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Stormy Future

By Red Constantino

The issue has been the subject of scientific inquiry since 1896, but it’s really been a slow burn. Not until the Earth Summit of 1992 did climate change gain a degree of global prominence. Even then, up to a little over a decade ago, more people would have considered any mention of the climate crisis an esoteric matter, a looney topic.

Things are different now. Mounting costs measured in lives maimed and lost, properties destroyed and livelihoods decimated over the last few years have forced the public to take notice. There is greater anxiety about the growing uncertainties brought by the changing climate, and more have taken an interest in the work of climate scientists. It has simply become harder to ignore the impact of warming temperatures around the world.

As Typhoon Lando (international tag Koppu) exits media headlines, here are a few things more to think about as we try to get a better grasp of what to expect in the future.

Climate change-induced extreme weather events represent part of the threat generated by greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere largely as a result of the continued burning of fossil fuels. Slow onset impacts such as rising sea levels and ocean acidification, which are less known and which occur without the drama of calamities, comprise the greater part of the climate change threat to the country.

The magnitude of the crisis demands a re-think of strategies currently employed by non-government groups and social movements. It is clear the government cannot – and should not have to – take on climate change on its own.

The Aquino administration deserves huge praise when it finally launches the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) on October 28. Also known as RA 10174, the PSF is the country’s first legislated climate change adaptation finance mechanism dedicated to supporting the adaptation programs of localities. The PSF is the outcome of collaboration between climate champions in the executive, the legislature and civil society groups and its launch could not come at a better time.

It is time to act decisively, through better disaster response management and by anticipating and adapting to the new normal. Yet we need to ask the big question as well: can we really hope to cope better while we willfully contribute to a stormier Philippine future? There are over two dozen climate-damaging coal-fired power plants in the government’s pipeline, and counting. This is an epidemic by any yardstick, and the lunacy needs to stop. It is time to reverse course and pursue a truly sustainable energy trajectory.

 

Disclosure: Constantino is one of the non-government members of the PSF Board. The PSF Board is chaired by Department of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, who is also the chair of the newly formed Vulnerable 20 Group of Finance Ministers, or the V20. Other members include the Climate Change Commission, NEDA, DBM, DILG, the Philippine Commission on Women, and one representative each respectively from the academe, the private sector, and civil society organisations. Click here for more information: PSF Board Information Portal for CSOs

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp

Editor’s Note: This article is reposted from abs-cbnnews.com on October 23, 2015. Featured image: “A day after Typhoon Lando’s Landfall”  from abs-cbnnews.com

 

 

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