Press Release
May 5, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today called on the international community to take concerted, tougher steps to prevent global warming which has been destroying the environment at an alarming pace and making life in the planet earth more difficult.

Pimentel said the heavy flooding in Balkan countries last month, the abnormal rise in sea levels in various parts of the globe, the rapid melting of snow in Greenland and the Antarctic, and the killer floods and landslides in Southern Leyte last February could all be traced to global warming caused by the unabated deforestation and burning of fossil fuels that releases greenhouses gases into the global atmosphere.

Speaking at the conference on Climate Change and its Impact on Economic Development in Helsinki, Finland, Pimentel cited the graphic warning of Canadian Minister of Environment David Anderson that global warming poses more danger to the security of the world than terrorism.

Unless checked, global warming would bring greater havoc to mankind than terrorist acts. It would devastate the ecological balance of the world and potentially eliminate all life-forms as we know them, he said.

In the Middle East, Pimentel said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now experiencing rainfall, which was considered strange by a Filipino worker who has worked there for the last 11 years.

He said a lady from Scotland told him some months ago that a ski resort in her hometown Aberdeen has now closed shop because there is not enough snow.

Pimentel said that during a visit to Tibet last month, a tourist guide told him that she found the climate in her city, Lhasa, a little warmer than was usual in the last several years.

In Sri Lanka, he said a Filipino woman told him that when she first arrived there five years ago, one half of the island-country had basically a wet season; the other half had a dry one. But now, she said the wet side experiences very little rain and the arid one gets unusually heavy rains.

In North Korea, Pimentel said Choe Thae Bok, chair of the Supreme Peoples Assembly told a group of Filipino legislators last week that some 25 centimeters of snow fell in early April in Kangmonsan something that had not happened before. Also sand storms, the first in 10 years or so, hit that province in the last couple of weeks.

The accounts of climatic changes in Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Tibet and North Korea may be anecdotal. The fact, however, is that simple scientific warnings about the dangers of global warming have been credibly aired in the Kyoto convention in 1997 and in Montreal in 2005 and in a number of other regional environmental conferences. And now the perils stare us in the face, the senator from Mindanao told the conference.

Pimentel also cited a report of Time Magazine (April 2, 2006) that global warming is annihilating wildlife even in the United States, Australia and other parts of the globe. He said it is devastating traditional farms and peoples homes and is poisoning water sources specially those near the seashores.

He said the 2,000 leading scientists who prepared the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel Report on Climate Change have also predicted that by 2100, Earths average temperature will climb between 1.5 and 6 degrees Celsius, rising twice as fast in the Arctic.

Satellites and tide gauges used by the scientists show that seas rose about eight inches over the last century and the pace has picked up markedly since the 1990s.

Pimentel said that Andres S. Revkin wrote in the New York Times of March 24, quoting recent findings of several teams of scientists, that by 2100 the oceans could rise 13 to 20 feet conditions last seen 129,000 years ago, between the last two ice ages.

Now, even as we are still 94 years away from the year 2100, scientists report that ice sheets and glaciers in Greenland add in the Antarctic are melting at a rate much faster than usual, he said.

As a result, the Czech Republic and Poland experienced flooding on April 1, 2006. Flood waters also inundated certain Balkan countries; Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia in mid-April. The case was the same rapidly meting snow.

Pimentel said that is probably why 0.05 percent of Uruguays land mass and 80 percent of Majuro Atolls (in the Marshall Islands) were swallowed up by the rising sea.

He said the scientists cited by Revkin have categorically concluded that: most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.

And they have identified the burning of fossil fuel as a major culprit in global warming that releases greenhouse gases with smog-causing pollutants into global atmosphere at a rate faster than the Earth can absorb, Pimentel said.

Happily, he said some 141 countries, including the Philippines, have already signed the Kyoto Protocol to reduce global greenhouse emissions.

Pimentel proposed the establishment of a network of parliamentarians and non-government organizations focused particularly on the issue of global warming.

If we get that network organized, then, we can bring the issue with more immediacy to the attention of our respective peoples and for effective action by our governments, he said.

Pimentel also suggested that members of the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP) should prod their governments to take the concerted step to curb carbon dioxide and other toxic emission in their respective countries since our lives and the lives of our children are at stake.

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