Typhoon Haiyan: Disaster should end climate change debate says World Bank President

WASHINGTON (AFP) - World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said Tuesday that the deadly typhoon disaster in the Philippines should put an end to "silly" arguments denying climate change.

"If you think of the number of storms that have hit over the past year, the severity of those storms... The frequency of these events is increasing and that's exactly what the climate change scientists have predicted," Mr Kim said.

"What I hope the tragedy in the Philippines helps us to do is to move away from having what I think are silly arguments about not really the science, but about science as a whole." Some 10,000 or more are feared dead and hundreds of thousands left homeless after the super-typhoon Haiyan blasted through central Philippines on Friday.

It was the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded to have made landfall, and has raised fresh questions over whether global warming is behind an increase in the intensity and frequency of such storms.

Speaking to journalists, Mr Kim said people need to stop arguing over whether climate change is real, and do something about it.

"Ninety-five per cent of climate scientists agree that anthropogenic (human-influenced) climate change is real, and that we have to do something about it or the impacts are going to be severe," he said.

He said the damages from such storms run about US$6 billion (S$7.5 billion) a year and that the cost will mount sharply over the coming decades.

"Let's stop the argument and move forward," he said. "Let's make the investments we need." He called for more spending on renewable energy and on more environment-friendly agriculture.