Typhoon Haiyan, The Philippines and the Urgent Task of Addressing Climate Change

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Posted Nov. 20, 2013

Interview with Karen Orenstein, international policy analyst with Friends of the Earth, conducted by Scott Harris


While the people of the Philippines work to recover and rebuild lives shattered by Typhoon Hiyan, delegates from around the globe were gathered in Warsaw, Poland for the United Nations Climate Change Summit. The typhoon that devastated the eastern Philippine islands of Samar, Leyte and Negros on Nov. 8, was the most powerful storm of its kind recorded in world history. It’s estimated that almost 4,000 people lost their lives and some 4 million were displaced as a result of the storm.

In an emotional speech made before the international climate meeting in Poland, Yeb Sano, leader of the Philippines delegation, linked the destruction wrought by Typhoon Haiyan to climate change and pledged to refrain from eating until meaningful progress is made toward an agreement addressing global warming. He told those gathered, "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," he said.

Increasingly, poor nations are bearing the brunt of severe weather events linked to climate change, despite the fact that these countries produce comparatively little carbon and greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming. These governments are becoming ever more vocal in their demand for wealthy industrialized nations to take determined action to reduce their carbon emissions and contribute funds to assist nations to adapt to the planet’s changing climate. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Karen Orenstein, international policy analyst with the environmental group Friends of the Earth. Here, she discusses the obstacles to reaching an international accord on regulating carbon emissions and the damage suffered by developing nations, resulting from inaction by industrial nations like the U.S.

Find links to groups campaigning for action on climate change by visiting Friends of the Earth at FOE.org.

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