Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

How many more must die because of climate change denial?

with 8 comments

Warmer oceans cause more evaporation; leading to more moisture in the atmosphere more of the time.  This results in more frequent storms of greater intensity than before.  This email from Greenpeace therefore needs no further introduction from me:

—————————

Dear supporter,

These are extremely tough times for the people of the Philippines. Unfortunately, this disaster is not over yet and recovering from it will take a lot of time and resources. Nothing will make up for the lost lives though.

I often say this and unfortunately it is true on this occasion as well. It is those who are the least responsible for climate change who are getting hit the hardest by its impacts.

I received the email below from the Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Von Hernandez. It was such a powerful reminder of why we do what we do that I asked if I could share it with you. He agreed.

Please continue to show solidarity with our colleagues, their families and the Filipino people and remind our governments that every fresh investment in a fossil fuel project is a bet against our children and children’s future on this planet, as Von put it himself.

In solidarity,

Kumi Naidoo
International Executive Director
Greenpeace International
———-

Dear friends,

It is impossible to put into words the despair that millions of Filipinos are going through right now.

Days after Haiyan (Yolanda) sliced through the central islands of the Philippines, it has become horrifyingly clear that the damage wrought by the super typhoon has been colossal, the devastation absolute.

As of this writing, almost a thousand people have been officially confirmed to have lost their lives. The number of dead, however, is expected to exceed 10,000 — as more reports continue to filter in from other cities, islands and villages that were flattened by the apocalyptic winds and enormous walls of sea water that came rushing ashore.

More than 10 million people are estimated to have been displaced by this single event. Hunger, sickness and despair now stalk the most hard hit of areas, even as aid from both local and international sources started to trickle in. The President has already declared a state of national calamity.

It will probably take a few more days, maybe weeks before the total extent of this disaster can be confirmed. But for sure, this is now considered the worst natural calamity that the country has ever experienced. 

While storms and typhoons are indeed natural occurrences, the ferocious strength and destructive power delivered by this typhoon have been characterized as off the charts and beyond normal.

This is also not the first time. 

Last year, there was Bopha, which resulted in more than 600 fatalities, and before that a number of other weather aberrations too freakish even for a nation that has grown accustomed to getting more than 20 of these howlers in any given year. As if on cue, and following the template of Bopha in Doha, Haiyan also came at a time when the climate COP is taking place, this time in Warsaw.

Some of you would have already heard about the emotional opening speech delivered by the head of the Philippine delegation at the climate summit, bewailing the absence of responsible climate action at the global level and refusing to accept that the fate of Filipinos may now be irretrievably linked to a future where people are served super typhoons for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Once again, a disaster such as this one, underscores the urgency of the work we do as a global organization on climate change. 

It is in fearful anticipation of tragic scenarios such as these why our staff and activists go through great lengths, putting their life and liberty at risk, to take action at the frontlines of climate destruction — whether that’s in the forests of Sumatra or the hostile waters of the Arctic.

I would like to believe this is part of the larger narrative why 30 of our colleagues remain in detention in Russia. And it is our hope that they find courage and inspiration to endure the injustice they are going through, moving the planet away from the clear and present danger posed by runaway climate change.

We thank you all for the messages of solidarity and support you have sent our way at this time.

More importantly, I would urge you to use this moment to remind your governments that every investment in fossil fuels is an investment in death and destruction. 

The impact of new coal plants being built or new oil fields being developed — do not remain in their immediate vicinities — they translate into epic humanitarian disasters and tragedies, as we continue to witness in the Philippines.

Regards,

Von Hernandez
Executive Director
Greenpeace Southeast Asia

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Written by Martin Lack

15 November 2013 at 16:30

8 Responses

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  1. Just to let you know Marty, I live in North America and the current UN climate summit is receiving close to zero news coverage. Only a few years ago it was the news headliner for the entire summit, but today hardly a whisper.

    cheers

    klem

    16 November 2013 at 11:31

    • Who is surprised, Klem? I certainly am not (and I very much doubt that you are). As is made clear in the Greedy Lying Bastards movie, the industry-funded sabotage of UNFCCC talks in Copenhagen 4 years ago – that came to be known as ‘Climategate’ – effectively inverted reality for a lot of people: Convincing them that there is a worldwide conspiracy amongst climate scientists to perpetuate research (as opposed to a Fossil fuel industry-funded conspiracy to perpetuate doubt). However, the fact that climate change denial is now not a winning strategy (e.g. Mitt Romney and Ken Cuccinelli) gives some hope for the future.

      N.B. Further vacuous comments from you may be deleted without warning.

