Poor countries demand action at UN climate talks (Update)

December 6, 2012 by Michael Casey
A child stands near his family's damaged house Wednesday Dec. 5, 2012, a day after powerful Typhoon Bopha hit Montevista township Compostela Valley in southern Philippines. Typhoon Bopha, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines this year, barreled across the country's south on Tuesday, killing scores of people while triggering landslides, flooding and cutting off power in two entire provinces. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

(AP)—As disputes intensify at the already-bogged down United Nations climate negotiations, the Philippines on Thursday called for urgent action to halt global warming, citing its own experience with a deadly typhoon as a nightmare scenario countries may face more frequently if climate change is left unchecked.

The appeal from Philippine envoy Naderev Sano came as activists and other ministers at the talks in Doha, Qatar, are increasingly alarmed that nothing significant will come out of the conference, which ends Friday. Rich and poor countries are feuding over how much aid should help the poorest cope with climate change, and to what extent rich countries should cut emissions in the coming years.

"As we vacillate and procrastinate here, we are suffering. There is massive and widespread devastation back home," Sano said of the aftermath of Typhoon Bopha, which left hundreds dead. "Heartbreaking tragedies like this are not unique to the Philippines."

Sano's appeal was the bluntest since the talks began nearly two weeks ago, and the latest to connect increasing and deadlier storms such as Hurricane Sandy to climate change. Climate scientists say it's difficult to link a single weather event to global warming but some say the damage caused by Sandy and other tropical storms was worse because of rising sea levels.

"Open your eyes to the stark reality we face," Sano said. "It's about what is demanded by 7 billion people. No more delays. No more excuses. Let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around."

Nations have struggled for two decades to come to agreement that would keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 C (3.6 F), compared to preindustrial times. Temperatures have already risen about 0.8 C (1.4 F), according to the latest report by the U.N.'s top climate body.

A recent projection by the World Bank showed temperatures are expected to increase by up to 4 C (7.2 F) by the year 2100.

A resident looks at the devastation brought about by the flash flood that hit the village of Andap, New Bataan township, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines Wednesday Dec. 5, 2012. Typhoon Bopha, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines this year, barreled across the country's south on Tuesday, killing scores of people while triggering landslides, flooding and cutting off power in two entire provinces. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

A deal was never expected at the Qatar meeting but even the minimal goals appear now to be in doubt. Participants are supposed to agree to extend the Kyoto Protocol, which will expire this year.

But so far Japan, Canada, Russia and New Zealand have opted out of the deal leaving the 27-member European Union, Australia and several small countries representing only 15 percent of global emitters.

A work plan is also set be approved to help prepare for what is expected to be a deal in 2015 that would cover all countries and go into effect by 2020.

"Time is running out. I'm getting concerned that ministers are not stepping up to the mark and providing solutions that we need at this stage of the game," Gregory Barkey, Britain's Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, told The Associated Press.

"We need increased flexibility on all sides and a higher sense of urgency," he said. "Developed countries also need to demonstrate a clear ambition across the board in terms of climate goals."

Much of the frustration on Thursday was around the Kyoto extension, with delegates still wrangling over issues like the length of the second commitment and what countries who signed onto the new pact would do to tackle global warming.

"We are at a make-or-break point. Kyoto is the key to unlocking the deal," said Nauru's Foreign Minister Kieren Keke, chairperson of the Alliance of Small Island States, which includes scores of countries under threat from rising seas. "The second commitment period must have true environmental integrity and raise ambition now."

Poor nations want the rich to offer up a roadmap on climate financing through 2020, when they are supposed to begin donating $100 billion-a-year. Several European countries have offered billions of dollars in new climate aid but so far neither the United States nor Japan have offered new money for 2013 and beyond. The oil-rich countries of the Gulf have also failed to offer any new pledges.

"These commitments show precisely the leadership and goodwill we need," said Andrew Steer, president of the Washington, D.C-think tank World Resources Institute. "Developing countries clearly need more support to shift to a low-carbon economy and cope with the mounting impacts of climate change. These commitments should inspire other donor countries to pledge more funds."

With less than two days left to reach an agreement, activists said it was time for Qatar and other Arab countries to do their part to push for a deal. This is the first time that the talks have been held in the Middle East and Qatar is under pressure to show that the controversial decision to allow an OPEC member to host the conference was not a mistake.

