Typhoon Haiyan and global warming

This video says about itself:

Speech of Philippines delegate on hunger strike to demand action on climate change

11 Nov 2013

Philippines delegate Naderev (Yeb) Saño, announces his decision to go on hunger strike on the first day of the COP19 Climate Change Summit in Poland, 11 November 2013.

Making an impassioned plea for action by the conference, he said that he would be fasting in solidarity with his country-folk until action to prevent climate change is forthcoming.

Saño received a standing ovation after describing the hardship suffered by Filipinos, including members of his own family, due to the “colossal” typhoon Haiyan which recently hit his country.

By Peter Symonds:

Climate scientists warn of more super-typhoons

15 November 2013

In an emotional speech to the UN Climate Change summit in Warsaw, the chief delegate for the Philippines, Naderev Saño, warned that massive tropical storms like Super Typhoon Haiyan, which just devastated his country, would become more frequent unless action was taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Haiyan hit the central Philippines last Friday leaving a trail of utter devastation in its wake. The United Nations yesterday raised the death toll to 4,460, nearly double the previous day and far higher than the final toll predicted by President Benigno Aquino earlier in the week. The UN also said more than 900,000 people were displaced and nearly 12 million people affected. A week after the catastrophe, millions lack adequate shelter, food, clean water and medical care.

“What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness,” Saño told the Warsaw conference. “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 …

“Science tells us that simply, climate change will mean more intense tropical storms. As the Earth warms up, that would include the oceans. The energy that is stored in the waters off the Philippines will increase the intensity of the typhoons and the trend we now see is that more destructive storms will be the new norm,” he said.

The fifth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), updated to include the latest climate studies, concluded: “The average tropical cyclone wind speed is likely to increase but the global frequency of tropical cyclones is likely to decrease or remain unchanged.” In other words, global warming might not increase the number of tropical cyclones, also known as typhoons and hurricanes, but it raises the chances of far stronger and more devastating storms.

Typhoon Haiyan was one of the most intense ever recorded to have made landfall. According to the US military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Haiyan had winds reaching a sustained peak as high as 315 km/h, with gusts rising to a staggering 380 km/h, and a massive storm sea surge of around 5 metres. If accurate, these figures would make Haiyan worse than Hurricane Camille, the previous strongest recorded, which hit the US northern Gulf Coast in 1969 with sustained winds of 305 km/h.

Kerry Emanuel, a climate scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is one author of a 2010 study which forecast that the average intensity of tropical cyclones would increase by up to 11 percent by the end of the century.

Emanuel explained to the media: “The tragedy of this particular storm is that it reached its [upper] limit just about the time it made landfall.” Coastal towns and cities on Philippine islands, such [as] Leyte and Samar, were not only lashed by extremely high winds, but were inundated by a wall of water that resembled the 2004 Asian tsunami. Many of those who died drowned.

Philippine weather officials estimated Haiyan’s wind speeds substantially lower than those of the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre—a sustained peak of 235 km/h, with gusts up to 275 km/h. This significant disparity points to the limitations of the means used to collect the data, which in the Western Pacific rely primarily on satellite and radar technology. Philippine meteorologists do not have access to the US military’s typhoon observation and prediction systems.

In the North Atlantic, satellite data is complemented by direct observations collected by aircraft loaded with sophisticated weather equipment—known as “hurricane hunters”—which fly directly into the storms. The additional data has allowed American meteorologists to greatly refine predictions of the paths and intensities of North Atlantic hurricanes.

The US military discontinued the flights in the Pacific in 1987 and no other government conducts such operations. “Since then, we’ve been pretty blind,” climate scientist Emanuel told the New York Times. He has recommended the establishment of an international typhoon centre, as well as aircraft or drones to track future tropical storms in the Pacific.

The lack of “hurricane hunters” in the Pacific raises an obvious question: would more accurate warnings about Haiyan’s intensity and trajectory have enabled lives to be saved?

Global warming is not only raising water temperatures, but sea levels as well, compounding the danger of the storm surges associated with typhoons. Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for the Weather Underground web site, told Reuters that rising sea levels had added about 5 percent to Haiyan’s storm surge. Whereas sea levels are estimated to have risen by two centimetres over the past century, the IPCC climate change assessment predicts rises of between 26 and 62 centimetres in the coming century.

The appeal by Philippine delegate Saño to the Warsaw summit will fall on deaf ears. As at previous international gatherings, the need to reduce carbon emissions is completely subordinate to nationalist rivalries and economic interests, especially of the major powers. No agreement has been reached to replace the very modest proposals contained in the so-called Kyoto Protocol, let alone the measures required to achieve the reductions generally agreed by climate scientists to be needed to prevent global warming.

The US, in particular, is intent on blocking a push by poorer countries for financial compensation for the impact of climate change, which is largely the historic product of advanced industrialised countries. The economic damage caused by more severe tropical cyclones alone could be immense. The Philippines has been hit by an average of 22 storms a year over the past decade, with damage averaging $200 million per typhoon.

