Adopt a Negotiator Fellow and Kiwi David Tong reports from the climate talks in Warsaw, Poland:
Earlier this month, Poland celebrated National Independence Day. The United Nations climate Secretariat warned everyone here in Warsaw attending the climate talks to be careful, because there might be 'football fans' outside.
The first football game I watched live was in London and I'm told ten million pounds rested on the outcome for one team's owner. Three rows of police cordoned off the defeated team's fans.
But, it wasn't just football fans. It was a riot, complete with tear gas, rubber bullets, and over 100,000 Polish nationalists. Police helicopters were circling.
We didn't leave the conference centre (a football stadium, ironically) until UN buses arrived to take us safely from the venue.
The Philippines will remember this week for very different reasons. Days before the climate talks began, Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippine coast. It was the largest typhoon on record, so large that it cannot be categorised. A city bigger than Hamilton, Tacloban, was all but destroyed.
I feel an uncanny sense of déjà vu. When I last went to the UN climate talks in 2011, unprecedented rains lashed us in Durban. Townships were flooded, homes destroyed, and people killed.
If I'm feeling déjà vu, Philippine lead negotiator Yeb Saño's sense of grim repetition must be much greater. During the talks last year, Typhoon Bopha hit the Philippines. Hundreds died and over 200,000 lost their homes. Saño became the face of the UN climate talks when he said: "We have never had a typhoon like Bopha, which has wreaked havoc in a part of the country that has never seen a storm like this in half a century."
Last week, he addressed the opening of the talks, speaking of the "cruel twist of fate" that brought an unprecedented "hellstorm" to his country only 11 months after Bopha. In a rare unscripted addition, he pledged to go on hunger strike until the talks ended or saw a "meaningful outcome."
Saño was not the only victim of Haiyan to address the United Nations. One of the other Adopt a Negotiator fellows, Carlie Labaria, comes from a province in the Philippines that Haiyan hit. She is fortunate not to be from the worst-hit area, but her family will still be without power for a month or more and she has not heard from many of her friends. Last week , she spoke to opening plenary of the talks on behalf of youth worldwide. She said that reaching an agreement was a matter of urgency, survival, and - most importantly - her people's dignity.
Climate change fuelled Super Typhoon Haiyan. The sea surrounding the Philippines is exceptionally warm at present, as much as two degrees above normal - and sea surface temperatures are projected to continue to rise worldwide. Sea level rise also exacerbated Haiyan's impact on the Philippines' coast.
Against this background, the world will place even greater scrutiny on what we do here in Warsaw over the next two weeks. The talks are already confounding predictions and expectations.