COP19: Pressure is on from scientists and energy experts in wake of Philippines typhoon

13 November 2013

LONDON: In the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan and following the release of three important climate change reports, negotiators at the COP19 climate talks in Poland are under increased pressure to make urgent progress to tackle climate change.

Climate talks

The COP19 climate talks in Warsaw, Poland are being dominated by the devastating Philippines’ typhoon, which has further stressed the reality of climate change to delegates.

On the first day of COP19, Philippines delegate Naderev Saño, announced his decision to go on hunger strike to put pressure on the negotiators to take decisive action. And today at Warsaw, the World Meteorological Institution (WMO) Secretary-General Michel Jarraud reiterated the importance of progress in the wake of Haiyan. He said: “The Philippines is reeling from the devastation wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), the most powerful tropical cyclone ever to hit the country and one of the most intense ever recorded anywhere. It is still struggling to recover from Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) one year ago. Although individual tropical cyclones cannot be directly attributed to climate change, higher sea levels are already making coastal populations more vulnerable to storm surges. We saw this with tragic consequences in the Philippines.”

Extreme weather

The WMO released a provisional report today called State of the Climate in 2013 that aims to put the heat on COP19 negotiators. It warns that 2013 is on course to be one of the top ten warmest years since records began and explains that human-caused climate change is making storms like Haiyan more dangerous

Further putting the pressure on COP19, another study released yesterday by non-profit GermanWatch, Global Climate Risk Index 2013, reveals that the communities least able to protect themselves from dangerous weather are those currently being worst affected by climate impacts. Super Typhoon Haiyan has killed an estimated 10,000 people and left millions homeless and vulnerable to food shortages and unrest.

Sönke Kreft, International Climate Policy, Germanwatch, said: “The unfolding human tragedy caused by super-Typhoon Haiyan will only be captured in future reports. The Global Climate Risk Index 2014 tells the story of a country constantly battered by climate-related catastrophes. Our results are really a wake-up call to ramp up international climate policy and to better manage weather-related disasters. The year 2015 represents a major milestone, which needs to deliver a new climate agreement, and the international disaster framework is also up for renewal.”

Energy shift


Also released yesterday and being spotlighted at COP19 is the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2013, which shows how greater investment in renewables and energy efficiency can help curb greenhouse gas emissions and limit the climate impacts on extreme weather like Taiyan.

“Major changes are emerging in the energy world in response to shifts in economic growth, efforts at decarbonisation and technological breakthroughs,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “We have the tools to deal with such profound market change. Those that anticipate global energy developments successfully can derive an advantage, while those that do not risk taking poor policy and investment decisions.”

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