"Only two days ago a powerful typhoon swept through the Philippines claiming thousands of lives and leaving hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes. A great human tragedy. Unforgettable, painful, awakening. I said awakening because it's another proof that we are loosing this unequal struggle of men and nature that beset us yet again and will continue in the future if we do not close ranks and act together to strike back."
U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres also referenced the "devastating impact'' of the typhoon in her opening speech. She urged delegates to guarantee greater climate security for the generations to come.
"There is no doubt that climate change has created an unlevel playing field for future generations. Previous generations, unknowingly, had an advantage. And now we know that the next generations face a monumental uphill struggle. We must urgently level the playing field."
No major breakthroughs are expected at the talks, but the level of progress could be seen an indicator of the chances of reaching a new global warming treaty in 2015.