Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary and Climate Change Commission (CCC) chair Carlos Dominguez has warned that continuing inaction on climate change will bring about extreme weather and more disasters.
Dominguez said the onslaught of deadly and devastating floods in Germany and China as well as heatwaves in the US highlight need for people to be creative, ambitious and innovative in battling climate change.
“This is a battle we cannot afford to lose,” he stressed at the recent CCC online forum on the changing climate. The forum explored measures to help the country better adapt to, and mitigate climate change.
“Over the past months, we saw how climate change make weather disturbances more extreme across the globe. Devastating heat waves struck parts of the western US. From Germany to China, extreme flooding caused death and destruction,” he noted.
Dominguez described those disasters as “severe symptoms of a long-term climate emergency,” which threatens the survival countries worldwide. He cited public climate action and literacy as the country’s greatest defense against the changing climate’s wrath.
“We have to convince every individual to participate in a revolution in lifestyles so that we all reduce our carbon footprint,” he stressed. Carbon footprint is the total quantity of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that human activities generate.
“There’s also a need for climate adaptation and mitigation strategies the public can actually carry out. We need to develop a doable plan of action for every economic sector and every community,” he said.
According to experts, coal-fired power generation and other human activities are increasing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), the continuing accumulation the atmosphere of which further traps the heat and makes the global temperature continue to rise and breed climate change.
The Philippines is among the countries most vulnerable and highly at risk to climate change. Sea level and temperature rise, as well as increasing onslaught of extreme weather events, are climate change’s impacts on the country, the experts continued.
“As one of the countries most vulnerable to the dire effects of climate change, the Philippines is determined to take action now,” Dominguez emphasized, adding that the Philippines’ submission of its first nationally determined contribution (NDC) this year is among the manifestations of such determination to help address climate change.
“In that submission, we committed to reducing our GHG emissions by 75 percent over the next decade,” he said.
He acknowledged that the target reduction is “ambitious” and a considerable undertaking for the country which isn’t even a major GHG emitter. He, however, said this also “underscores the urgency with which we view this greatest of challenges facing the world today.”
Among the GHG emission-reducing measures which the country must undertake are retiring coal-fired power plants nationwide and replacing them with renewable energy sources as well as passing legislation banning single-use plastics and replacing these with environment-friendly, low-cost and sustainable materials, he said.
Aside from having to undertake such domestic measures, Dominguez said the Philippines will continue raising its climate concerns before the international community.
“Even as we transition to more sustainable economic activities domestically, the Philippines will continue to call for broader climate justice,” he reassured.
He said the country will reiterate such a call during the UN climate conference this year.
“In the upcoming climate talks with world leaders in November, we will demand climate finance, technologies, capacity development support and more ambitious NDCs from the developed countries,” Dominguez said.