November 14, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan

It’s hard to imagine the complete devastation that Typhoon Haiyan left in its wake as it ripped through the Philippines last week.  The pictures you see online and on the news are frightening.  Imagine what it is like in the thick of it.
Possibly more than 10,000 people were killed in the storm and more than 600,000 have been displaced, many of those without access to food and fresh water. Days after the typhoon it is still difficult to get relief resources to the people that need them as are roads blocked and power lines are down. Communications are patchy, to say the least, and it is likely that we have only seen a first taste of the chaos, with the full extent of the to be revealed over the coming days and weeks.  

Even worse, this storm is likely a stark foreboding of the climate future we are bringing upon ourselves.  Although it is not possible to attribute any individual storm directly to climate change, climate models show that global warming is making typhoons more powerful.  The oceans are absorbing a lot of the extra heat that increasing levels of greenhouse gas is trapping in our atmosphere.  As storms get their energy from the ocean, warmer oceans mean that storms are likely to become more intense.  With research suggesting that the Pacific is warming, perhaps at the fastest rate in 10,000 years, it looks like the low-lying archipelago of the Philippines and other vulnerable south east Asian nations will be bracing themselves for storms of increasing severity if we don’t act on climate change now.

In the words of Yeb Sano (negotiator for the Philippines at the Warsaw climate talks)

“The climate crisis is madness.  We can stop this madness.  Right here in Warsaw.  Typhoons such as Haiyan and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action”

We couldn’t agree more.

If you would like to add your voice to the thousands of others calling for action on climate as governments meet for climate talks in Warsaw you can sign this petition which will be delivered to negotiators at the summit.
If you would like to donate money for relief to those in desperate need in the Philippines you can do so with one of these organisations.