Typhoon Haiyan exposes the reality of climate injustice – We strengthen our resolve to struggle for an end to the climate madness

December 4, 2013. Source: La Via Campesina

On November 8, 2013, the strongest super typhoon ever recorded in history, with winds as high as 314 kilometers per hour, slammed into the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan devastated several cities in the islands of the Visayas, leaving in its wake, more than 5,000 dead, more than 1,000 still missing and millions impacted with thousands of families left without food, water or shelter.

The Philippines, a country used to an average of 20 typhoons a year, had never seen a category 5 typhoon so destructive that it flattened entire towns. But with climate change, this is the new reality. Warmer seas and warmer air temperatures combine to produce more violent storms. The climate is changing and as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated in its report, “many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.”

The catastrophic and horrific tragedy however failed to move the developed nations into committing to real climate action. Instead, they moved backwards. Japan, one of the leading emitters, declared that instead of their original pledge to cut emissions by 25 percent, they would increase emissions by 3 percent by the year 2020 based on their level of CO2 emissions in 1990. The Durban Platform, the new global agreement that would apply to all countries and would replace the Kyoto Protocol, is supposed to be agreed by 2015 and implemented by 2020 but the past climate negotiations, including this recently concluded one in Poland, have witnessed developed countries moving further away from real commitments and instead moving towards voluntary pledges and still no specific numbers on targets or cuts.

Furthermore, developed countries were reneging on promises made. At the last COP in Doha, developing countries battled long and hard to win some language on “loss and damage.” In principle, loss and damage should mean that on account of historical responsibility, rich countries would provide financial compensation to poor countries devastated by climate change. But in reality this COP in Poland watered down the language to almost nothing and provided an empty mechanism with no finance. And despite the tearful pleas and the fasting of the Philippines negotiator for 13 days, and the fasting of numerous climate justice activists, developed countries remained unmoved.

The United Nations Secretary General called Typhoon Haiyan a wake up call on climate change. But it is more than that – Typhoon Haiyan is a tragic example of climate injustice. Despite climate change being historically caused by only a few industrialized countries and now by a number of bigger developing countries, the impacts are felt by all, and by the poor and disadvantaged, most of all. It is the poor most especially, who are unable to escape, adapt or survive the violence of climate change and yet they have been the least responsible.

In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan and the disastrous global climate negotiations in Poland, La Via Campesina, the international peasants movement, representing more than 200 million small farmers around the world, strengthen our resolve to implement real solutions to climate change, on the ground, with our sustainable ways of farming using agroecology, food sovereignty and respecting the rights of Mother Earth.

We also denounce the inaction of governments in the climate negotiations and call on all countries to make real commitments in cutting emissions, according to their historical responsibility. We also call on developing country governments to not follow on the path of dirty development and instead move now to transition away from dirty energy, over-exploitation of nature and endless growth.

La Via Campesina strengthens its resolve to struggle for an end to climate madness and to achieve climate justice. We are also sending seeds to our sisters and brothers in the Philippines as an expression of our solidarity and message of hope and resistance. We will not remain silently as victims. Now is the time for climate justice.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Food Sovereignty, Indigenous Peoples, Natural Disasters, Warsaw/COP-19

0 Responses to Typhoon Haiyan exposes the reality of climate injustice – We strengthen our resolve to struggle for an end to the climate madness

  1. Reblogged this on ashley dawson and commented:
    Powerful statement by La Via Campesina on the reactionary COP in Poland.