Record flooding highlights urgency of progress in climate talks

14:10, September 30, 2009      

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The record flooding that the Philippines is suffering demonstrated that the greenhouse gas emissions should be cut early and deeply, said the delegates from the Southeast Asia country Wednesday, as the UN Climate Change Talks here entered the third day.

"With a renewed sense of urgency and determination, we are pushing for Developed Country Parties to ensure support and financing for adaptation in developing countries consistent with our position for a concrete global adaptation financing package devoted for risk insurance and climate proofing vulnerable economies," said Heherson Alvarez, the chief negotiator for the Philippines.

At a news conference Wednesday morning, Heherson said the tropical storm, Ketsana, is a timely reminder of the urgency to tackle the climate change issue and of the necessity of this negotiations, the latest round of a series of talks that will lead to the UN Climate Change Conference in December in Copenhagen.

On Saturday, Sept. 26, the tropical storm Ketsana hit Manila, the Philippines' capital, and 25 local provinces, with the heaviest rainfall the country has experienced in over 40 years.

The storm dumped more than a month's worth of rain in just 12 hours in those area, and the flood's death toll stood at 246, leaving nearly 2 million people homeless in the Philippines.

The total immediate damage is worth 49 million U.S. dollars, without long-term damage counted in, Alvarez said.

Ketsana strengthened and crashed into central Vietnam on Tuesday, killing at least 23 people, local officials said. Some 170,000 people were evacuated.

Not only Ketsana itself, but also the consistent, ever-increasing quantity and intensity of the typhoon, carrying huge volume of water, that the Philippines suffered in the past years demonstrated the impact of climate change, said Graciano P. Yumul, undersecretary of Philippines' Department of Science and Technology, who also attended the press conference.

About 4,000 international delegates, including officials from 177 countries, business and industry representatives, and NGO volunteers, attend the 12-day climate change talks in Bangkok, with the goal to narrow down the 200-page draft agreement for Copenhagen to something more manageable.

Along the way, the negotiations also hope to close the gap between rich and poor positions and come close to agreement on such issues as reducing deforestation and sharing climate-friendly technology.

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