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RP must adapt to climate change, says Loren

December 6, 2009

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA STRESSED TODAY THE PHILIPPINES MUST ADAPT IN THE FACE OF AN “ALL TOO-REAL” CLIMATE CHANGE CRISIS AS SHE PREPARED TO LEAD THE PHILIPPINE CONGRESS DELEGATION TO THE DEC. 7-18 UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN COPENHAGEN, DENMARK.
“With the Climate Change Act finally signed into law, hopes are high that climate change adaptation is elevated into the top rank of government priority,” said Loren.
Loren pointed out that the Philippine emission of 0.2 percent is small compared to the global average and that it will barely make a dent in the pace of global warming even if the country is to become totally carbon free.
“Our strategy, therefore, should mainly be diplomacy for mitigation and more adaptation actions locally,” said the chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and United Nations Champion for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction for the Asia-Pacific Region.
She added that the 2009 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction urges governments to address the root causes of most disasters, which are known as the “deadly trio” of poor urban governance, vulnerable livelihoods and ecosystems decline.
Poor urban governance, Loren explained, pertains to the prevalence of disasters in economically progressive countries and districts, where governance is unable to cope up with fast-paced development and growth of industries.
“The statistics on the second of the deadly trio, vulnerable livelihoods, speak for themselves. Around 71 percent of our farmers live below the poverty line, with many being limited to just one harvest per year due to changing rain patterns, thus make do with drastically reduced crop yields,” said Loren.
“This has repercussions not only in rural areas but also in urban areas because rural folks migrate to urban centers because of the lack of livelihood. Overall, the problem threatens the very food security of the nation,” she added.
Ecosystems degradation, on the other hand, results from rapid deforestation and the wanton destruction of natural habitats of flora and fauna whether on land or water.
“More and more mangroves are being destroyed to make way for ponds while trees continue to be cut down to produce timber. This has the effect of damaging biodiversity and disturbing ecological balance, effectively denying us and other forms of life the benefit of food, water and shelter – sustenance and protection that ensure our well-being.”
“We must learn and accept that the only way for us now lies in nurturing Earth which has generously nurtured us,” she said.
According to Loren, to effectively adapt to the changing climate, we must address the root causes of vulnerability to disasters. “This means improving urban governance, enhancing rural livelihoods and protecting our ecosystems,” Loren stressed.
The Copenhagen Conference will be attended by political negotiators, ministers, parliamentarians and at around 65 heads of states, along with representatives of UN agencies and other international organizations, including non-governmental groups as observers.