David Cameron says evidence is ‘growing’ for climate change link to storms after Typhoon Haiyan

Philippines government has blamed 'climate madness' for devastating super-storm that has killed more than 3,600

Colombo

Evidence was growing that climate change was responsible for extreme weather disasters such as typhoon Haiyan, the Prime Minister said today.

The Philippines government has blamed “climate madness” for the devastating super-storm that has killed more than 3,600 people and left more than 11 million displaced. Asked whether he agreed there could be a link, David Cameron said: “I’ll leave the scientists to speak for themselves about the link between severe weather events and climate change. The evidence seems to me to be growing.”

His words appeared to be the most explicit from any member of the British Government linking climate change to Haiyan.

Ed Davey, the Climate Change Secretary, said on Thursday that he was not certain climate change had led to the increased frequency of storms.

Many Conservative MPs actively deny any human contribution to climate change. Lord Lawson, the Tory former Chancellor, said this week it was a “scare” to suggest tropical storms were the result of climate change.

Speaking to journalists in Sri Lanka, Mr Cameron said: “There is no doubt there have been an increasing number of severe weather events in recent years.

“And I’m not a scientist but it’s always seemed to me one of the strongest arguments about climate change is, even if you’re only 90 per cent certain or 80 per cent certain or 70 per cent certain, if I said to you ‘There’s a 60 per cent chance your house might burn down; do you want to take out some insurance?’ You take out some insurance. I think we should think about climate change like that.

“Scientists are giving us a very certain message. Even if you’re less certain than the scientists it makes sense to act both in terms of trying to prevent and mitigate.”

He added: “As a practical politician I think the sensible thing is to say, let’s take preventative and mitigating steps given the chances this might be the case.”

Earlier this week Yeb Sano, the Philippines’ lead negotiator at a UN climate session in Warsaw, said there was a clear link between climate change and Haiyan, which has devastated his home town of Tacloban.

On the BBC’s Question Time on Thursday, Lord Lawson said there had been no increase in tropical storms for the past 100 years.

He added: “Typhoon Haiyan is terrible but I’m afraid these things happen in the tropics.

“The Atlantic hurricane season this year has been one of the quietest hurricane seasons in living memory.

“If you look at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, they say there is absolutely no connection between climate change and tropical storms.”

Mr Davey said on the same programme that climate change had increased the intensity of the damage caused by typhoons, but there was no evidence that they had increased in frequency.

Mr Davey said: “Sea levels are rising, that’s a fact. And that’s happening because of climate change.

“The higher sea-level islands that they have in the Philippines are far more vulnerable to these typhoons than they used to be.

“That’s the danger of climate change. It’s making these areas far more vulnerable which is why these disasters are on a scale we’ve never seen before.”

The Government’s chief scientific adviser last month challenged climate sceptics to drop their denial of global warming in the face of overwhelming evidence that it poses “an extremely important threat to us”.

Sir Mark Walport said a section of the general public was increasingly doubtful about the existence of climate change and human responsibility for it in the face of the global economic downturn, sceptical media coverage and “climate fatigue”, he told The Independent.

It followed an IPCC report suggesting that global warming posed a significant threat.

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voices conversations is an offensive act
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices