An official of the Climate Change Commission has stressed that a climate emergency is at hand and “climate change, previously regarded as scientific observation is now a clear and present danger to the FIlipino nation.”

Burnham Lake 3 1024x569 - Climate change clear, present danger to Filipinos
(Zaldy Comanda / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Speaking during the virtual opening ceremony of the 13th Annual Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week Thursday, CCC Vice Chairperson and Executive Director Emmanuel de Guzman said the occurrence of more intense typhoons and heavy rainfall attest that “climate change is real and is here.”

He pointed out how the country has once again witnessed widespread loss and damage caused by extremely strong winds and heavy rainfall brought by typhoons “Quinta,” “Rolly,” and “Ulysses” that triggered devastating landslides and unprecedented floods in Luzon.

“Global warming has made natural hazards deadlier than ever disproportionately affecting the poorest and the most vulnerable among our people,” he said.

He expressed hope that the observance of the 13th Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week will be “an opportune time to renew our collective resolve as a people to survive and thrive amid the changing climate.”

“To arrest this runaway global warming is nothing less than a moral imperative, unless we act immediately the worst is yet to come,” De Guzman added.

As the local governments act as the frontliners in climate action, he called on local leaders to recognize the prevailing climate emergency and address the risk in their communities. 

“We enjoin you to revisit and enhance your strategies and plans for reducing disaster risk and adapting to climate change informed by the latest science and risk assessment,” De Guzman said. “Recovering stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic and adapting better to climate change must also go hand in hand on the local level.”

He also asked the private sector and civil society leaders “to sustain and strengthen cooperation in greening our economy and building the resilience of our communities to climate impacts.”

De Guzman underscored the need for developing nations to demand climate justice from the developed countries.

“Our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has conveyed clearly, developed countries must lead in deep and drastic cuts in carbon emissions. They must also deliver on their commitment to finance and invest in adaptation solutions in the developing world. So we too can have a fair shot at progress and sustainable development,” he said.

Commissioner Rachel Herrera noted that the Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week will provide the public “on the ways that we could lead through our own means and capacity to help raise awareness and arrest the climate crisis from becoming even worse.”

“Holding COP26 (26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) will be critical in urging countries to submit more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs. These NDCs are decarbonization targets, as part of their commitment to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” Herrera said.

“In spite of the delay, we welcome pronouncements from high carbon-emitting economies, such as the USA, European Union, China, Japan, and South Korea, about their plans of going carbon neutral by 2050 or nearer,” she added.

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