Aid Agencies: Philippines Typhoon Should Be Climate Change “Wake-Up Call”

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 17 2013 12:44 PM

Aid Agencies: Philippines Typhoon Should Be Climate Change “Wake-Up Call”

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A group of boys player with replica guns amongst debris in Tacloban City following the recent super typhoon on November 17

Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The British Disasters Emergency Committee said Typhoon Haiyan was an example of the kind of threat the world is under due to climate change, reports the BBC. The committee, which is made up of 14 aid agencies, called on countries to agree to rapidly cut carbon emissions at the United Nations talks on climate change currently taking place in Warsaw. But negotiators say a global deal on the issue isn’t expected until 2015 at the earliest.

"This should be a wake-up call for negotiators who have been sleepwalking through a process fraught with delay and indecision," Oxfam's Max Lawson said. "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."

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The warning comes as UK Prime Minister David Cameron issued his “strongest defense of climate change science for a while,” according to the Guardian, when he talked about the growing evidence of the link between climate change and extreme weather. "I'll leave the scientists to speak for themselves about the link between severe weather events and climate change,” Cameron said on Friday. “But the evidence seems to me to be growing. As a practical politician, I think the sensible thing is to say let's take preventative and mitigating steps given the chances this might be the case.”

Meanwhile, U.S. military helicopters rushed to get aid into remote typhoon-damaged areas across the central Philippines as survivors struggle to get their basic needs met. The United States and Britain are increasing their military presence in the region to increase aid delivery efforts, reports CNN. Around 9,000 American troops are supporting the Philippines aid operation. President Benigno Aquino III said he would remain in the typhoon-ravaged Leyte province until there is more progress with aid efforts, reports the Associated Press. Aquino has been criticized for the slow response to the disaster, and he has repeatedly sought to deflect the blame onto local authorities, points out Reuters.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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