Baguio vulnerable to climate change consequences - WWF, BPI study

According to a study jointly conducted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Bank of Philippine Islands Foundation, Baguio City is the most vulnerable, out of the four surveyed cities, to the economic consequences of climate change. "If the businesses of Baguio City hope to remain competitive and viable, they should focus on striking a sustainable balance between local ambition, demographic facts and the emerging realities of climate change," according to the study titled "Business Risk Assessment and the management of Climate Impacts". The findings of the study were presented Thursday at the BPI Tower. It surveyed the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Dagupan, Laoag and Zamboanga in 2011 and is part of the WWF’s and BPI's multi-year research. The second part of the study deals with the cities of Baguio, Cebu, Davao and Iloilo. "We were given a list by WWF and from there we chose the cities (to be included in the study)," said BPI Foundation Executive Director Florendo Maranan. "We looked at their economic activity, availability of the data... and the willingness of the local government to participate," added WWF-Philippines Vice chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan. According to the study, Baguio scored 7.43 out of 10 in the vulnerability index, based on climate exposure, socio-economic sensitivity, and inverse adaptive capacity. "(T)he management of urbanization trends and watersheds as well as Baguio’s population growth, will play major roles in defining the continued viability of this city’s economy," said the study. It added, "If it is to take the city away from the edge of this climate precipice, all efforts should be made to pursue development of a multi-year plan through a participatory process." The elements of climate change-proofing cities, includes the proper definition of land use, the change from reactive to proactive public participation, and the development of "brains rather than buildings," said Tan. Tan also emphasized that governance provide the impetus for cities to adapt to climate change. But he noted that the government, alone, cannot climate-proof cities, "Governance is not government. Democracy is not freedom but participation." — DVM, GMA News