Wednesday,February 6, 2019

Climate Change

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines Climate change as “a change in the state of the climate that can be identified ( using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties persisting for an extended period usually decade or longer”.

The 5th IPCC Assessment Report highlighted the following findings on Climate Change:

  1. human influence on the climate system is clear;
  2. anthropogenic emission of greenhouses are the highest in history;
  3. recent climate changes have impact on human and natural system.

In the Philippines, aside form natural cause of climate change, the following human-induced activities contribute to climate change according to Dr. Alcala of the Silliman University:

  • Use of fossil fuels
  • Deforestation
  • Human activities that increase production of greenhouse gases  ex. burning large amounts of oil, gas, and coal

Effect of Climate Change on Biodiversity

As mentioned in the Foundation for the Philippines Environment (FPE) article on climate change, a large-scale loss of life in a biodiversity-rich country such as the Philippines is likely to happen if the climate change phenomenon is not provided adequate attention. The same report also mentioned that ” while resulting increases in precipitation due to global climate shifts will benefit the country’s rainforests, it is likely that the other effects of climate change on lowland populations (like flooding or rise of sea levels) will force farmers them to move upland and encroach upon natural forest ecosystems. This will accelerate usage and consumption of the natural resources and ecological services of the upland forests, while displacing native species”.

In marine ecosystems the following effects can be observed: periods of sea level adjustment, marine biodiversity adapted to the changes with coral reefs gradually occupying shallower depths (down to 50m) of the tropical seas. The increased CO2 absorbed by oceans will prevents/lessens efficiency of marine organisms to build calcium carbonate skeletons.

The Climate Change and Environmental Risk Atlas for 2014 released by risk assessment firm Maplecroft ranked the Philippines (9th) as one of the ten countries most likely to suffer the consequences of the increasingly warming global climate by the year 2025 in terms of economic impacts.

This map identifies the countries that are most likely to suffer from the harsh impacts of climate change by 2025. The Philippines counts among them, ranking ninth out of the ten most vulnerable. (Source: Maplecroft)

Philippine Contribution in the Global Effort to Prevent Climate Change:

The Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act 9729 known as the Climate Change Act of 2009. RA 9729 created the Climate Change Commission mandated to be the lead policy-making body tasked to coordinate, monitor and evaluate action plans of the government related to climate change. 

——Source and Further Reading—–

  1. Climate Change and the Philippines (FPE article)
  2. Climate Change and Environmental Risk Atlas 2014 (Maplecroft)
  3. Climate Change and the Philippines Executive Briefer – Climate Change Commission
  4. Climate Change and Biodiversity by Dr. Angel C. Alcala Silliman University Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management (SUAKCREM) Silliman University