Typhoon Haiyan must spur action at UN climate talks

Governments across the world are being told that Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines earlier this month, must act as a "wake-up call" on the dangers of climate change.

Members of the Disaster Emergencies Committee (DEC) are calling for governments meeting at the UN climate talks in Warsaw this week to increase their climate change policies as the typhoon is a “glimpse into the future”.

Aid agencies Christian Aid, CAFOD, CARE International, Oxfam and Tearfund say governments must deliver more climate finance, drastically cut global emissions and establish a Loss and Damage mechanism which would obligate developed countries to help those that are “increasingly losing lives and livelihoods to the effects of climate change”.

The agencies say this would avoid the unnecessary cost of lives and money in the future, adding that the losses from Typhoon Haiyan are expected to amount to several billion pounds.

Oxfam’s head of advocacy Max Lawson said: “This should be a wake-up call for negotiators who have been sleepwalking through a process fraught with delay and indecision. The images we have seen from the Philippines are a reminder that climate change is not about numbers and process, but a growing reality for poor people who desperately need support to protect themselves and build safer futures.”

Christian Aid senior climate adviser Mohamed Adow said: “The people of the Philippines, like millions of others around the world, will remain at the mercy of a changing climate unless we act on the findings of overwhelming scientific evidence and get a global deal on cutting carbon emissions. We must free these climate captives by choosing clean energy over dirty energy. Let this be the wake-up call for politicians to act.”

Delegates from 195 countries are currently in Warsaw for the annual UN climate talks, which are taking place 11- 22 November.

Leigh Stringer

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