When a typhoon causes destruction and death, there will be money involved for the repairs and the effort to move on from the loss.
Families tend to gather resources to help a member caught in an emergency caused by a destructive typhoon. Communities round up support and local governments do what they can to address immediate needs, try to save life, and locate the missing. But then all the support is not enough when there is a swatch of destruction and several priorities have to be met at almost the same time.
This is the simple rationale behind the call for climate finance that asks developed countries to pay for loss and damage caused by global warming. As Oxfam Pilipinas country Director Lot Felizco explained in a statement after severe tropical storm Paeng hit last month, the Philippines and other climate-vulnerable countries in Asia continue to grapple with the problem of having to face the effects of a climate emergency that more developed countries have caused. Paeng was the latest deadly typhoon to hit the Philippines.
For Cebuanos, last Friday marked a year after super typhoon Odette struck on Dec. 16, 2021, and affected two million people in Cebu alone. The destruction was widespread and, although local officials believe that most of Cebu has recovered, structures such as school buildings, electrical posts and lines, churches and others still bear the marks.
Oxfam Pilipinas has called on the global community to support countries like the Philippines “that are facing the double whammy of being extremely climate-vulnerable while not being prepared enough for the disasters to come.”
The Climate Finance in Asia report showed that Asian countries have seen an annual 28 percent rise in climate finance to $20.5 billion in 2020, yet that is not enough to correct the injustice in developing countries. Oxfam said Asian countries need $1.3 trillion a year from now to 2030 to meet their estimated climate needs. Oxfam said “current levels are woefully inadequate” and that a “significant share of these estimated needs must come from international support.”
This was exactly what was agreed upon during the COP27 held in Egypt from Nov. 6 to 20. The COP27 is the 2022 Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Rich countries agreed to pay for climate damage in poor nations.
The next focus will be on where the money will go, how much rich countries will contribute, and which countries can benefit. A committee will work on the details next year.
Another lesson we can derive from the Odette experience is the need to push for rich and industrialized countries to pay for the costs of destruction and loss from typhoons and droughts fueled by global warming. How to do that is to insist that environment agencies in government take the lead to demand compensation.
December 17, 2022
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