Paddy Ashdown warns lack of action in climate change risks extreme weather

The former Liberal Democrat leader says the level of energy at the UN climate talks left him 'speechless'

Lack of action in international climate change talks risks extreme weather events such as the typhoon that devastated the Philippines three weeks ago being repeated, Paddy Ashdown has warned.

The former Liberal Democrat leader said that the level of energy at the UN climate talks, which wrapped up in Warsaw last weekend, left him "speechless." Writing in the Guardian, Ashdown also said that climate change is contributing to extreme weather events, that the role of human-caused emissions in global warming is having fatal consequences and that typhoon Haiyan is a preview of what the future holds.

Referring to the nearly 200 countries that met last week to work towards a global deal to tackle climate change, Ashdown said: "The Philippines disaster should have sent an urgent message demanding bold action to protect children from disasters like these and delivered plans for how we can effectively rebuild when the worst happens, but the lack of energy has left me speechless."

The talks opened with an emotive appeal from the Philippines lead negotiator, who linked the typoon to climate change and pleaded with delegates to "stop this [climate] madness." Yeb Sano also fasted for the fortnight-long talks, prompting a petition that attracted nearly three quarters of a million signatures, calling for "major steps" at the talks. The negotiations ended with an agreement that governments would lay out their targets for future emissions cuts in just over a year's time, as part of efforts to secure an international deal at the end of 2015, at talks in Paris.

Ashdown, who is the UK president of children's charity Unicef, said: " I cannot believe we are not yet gripping this issue with the urgency that is needed and unless we do that, what you see isn't going to be one event that shocks and saddens us but an event that is repeated and repeated and repeated."

He also warned that children were at the highest risk of extreme weather such as Haiyan, as they suffer the greatest disease and trauma. "Children in developing countries like the Philippines are the hardest hit, despite being the least responsible for causing climate change," he added.


Adam Vaughan

The GuardianTramp

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