The Philippines envoy to UN climate talks in Poland has linked the unprecedented strength of the deadly Typhoon Haiyan to climate change and has gone on hunger strike to push the urgency of dealing with global warming.

In an emotional speech in Warsaw, Naderev "Yeb" Sano called on colleagues to take action to avoid more natural disasters on the scale of Haiyan, known locally in the Philippines as Yolanda, which may have killed up to 10,000 people.

"What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness, the climate crisis is madness," Sano said. "We can fix this. We can stop this madness. Right now, right here."

Sano's family was from Tacloban, one of the hardest-hit areas.

"Haiyan left a wake of massive destruction that is unprecedented, unthinkable and horrific," Sano said, choking back the tears. "The devastation is staggering.

"Up to this hour I agonise waiting for words of the faith of my very own relatives," he said. He had heard that his brother was among the survivors.

"I speak for the countless people who will no longer be able to speak for themselves after perishing from the storm. I speak also for those who have been orphaned by the storm," Sano said.

"We can take drastic action now to insure that we prevent a future where super-typhoons become a way of life."

Delegates from 190 countries gathered at the National Stadium in the Polish capital for the 19th conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (Cop19) which aims to draw up a tougher agreement on global environmental policies.

"In solidarity with my countrymen who are struggling to find food back home, and with my brother who has not had food in the last three days, I will now commence a voluntary fasting for the climate," Sano told colleagues. They received his speech with thunderous applause.

"This means I will voluntarily refrain from eating food during this Cop until a meaningful outcome is in sight."

"It is always hard to attribute a single weather event to climate change but science is also clear that climate change will mean more intense typhoons potentially," Sano told RTT news. "My country refuses to accept a future where super-typhoons will become a regular fixture."

Typhoon Haiyan
A coastal town, devastated by super Typhoon Haiyan, in Samar province in central Philippines (Reuters)