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Loren warns of world hunger if leaders ignore climate change

December 21, 2009

SEN. LOREN LEGARDA WARNED OF LOOMING “WIDESPREAD WORLD HUNGER” UNLESS THE WORLD LEADERS AGREE TO A BINDING AGREEMENT ON CARBON EMISSION TARGETS WITHIN THE “NEAREST FUTURE”.
Loren added that any further delay in a legally binding instrument between developed and developing countries could lead to an irreversible and catastrophic climate change.

Loren who has just returned from the Copenhagen conference on climate change, said that while the result of the summit was “less than satisfactory, it was something for the world to ponder on.”

Loren deplored that the United States, China and the European countries could not agree on definite limits on carbon emtes, China and the European countries could not agree on definite limits on carbon emission, but expressed hope that in next year’s Conference of Parties 16 scheduled in Mexico more definite progress would be achieved.

“The developing countries are understandably disappointed over the final result of the conference,” said Loren, who was the chair of the Philippine Congress delegation to the Copenhagen summit.

“So it is up to the governments and their legislators to plug the gap by passing legislation that would mitigate climate change in their respective countries, adding collectively to a healthier and more environmentally friendly world.”

Loren appealed to the rich countries led by the United States, Europe and Japan to make good their pledge to make available $100 billion in aid to developing countries for climate change adaptation.

For the Philippines, Loren urged the immediate implementation of the Climate Change Act passed recently by Congress and signed into law by President Arroyo last October. The law, sponsored primarily by Loren as chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, calls for the establishment of the national climate change commission that will craft programs for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction throughout the country.

“So now it is up to the parliaments of developing countries to make up for the failure of the Copenhagen conference to come up with a binding agreement setting goals for carbon emission,” said Loren, “and taking advantage of aid from the developed nations.”

Loren pointed out that the rich countries are chiefly responsible for the carbon emission that has polluted the global atmosphere, resulting into global warming that in turn causes extreme weather shifts and conditions like typhoons, droughts, floods and landslide.

“So it is only right that they should help finance Third World projects to combat climate change, like conservation and proper management of forest and water resources, irrigation, use of drought and flood-resisting seeds, and the like to promote agricultural sustainability,” said Loren.

She declared that the poor countries are the most vulnerable to climate change since it is they that depend mostly on agriculture for their livelihood.

While in Copenhagen, Loren took up the cudgels for the developing countries during the negotiations. She also addressed the parliamentarians’ conference in which she called for stronger legislative response to climate change.

Loren also urged the administration to “implement without delay” Republic Act No. 9729 (Climate Change Act) to immediately benefit the country and to take advantage of rich countries’ pledges for aid to developing countries for climate change adaptation.

RA 9729 also establishes as the policy of the state the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

As a party to the Hyogo Framework for Action, the Philippines also adopted the strategic goals in order to build national and local resilience to climate change-related disasters.

The Act also recognized the vulnerability of the Philippine archipelago and its local communities, particularly the poor, women, and children, to potential dangerous consequences of climate change such as rising seas, changing landscapes, increasing frequency and/or severity of droughts, fires, floods and storms, climate-related illnesses and diseases, damage to ecosystems, biodiversity loss that affect the country’s environment, culture, and economy.

The Act commits the government to cooperate with the global community in the resolution of climate change issues, including disaster risk reduction. It requires the participation of national and local governments, businesses, non-government organizations, local communities and the public to prevent and reduce the adverse impacts of climate change and, at the same time, maximize the benefits of climate change.

The Act establishes a Climate Change Commission to be composed of the President and three commissioners and which shall be attached to the Office of the President.

The Commission will be the sole policy-making body on climate. It will coordinate, monitor and evaluate the programs and action plans of the government relating to climate change among the national government departments, local units of government and non-government organizations.

The law mandates that the Commission shall be organized within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of the Act.

Based on the scientific data adduced at the Copenhagen conference on the present threat posed by climate change on the world’s ecology, Loren stressed the importance of the government taking immediate steps to mitigate its harsh effects on the Philippine archipelago.

She cited the recent typhoon Ondoy in which rainfall usually occurring in a month was unleashed in an hour, flooding huge swaths of Luzon, including Metro Manila. “I fear that other worse calamities might befall our country from extreme weather conditions arising from climate change,” Loren warned.

Loren said she saw her earlier advocacies for environmental protection and enhancement vindicated at the Copenhagen summit where leaders and scientists agreed on the existing and growing threat of climate change to the world’s ecology and eventual survival.