The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan is not simply the product of immense forces of nature, but also of the profound social gulf between rich and poor that leaves millions of people highly vulnerable to such catastrophes. The homes flattened in cities and towns of the central Philippines were overwhelmingly the flimsy shanties of the poorest layers of society. While climate change is undoubtedly increasing the danger of future disasters, it is also a useful device for Philippine politicians, from President Benigno Aquino down, to divert attention from their own responsibilities and those of big businesses, local and foreign, in maintaining the present system of class exploitation that is deepening this divide.

“Irresponsible” and “unambitious” – Japan under fire for scaling back climate plans: here.

Leaked Memo Reveals U.S. Plan to Oppose Helping Poor Nations Adapt to Climate Change: here.

#Typhoon #Haiyan’s death toll will rise over the coming years & virtually all killed will be baby girls: here.

Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines in November, once again highlighted the nature of internationally-organized humanitarian aid: the paucity of real help and the exploitation of such crises by the Great Powers to further their own geo-strategic and military agendas: here.

Nearly a billion ocean-dependent people at risk because of global warming: here.

17 thoughts on “Typhoon Haiyan and global warming

  1. Dear friends,

    The worst storm on record has devastated the people of the Philippines, and scientists say climate change fueled it. Leaders are meeting right now to decide whether to pay billions promised to help vulnerable countries recover from and protect against these climate disasters. Money that could go directly to helping the Philippines rebuild. The Filipino negotiator just went on a hunger strike for action and has started a petition on Avaaz — let’s stand with him:

    The horror of what’s happened in the Philippines is unimaginable. Ten thousand people wiped away by a 25ft wall of water driven by 300km/h winds. A city of 200,000 people looks like a nuclear bomb hit it. It’s the worst storm on record, but it’s just the beginning, unless we act.

    Right now the world’s powers are in a global climate conference talking about whether to hand over billions promised to help the most vulnerable amongst us when climate change disasters hit. Yeb Sano, the Philippines’ chief negotiator, just addressed the room, tearfully pledging a hunger strike until a real deal is reached to help his family, fellow citizens and all the other most vulnerable nations who are at the most risk for violent storms like this one.

    Yeb is standing alone, facing a room of bureaucrats who are doing almost nothing to help. But if we bring the power of our 29 million strong community in to stand with him, we could change the tide and push the richest polluters to pay up now. Click below to make it happen:


    Yeb Sano, the climate negotiator for the Philippines, spent hours trying to reach his brother after the storm. He finally found him, part of a crew moving the bodies of victims so relief workers could begin cleanup. After hearing the news he gave an amazingly brave speech to the world’s climate delegates, saying:

    “I speak for my delegation. But more than that, I speak for the countless people who will no longer be able to speak for themselves after perishing from the storm. I also speak for those who have been orphaned by this tragedy. I also speak for the people now racing against time to save survivors and alleviate the suffering of the people affected by the disaster. We can take drastic action now to ensure that we prevent a future where super typhoons are a way of life… What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw.”

    We owe it to the victims of Haiyan, and all future storms like it, to think bigger picture than our leaders are. Climate change killed them. And climate change is what we need to stop. A greater commitment to fund climate change management efforts is a key piece in the global deal we desperately need to save the world. And the richest countries have already pledged millions for this effort! So far, almost none of the money promised has arrived, but this can and must change. And the tragedy of the Philippines right in the middle of the climate conference is our chance to make it happen.

    Click below to stand with Yeb and his country and with all those who have been and could be victims of climate change disasters:


    Yeb ended his speech by writing a pledge to everyone: “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.” Together, our movement can rise to this challenge, and bring hope to him and his family and generations of our most vulnerable world citizens.

    With hope and determination,

    Ricken and the whole Avaaz team

    PS – This campaign was started by Yeb Sano, chief climate negotiator for the Philippines. Start yours now and win on any issue – local, national or global: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?

    More information:

    In hard-hit Tacloban, children ripped from arms (CNN)

    Typhoon Haiyan: what really alarms Filipinos is the rich world ignoring climate change (The Guardian)

    Typhoon Haiyan influenced by climate change, scientists say (Sydney Morning Herald)

    Typhoon Haiyan: Philippines destruction ‘absolute bedlam’ (BBC)

    Deadly Typhoon Haiyan Devastates the Philippines, Heads for Vietnam (TIME)


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  5. News Release
    November 21, 2013

    #TabangEV: Progressive groups hold “National Relief Caravan” for Samar and Leyte

    Various progressive groups today set out on a national relief caravan from Manila, Bicol and Mindanao that will converge on Samar and Leyte to provide aid to typhoon-ravaged areas. The groups belong to the Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan (BALSA) in Manila and Mindanao, and include various relief formations initiated and groups, such as Lingap Gabriela, Sagip Migrante, Dambana, Tulong Kanayunan, Tulong Kabataan, Brigada Kalikasan, All-UP Workers Union, Karapatan, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (B ayan), Bayan Muna and many others. Their efforts are supported by international groups such as the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and Bayan-USA and various affiliates of Migrante International across the globe. The Manila-based groups assembled at the Quezon Memorial Circle for a brief program.

