MANILA, 9 August 2020 — The Climate Change Commission and its National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE), in partnership with the Oscar M. Lopez Center, successfully convened the first of its two-part online webinar entitled “Taking stock: Why should we be concerned about the climate and sea level changes?,” which discussed knowledge on the current and future state of sea level change in the Philippines. The virtual forum gathered members of the academe and research institutions in the Philippines and abroad, government agencies, policy makers, and organizations leading community-based initiatives, to assess the current science on sea level rise and to identify gaps in information gathering, monitoring and communication in the country. Facilitated by Dr. Carlos Primo David, chair of the NPTE, the forum aimed to share good practices, innovative technologies, and latest policy reforms on sea level rise. According to Dr. Rodel Lasco, Executive Director of the OML Center, the forum will be part of a multi-year comprehensive study assessing the potential or likely impacts of different climate change scenarios on sea-level rise and the associated hazards. The study will look at key hotspots as case studies in selected cities of the Philippines, and will include coastal mapping and decision-making tools. Highlights of the event were presentations by Dr. Benjamin Horton, Director of Earth Observatory of Singapore on “Mechanisms of Sea Level Changes: Global/Regional/National Perspective”; Dr. Laura David, Director of the University of the Philippines - Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) on “Current And Future Risks And Impacts of Sea Level Changes”; Dr. Fernando Siringan, Professor of UP-MSI on “Sea Level Rise from the Perspective of Marine Geophysics/Geology”; Dr. Enrico Paringit, Executive Director of the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) on “Data Availability and Coastal Mapping”; and Dr. Ma. Laurice Jamero, Head for Resilience Collaboratory of the Manila Observatory on “Limits to Adaptation: Perspectives from Small-Island Communities.” Dr. Horton introduced the South East Asia SEA Level Program (SEA2), an initiative of the Earth Observatory of Singapore which aims to understand and integrate the internal and external mechanisms that have determined sea level changes in the past, and which will shape such changes in the future. This research program impacts upon the ecological, ethical, social, economic, and political challenges specifically facing coastal regions. “This is a holistic program. We aim to understand what is happening on the solid earth, what this has to do with groundwater withdrawal, with tectonics. We want to understand an array of local, global, and regional processes in sea level. These will combine together with future projections of daily sea level and extreme events. It’s a holistic program where we look at the impacts of coastal adaptation measures. The Earth Observatory of Singapore wants to work with our partners in South East Asia to provide projections of sea level at the local scale, at decadal time scales, to make countries of Southeast Asia a safer and more sustainable place,” said Dr. Horton. Dr. Laura David presented data on Climate Exposure Clusters and Coastal Marine Habitat Distribution which shows that the entire Philippines will actually experience significant amounts of sea level rise, accounting for about twice to even three times that of the global average. She also discussed the declining mangrove forests of the Pacific Islands and resulting – increased exposure to storm surges, increased coastal sedimentation, decrease in biodiversity and biomass, and release of sequestered carbon. She also discussed the effects of sea level rise on the fisheries sector. “There are about 1.6 million fishers in the Philippines. Twenty-seven percent of them belong to the municipal fishery, or associated directly with the habitats of coral, mangrove, and seagrass. So if these (marine resources) start dying off, we’re talking about loss, not only of food availability for the entire Philippines, but of labor, of loss of livelihood for our fishers,” said Dr. David. Dr. Siringan emphasized the connection to sea level rise of groundwater withdrawal, and of aquaculture as an economic activity that provides benefits to the people but is also a threat and a factor. “It is essential that we know the direction, style, and rate of vertical motions of our coasts. We should minimize the local human-induced causes of sea level rise. There is a need to shift the focus of development to higher grounds accompanied by continuing efforts to protect our coastlines,” said Dr. Siringan. Dr. Paringit shared that coastal communities are vulnerable to climate change, as he and his family personally experienced the challenges brought about by constant flooding in their area. He presented case studies of communities eventually adapting to sea level rise and land subsidence. “Marami pa akong nakikita na we need to work on, it’s not just the availability of the data but how it’s going to be analyzed, how we’re going to project scenarios in the near future and in the far future. We need the tools in order to make this happen. Over all, I wanted to see how data sets could be used to actually create scenarios on impacts to certain sectors or to certain areas in the environment,” said Dr. Paringit Dr. Jamero shared the experiences of the small island communities of Tubigon, a municipality located in the North Eastern side of Bohol. The area was severely affected by tidal flooding due to land subsidence that was, in turn, induced by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2013. She shared the strategies implemented such as to retreat as a way to adapt to relative sea level rise and its social impacts. “We should also take control of the narrative and shift away from sinking islands to resilient islands. We should stop thinking of island communities as a basket case and force them to relocate when they aren’t ready yet, and rather start to recognize how resilience has always been part of the island life,” said Dr. Jamero. The forum also featured responses from different stakeholders, including Dr. Eulito Casas, Associate Professor of UP Visayas Tacloban College; Atty. Josine Alexandra Gamboa, Manager for Government Initiatives of RARE Inc.; and Dr. Bjoern Surborg, Principal Advisor and Cluster Coordinator for Climate Change of GIZ Philippines. In his closing remarks, CCC Secretary Emmanuel M. de Guzman emphasized the importance of convergence of different sectors in advancing climate research to help the communities survive and thrive. “This forum is one important step toward a broader cooperation across sectors on dealing with the increasing threat of rising sea levels to our communities. Rest assured that the Climate Change Commission shall continue to advance research on the slow onset impacts of climate change in the country. We shall also hold more online learning exchanges such as this — experts’ forums that inform and explain climate science to the public,” said Sec. de Guzman. This event is part of a series of the National Panel of Technical Experts’ Fora aiming to mobilize community-based climate action and mainstream climate change knowledge into development policies and practices. The full discussion of Taking stock: Why should we be concerned about the climate and sea level changes? can be accessed through this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ9Vr9Yduss&list=PLOWeRyX1mB4wObVtKi6DUhuq2EvEMQ4_E Part 2 of this online forum will be soon announced in the Facebook pages of the Climate Change Commission at facebook.com/CCCPhl, and the Oscar M. Lopez Center at facebook.com/OscarMLopezCenter.
