Climate Change: The 1.5 Climate Challenge

Climate Change Projections

Climate Action

Climate Change: The 1.5 Climate Challenge

Climate Change Projections

Climate Action

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CCC Bans Single-Use Plastics in Office-Wide Operations
February 19, 2020 Wednesday

MANILA, 19 February 2020 — As part of its ongoing climate action and sustainability efforts, the Climate Change Commission-Climate Change Office (CCC-CCO) imposed a ban on single-use plastics in its office operations. Office Order No. 2020-010 entitled Office Waste Management System dated 24 January 2020 prohibits the use of disposable plastics, such as plastic straws, stirrers, utensils, food wrappers, grocery bags, instant food packaging, lids, drinking bottles and caps, within the CCC-CCO premises and during the conduct of official meetings, conferences, and other activities. The Order also provides that unavoidable plastics used in office operations must be reused, recycled, and disposed of properly, in accordance with Republic Act No. 9003, otherwise known as the Philippine Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. “Although we have been avoiding single-use plastics ever since, we saw the need to institutionalize this practice to instill sustainable consumption as a way of life among our staff and partners and lessen our carbon footprint from unnecessary plastic use,” CCC Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman said. Plastic wastes exacerbate climate change. When mixed with other wastes in the landfills, plastics release methane, a greenhouse gas that is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. According to a report released by the Ocean Conservancy in 2017, the Philippines was among the top plastic-waste producers in the world alongside neighboring Asian countries, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The CCC has repeatedly called for the private sector to come up with innovative, game-changing, and sustainable measures that would eliminate the problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging. “Banning single-use plastics is just the first step toward tackling the plastic crisis. Moving forward, there is an urgent need for retailers and manufacturers to take the lead in innovating our production and distribution systems to eliminate plastic wastes,” De Guzman added.

Filipino Scientists Urge Declaration of Climate Emergency
February 19, 2020 Wednesday

QUEZON CITY, 19 February 2020 — The National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE), composed of the country’s leading climate scientists who have contributed to several reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recently called for the declaration of a climate emergency in the country.  The NPTE submitted a resolution entitled Declaration of a Climate Emergency and the Immediate Need to Consolidate Government Data to Generate a Nationwide Climate Risk Assessment to the Climate Change Commission (CCC) during their First Quarterly Meeting last 05 February 2020. The resolution proposed using the term climate emergency instead of the term climate change to emphasize the urgency of the climate problem. It pointed out that as of 2019, forty-one (41) countries, including twenty-eight (28) European Union member states have already declared a climate emergency. The resolution also urged the government to mobilize its people, institutions, and resources to identify cities and municipalities that are most at risk from the prevailing climate emergency.  Noting that the CCC is in the best position to gather and analyze data sets from national government agencies and produce baseline climate risk assessments at a city/municipality scale, the resolution also recommended that the lead agency assembles a team of GIS specialists, remote sensing image analysts, and data scientists to work on the gathering, integration, and initial analysis of data. Dr. Carlos Primo David, chair of the NPTE, ensured the CCC during the meeting that the NPTE will provide technical guidance and assistance in analyzing the data sets and in identifying climate risks. Welcoming the NPTE resolution, CCC Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman said that a nationwide climate risk assessment will inform national and local development and investment planning and will enable more local government units to access the People’s Survival Fund, the country’s financing mechanism for local adaptation solutions established by law in 2012.

Legarda Urges Strong Wildlife Trade Regulation to Halt Future Public Health Crises
February 19, 2020 Wednesday

