Monday, February 1, 2010

Greenpeace: One meter tide to sink Zampen

A one-meter rise in sea level as a result of climate change will sink 64 of the 81 provinces in the country including Zamboanga Peninsula region, a special report by Greenpeace Southeast Asia (GSA) said.

Climate change is defined as a change in the statistical distribution of weather over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. It may be limited to a specific region, or may occur across the whole earth.

GSA’s shorter list of top 20 provinces in the country which are most vulnerable to extreme high tide listed Zamboanga del Sur in third place, Zamboanga Sibugay in fifth and Zamboanga del Norte in the 19th spot, with a total of 40 low-lying municipalities most likely affected.

These three provinces comprising Zampen listed a total of 81,129,600 square meters likely to be affected with Zambosur having the biggest land area threatened, which is estimated at 37,818,900 square meters.

Zambosur only trailed Sulu and Palawan with more than double the land area of the province whose human settlements along coastal areas, agriculture lands, tourist hubs and vital ecosystems that will be inundated should the climate disaster happen, GSA added.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated in another report that sea level rose at an average of about 1.8 mm/year during the years 1961-2003.

IPCC noted sea level rose during 1993-2003 was at an average rate of 3.1 mm/year. It is not clear whether this is a long-term trend or just variability.

As to the GSA report, it quoted Filipino scientist Leoncio Amadore who have been tracking extreme weather events from 1991 to 2004. Amadore’s scientific works resulted to an empirical method of forecasting tropical cyclone movement, which had been internationally recognized as the Amadore Method.

In one of his articles, Amadore said that storms, droughts, along with excessive precipitation in certain areas of the country are likely local manifestations of global climate trends.

He added that based on his study, persistent torrential rains causing landslides and flashfloods, killing people and destroying properties and the environment along its path have already damaged a total of P7.5 billion.

He cited, for example, the year 2006, when at least 11 million Filipinos were affected and some P20 billion in agriculture and infrastructure was lost and the government spending big rehabilitating directly-hit areas.

Greenpeace already has sounded its call to the government to take steps in arresting the runaway growth of global greenhouse emissions and address climate change by choosing an energy development path built on clean and renewable sources of energy and which promotes energy efficiency for a secure and sustainable future.

Senator Loren Legarda, a staunch climate change advocate, in her recent visit to Ozamiz City last January, urged Mindanaoans to intensify efforts to protect the natural environment and to adapt to climate change.

“We have stronger typhoons today because of climate change. On the other hand, we will also witness prolonged dry spells and droughts that will affect agriculture and destroy crops,” she said.

The senator also stressed the need to protect the country’s ecosystems. “It was found that 60% of all ecosystem services—the services natures provides to sustain human life on earth—are declining, with some services like fisheries beyond repair.”

“In addition, we are also creating trade-offs between these ecosystem services: for when we convert mangrove plantations to shrimp ponds, we actually increase storm surge risk; for when we cut down forests for agriculture use, we actually increase landslide risk; for when we drain wetlands, we increase flood risk,” Legarda said.

RA 9728, the Climate Change Act of 2009 authored by Legarda, was signed into law last October 23, which puts LGUs in the frontline of formulation and implementation of climate change action plans, which includes risk reduction in their respective areas as a leading edge of defense.

According to Greenpeace, excessive greenhouse gas emissions by highly industrialized country like Korea, Russia, Brazil, Japan, United States and China have contributed to global warming, which resulted to heat waves, violent downpours, rising oceans and melting ice poles.