Correspondence

Response to Christian Aid campaign about Typhoon Haiyan

Response from the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to the Christian Aid campaign about Typhoon Haiyan.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Response to Christian Aid campaign about Typhoon Haiyan

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I am writing regarding the emails my Department has received as a result of a campaign launched by Christian Aid, supporting Yeb Sano and the victims of the typhoon in Haiyan, and I would be grateful if you could publish this response on your website.

The UK is providing urgent humanitarian support for up to 800,000 people in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. Thousands of people in remote communities have lost their homes and everything they own. The UK will provide over £50 million in humanitarian support to help aid get through to hard to reach areas. This support will include providing a team of 12 NHS staff trained to operate under emergency conditions; and vital supplies including water purification kits, temporary shelters, bedding, blankets and solar lanterns.

Turning to the issues of climate change, this is arguably the greatest challenge facing the world today. It is a global issue that affects everyone on the planet. The findings in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group One Report (http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/) were clear: warming of the climate system over the last century is unequivocal. Along with temperature increases, we will likely see an increase in extreme weather events which will impact disproportionately on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

So we must act. To tackle climate change all the countries in the world must work together. This can only happen through a global frameworik: the Untted Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Your campaign also refers to ending financial support to coal power internationally, and needing to commit to more ambitious reductions in carbon emissions by 2020. The UK continued its strong record of leading on climate change action at the COP in Warsaw: joining the US in agreeing to end support for public financing of new coal-fired power plants overseas, except in rare circumstances in which the poorest countries have no feasible alternative. The two countries will work together to secure the support of other countries and multilateral development banks to adopt similar policies.

The UK is also continuing to push for action to reduce global emissions between now and 2020. Warsaw saw a positive outcome on work to increase pre-2020 mitigation, with all Parties expected to consider how they can increase mitigation ambition next year, through a focus on the sectors where the mitigation potential is high, and which have significant co-benefits, such as energy efficiency. renewables and reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+).

Domestically, the UK is taking action to ensure that the right energy infrastructure is in place to achieve reductions in carbon emissions. Electricity Market Reform (EMR) is a package of measures which are being implemented to help incentivise the investment needed over the coming decade to replace the UK’s ageing energy infrastructure wijh a more diverse and low-carbon energy mix. EMR will help ensure that by 2020 the UK will have met its 34 per cent carbon reduction target, and at least 15 per cent of energy will be supplied by renewable sources, in line with EU targets.

Your campaign also refers to the loss and damage mechanism, which countries agreed to set up at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) in Doha. The best way to minimise future loss and damage is to agree an ambitious global deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees.

In Warsaw, countries agreed to establish the Warsaw International Mechanism, with a remit to enhance and promote knowledge of loss and damage, and approaches to addressing it. The mechanism will help to ensure the institutions under the UNFCCC are better informed and coordinated, particularly in relation to slow onset impacts of climate change like sea level rise or ocean acidification, and to promote the efficient and effective delivery of support to developing countries as they seek to manage these risks. The UK and other developed countries remain committed to supporting countries to manage the risks brought by the impacts of climate change. The UK is already implementing over £800 million of programmes focused on adapting to these impacts through our International Climate Fund.

Kind regards,

Edward Davey

Published 9 January 2014