(12j) Storm over Philippines: warning to all of us?

The Philippines, the country suffered a lot, last month from an earthquake and this weekend from a storm that killed maybe up to or even more than 12,000 people and destroyed many houses, it seems even whole cities while large boats were thrown on land.

There are now reports of looting and I heard the army will be used to stop them. The people roaming the streets and breaking into houses are condemned but I wonder what we would do if our houses were destroyed, including our food we stored for winter and all our crops in the fields? Would we not start looting damaged houses and shops, certainly money has become useless and all vegetation is destroyed? Of course, when people start stealing televisions and radios then they should be stopped but I think most people will start 'stealing' food to stay alive. When the army will prevent people taking food out of shops, maybe even shoot some, then I wonder how many people may die while food is rotting unused in shops. And thus the army should do as much as possible to bring food and water although it will be difficult as many roads and airports are destroyed. And in the meanwhile, another although less severe storm is developing that may hit the Philippines again.

As I mentioned in an earlier article, I wonder how much preparations governments are taking to be sure there will be food when disasters struck their country? Many governments probably still deny climate change is happening now, or they may use it as an excuse to earn even more from selling products that will increase the problems such as start fracking, claiming it is better than burning coals while using both. Or they will build more nuclear power stations while Fukushima proved that when nature destroys, even a wall of 10 metres high is not enough to prevent destruction. But of course, the West build so much better.

People start saying we should start building more water defences against rising sea levels but I wonder whether that will be a good idea. As the storm in the Philippines showed us, severe storms can swipe up the waters. What if water manages to go over wall defences? The water wouldn't be able to retract for a long period. That doesn't mean we can't think about solutions, certainly those to reduce further problems.

In addition, during these storms and heavy rains, there can be landslides, breaking gas pipes and thus releasing gas, therefore raising the possibility of large fires, certainly in major cities.

Therefore, let us hope governments at the climate conference in Poland (what a coincidence the storm happened the same weekend while the weekend before a storm battered Europe) will accept actions are needed (even when there may never be proof the severe storm is the direct result of climate change) to have more renewable energy and that does not include growing trees to burn them (some claim this is renewable energy) but it means insulation in houses, sun and wind energy close to cities and on top of houses of people (will also reduce energy bills but also air pollution). And it means accepting our responsibilities, not blaming animals as some do so we can wash our hands in water and continue as if we are not involved.

But when I read that for instance the British government employs a gas industry employee to draft UK's energy policy at Decca (Department of Energy and Climate Change) or had many more meetings with people from energy firms than those from green campaign groups then I fear the worst. Idem in Russia where people were arrested because they protested against future exploitation of Arctic while a number of countries have already reduced subsidies for green energy while others may follow.

The New Scientist (9 November 2013, Editorial) describes how people are already changing their behaviour, mainly at a local level, because they start feeling or fearing the effects of climate change. They reduce emissions by insulation houses and using energy-efficient light bulbs and this has an impact on emissions. Let us hope governments will not force us to reduce our efforts to reduce energy use by forcing us to buy polluting energies so those companies can make even more profits, in the name of more economic growth. Because then one day we may have nothing left when a similar storm as the one in the Philippines destroys Western buildings and economies while killing people here. But as the climate top is sponsored by ArcelorMittal and the Emirates (and car companies although this may be sincere if they invest in the development of energy-efficient cars) and the organiser want to convince people that the use of coal in Poland will remain for another long time, we can fear the worse.

I am not sure I will write another major article concerning climate change as I only gets the information from the experts. They too warn people and politicians and have much more details than I have although maybe they are slightly too cautious in possible scenarios. I already mentioned what I think are solutions such as solar panels on houses and cars but also wind energy and energy-efficient light bulbs. In another article I may describe better how I think cities can be changed and developed in order to reduce our energy use as well as our energy bills. And many of these methods are already used although not enough yet, thus what Iwill describe will not be something new.

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