QUEZON CITY, 19 February 2020 – Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Representative Loren Legarda highlighted the possible connection between unsustainable use of wildlife for food and the COVID-19 in her privilege speech on Monday, 17 February. The COVID-19, or the coronavirus disease 2019, a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China in December last year, has infected more than 49,000 people in 28 countries and territories around the world and has claimed the lives of more than a thousand people, including a Chinese national who died here in Manila. “As the courageous workers in our health care system and local governments tackle the dangers, we as Filipinos and human beings must also recognize a historic opportunity to rethink our relationship with nature, and the lifestyles that compel us to kill wildlife to sell and consume as food or medicine,” said Legarda. “As we continue to stand in solidarity with the international community in containing this outbreak and in ensuring the safety of the Filipino people, we must reflect on the causes of this outbreak and on ways to avoid and overcome future and interconnected threats,” Legarda continued.  Illegal smuggling, trafficking, and poaching of wild animals are still operational and remain rampant across many Asian countries and across the globe. Experts say that there is a high likelihood that the COVID-19 came from the illegal wildlife trade, as people are eating various kinds of wildlife. “This ongoing public health crisis is only one of many that will beset us if we continue to ignore the warnings of scientists. If we continue on the path to a warming planet as we seem to be doing, we could use this crisis in three ways: as a test of our current coping mechanisms, as a drill for future crises, and as a wake-up call to the connection of this public health crisis to the destruction of biodiversity and ecosystems on which we all depend,” Legarda exclaimed. Legarda also emphasized that overcoming threats like the COVID-19 will require functioning local ecosystems, local sufficiency of prime commodities, avoidance of mass hysteria and the ability to survive lockdowns. She also encouraged the international organizations and communities to make the necessary shift and step up efforts toward successfully regulating the trade in wildlife, such as: • Reinforce the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on transformative change in wildlife conservation and management and in combating wildlife trafficking on all fronts. This should be the primary legal framework for regulating international trade in species of wild animals and plants. Our country should take decisive steps to ensure effective wildlife trade controls on all fronts. • Ensure an ambitious, meaningful, and inclusive post-2020 global biodiversity framework. This year, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will adopt a post-2020 global biodiversity framework as a stepping stone towards the 2050 Vision of “living in harmony with nature”. Armed with the latest science enriched by indigenous knowledge systems, we must deepen our understanding of our ecosystems and what levels of change they can sustain. We need to ensure equitable access and benefits associated with biodiversity. • Develop science-based standards, guidelines and recommendations on disease prevention, detection, and control that will enable governments to safeguard biodiversity and public and animal health worldwide. This includes policy frameworks on disease risk management specifically catering to the interface among wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. “We can start”, she continued, “with two bills I aim to file in the coming days, revising the wildlife act to include better detection and higher penalties, and to create a new bureau in the DENR to ensure swift, fair and certain enforcement for effective deterrence.” She said that these measures will not only strengthen the international effort to tackle illegal wildlife trade and prevent public health crises, but also contribute to the sustainability of our planet. “Also, DOH should give flesh to Sec 31d of the Universal Health Care Law mandating adequate funding support for participatory action research on high impact, cost effective health promotion measures, one of which can be outbreak prevention by finding causes in wildlife consumption,” Legarda added. “We have ignored the laws of nature to our peril. It is time to heed her warnings: do not eat what is not intended for human consumption, do not trade what should not be traded. We must relearn to coexist with animals, and their habitats.” “We have many laws in place already but we need to treat them as measures for survival rather than mere obstacles to the relentless pursuit of an economic future that will be mired in new dangers. We will not survive this and other coming changes unless we value the intricate interrelationships of all life on earth, unless we see that the rules of the game have changed and we need a fundamental shift in the way we live. From what we eat, how we travel, how we manage our discards, to how we do business and treat each other, this august body has to forge new ways to support these changes with policy,” said Legarda. Privilege Speech of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda on COVID-19 and Biodiversity Conservation

Legarda: Global Climate Risk Index Underscores Need to Scale Up PH Adaptation
February 06, 2020 Thursday

Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Representative Loren Legarda today said that the Philippines’ ranking in the Global Climate Risk Index 2020[1] released by the Germanwatch organization, further reveals the country’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and underscores the need to accelerate and strengthen adaptation measures, especially at the community level. Legarda said that the report analyzes the extent countries have been affected by impacts of weather-related events, such as storms, floods, and heatwaves, for the year 2018 and for a twenty-year period from 1999 to 2018. The report ranked the Philippines 2nd among countries most affected by climate change in 2018 (from 20th in 2017), with Japan and Germany ranking 1st and 3rd, respectively; and 4th most affected from 1999 to 2018 (from 5th in the previous period of 1998-2017), together with Puerto Rico (1st), Myanmar (2nd), Haiti (3rd), and Pakistan (5th) in the list. Legarda said that Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut)—the most powerful typhoon recorded in 2018—influenced the Philippines’ score for that year, while other typhoons, such as Pablo (Bopha) in 2012 and Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013, have affected the country’s score for the twenty-year period from 1999 to 2018. The report also noted that the Philippines is “recurrently affected by catastrophes” and is “still in the process of recovering from the previous year’s impacts” and has therefore “continuously rank(ed) among the most affected countries both in the long-term index and in the index for the respective year.” “While the report has a comprehensive take on countries’ vulnerability from rapid weather-related events, it has yet to factor in impacts from slow onset climate events, such as sea level rise and warmer and more acidic oceans, which, for an archipelagic nation like ours, could spell greater danger to our communities. What is clear, however, is that we need to ramp up efforts on adaptation and building genuine climate resilience within our vulnerable communities,” Legarda explained. Legarda expressed the need to implement the Climate Change Commission’s National Climate Risk Management Framework (NCRMF), which aims to produce a comprehensive assessment of climate risks (in terms of hazards, exposures, and vulnerabilities) in the Philippines by consolidating datasets across government agencies, local government units, academic and research institutions, and civil society organizations. She also urged to access more climate funds to finance adaptation projects in the country through the local People’s Survival Fund (PSF) and the international Green Climate Fund (GCF), adding that our proactive stance for additional climate finance for loss and damage (unavoidable and residual effects of climate impacts) must also continue and prosper. Legarda also shared the earlier flagship report by the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), where she also performs as Commissioner, which reported that investing USD1.8 trillion in five areas of adaptation—early warning systems, infrastructure, improving dry-land agriculture, restoring and protecting mangroves, and water—could prevent USD7 trillion in losses and damages by 2050. “It is every nation’s responsibility to stop this climate crisis from further escalating. As they say, the best adaptation is still mitigation because reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would also minimize the scale and intensity of the climate impacts we have to face. While we continue to urge developed nations to do their fair share in climate action, we must also remain steadfast in pushing for both adaptation and mitigation to our communities down to the very last mile,” Legarda concluded.