Two activists who briefly held up a banner "Qatar why host, not lead" were briefly detained, according to the UK Climate Youth Coalition, which posted a video of the incident on its website.

"Despite expectations from the new civil society movement around climate change in the region, Arab political leadership has so far failed to materialize," said Wael Hmaidan, director of Climate Action Network-International.

Explore further: New Zealand: Forget Kyoto, write new climate deal


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2.2 / 5 (10) Dec 06, 2012
Poor countries demand action at UN climate talks

Translation: We want you to pay for our stuff and we'll use Liberals, Lies and bad science to insure that you do.
3 / 5 (6) Dec 06, 2012
Unfortunately, I have to say their claim is ridiculous.

The Philippines is hit by many typhoons each year, and this year has actually been 20% below average!

Even though this particular area hasn't been hit by anything this strong in modern history, the history books are very short even by modern meteorology standards.

The SST in the affected region was about average, only 0.5C to 1C above average at most, which is well within normal multi-annual variation, which means you can't prove with our understanding how much, if any, of the storm's intensity could be blamed on global warming. You can't even prove whether this is a "normal" 100 year typhoon for this location, or whether it's a GW enhanced typhoon, since its only about 1 category stronger than the previous record holder in this location; the record is so short that it's easy enough to see that storms as strong or stronger could have made landfall there before modern records. See below.
3 / 5 (6) Dec 06, 2012
We know that stronger storms have been observed in the NW pacific even in modern times, even over 30 years ago before most of the warming happened, so using this typhoon as a beating stick to try to force an agenda on international community is not valid, even if the science of GW is otherwise valid.

Please, nobody blame GW for 20ft storm surges where 5 to 10ft storm surges happen 15 to 20 times per year anyway, and 15ft surges appear to happen at least once every year or two, seeing as how the outlier is bound to happen from time to time anyway, and is actually weaker than some storms previously observed in the basin long ago.
3.2 / 5 (6) Dec 07, 2012
@Shootist Liberals, Lies and bad science to insure that you do.
Who exactly are you insuring? AIG went bankrupt after your bankster buddies raped it.
2.3 / 5 (4) Dec 07, 2012
Due the carbon-trading most of carbon tax subsidies will end in poor countries, which will develop new carbon-based technologies for it. Therefore the carbon tax business not only decreases the load of planet with green-house gases - it accelerates it instead in developing countries. The carbon taxes must be used for development of alternative technologies, not for feeding of population explosion in these countries. And the only alternative technology which decreases the cost of energy and as such energy load is the cold fusion - not biofuels and solar energy plants, the electricity of which is more expensive, than the electricity from oil and coal.
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 07, 2012
And the only alternative technology which decreases the cost of energy and as such energy load is the cold fusion - not biofuels and solar energy plants, the electricity of which is more expensive, than the electricity from oil and coal.

First of all, we don't currently have cold fusion, so we don't know what the energy costs might be.

Second, if/when we develop cold fusion, it (the industry) will likely be controlled by a small handful of people who will somehow manage to keep energy prices high.

Legitimate competition is the only thing that can keep energy prices low. Cold fusion certainly has the potential to do that, but don't expect the (cold fusion energy producers) to leave a lot of money on the table just for the benefit of the masses.

The game is rigged - it will likely continue to be rigged.
2.3 / 5 (4) Dec 09, 2012
The money they are after will never go to the poor in poor countries but to the corrupt leadership who are the real reason for the poverty. It's the representatives of these corrupt despots that control the
1 / 5 (4) Dec 09, 2012
Just about everyone in the PI has a cell phone and internet access enabling the damage to be documented.
If it bleeds it leads, but typhoons are nothing new in the PI and are taken as a matter of course.
Except, now, maybe the people are demanding their govt do more to help, just as those in the USA do now. And the results are the same, disappointment.
1 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2012
The latest report from the IPCC regarding extreme weather events has just come out. The report itself says:-
There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change… The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados… The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses.

Compare this with what the IPCC press release spins this to say pretty much the opposite????

Evidence suggests that climate change has led to changes in climate
extremes such as heat waves, record high temperatures and, in many regions, heavy precipitation in the past half century, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said today.
Both sides are claiming a win but I'd go with the report. Spin is the enemy of science.
1 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2012
Here's a link with exerts from the SREX reporthttp://omnologos....extreme/

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