The recent climate summit in Paris could be the start of a world reborn. When nations come together for a joint good to reduce the joint bad, you know that the world has turned on its axis to find a new north star - climate change.
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 (http://www.omlopezcenter.org/resources/50/1).