With the Philippines now feeling the effects of changing climate, the head of country’s delegation to the current Conference of Parties (COP) 17 in Durban, south Africa called on fellow delegates to commit to a new treaty limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are already bearing the brunt of the changing climate and we need to see progress here as a global deal covering all major economies is a necessity,” Climate Change Commission Vice Chair Mary Ann Lucille L. Sering said in a published newspaper report. “So for us, the issue needs to be confronted now.”
Sering told delegates that just last September 27, 2011, the Philippines was hit by typhoon Pedring which brought damage more than typhoon Ondoy in 2009. She quoted government statistics which showed that Pedring’s damage on infrastructure and agriculture reached P12.34 billion, higher than Ondoy’s P10.9 billion.
Sering fears that the worst is yet to come as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration warned that the country will likely experience fiercer typhoons, floods and drought and sea-level rise in the coming years.
Environment ministers and negotiators from 195 countries are gathered in Durban, for the UN climate conference to advance efforts towards a new agreement cutting carbon emissions that will replace the Kyoto Protocol. The treaty is the world's only binding climate agreement and concern is rising especially among the most effected countries as it is due to expire at the end of 2012.
“The failure of the climate talks means resources will be reduced. But it doesn’t mean that we will not move forward. We have to make sure that we can make our country resilient to climate change,” she said.
Sering presented the Ecotown Framework which is the Philippine model for climate change-resilient communities. Now rising up in Siargao, Surigao del Norte, the ecotown will see the convergence of government efforts to ensure survival of the most climate change affected communities.