Typhoon Haiyan: turning point in how West thinks about climate change?
Disasters in Southeast Asia have gone global before, as I learned in researching the eruption of the Tambora volcano in Indonesia in 1815. Mount Tambora's massive detonation, the largest in thousands of years, threw the global climate system into chaos. Crops failed from Indonesia to Ireland, and millions of desperate refugees poured into the cities. Famine-friendly diseases, typhus and cholera, spread like wildfire. In an ultimate measure of desperation, some parents killed their own children out of mercy (tales of post-Tambora filicide are told from Bali to China to Switzerland).
Even in the U.S., where a much-feared famine was largely averted, thousands of people fled the Tambora weather of freezing New England for the promised land of the frontier.
...The alternative -- a world of hundredfold Haiyans and exhausted human beings -- is too gruesome to contemplate.