Challenges for 2014 and beyond (First of a series)

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By Dr. Bob Ocio

Isyo ug Servicio

Monday, December 30, 2013


A. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2013

"Climate measurements continue to become both more precise and more reliable and thus, more terrifying. A new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which combines the work of 2,000 scientists from 154 countries, drawing from millions of observations from more than 9,000 scientific publications, confirms and strengthens previous predictions and adds one new and very important observation. Even 100 percent emissions reductions will no longer keep our climate from changing dangerously."

B. Oceans are rising 80% more than projected

There will be more Sendongs and Yolandas.

“Antarctica is losing ice 100 years ahead of schedule. As recently as the 2007 IPCC report, the consensus opinion said that Antarctica would not begin to lose ice until 2100 or later. The recent 2013 IPCC report, however, tells us that not only has Antarctica already started to lose ice, but it has almost caught up with Greenland.”

Arctic sea ice is declining 70 years ahead of schedule as of a record-smashing year in 2007, according to work from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. In 2012, the record-smashing 2007 record was itself smashed by an even greater decline in Arctic sea ice. The IPCC predicted an annual sea-level rise of less than 2 millimeters per year in 2001. But over the last 15 years, the oceans have actually risen 3.4 millimeters per year, about “80 percent more than projected" What does it mean to all of us? There will be more number of storm surges. There will be more Sendongs and Yolanda.

C. Bishop Antonio Ledesma of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro speaks

Bishop Ledesma challenges us to respond to three major concerns "3) A third major concern is the protection and conservation of our environment – in particular the river basin of Cagayan de Oro.”

Indeed, every tributary in the city and the province should have its watershed protected. Disaster risk reduction practices have to be adopted to prevent another Sendong. And if the fury of super typhoon Yolanda is any indication, the adverse effects of climate change are already upon us. We can adopt short-term as well as long-term measures to mitigate the dire effects of climate change. But the time for action is now.

D. Climate change is a social, economic and political concern

Typhoon Yolanda has shaken the nation and mobilized the world to remind us that climate change cannot be ignored. It has become a social, economic and political concern.

James Boyce, director of the Program on Development, Peace Building, and the Environment at the PERI institute. He's also a professor of economics at Amherst, Massachusetts. In a new book titled Economics, the Environment and Our Common Wealth said: "What I wanted to do was bring out the fact that when we worry about environmental degradation, when we worry about pollution and depletion of natural resources, we should be thinking not only about the relationship between humans and the natural world, but also the relationships among human beings, because, basically, when we find problems of environmental degradation, we find problems where some people are benefiting at the expense of other people.

If nobody were being harmed, it wouldn't be a problem, at least not from the standpoint of economics. So what I wanted to do in the book, was lift up the notion that these environmental problems are also social and economic and political problems and point to the implications of starting from an ethical standpoint that every human being on the face of the earth, present and future generations, we all have an equal right to a clean and safe environment, and think through what it would mean to actually organize our environmental policies around that fundamental principle."

TO BE CONTINUED...

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 30, 2013.

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