WAIT FOR RUIN OR EMBRACE OPPORTUNITY?
RED CONSTANTINO, Greenpeace Southeast Asia
October 12, 2005
For all the heated talk about national security in the
Some call the issue global warming. Scientists refer to it as climate change. It is the greatest environmental threat facing the planet today and it's only going to get worse unless we embrace the solutions to the problem.
It is impossible to definitively link climate change and any single weather event, including the recent infamous Atlantic hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the devastating typhoons that visited the
Dr. Kerry Emanuel, a hurricane expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was unequivocal when he wrote recently based on his research that ''The large [storm] upswing in the last decade is unprecedented, and probably reflects the effect of global warming.''
Although intense discussion currently surrounds the publication of Emanuel's work, in the end, the answer to what has caused recent destructive typhoons is of little practical value. What we need to address is not what caused Katrina or Rita - or other similar typhoons that have visited the
There is no lack of evidence that human-induced climate change is underway. The impacts are being felt from
Up to 64 percent of
It was determined by an institute that from the 1970s to the present, the global area affected by drought has doubled due to climate change. Based on research conducted by the
Coral bleaching events in
Considered as one of the most diverse habitats in the marine tropics, the
According to the renowned coral reef expert, Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, untrammeled global warming can spell "catastrophe for tropical marine ecosystems everywhere", with bleaching events "very likely" occurring annually within three decades and events as severe as the 1998 episode possibly becoming commonplace inside twenty years. The 1990s was the warmest decade in recorded history and 1998 was the hottest year of all.
There is more to the current fuel crisis than high oil prices. Since the industrial revolution, massive carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced by burning fossil fuels such as coal - the dirtiest fossil fuel - have seriously altered the composition of the planet's atmosphere and trapped the sun's energy, creating increasingly devastating, chaotic weather patterns.
A joint statement signed by 11 of the most distinguished national science academies to world leaders in July gave unequivocal advice: "The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action." Among the nations of
Less than 0.2 percent of the installed power capacity in the
There is no denying that countries such as the
It is high time for the Philippine government to set clear, time-bound targets if it wants to genuinely secure our nation's security. By the year 2010, ten percent of our power must come from the sun, the wind and modern biomass.
 "Hurricanes and global warming: is there a connection," Stefan Rahmstorf, Michael Mann, Rasmus Benestad, Gavin Schmidt, and William Connolley, RealClimate.org, September 2, 2005. See: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=181
 Reports from AP, AFP and Reuters based on figures released by the Thai Agriculture ministry, March 15, 2005.
 "Is the UN wrong about climate change leaving billions to starve?" New Scientist, Nicola Jones, November 17, 2001.
 National Centre for Atmospheric Research,
 Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world's coral reefs, Greenpeace.
 Joint academies' statement: Global response to climate change, Academia Brasiliera de Ciencias-Brazil, Royal Society of Canada, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Academie des Sciences-France, Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher-Germany, Indian National Science Academy, Accademia dei Lincei-Italy, Science Council of Japan, Russian Academiy of Sciences, Royal Society-UK, National Academy of Sciences-USA, July 2005. See: http://nationalacademies.org/onpi/06072005.pdf