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PIA Press Release
2009/06/08

Gov't workers in Butuan City join call for public support to mitigate climate change

Butuan City (8 June) -- Government workers led by the DENR personnel have staged a five-kilometer early morning hike through the well-paved streets in Butuan City on Friday in celebration of World Environment Day on Friday, May 5, 2009.

The celebration is focused on the theme "Your Planet needs You-Unite to Combat Climate Change".

The government workers were apparently moved by the global concern on climate in which many countries including the Philippine are affected.

Residents were greeted by the sirens blast as the participants have passed through the streets of the busy commercial center sending strong message to the people to unite and find effective measures they can possibly contribute to reduce heavy emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2).

DENR Secretary Lito Atienza,Jr has enjoined the citizenry to take active part in various environmental protection activities as the country joins the global community in celebrating World Environment Day (WED).

"Let us all join the fight against climate change. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and we at the DENR are very much committed to address this issue, so let us work together to combat climate change which is the biggest and most threatening environmental issue facing mankind today," Secretary Atienza said.

The Philippines, he said, is one of the countries most susceptible to climate change, especially extreme weather events. "Climate change could have a devastating impact on the Philippines, which could lead to widespread destruction of the country's flora and fauna, flooding and landslides," he said.

Every individual's efforts, no matter how small, can contribute to the sustainable development of our economies and communities around the world, he added.

Atienza said the special day could be celebrated by taking part in waste recycling and clean-up campaigns as well as tree planting and other reforestation activities.

In an interview with the local newsmen shortly after a brief program at the Rizal Plaza in Butuan City, the DENR Technical Director for Forest Management Services Virgilio dela Cruz said the " global climate change has affected the weather system in the country".

Experts on climate change reported that more than 100 years now the people worldwide have been burning fossil fuels releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse into the atmosphere. These added greenhouses gases have caused Earth to warm more quickly than it has in the past.

"How much warming has happened? Scientists from around the world with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tell us that during the past 100 years, the world's surface air temperature increased an average of 0.6 Celsius (1.1F This may not sound like very much change, but even one degree can affect the Earth the report said.

Below are some effects of climate change that we see happening now.

  • Sea level is rising. During the 20th century, sea level rose about 15 cm (6 inches) due to melting glacier ice and expansion of warmer seawater. Models predict that sea level may rise as much as 59 cm (23 inches) during the 21st Century, threatening coastal communities, wetlands, and coral reefs.

  • Arctic sea ice is melting. The summer thickness of sea ice is about half of what it was in 1950. Melting ice may lead to changes in ocean circulation. Plus melting sea ice is speeding up warming in the Arctic.

  • Glaciers and permafrost are melting. Over the past 100 years, mountain glaciers in all areas of the world have decreased in size and so has the amount of permafrost in the Arctic. Greenland's ice sheet is melting faster too.

  • Sea-surface temperatures are warming. Warmer waters in the shallow oceans have contributed to the death of about a quarter of the world's coral reefs in the last few decades. Many of the coral animals died after weakened by bleaching, a process tied to warmed waters.

  • Heavier rainfall cause flooding in many regions. Warmer temperatures have led to more intense rainfall events in some areas. This can cause flooding.

  • Extreme drought is increasing. Higher temperatures cause a higher rate of evaporation and more drought in some areas of the world.

  • Ecosystems are changing. As temperatures warm, species may either move to a cooler habitat or die. Species that are particularly vulnerable include endangered species, coral reefs, and polar animals. Warming has also caused changes in the timing of spring events and the length of the growing season.

  • Hurricanes have changed in frequency and strength. There is evidence that the number of intense hurricanes has increased in the Atlantic since 1970. Scientists continue to study whether climate is the cause.

  • Heat waves more frequent. It is likely that heat waves have become more common in more areas of the world.

  • Warmer temperatures affect human health. There have been more deaths due to heat waves and more allergy attacks as the pollen season grows longer. There have also been some changes in the ranges of animals that carry disease like mosquitoes.

  • Seawater is becoming more acidic. Carbon dioxide dissolving into the oceans, is making seawater more acidic. There could be impacts on coral reefs and other marine life. (DENR Caraga 13) [top]
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