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THE PHILIPPINE RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE


THE PHILIPPINE RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE
By Hon. Ramon J.P. Paje Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources
(Keynote address delivered during the Muslim Asso. for Climate Change Action (MACCA) Roundtable Discussion, held on Sept. 7, 2010 at Imperial Palace Suites, Quezon City, Philippines.)

Former Senator Dr. Santanina T. Rasul, Former Sec. Amina Rasul, Hon. Sen Loren Legarda, Sec. Heherson Alvarez, Prof. Nereus Acosta, to all Officers and Members
the Muslim Association for Climate Change, and participants to this Round-Table Discussion, MAKA-DIOS, MAKA-BAYAN, AT MAKAKALIKASANG BATI SA INYONG
LAHAT.

I. Intoduction Today, we will witness a forum which has a historical trimming for I believe this is a first event in the long series of discourses and discussions we have in th
country on my matters related to environment that a major ethnic aggrupation with strong influence on Philippine politics manifesting united, focused interest on addressi
this serious issue of climate change. For this, I congratulate Former Sen. Rasul and Former Sec. Amina Rasul and the rest of the officers of the Muslim Association for
Climate Chnge Action or MACCA for the very able leadership they have provided in making this activity came into fruition. For so long a time, sustainable development (S
has been our government’s key strategic formula in achieving the goal of national socio-economic sufficiency and environmental stability for which national resources, bo
government and private, have been mobilized and marshaled. But there is a phenomenon that stands on the way – the Climate Change factor, which if passive reaction
continuously demonstrated, our SD agenda could spin to reverse the successes we might have gained.

II. General Information About Climate Change

I believe that you need not to be told of what Climate Change is all about, being scientists and environmentalists, knowledge-seeking about Climate Change has been yo
‘cup of tea’. Nevertheless, as a matter of advocacy let me share you some general information on phenomenal occurrences in our country related to the effects of global
warming with the hope of providing you a trigger in your succeeding discussions. Though Philippines is contributing less to greenhouse gas emissions but mercifully our
country has shown its vulnerability to disasters. Our country, being archipelagic and composed of small islands, is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Climate data for the past 50 years already shows trends of rising temperatures by about 0.011oC annually, changes in the rainfall pattern, and increasing number of extr
climate events like cyclones, flooding, and drought. Independent studies and the climate modeling of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services
Administration (PAGASA) projects the following climate changes in 2020 and 2050:

• A rise in the country’s mean annual temperatures by about 0.9oC to 1.4oC for 2020 and 1.7oC to 2.4oC by 2050;
• Drier season of March-May will become drier and wet season of July-August and September-November will become wetter with time;
• Reduction in rainfall in most areas in Mindanao is seen for all seasons by 2050;
• A much active and stronger southwest monsoon season is projected as seen in the significant increases in rainfall in June-August becoming greater with time;

The future of Philippine environment maybe ‘Armagedonic’, that is why development of a response framework and action plan on Climate Change is so critically importan
which this Roundtable Discussion of yours is of much significance.

III. The Government Response National efforts have proven that we are in the right track of combating the effects and impacts of Climate Change. Strong and responsib
political will has been expressed by way of the passage of the Climate Change Act and very fresh to public knowledge is the signing of the National Framework Strategy
Climate Change (NFSCC) under the masterful oversight of the Climate Change Commission. And lately, we launched the Philippine Strategy on Climate Change Adapta
(PSCCA).
This government, under the leadership Pres. Noy-noy stands four-square in its commitment to the NFSCC giving importance to adaptation. The International Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) defines adaptation as any adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which mode
harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. Scientific studies suggest that even if the world makes a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the lag in the climat
system means that the world is faced with decades of climate change due to the emissions already put into the atmosphere. While the Philippines is not a major emitter o
greenhouse gases and, in fact, is a carbon sink, the adverse effects of global climate changes will not spare the country. Adaptation is, therefore, a necessary compleme
to measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Adaptation is a mechanism to manage risks, adjust economic activity to reduce vulnerability, and to improve busine
certainty.
In the PSCCA, available information on climate parameters and most probable scenarios based on scientific consensus and official baseline adopted by the government
Climate Change highlighted the following:

• Assessment of the country’s vulnerability and adaptive capacity;


• Assessment of the potential positive and negative, direct and indirect impacts of climate change on the key sectors (water, biodiversity, forestry, coastal and marine,
fisheries, agriculture, health, energy and infrastructure);
• National development goals and priorities; and
• A multi-sector consultation process. Meanwhile, efforts related to mitigation is in the offing, with our country taking part in the discussion about REDD+ and signified str
interest to implement it.

REDD+ is is a broad term that describes a range of actions to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhance forest carbon stocks in develop
countries, supported by financing from industrialized nations. As the global initiative on REDD+ has come to the forefront of international climate change mitigation policy
opportunities for pilot projects have emerged across Southeast Asia, including in the Philippines. The Philippines offers an enabling environment for REDD+ developmen
strong research community and national capacity to engage with forestry projects, relatively decentralized natural resource management capable of instituting local-level
REDD+ projects, enabling environmental, social and rights-based policies and frameworks, a robust civil society capable of supporting REDD+ development and
implementation at multiple scales, and significant opportunities to generate co-benefits.

IV. Current And Future Challenges

With our nation bracing the effects and impacts of Climate Change, the stakes and challenges are so great and they are continuing. If there is a Sector to which these
challenges are to be significantly hurled, it is Community of Scientists and Environmentalists, both government and private. Yes, the science community has spoken but
many are still left undone. Science-based information are key to formulating comprehensive adaptation and mitigation strategies. They are the foundation for a sound
decision making and actions.

On the aspect of adaptation, the following are still the known gaps:
• The need for consistency of various government policies towards climate change;
• Inadequacy in the ability and capacity of government agencies and communities to respond or adapt to climate variability and extreme events;
• The need to downscale climate change projections to be relevant to local decision makers;
• Inadequacy in science-based knowledge on adaptation approaches, best practices, and technologies; and
• Lack of consistent and effective climate change knowledge management system and dissemination.

On mitigation, research and development (R&D) has a major role in the design and implementation of REDD+ mechanisms, particularly as policy and operational decisio
must be based on scientific principles and empirical data and information. Although there is a growing body of climate change-related research in the Philippines,
considerable gaps remain. The R&D agenda could include the following:

• Site-specific analysis of the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation for informed conservation interventions;
• Appropriate techniques for carbon and non-carbon benefit accounting, measuring, reporting and verification (MRV), and the selection of appropriate and equitable bene
• Baselines for emission reference levels, biodiversity, ecosystem services and social factors; and
• Policy and carbon cycle aspects of REDD+.

V. Conclusion

The risks associated with Climate Change are so high, if not priceless, but Climate Change as you will know, also presents humankind a historic opportunity to make
development more sustainable. It offers an opportunity to create trust and cooperation to better manage all crises, to fashion a framework strategy built on factual ecolog
situation as well as scientific data which the Philippine Government did. We are now left with challenge to demonstrate responsible actions in providing vulnerable
communities with resources for adaptive capacity and reducing the risk of disaster to which this government of Pres. Noy-noy is committed. But we cannot do all these b
ourselves; no less of a concerted and broad-based participation is needed. Decidedly, one of those to be counted in is MACCA.

MABUHAY TAYONG LAHAT…!


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