Press Release
February 15, 2011


The Philippine Disaster Science Management Center (DSMC) recently hosted a lecture by Dr. Josefino Comiso, senior research scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) entitled "Climate Change, Climategate and Geoengineering" at the Ateneo de Manila university.

Dr. Comiso also spoke about geoengineering, which is the act of manipulating the climate to counteract the effects of global warming. Some examples are aerosols added to the atmosphere to mimic temperature-lowering effect of sulfates released during volcanic eruptions, and Iron fertilization which uses phytoplankton to synthesize organic matter using water and carbon dioxide in the presence of Iron.

However Dr. Comiso noted that geoengineering may have unexpected effects and that the best solution to climate change is practical mitigation.

The lecture brought to light data from NASA indicating the rise in temperatures and melting of perennial arctic ice cover. Dr. Comiso said that melting ice has caused a sea-level rise of 3.20 mm per year globally, and if this continues then Metro Manila has the potential to be drowned. Short term effects of climate change also include stronger typhoons, forest fires and drought.

Dr. Comiso also touched on the incident referred to as Climategate. In November 2009, the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit's emails were hacked and made public revealing alleged data withholding and poor scientific methodology which some people used to conclude that climate change is a hoax.

He theorizes that this was strategically done prior to the 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference. NASA modeling shows that if proposals presented at the Copenhagen conference were approved, then the current three-fold increase in carbon dioxide levels would be curbed.

The Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), has presented a series of lectures aimed at linking the effects of climate change to the Philippine setting as part of building the foundations for disaster science.

Dr. Cruz is well known for his research and work on game-theoretic control and estimation, circuits and automatic control, hierarchical multi-agent strategies in hostile environments, bidding strategies in energy markets, multiple training in associative memories, and feedback theory.

C OMSTE says that the game theory approach applies to many system level problems affecting not just disaster science but also energy, such as understanding and setting the feed in tariff (FIT) as provided for by the Renewable Energy Act 0f 2008, given multiple stakeholders, or developing an ethanol economy and a sugar economy together, and trading of carbon credits on an open market.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of COMSTE, said that the series of lectures would harness the talents of excellent scientists both local and foreign.

Angara said that the ongoing lectures will tackle issues like how flooding and can affect insurance companies and how to quickly adopt Renewable Energy Systems to lessen local fossil fuel use. Both local and foreign scientists and experts will be lecturing.

Angara added that the lectures mark the beginning of the Philippine Disaster Science and Management Center (DSMC).

The DSMC is a public-private initiative that the scientific community can use to better understand the mechanics of managing disasters with the cooperation of neighboring countries that have experienced similar storms and natural calamities as the Philippines.

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