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Yeb Saño resigns from climate change commission

/ 03:29 PM April 22, 2015

He seized the world’s attention in 2013 when he gave an emotional appeal at the United Nations conference in Warsaw, Poland. But on Earth Day, Naderev “Yeb” Saño said goodbye to being one of the country’s climate change commissioners.

READ: Philippine envoy cheered in UN climate talks

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In this picture taken on March 31, 2014, Naderev Saño, the country's lead negotiator at United Nations climate talks, gestures during an interview in Manila. A Philippine diplomat said on September 25 he is to go on a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) walk to a city destroyed by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” to drum up awareness about the devastating impact of climate change.  AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS

In this picture taken on March 31, 2014, Naderev “Yeb” Saño gestures during an interview in Manila. AFP PHOTO

In a statement released through the website rtcc.org (Responding to Climate Change), Saño said he was “leaving diplomacy to fight climate change.”

“Today, I wish to announce that I am stepping down as a commissioner of the Philippines’ Climate Change Commission. I will be working with different faith groups across the world, as part of the larger global climate movement,” he said.

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Saño said that while Earth Day is “a day to celebrate,” it is also “a day to earnestly reflect on the state of our planet.”

He did not explain why he decided to leave the commission, which is the Philippines’ lead policy-making body on climate change.

Instead, he thanked the government for giving him “the opportunity and honor of serving the country.”

Pilgrimage to Paris

Saño said he is now tasked to lead The People’s Pilgrimage of OurVoices, a multi-faith campaign focused on climate change issues. The pilgrimage will culminate in a 60-day walk from Rome to Paris in time for the UN Climate Change Summit at the end of November 2015.

“Today, April 22, along with a group of Filipino pilgrims, we will do a symbolic 10-kilometer walk from the Shrine of Mary Queen of Peace to the Rizal Shrine in Manila,” he said.

In May, the group will cross San Juanico Bridge in the Visayas “as a symbolic departure from Tacloban and say farewell to the Philippines.”

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The Filipino pilgrims will then visit Vanuatu, which was badly hit by Cyclone “Pam” and will later head to Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, the Great Barrier Reef, India, Rome, Africa and the Americas.

“Together, we will pay homage to global hotspots that are at risk from climate change, but that in equal measure celebrate compelling examples of climate leadership, solutions and climate resilience,” he said.

Saño said the actions of political and industry leaders “remain profoundly inadequate.” He said “the aspiration of a world powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 is a dream we can and must build.”

What went before

While his decision in 2013 to give an emotional appeal during the two-week climate change talks in Warsaw drew praises from around the world, it was later revealed that he was reprimanded for what he did.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that Climate Change Commission vice chair and secretary Lucille Sering berated him through an email.

READ: Superior berates ‘crying’ climate exec Saño

“I hope you know what you are doing. I am, however, disappointed that you did not heed my request (for you) not to cry. I made this request a day before the opening. I believe you said yes. Kung hindi mo pala kayang ’di umiyak, sana hindi ka na nagsalita (If you couldn’t stop yourself from crying, you should not have spoken),” her email read.

Saño, during his Nov. 11, 2013, speech, cried as he blamed global warming for the devastation wrought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in the Philippines.

Sering said President Benigno Aquino III specifically instructed them to “show a picture of strength to calm fears.”

She said it was also wrong for him to embark on a hunger strike “until a meaningful outcome is in sight.” She said “declarations like that (have their) proper place” and that they should not “blackmail” into giving into their demands when they were sent there to negotiate. RC

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TAGS: Climate Change Commission, OurVoices, Responding to Climate Change, UN Climate Change Summit, Yeb Saño
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