    The national caravan involving groups from Manila, Bicol and the entire Mindanao will include more than 50 vehicles including at least 9 trucks of relief goods from Manila and Bicol. The more than 500-person contingent will include medical professionals and other volunteers from the Philippines and the United States. Leaders of mass organizations and partylist groups are also expected to join the relief operations.

    “This may be the biggest relief caravan we have ever conducted, involving at least three regions and hundreds of volunteers. Over the past week, the mass movement here and abroad have been collecting relief goods other forms of assistance for the people of Eastern Visayas and Panay. Today, we travel to Samar and Leyte to show solidarity and to raise the demands of the people for immediate relief. As we contribute to the worldwide relief efforts, we continue to hold the Aquino regime as ultimately responsible for ensuring relief and rehabilitation for the victims of Yolanda/Haiyan,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

    “Eastern Visayas is the 3rd poorest region in the country as of 2012 and the region with the highest incidence of hunger in 2011, prior to the storm. Its level of underdevelopment impacts its level of preparedness for calamities. Meanwhile, more than P2 billion worth of the graft-ridden Priority Development Assistance Funds or PDAF were channeled to the region between 2010-2012. The people are victims several times over because of systemic abuses and government neglect and incompetence even during relief efforts,” Reyes said.

    Members of Gabriela joining the mission will be looking into the specific needs and vulnerabilities of women and children during calamities. Doctors and nurses from the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), together with their partner groups from abroad, hope to provide medical services for rural areas affected by the storm.

    BALSA Mindanao, an organization founded after storm Pablo, is organizing the Mindanao mission which will come via Sothern Leyte. Learning from the experience of Pablo, they hope to show solidarity with the victims of Yolanda. In the aftermath of Pablo, storm victims were organized to demand relief and support from government agencies. (Follow the caravan thru the hash tag #TabangEV and thru BALSA’s FB community page).
    Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
    2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
    Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
    Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
    Web: http://www.karapatan.org

    KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.


  6. We cordially invite you to the launch of Open Source Tribunal this Saturday 23 November 2013 from 15:00 to 17:00 hrs at the Nicolai Church in Utrecht. A free platform that can be used by any individual or group seeking justice from systematic abuse, persecution, or oppression, this first session of the Tribunal performs the case of the National Democratic Movement of the Philippines against those responsible for the unnatural disaster of typhoon Haiyan.
    The prosecution, led by Professor Jose Maria Sison, will address:
    (1) The ecological conditions that led to the disaster;
    (2) The failure of the Filipino state to protect and provide aid to its citizens;
    (3) The accountability of NGOs over the misuse of funds for the people.

    Open Source Tribunal abides by five principles: the principle of Openness; the principle of Equality; the principle of Solidarity; the principle of Self-Empowerment; and the principle of Creativity.

    The platform of the Open Source Tribunal has been developed during New World Academy (NWA), Session I: Towards a People?s Culture, by Concerned Artists of the Philippines and the National Democratic Movement of the Philippines in collaboration with participating students, artists, and cultural activists: Martha Atienza; Younes Bouadi; Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei; Matthijs de Bruijne; Jonjon Bustamanta; Nima Ezatpour; Claudio Feliziani; Jefrey Guiban; Anna Ioannidi; Lisa Ito; Luis Jalandoni; Yung-Han Juan; Robert Kluijver; Yumemi Kobayashi; Pepe Luneta; Oumarou Maman Salissou; Renée in der Maur; Walkie Miraña; Henning Middelschulte; Minsun Park; Uzine Park; Constanza Puente; Ika Putranto; Heekyung Ryu; Ilena Saturay; Jun Saturay; Marikit Saturay; Mitchy Saturay; Jose Maria Sison; Jonas Staal; Mahdiyeh Tayefeh Kalhori; Alejandro Vasquez; Audrey Wang; Yinan Wang; and Gayane Yerkanyan in solidarity with BAYAN Balsa Philippines, the Linganan Art and Culture Network, and MIGRANTE Europe. One-person choir performed by Bethany Younge, conducted by Samuel Vriezen. Supported by Centraal Museum Utrecht.

    NWA is co-established by Jonas Staal and BAK, basis voor actuele kunst.

    New World Academy presents Open Source Tribunal
    Saturday 23.11.2013, 15:00-17:00 hrs
    Nicolai church, Nicolaaskerkhof 8, Utrecht
    Admission free of charge. We warmly welcome donations to support local efforts that deal with the devastation caused by typhoon Haiyan.

    For more information on Open Source Tribunal please see http://www.facebook.com/opensourcetribunal and the Tribunal statement attached to this email.

    NWA has been made financially possible by Fentener van Vlissingen Fonds, Utrecht; K.F. Hein Fonds, Utrecht; and Mondriaan Fonds, Amsterdam.


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