Philippines on Road to Climate-Change Catastrophe: Greenpeace

Apr. 03, 2007

Greenpeace demands urgent action as costs to threaten millions of Filipinos

MANILA — The Philippines is on its way to a major climate
change catastrophe–that is, unless the government takes urgent and
ambitious action to avert a disaster that will put millions of Filipinos
at risk. Greenpeace issued the warning today during the release of
never-before seen maps that illustrate the extent of climate change
impacts on the archipelago. The group additionally called for strong
measures to mitigate the worst effects of climate change to help the
country avoid certain disaster.

The maps accompanied the briefing paper “The Philippines: A Climate
Hotspot” which gives an overview of how extreme weather events and sea
level rise threaten the countrys people, economy, species, and
ecosystems. Notably, the new Greenpeace report shows how: 1) only 1 of
the 16 regions of the Philippines is not vulnerable to a one meter rise
in sea level, 2) the regions and provinces most susceptible to sea level
rise, extreme weather events, and landslides are also among those with
the highest poverty incidence, and 3) the cost of the impacts of extreme
weather events brought about by typhoons and increased rainfall, already
in the hundred millions, is steadily rising.

The paper was released ahead of the conclusion of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in Brussels this week which
updates its assessment of the global impacts of climate change this Friday.

“As experts predict that climate change impacts will continue to worsen
in the coming decades, the question is how much will the country be
affected. Unfortunately what we’ve discovered is that the stakes are
much higher than what we’ve originally imagined. The entire Philippines
is a climate hotspot, vulnerable to the worst manifestations of climate
change. And unless this disaster is averted, the costs in human lives
and economic losses will continue to rise to catastrophic proportions,”
said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate and Energy Campaigner Abigail

The maps also show how climate change can irrevocably alter the
country’s coastline. An indicative one-meter rise in sea level for
example is projected to affect 64 out of 81 provinces, covering at least
703 out of 1,610 municipalities and inundating almost 700 million square
meters of land. A one meter rise in global sea level can occur sooner
with the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctica ice sheets if
global carbon dioxide emissions are not immediately curbed. In the worst
case scenario involving the complete melting of the said ice sheets,
global sea level is projected to rise from between seven to twelve meters.

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