Naderev Sano, a member of the Philippines Climate Change Commission, said he was fasting "in solidarity with my countrymen who are now struggling for food back home" - including his own brother, whom Sano said "has been gathering bodies of the dead with his own two hands."
"What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness," he said. "Mr. President, we can stop this madness, right here in Warsaw."
Sano leads the Philippines delegation to the 19th Conference of the Parties in Poland's capital. He got a standing ovation after he spoke, four days after the typhoon struck the island nation with estimated winds of 315 kph (195 mph). The storm has left nearly 1,800 people at the latest count.
"Despite the massive efforts that my country had exerted in preparing for the onslaught of this storm, it was just a force too powerful, and even as a nation familiar with storms, Haiyan was nothing we have ever experienced before," Sano said. But he said the Philippines refuses to accept that "running away from storms, evacuating our families, suffering the devastation and misery, counting our dead, (will) become a way of life."
Sano said he will refrain from eating during the 12-day conference "until a meaningful outcome is in sight." He called for "concrete pledges" to the Green Climate Fund -- a U.N. fund aimed at helping developing nations reduce their climate change emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change -- and said he will continue to fast "until we see real ambition on climate action in accordance with the principles of the convention."
He told CNN's Connect the World that while the complete picture of climate change is still being studied, the highest increase in measured sea levels over the past seven decades "has been in the waters just east of the Philippines."
"The precautionary principle tells you you shouldn't wait for full scientific certainty before doing something or taking action," he said. "How many lives do we want to lose, not just in the Philippines but in communities that have other climate impacts?"