Climate Change

If there are still some who do not believe in ''climate change,'' the disastrous effects of extreme weather changes (Sandy in the United States and Pablo in Southern Philippines) should convince them. Even the present warm weather in December in Metro Manila makes one immediately think of ''climate change.''

Surfing the Internet, one is swamped with studies, research results, opinions, and still some debate on the issue. What is clear and now universally accepted is that human combustion of fossil fuels for energy is causing global climate change that threatens all countries and the survival of their population. The obvious conclusion would be to decrease our reliance upon fossil fuels, and to seek energy from alternative sources.

However, the population in developed countries will not easily give up the benefits of energy in the home and offices while those in underdeveloped nations, still relying on firewood, would like to jump to the conditions of a developed society. Cheap, reliable, and widely distributed energy (usually from fossil fuels) for both mobile and stationary utilization is responsible for the convenience in developed nations and is sought after by the underdeveloped ones.

The reality of ''climate change'' should be accepted by nations and form the basis for a national policy. I suggest a two-pronged approach - one that prepares for and manages the disastrous effects of ''climate change'' and the other that attempts to either slow down or hopefully reverse the process.

The first means that both the government and the population should be prepared to make needed changes - moving populations from vulnerable areas, stockpiling supplies, establishing and improving transportation infrastructure, educating and training communities to anticipate, respond to, and overcome disasters. Within each community, a corps of disaster response teams should be formed. It would greatly help if the ROTC is resurrected in all colleges and universities with a focus on disaster management knowledge and skills so that upon graduation and the students return to their hometowns, they will be the core of these corps.

The mind-set of government officials and staff should change. It has been noted that while we easily see the images of physical damage in the wake of disaster, we do not see the long-term health effects like increased rates of tetanus and respiratory disease to post-traumatic stress disorder. Therefore, there is the need to integrate information about climate change into their disaster preparedness and response mechanism. Equally important is the basic act of drawing experts from diverse disciplines to deal with the issues, the way Dr. Celso Roque in the '70s formed us (social and natural science professionals) into a team to come up with a Science and Technology Plan for the Philippines.

Energy conservation programs and support to renewable energy projects should be the second pillar of the government's action plan. In a visit to Sarawak, I saw how water continued to be a major source of energy because as State Deputy Minister Tan told me, ''We protect our forests.'' I also met advocates of solar energy who assured me that new technology is bringing down the cost of producing the solar panels and that it is now possible to produce and use solar panels in local communities. Dr. Endriga of the Quezon City government informed me of plans to transform the garbage of the city into energy through a conversion plant at Payatas. More initiatives and creativity from the national and local governments are needed.

Climate change is here and we (government and the private sector as well as us individually and collectively) need to act now.

Business Bits. Best wishes to a true brother in UP Vanguard, a stalwart in business and industry, and a servant leader during his stint in government celebrating his Birthday today - Ted Javier.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Chronicling the komedya in Antique VERA Files - The Inbox
    Chronicling the komedya in Antique

    By Alex C. Delos Santos, VERA Files The first time Cecile Locsin-Nava, a scholar on cultural studies in Western Visayas, came to Antique around ten years ago was to gather data for a research on the korido, or Philippine narrative … Continue reading → …

  • Ayungin dilemma Ramon Casiple - Parallaxis
    Ayungin dilemma

    China faces a dilemma in Ayungin Shoal and other contested areas. If it waits for the ITLOS—which may decide against it—it would have tacitly bound itself to UNCLOS and risk a rogue state reputation if it asserts its claim in the South China Sea. If its militarily acts now, it may face international isolation. …

  • 48 nabbed in biggest anti-trafficking catch in Bongao VERA Files - The Inbox
    48 nabbed in biggest anti-trafficking catch in Bongao

    By Jake Soriano, VERA Files Bongao, Tawi-tawi—A team of Marines and policemen intercepted around noon Thursday 48 people, 12 of them minors, believed recruited by a human trafficking syndicate for work in Malaysia. The arrest constitutes what advocates called the … Continue reading → …

Poll Choice Options