A thousand people rallied in front of the US Embassy in Manila on November 11 to demand climate justice in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. The protesters from various sectors — farmers, urban poor, women, workers, and youth — marched from Bonifacio Shrine demanding that the US immediately and radically cut its greenhouse gas emissions and pay for its climate debt for adaptation, loss and damages. The protest was organised by the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.
We've heard it all before. Some commentator, some media talking head telling us for the umpteenth time that scientist can't really say that global climate change is responsible for the ferocity of Typhoon Haiyan which slammed into the Philippines killing thousands a few days ago. Just before making landfall, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JWTC) clocked the winds of Haiyan (called Yolanda in the Philippines) at 314 km/h with gusts up to 379 km/h.
Can't we really?
The strongest storm ever to make landfall, EVER, and we can't really conclude anything.
The recently-released IPCC report on climate change highlighted the risks of global climate change. It has long been recognized that the increases seen in global average temperatures are likely to drive changes in the patterns and frequency of extreme weather events. By the way, that report was several years behind the times. Things are much worse now then when the report was being put together.
The clue comes from looking at how warm the Pacific Ocean was in the week or more before Haiyan started to build. The temperatures of surface water as well as the deeper waters of the Western Pacific had risen steadily. Huge amounts of energy were stored up, integrated through the water column, and available for release and for the storm to absorb, fuelling Haiyan’s intensification.
The Sydney Morning Herald:
“Once [cyclones] do form, they get most of their energy from the surface waters of the ocean,” Professor Steffen said. “We know sea-surface temperatures are warming pretty much around the planet, so that's a pretty direct influence of climate change on the nature of the storm.”
Grist has more to say on the subject:
What the new paper — “Pacific Ocean Heat Content During the Past 10,000 Years” — shows is that the recent oceanic warming is happening at a historically unprecedented rate. The study was authored by three researchers: Braddock Lindsay, a geoscience researcher at Columbia University; Delia Oppo, a climate scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; and Yair Rosenthal, a geologist at Rutgers.
“That rate of change in ocean heat content is 15 times greater now than it’s been in the last 7,000 or 8,000 years.”
The government of the Philippines has reached the conclusion that global climate change IS a factor and that something has to be done and now. “What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness,” said Naderev “Yeb” Saño, lead negotiator for the Philippines at the 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.”
Grist reports countries, poorer countries, being impacted by global climate change are pleading for help,
We told you on Friday that climate delegates representing poor and developing countries are begging wealthy countries for financial help — not just for help in reducing their carbon emissions, but also for help in dealing with crazy weather that’s already happening. They say they can’t afford to do it alone, and many of them feel that their countries shouldn’t have to, since the rich nations of the world have pumped so much of the excess carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Rich countries have pledged to provide $100 billion in annual climate assistance starting in 2020 via the Green Climate Fund, but they’ve contributed very little so far. “We have not seen any money from the rich countries to help us to adapt,” Saño said. And some delegations in Warsaw are seeking more funding still, to compensate developing countries for the damage caused by climate disasters.
It is incredible that we are still dithering around about global climate change. Climate change deniers refuse to see what is right in front of their face. I say, let these assholes go to the Philippines today and tell the survivors they needn't be concerned about climate change. It ain't no big deal.
Philippines Negotiator Yeb Sano says it far better than I. As reported now by EcoWatch,
“To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away from the comfort of you armchair,” he said. “I dare you to go to the islands of the Pacific, the islands of the Caribbean and the islands of the Indian ocean and see the impacts of rising sea levels; to the mountainous regions of the Himalayas and the Andes to see communities confronting glacial floods, to the Arctic where communities grapple with the fast dwindling polar ice caps, to the large deltas of the Mekong, the Ganges, the Amazon and the Nile where lives and livelihoods are drowned, to the hills of Central America that confronts similar monstrous hurricanes, to the vast savannas of Africa where climate change has likewise become a matter of life and death as food and water becomes scarce.”
“Not to forget the massive hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern seaboard of North America,” Sano continued. “And if that is not enough, you may want to pay a visit to the Philippines right now. What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness.”
Sano said that he identified with the young people and activists around the world who are standing up to the fossil fuel industry, protesting in the streets and committing civil disobedience. He shared their frustration and appreciated their courageous action. The same sort of leadership was necessary here in Warsaw, he said.
“We can take drastic action now to ensure that we prevent a future where super typhoons are a way of life,” said Sano. “Because we refuse, as a nation, to accept a future where super typhoons like Haiyan become a fact of life. We refuse to accept that running away from storms, evacuating our families, suffering the devastation and misery, having to count our dead, become a way of life. We simply refuse to.”
Sano then went off the prepared script of his remarks that were released to the media to announce that he would be commencing a voluntary fast.
“In solidarity with my countrymen who are struggling to find food back home and with my brother who has not had food for the last three days, in all due respect Mr. President, and I mean no disrespect for your kind hospitality, I will now commence a voluntary fasting for the climate. This means I will voluntarily refrain from eating food during this COP until a meaningful outcome is in sight.”
And that is not the end of the story, only the beginning.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines the situation is dire and the people have no reason to believe or trust in their government or the world to provide them with the help they need right now. Ask Haitians how that works out. They also know that their misery, their loss is quite actually the result of the continued war on the environment being waged by Global Capital, Empire, and its vassal States. They are only too aware that the rich of the world are still perfectly content to sit back and watch the multitude struggle to survive.
We know that one day the tables shall turn, the multitude will say "enough" and the today's powerful will shake in their boots.
The question is, will it be soon enough.
The following is from Green Left Weekly.
Philippines: 'Let our people live! Climate justice now!'
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