MABALACAT CITY -- Senator Loren Legarda said that Filipinos should expect a rise in hotter days and consistently hotter years because of climate change.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, made the statement following reports that the heat index in the past days has reached danger levels.
Last April 11, the heat index in Nueva Ecija reached a dangerous level of 51 degrees Celsius, just three degrees below the extreme danger level of 54 degrees Celsius according to state weather bureau, PAGASA.
Prior to that, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro registered a heat index of 49.4 degrees Celsius on April 2.
“We have been experiencing hotter days in different parts of the country and every year surpasses the previous as the hottest year on record—2015 is the hottest year ever recorded, before that, 2014 was the hottest year on record, and so were the previous years. If this trend continues, it will not be too long when temperature will no longer be tolerable for humans,” said Legarda.
Pagasa warns that at a heat index of 41 degrees Celsius, people are more prone to experience heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Legarda said that while there are ways to avoid heat stroke or heat exhaustion, urgent action to limit global warming is crucial to ensure survival of humans and other species.
“The average global temperature has risen by 0.8°C since 1880. In fact, global warming has already breached the 1°C level with unprecedented warming in the past months. We have already borne countless tragedies and losses from recurring impacts of extreme weather events under a 1°C global warming. How much more with higher temperatures? We must take these events seriously because our own survival is at stake,” she stressed.
“This is why it is important that nations sign and immediately ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change. We all need to work together, developing and developed nations alike, to mitigate climate change,” she added.
On April 22, Earth Day, nations will converge in New York to sign the Paris Agreement, which was the result of the climate negotiations in Paris culminating last December.
The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to limit global temperature rise within the century “well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”
In order to take effect, 55 countries representing 55% of global greenhouse gas (GHH) emissions must ratify or accede to the Agreement. Fiji, Palau and Marshall Islands have already become the first three countries to do so.
“All persons have the right to life, and that includes the right to survive and thrive as human beings. The kind of climate we have right now, the intolerable temperature we are already experiencing today are proof of the urgent need to address the root cause of this global concern. We can no longer delay action because humanity’s future, our very own children’s future, depends on how much action we will take today,” Legarda said.