Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is Philippines typhoon really an example of climate change?

Various key negotiators at the crucial UN climate treaty talks in Bangkok have cited the Philippines typhoon as an example of the damage that climate change is causing in Asia.

Yvo de Boer, who was dubbed the Crying Dutchman after breaking down during the last big round of climate talks in Bali in 2007, claimed that Typhoon Ketsana was "the most recent tragic example" of climate change, according to AFP.

Heherson Alvarez, the chief Philippine climate negotiator, concurred that "Ketsana is clearly a manifestation of the consequences of global inaction in addressing the immediate impacts of creeping climate change."

But can we really argue with confidence that this is the case?

Tempting as it is for negotiators to use the devastation wreaked in the Philippines and Vietnam as a stick with which to beat the big carbon emitters, it seems intellectually fraudulent to claim that selected catastrophic contemporary weather events are direct consequences of medium-long term climate change.

Photo courtest of IRRI Images.

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