CCC: Transformative Action Key to Effective Climate Adaptation
January 30, 2020 Thursday

January 30, 2020 - At the workshop for the Formulation of Local Climate Change Actions for Davao City held today, Climate Change Commissioner Rachel Herrera said that addressing the climate crisis requires us to change the way we think and work and that transformative action is key to effective climate change action.   The City Government of Davao, in partnership with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)-Japan and Malayan Colleges Mindanao, organized the two-day workshop with the aim of deepening the understanding of climate change causes, impacts, and risks for the city, as well as gather support and commitment for its Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP).  “Adaptation, done right, saves lives and protects the place we call home. Adaptation, done right, creates opportunity, and builds a better future for us all. Our choice is clear: Do we delay and pay, or plan and prosper?” Herrera said.  “It is now a must for local government units, especially cities being economic hubs with a huge population, to act now to adapt to climate change. It is now a must for LGUs to integrate nature-based solutions into spatial planning, investments, and infrastructure implementation to reduce climate risks. We must put premium in ensuring that the ecosystem services—or the wealth that comes from nature–will not be derailed by the impacts of climate change,” Herrera added.  Herrera cited findings from the Philippine Climate Change Assessment, a three-volume report that the Climate Change Commission (CCC) produced together with the Oscar M. Lopez  (OML) Center, which identified Davao del Sur as one of the most vulnerable to drought and tropical cyclones.  The report further indicated that reduced rainfall, increasing temperature, and increasing frequency of drought conditions in the region can lead to risks of grass, bush, or forest fires in highly vulnerable forest areas; reduced productivity in agricultural areas; reduced productivity in community-based forest management (CBFM) areas; and slower growth and development of industrial forestry areas.  Moreover, Davao City is also listed as one of the top 25 cities with the largest population exposure to storm surges caused by strong winds from typhoons, which can pose risks on human health, such as surge in dengue fever transmission; respiratory diseases, such as asthma and bronchitis; and heat-related illnesses, such as heat stress and dehydration. “What is alarming is that, if planning, financing, and production across economies will go business-as-usual, our average global temperature is on track to increase by at least 3 to 4 degrees Celsius towards the end of the century—twice of what climate experts have warned as the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit to avoid the most severe economic, social, and environmental consequences,” Herrera explained. “The threat may be global, but we know that a truly effective response must be local. We must therefore recognize the crucial role of local government units in ensuring that our communities are aware and able to adapt to climate impacts, being in the frontlines in this fight,” Herrera added.   Commissioner Herrera also mentioned the CCC’s flagship program, the Communities for Resilience (CORE) Program, which aims to strengthen the capacity of local leaders and planners in mainstreaming climate change in development planning and investment programming processes, as well as ensure that the LCCAPs of LGUs are science-based and risk-informed as these will serve as good foundations towards accessing climate finance, such as our national People’s Survival Fund (PSF).   Herrera also commended Davao City for its proactive work to include climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction (CCAM-DRR) into local development plans, as well as accomplishing a comprehensive climate and disaster risk assessment and identifying adaptation and mitigation priority actions for the city.  “Our workshop today will further strengthen Davao’s commitment towards sustainable development, where nature is a stakeholder, and ensuring that no Davaoeño is left behind. It is also our hope that Davao will become a prime example to encourage other LGUs to follow suit in moving towards scaled up actions in climate change adaptation and mitigation, so that we can be one step closer to our vision of a climate-resilient Philippines,” Herrera concluded.