announced his plan to fast for the entire two-week conference, unless delegates made significant progress in fighting global warming.

That pledge inspired other delegates to begin their own fasts. Here & Now’s Robin Young checks in with one of them to find out how his fast is going and what’s happening at the conference. Adam Greenberg is an American youth delegate with a group called SustainUS.

Interview Highlights: Adam Greenberg

On climate justice and the role of the biggest polluters

“There’s common responsibility to solve climate change, but there’s also a differentiator responsibility in terms of those who are historically responsible for it. The climate justice is a critical component and we’re seeing that it’s not just a finance issue, but that’s an issue of who is suffering and who is dying from the ravages of climate changes today. We can change that at these negotiations and we can also change that domestically in the United States. Even in the face of a dysfunctional, gridlocked Congress, there are certain things that the Obama administration can do right now.”

On the need for a global climate treaty

“Absolutely, this process is a reflection of political will—it’s clear that in the United States, people have connected the dots despite the fossil fuel industry spending staggering sums of money. In fact, there was a Stanford study last week that shows that two-thirds of Americans are urging for climate action and a vast majority understand the science of human-caused climate change. And, if we are going to make progress in a global climate treaty by 2015, then the United States needs to be a leader, as one of the biggest polluters and also as a country with a great capacity to make these changes.”

On feeling more urgency because of the typhoon

“This is not new. This year, it was Super Typhoon Haiyan. Last year, at this time, the same commissioner issued an impassioned speech and moved many people to tears as the Philippines were being slammed by Typhoon Ofel, which killed hundreds. The price of climate change, we’re paying economically and we’re paying that in human lives.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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