RP firms up resolve in race against climate change
Roxas City (17 June) -- The Philippines has firmed up its resolve to take more drastic actions in addressing climate change amidst increasing international concerns over global warming.
The commitment was sounded off by Secretary Heherson T. Alvarez, Presidential Adviser of Climate Change, who was tasked by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to head the Philippine delegation to Bonn, Germany where the second round of talks on climate change was held June 1-12.
During a sideline meeting to the Bonn talks with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-countries, Alvarez presented the Philippine submission on the elements of paragraph 1 of the Bali Action Plan, which strongly emphasizes that developing countries like the Philippines are most vulnerable to the immediate impacts of creeping climate change.
It came along with interventions conceived by the Philippine government that call for deep and early cut of CO2 emissions by Annex I Parties of more than 30-40 percent from 2013 to 2017, and more than 50 percent from 2018 to 2022 based on 1990 levels. The deep and early cut will moderate, if not avert, the accelerating destructive storms brought about by Climate Change.
"In ASEAN, creeping climate change is a common occurrence and its impact is a rising destruction on whole communities and food systems. We must respond to protect the region and its extremely vulnerable population," Alvarez said.
Climate change refers to a change in the average surface temperature of the world over an extended period - typically decades or longer - due to a combination of natural variability and human activity.
Climate scientists noted the world has warmed by an average of 0.74 degrees Centigrade in the past 100 years as a result of human activity especially the excessive emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that if GHG emissions continue to rise at their current rate, this century will see a further 3 degrees Centigrade rise in the average world temperature.
One serious impact of this will be a further rise in sea level by a meter or more by 2100, which will have severe implications as 10 percent of the world's population, about 600 million, live in vulnerable or coastal areas.
The strategic development agenda crafted by Capiz Gov. Victor Tanco in 2007 took into account global warming and climate change as basic considerations in planning and implementing development programs and projects. Six towns and the capital - Roxas City - of the province are located along its coastal zone.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here also has conducted an information, education and communication (IEC) on the global phenomenon. The Capiz Association of Government Public Information Officers (CAGPIO) has pitched in its support to the campaign by conducting an orientation for its members and joining tree-planting activities.
Alvarez said that in the end, the parties agreed to draft an ASEAN declaration with the proposed issues the Philippines recommended, plus the proposals of the other nations and including calls for bolder and significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries.
June is Environment Month in the Philippines. The nation also joined the entire world in the observance of World Environment Day last June 5. The theme of the international event was "Your Planet Needs You - UNite to Combat Climate Change." (OPS-PIA) [top]