Press Release
March 24, 2010

Legarda chides Roxas for belittling climate change impact to RP

The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. This is according to multilateral organizations such as the Manila-based ADB, World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development willing to provide funds to assist the country in adapting to climate change.

NP-NPC-LDP vice presidential candidate Loren Legarda stressed this today, contending that Senator Roxas missed the point when he said that climate change is not an issue since the Philippines account for less than 1 percent of the climate problem. She said Roxas must be alluding to the contribution of the Philippines to greenhouse gas emission, and it is true that greenhouse emission attributed to the Philippines is negligible in the world arena.

"Senator Roxas should have done his homework to realize that the country will definitely suffer from the dangerous consequences of climate change such as rising seas, increasing frequency and/or severity of droughts, floods and storms, climate-related illnesses and diseases. No Filipino having gone through Ondoy, Pepeng or the El Nino-caused drought could possibly dismiss the climate change issue since these type of weather disturbances have been predicted to occur more frequently due to climate change," she said.

Legarda advocates for the widespread understanding of the vulnerability of the country to climate change and the implementation of adaptation strategies to reduce or minimize the adverse effects of climate change.

That is why Loren asserts that priorities in the National Climate Change Action Plan include the assessment of the national impact of climate change, the identification of the most vulnerable communities/areas, identification of differential impacts of climate change on men, women and children, the assessment and management of risk and vulnerability, identification of GHG mitigation potentials and the identification of options, prioritization of appropriate adaptation measures for joint projects of national and local governments. The National Climate Change Action Plan is part of the Climate Change Act of 2009 which she principally authored and was signed into law last year by President Arroyo. This Action Plan is very different from the program earlier adapted by the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change whose priority was more on carbon emissionmitigation, hence was chaired by the Secretary of Energy.

"Attitudes such as those held by Senator Roxas about climate change could only be risky to the country's people and economy," Loren said.

For instance, the effect of drought, she says, is not only decreased agricultural production decreased but because waters in the reservoirs are inadequate, energy for industries is also limited hence industrial production also suffers. Not to mention the discomfort of households due to limited water and electricity, she continues. Super typhoons like Ondoy and Pepeng claimed lives, homes, livelihood, properties, aquaculture and crops. Imagine these supertyphoons occurring every year or so. Even without these natural disasters, high temperature alone is known to adversely affect agriculture and fisheries. Increased night temperatures reduce rice production significantly according to IRRI scientists. Bleaching of coral reefs has been attributed to increased sea temperatures due to El Nino.

"Any incoming administration should be very aware of climate change," Loren insists. "In addition to a program on climate change mitigation in agriculture and fisheries, any administration should adopt measures to help reduce greenhouse gasses. The country is currently suffering from inadequate electricity. Continuing dependence on fossil fuels like petroleum and coal will only increase greenhouse gasses. Thus, any new administration as part of its commitment to the world community should promote the use on green energy to help the world's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emission to avert its continuing slide into the disastrous consequences of climate change."

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