Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

Global warming, Typhoon Haiyan and the Philippines

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, professor of economics, founder and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Montreal and editor of the globalresearch.ca website.

Published time: November 14, 2013 01:16
Typhoon victims wait to be evacuated at the airport in Tacloban, on the eastern island of Leyte on November 12, 2013 after Super Typhoon Haiyan swept over the Philippines (AFP Photo / Philippe Lopez)

Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), the strongest tropical typhoon ever recorded, has resulted in devastating consequences for the Philippines. The natural disaster took the lives of more than 10,000 people.

An estimated 615,000 residents have been displaced. Up to 4.3 million people have been affected, according to government sources.

The tragedy has become a talking point at Warsaw Climate Change Conference under UN auspices. The plight of Typhoon Haiyan has casually been assigned without evidence to the impacts of global warming.

While there is no scientific evidence that the super typhoon was the consequence of global warming, opening statements at the Warsaw summit hinted in no uncertain terms to a verified casual relationship. The executive director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), Christiana Figueres, stated (without evidence) that the typhoon was part of the “sobering reality” of global warming.

In turn, the Philippines’ UN representative at the Climate Change talks, Yeb Sano, stated in his address at the opening session that "Typhoons such as Yolanda (Haiyan) and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action. Warsaw must deliver on enhancing ambition and should muster the political will to address climate change."

In a bitter irony, the tragedy in the Philippines has contributed to reinforcing a consensus which indirectly feeds the pockets of corporations lobbying for a new deal on carbon trade. ‘Cap-and-trade’ is a multibillion dollar bonanza which is supported by the global warming consensus.

According to UNFCC executive director Christiana Figueres, “We must clarify finance that enables the entire world to move towards low-carbon development...We must launch the construction of a mechanism that helps vulnerable populations to respond to the unanticipated effects of climate change.”

Known and documented, cap-and-trade markets are manipulated. What is at stake is the trade in carbon derivatives which is controlled by powerful financial institutions including JP Morgan Chase. In 2008, Simon Linnett, executive vice-chairman of Rothschild, acknowledged the nature of this multibillion dollar business.

“As a banker, I also welcome the fact that the cap-and-trade system is becoming the dominant methodology for CO2 control. Unlike taxation, or plain regulation, cap-and-trade offers the greatest scope for private sector involvement and innovation,” he said, as quoted by The Telegraph.

Cap-and-trade packaged into derivative products feeds on the global warming consensus. Without it, this multibillion dollar trade would fall flat.

The humanitarian crisis in the Philippines bears no relationship to global warming. The social impacts of Typhoon Haiyan are aggravated due to the lack of infrastructure and social services, not to mention the absence of a coherent housing policy. Those most affected by the typhoon are living in poverty in make-shift homes.

A reduction of CO2 emissions - as suggested by Yeb Sano in his address at the Warsaw summit - will not resolve the plight of an impoverished population.

In the Philippines, the social impacts of natural disasters are invariably exacerbated by a macro-economic policy framework imposed by Manila's external creditors.

What is at stake is the deadly thrust of neoliberal economic reforms. For more than 25 years - since the demise of the Marcos dictatorship - the International Monetary Fund’s "economic medicine" under the helm of the Washington Consensus has prevailed, largely serving the interests of financial institutions and corporations in mining and agribusiness.

The government of Philippine President Benigno Aquino has embarked upon a renewed wave of austerity measures which involves sweeping privatization and the curtailment of social programs. In turn, a large chunk of the state budget has been redirected to the military, which is collaborating with the Pentagon under Obama's "Asia Pivot.” This program - which serves the interests of Washington at the expense of the Philippines population - also includes a $1.7 billion purchase of advanced weapons systems.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Follow us

Follow us