In one of the most poignant moments of the Doha climate talks, the Philippine climate change commissioner, Naderev M. Sano, appealed to his fellow negotiators at a session deciding the contours of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
"Please let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around," he said as he choked back tears.
Just days before, Typhoon Bopha had hit the Philippines, killing hundreds of people. The typhoon, having been both unusually forceful and out of season, was deemed — like Hurricane Sandy — to be an extreme weather event, exacerbated by climate change.
Despite the pleas of the Philippine commissioner and those of many others, the Doha summit was almost politics as usual. It did take 24 hours of overtime, but the Doha Climate Gateway was finally approved Saturday. The agreement extends the Kyoto Protocol until 2020, when a more global emissions reduction agreement is to take effect.
"The Doha package represents a modest but important step forward," said Connie Hedegaard, the European commissioner for climate action, according to news reports.