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Typhoon Haiyan and Climate Change

November 13, 2013

Three Articles talking about Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and its relation to climate change.

Editorial: Worst effects of climate change seen in Philippine typhoon


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On Monday the United Nations opened its 19th Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw, Poland. Given the unimaginable devastation wrought on his country three days earlier by Typhoon Haiyan, the remarks of the delegate from the Philippines had a special resonance.

“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 your armchair,” said Naderev “Yeb” Sano. “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 confront 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 become scarce.”


No nation on earth has more to fear from its climate than the Philippines, an archipelago of 7,100 islands and 98 million souls. The climate has always wrought havoc there. Now it’s getting worse.


Since 2002, the Philippines have recorded 184 natural disasters, including an average of six typhoons (as hurricanes are known in the Pacific) each year. The storms are becoming more frequent and more intense; this one came 10 days after the traditional end of the typhoon season. Haiyan — known as Yolanda in the Philippines — was the 30th named storm of the 2013 Pacific season and the second Category 5 (winds in excess of 150 miles an hour) to hit the Philippines in the last 11 months. Haiyan/Yolanda is the most powerful typhoon ever to hit land.

It did so at Tacloban, a port city of 200,000 and the capital of Leyte Province. Residents had been warned of the wind, but the shocking 19-foot storm surge may have swept thousands out to sea. Estimates of the dead range between 1,200 and 10,000. Thousands of people have simply disappeared.

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Destructive Philippine typhoon puts spotlight on climate concerns


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By Aubrey Belford and Karen Lema

Belle Segayo had traveled to the central Philippines to teach local officials how to adapt to a future altered by climate change.

But the future, or at least a forewarning of it, came to her instead in the shape of Typhoon Haiyan, underlining concerns that damaging storms could increasingly threaten coastal nations such as the Philippines as oceans warm and seawater levels rise.

Scientists have cautioned against blaming individual storms such as Haiyan on climate change. But they agree that storms are likely to become more intense.


The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says it is “more likely than not” that storms will increase in intensity in the coming century.


“You can’t say that any single event, like the typhoon that hit the Philippines, was caused or even exacerbated by climate change. But you can say with some confidence that we’re loading the dice for more severe storms in the future,” he said.

One area of climate change where there is even more certainty is the rise in sea levels. Higher seas mean storm surges like the tsunami-like flood that caused much of the devastation in Tacloban will get worse, Steffen said.


Concerns over extreme weather have been exacerbated by an apparent shift in location of those storms, which in the past two years have also battered southern regions that rarely if ever experienced the powerful gusts of typhoons.

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World Bank president: Typhoon Haiyan should end ‘silly’ climate change debate


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By Agence France-Presse

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said Tuesday that the deadly typhoon disaster in the Philippines should put an end to “silly” arguments denying climate change.

“If you think of the number of storms that have hit over the past year, the severity of those storms… The frequency of these events is increasing and that’s exactly what the climate change scientists have predicted,” Kim said.


“Ninety-five percent of climate scientists agree that anthropogenic (human-influenced) climate change is real, and that we have to do something about it or the impacts are going to be severe,” he said.

He said the damages from such storms run about $6 billion a year and that the cost will mount sharply over the coming decades.

“Let’s stop the argument and move forward,” he said. “Let’s make the investments we need.”

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