French President to visit typhoon-ravaged Philippines

French President to visit typhoon-ravaged Philippines

MANILA - French President Francois Hollande will visit the typhoon-ravaged Philippines in February to build momentum for crucial climate change talks that France is hosting this year, his environment envoy said Friday.

Hollande hopes his visit would give a human face to climate change, as the Philippines bears the brunt of dozens of deadly storms every year, including the strongest on record, Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, Nicolas Hulot told reporters.

France and the Philippines "can send a common message to the international community, can be symbol, can be spark to mobilise and bring us back to our senses and reason," said Hulot, who was in Manila for meetings with Philippine officials and visits to typhoon zones.

Details of Hollande's February 26-27 visit, which includes a meeting with President Benigno Aquino, were still being worked out, he said.

Haiyan left 7,350 people dead or missing after its 230-kilometre (145-mile) per hour winds whipped tsunami-like waves that wiped out entire communities in impoverished central Philippine islands.

During the bitterly fought Lima round of climate talks last December, negotiators adopted a format for national pledges to cut Earth-warming greenhouse gases.

In Paris, negotiators hope to cut a deal to limit global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels, averting what could be potentially catastrophic damage to the Earth's climate system by the turn of the century.

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