Greenpeace statement on Typhoon Haiyan

Press release - November 10, 2013
Manila, Philippines - Greenpeace would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to our fellow Filipinos in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan that claimed more than 100 lives and displaced more than 750,000 people in less than 48 hours. We salute the government agencies who were better prepared to deal with the impacts of a typhoon of such magnitude. We hope that necessary aid be given immediately to those gravely affected to help them cope and be able to rebuild their lives.

Amalie Obusan, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Regional Climate and Energy Campaigner said:

The Philippines is certainly no stranger to typhoons or to natural disasters, however recent extreme weather events have become more frequent and more devastating in the last decade because of climate change.  Haiyan-- the 24th typhoon to have hit the country this year—is the most powerful typhoon in Philippine history.

With maximum sustained winds of 235 kph near the center and gusts of up to 275 kph, Haiyan gained much of its strength as it travelled across exceedingly warm waters that extend to great depth[1]. A small increase in the ocean's temperatures can pump up an existing storm's power and add to its rain fall. Sadly, such intense and destructive storms are likely to become more normal in the future as global warming intensifies.

With the worsening weather patterns in Southeast Asia, the Philippines will be made even more vulnerable to climate change impacts. We therefore urge the Aquino government to take the issue of climate change seriously by eliminating the country’s dependence on fossil fuels that lead to more carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

The need for immediate action to address climate change and to help cope with its negative impacts is especially important and urgent for countries like the Philippines.  The on-going climate negotiation in Warsaw, Poland is an important step in delivering a fair, ambitious, binding global climate deal by 2015[2].  ASEAN and its members must use this moment to move for the adoption of political decisions and agreements to ensure that there are concrete actions and resources to address climate change, particularly in countries that are most vulnerable like the Philippines.

Now more than ever is the time to act.  Countries need to demonstrate collective humanity by addressing the twin problems of climate adaptation and mitigation.  We cannot afford to wait for another off-the-scale typhoon to seize an opportunity. As a country most vulnerable to climate change, the Philippines can champion the massive uptake of renewable energy, increase its resilience and abandon plans for coals and nukes.


For more details, please contact:

Amalie Obusan, Regional Climate and Energy Campaigner, +639175216804

Therese Salvador, Media Campaigner, +639178228734

[1]    Pun, I.-F., I.-I. Lin, and M.-H. Lo (2013), Recent increase in high tropical cyclone heat potential area in the Western North Pacific Ocean, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40 ,4680–4684, doi:10.1002/grl.50548