      Martin Lack

      16 November 2013 at 13:42

  2. Quite a few given the continuing influence of the GWPF in pushing UK Energy policy sideways to ensure that we renege on our climate commitments, which will surely happen if fracking becomes widespread in the UK. My home county Hampshire looks already committed to aiding and abetting what will amount to the criminal neglect of the commons in the form of water supplies at the very least. Is the push to raise utility costs through water system investment paid for by the easiest to milk connected with the planning for using massive quantities of water? Private customers pay for the benefit of the gas extraction industry.

    The recent paper Coverage bias in the HadCRUT4 temperature series and its impact on recent temperature trends” has generated much discussion between the factions, with Peter Lilley inserting his oar at Real Climate with follow up comments at 18 and 94.

    Hence my opening tilt at the GWPF – for we know that they were behind the ‘Lindzen in London’ circus, which Lilley attended.

    Lionel A

    16 November 2013 at 12:10

    • Thanks Lionel. I really don’t understand the rush to pursue Fracking in the UK. The Fracking boom in the USA will be over very soon and, although they have not shouted it very loud, the BGS admit most UK shale gas is non-recoverable (because we have no equivalent of the Marcellus Shale in this country).

      The only people making claims about vast recoverable reserves (greater than all the gas that was once beneath the North Sea) are those with a financial interest in trying to make it happen (including various government ministers and/or their close relatives). With any luck, they will all get bankrupted by it failing but, it would also be good if they did not have to drill tens of thousands of wells to realise it’s not going to work. Sadly, human history suggests greed is a powerful driver of irrational behaviour (so I suspect they will keep drilling long after it becomes obvious to neutral observers that there money is non-recoverable too).

      Fracking will never be the solution to anything but it might well be the cause of a runaway greenhouse effect. Meanwhile, nuclear takes ten years to build, whereas the lights will go out in less than five. Community-financed and self-rewarding, micro-generation schemes – waste from energy and combined heat and power – would be best.

      Martin Lack

      16 November 2013 at 14:03

  3. Meanwhile, nuclear takes ten years to build, whereas the lights will go out in less than five.

    As William Nuttall points out herein it need not for most of the trouble is regulatory issues and push back against older first and second generation. Although I grant not much has happened WRT later generations since this book was written but economies of scale, and faster builds, are possible if only a couple of designs go ahead with a modular approach assisting agility and speed of deployment.

    But maybe the ‘five years’ threat to to ensure we acquiesce into compliance with the wishes of those who are trying to throw away the last vestiges of democracy, see [1] below.

    If only ‘our leaders’ could have been clearer sighted’ and not anchored to fossil fuel by the ball & chain of vested interest lobbyists [1] we could be well on our way for fossil freedom at least for all non mobile uses of energy.

    The other inconsistency in current planning is the pushing for airport expansion when the burgeoning leisure flight industry should be charged a carbon tax commensurate with the carbon footprint of such activities. Food miles too should be considered but this may punish some third world, notably African, producers because the costs will be squeezed from them rather than the middle-men.

    Our society is just so broken when it comes to facing the reality of the change that will need to happen lest much bigger changes are force on us by a collapsing biosphere. Jelly-fish burgers anyone?

    [1] the like of which will not be affected by the Transparency in Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill as the government, which if it passes, will move from being regressive (rather than Conservative – Hah!) to repressive. Just watch if this bill passes without substantial modification.

    Lionel A

    16 November 2013 at 16:26

    • Thanks Lionel. The ‘within five years’ is no idle threat. The UK is now perilously close to power cuts like those of 40 years ago. This time, however, it will not be the result of industrial action. As for the ‘Gagging Bill’, the opposition is so widespread, the Government has been forced to suspend its progress through Parliament – to allow time for a re-think. I am therefore now confident that it is unlikely to pass into Law unchanged.

      Martin Lack

      16 November 2013 at 18:36

  4. More on the GWPF, at last somebody is challenging their status.

    Via a post by John Mashey at ‘Wotts Up With That Blog’ I followed to DeSmogBlog and an article I had previously visited and noticed a new link to this very recent article Lord Lawson’s climate-change think tank risks being dismantled after complaint it persistently misled public.

    Don’t have any food or drink in your mouth if visiting the comments below as a hoard of Orcs has dropped by with moles so whacked that they are beyond use in Tussauds’ Chamber of Horrors.

    Lionel A

    17 November 2013 at 19:56

    • Thanks for the link to the June 2013 article in The Independent, Lionel. I did investigate the feasibility of lodging a complaint with the Charities Commission myself but am very glad to hear Bob Ward has done so. May be he read my book or my review of Lawson’s book (which was in it).

      Martin Lack

      18 November 2013 at 11:00


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