Typhoon fuels calls for global warming funds
The typhoon that killed thousands of people in the Philippines has energized debate about whether rich nations should compensate poor ones for climate-related losses, a proposal the U.S. and European Union are resisting.
Some 130 countries, including islands concerned they’ll disappear with rising sea levels, are pushing for reparations as part of a “loss and damage” mechanism at United Nations climate talks in Warsaw this week. They blame countries that industrialized 200 years ago for damaging the atmosphere.
“Many countries around the world are already incurring losses and damages from the impacts of climate change,” Yeb Sano, the Philippine lead negotiator whose hometown was flattened by the storm, said in an interview in Warsaw. “We’d like to make clear the difference between humanitarian aid and climate change compensation in the context of historical responsibility.”
All nations agreed a year ago that they would set up a mechanism to deal with loss and damage at the Warsaw meeting. For industrial nations, including the U.S. and European Union, any notion of it dealing with compensation is a red-line issue.
The scale of what the cost of the mechanism could be is the first things giving rich nations reason for pause. Annual economic losses from natural disasters have almost quadrupled in the past three decades, the World Bank said in a report.
The average reported losses rose from around $50 billion a year in the 1980s to almost $200 billion a year in the past decade, totaling $3.8 trillion from 1980 to 2012, according to the report released today, which used data by Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurer. Three-quarters of the total was due to extreme weather, it said.
Integrating Climate and Disaster
Risk into Development
The Climate Reality Project
Typhoon Haiyan: “We fear this will not be the last”
In 2008, our islands suffered the deluge brought by Typhoon Fengshen. In 2009, Typhoons Ketsana and Parma; followed by Megi in 2010; then, Nesat and Washi in 2011; Bopha in 2012, the costliest – and now Haiyan: we fear this will not be the last. Haiyan shows the worst possible outcome, but as it lashed our communities, affecting millions of innocent people, we may run out of our unique Filipino resiliency. We thank the world for their kindness but we expect developed countries to take ambitious steps to prevent more Haiyans. We have suffered enough.
A lawyer by profession, Atty. Christina Barroga, is exploring how to raise the recent event to the International Criminal Court.
Countries at risk due to climate change believe they have a way to force industrialised nations to pay fines.
Abdul Momen, Bangladesh Amabassador to the UN: “In Bangladesh we are the victim of climate change. And it happened not because of us, because our contribution to global warming is minimal. And once it is created we are suffering. A large part of our land has already gone under water”
Climate Law blog
Al Jazeera English reported on efforts by Bangladesh and other small island nations to petition the UN General Assembly to request a hearing by the International Court of Justice on accountability for climate change. Bangladesh views an ICJ decision as a way to hold industrialized nations accountable for damages caused by climate change. Michael Gerrard, Director of the Center for Climate Change, commented that although an ICJ decision would not be legally binding, it would have moral authority and could change the nature of the debate at future international efforts to respond to climate change.
Threatened Island Nations
Legal Implications of Rising Seas and Changing Climate
The Center for Climate Change Law and the Republic of the Marshall Islands co-sponsored a conference, “Threatened Island Nations: Legal Implications of a Changing Climate.” The meeting discussed such issues as continuing statehood and maintenance of maritime zones for states facing inundation from sea level rise; resettlement rights and practicalities of population displacement; liability for climatic harm in judicial forums; the utility of responsibility regimes under current law; and the role for a new convention on climate displacement
Home page of International Court of Justice
Bangladesh Minister for Water
On the Front Lines of Climate Change
It’s a system that defines the entire area. And even if these simple farmers have never heard of greenhouse gases or the ozone layer, they have their own philosophy of life. “The water has always been our enemy but also a source of life,” says Shahidul. Now, however, the bodies of water have changed. “The water just takes land away from me; it hardly gives me anything in exchange.” Who is responsible he cannot say. In his view, only Allah is capable of such change.
What will happen when these farmers start to understand who is to be blamed?
Saline water intrusion affects agriculture in southern Bangladesh
After cyclonic storm AILA ripped through the south-western part of Bangladesh one year ago, sea water floods the lands of Koyra twice a day as river embankments remain broken leading to increasing salinity in the soil. Khulna, Bangladesh. 02/06/2010