Today, in Paris, could be the start of a world reborn, when nations band together against a common burden – climate change. Key persons involved in COP21 are expecting an agreement to result from extensive negotiations. Though the world is already in a permanent fever, any resulting agreement will come with great expectations and even greater challenges.
There is no doubt that one of the greatest threats to our humanity today is climate change. The Philippines, owing to its geographical location and as a developing nation, has always been one of the most vulnerable countries worst hit by highest number of disasters in the recent years. (UNISDR, 2015)
In the “State of the Philippine Climate 2015” report jointly released this November by PAGASA and the Oscar M. Lopez (OML) Center, findings indicate an increasing trend in annual mean temperature by 0.65°C from 1951-2010. A significant rise in the number of days with extreme rainfall in various parts of the country was also observed, particularly in some areas of Laoag, Infanta, Tacloban, Iloilo and Cotabato. “This increase in temperature coupled with rainfall variability may result in a decrease in agricultural production; loss of forest and marine species and habitats; as well as increase in outbreaks of water-based and vector-borne diseases,” says Dr. Rodel D. Lasco, Scientific Director of OML Center. Dr. Lasco is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), the 2007 co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Philippine climate today is already noticeably different from what it was in 1951. The country has already experienced a multitude of devastating extreme climate-related disasters and events. The frequency of more intense typhoons (with wind speed of 150 kph and above) has increased, the most devastating of which is typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) which led to loss of 6,300 lives, affecting over 16 million individuals and resulting in over PhP89 billion worth of damages.
Dr. Lasco adds: “The climate report’s findings further underscore the urgent need for a new climate change pact at the end of the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris. Locally, the need to converge our actions to address our communities’ vulnerability and strengthen their resilience is vital.”
The “State of the Philippine Climate 2015” is a joint report of PAGASA and OML Center. This maiden issue contains a summary of long-term and latest climate trends and disaster statistics in the country from 1951 up to 2014. The full copy of the report may be downloaded on the OML Center website.
About the Oscar M. Lopez Center
The Oscar M. Lopez Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation is a non-profit organization principled on climate science that mobilizes private sector support for research on climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. It values and recognizes that science and technology have a critical role to play in enhancing the resilience and coping capacity of the various sectors of the society whose aspirations to develop sustainably is threatened by climate-related risks and disasters.
Contact Person: Alice de Sagun ([email protected])