MANILA, 05 August 2020 — For the 12th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” with the topic on “Millennial Farmers and Gardeners,” House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda will discuss with millennial farmers their stories and experiences in venturing into agribusiness and the importance of sustainable farming. The episode will air on Thursday, August 6, 2020, 10 AM, via Facebook Live at facebook.com/conglorenlegarda and facebook.com/CCCPhl/. Joining the online conversation are young farm managers and “agripreneurs”, including: Ms. Karmila Rose Dimamay, farm owner of Milay’s Garden in Tibiao, Antique and incumbent Board Member of the Province; Mr. Enzo Pinga, founder of Earthbeat farms in San Pablo City, Laguna; Mr. Raphael Dacones, chief farming officer of Teraoka Family Farm in Pangasinan; and Ms. Stephanie Mendiola, founder of Indie Farms in Silang, Cavite. Meanwhile, Atty Paula Aberasturi of Down to Earth PH will join as reactor. In previous episodes, the online series tackled topics on food gardening, saving seeds, permaculture, good nutrition and diet, and sustainable urban mobility in order to encourage citizens to be sustainable and self-sufficient. This upcoming episode will focus on encouraging the younger generation to venture into sustainable farming and agribusiness as viable career options. As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a “better normal” can be realized within our communities. This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines and Mother Earth Foundation.
MANILA, 04 August 2020 – To facilitate discussions on the current and future state of climate and sea level change in the Philippines, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and its National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE), in collaboration with the Oscar M. Lopez (OML) Center, will conduct an online forum entitled “Taking stock: Why should we be concerned about the climate and sea level changes?” on 5 August 2020, Wednesday, 9:45 AM, via Facebook Live. The online forum will examine how the impacts of climate change, specifically sea level rise, is affecting the Philippines as an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, with 822 coastal municipalities, and one of the longest coastlines in the world estimated at 36,289 kilometers. Members of the NPTE who will join the virtual forum include Dr. Carlos Primo David, current chairperson; Dr. Laura David and Dr. Fernando Siringan of the UP Marine Science Institute; and Dr. Rodel Lasco, Executive Director of the OML Center. Other leading climate experts and scientists who will also participate include Dr. Benjamin Horton, Director of Earth Observatory of Singapore; Dr. Ma. Laurice Jamero, Head Resilience Collaboratory, Manila Observatory; and Dr. Enrico Paringit, Executive Director of the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development. A distinguished roster of reactors from different agencies and organizations have also been invited. They are: Dr. Eulito Casas, Associate Professor from UP Visayas Tacloban College; Atty. Josine Alexandra Gamboa, Manager of Government Initiatives of Rare, Inc.; and Dr. Bjoern Surborg, Principal Advisor and Cluster Coordinator for Climate Change of the GIZ. CCC Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman, Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, Representative from the Lone District of Antique, and Representative Edgar Chatto, Chair of the House Special Committee on Climate Change, will deliver special messages. Citing a report from the Partnerships in Environment Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), gradual changes in climatic parameters have a direct relationship to the rise of sea level, mean temperature and change in precipitation patterns will affect the health, food, water and livelihood of vulnerable coastal communities particularly those in low-lying areas. To recall, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (AR5) cited that global mean sea level has increased by about 0.19 m from 1901 to 2010 at a mean rate of 1.7 mm per year. However, between 1993 and 2010, global mean sea level has been increasing at a faster rate of about 3.2 mm per year. Under the 1.5°C warming scenario, global mean sea level is expected to be about 51cm by 2100. Moreover, the global sea level is expected to continue to rise past 2100 even if temperature rise has been limited to 1.5°C before the end of the 21st century. As of 2005, the total population in the country’s coastal areas was estimated at 43 million and majority are dependent on fishing as their main source of livelihood. Fisherfolk remain as one of the poorest sectors with poverty incidence at 41.2% and with the least resources to cope with the changing climate. This upcoming online forum on sea level rise will feature a discussion on the observed and projected changes and impacts of sea level rise from the perspective of a climate scientist, a geographer, a geologist, an oceanographer and a social scientist. This will also present the current state of knowledge on the current and future state of sea level change in the Philippines. The forum also aims to identify gaps in information gathering, monitoring and communication of sea level rise in the country and facilitate the sharing of good practices, innovative technologies, and latest policy reforms on sea level rise. Interested participants are encouraged to register until August 3, 2020 through this link: https://rb.gy/tleik7. The forum will be streamed live on CCC’s Facebook Page at facebook.com/CCCPhl.
MANILA, 3 August 2020 — For the 11th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” with the topic on “Youth Climate Activism,” House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, together with fellow Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders, underscored the critical role of the youth in climate action and shared their insights and experiences on how they are leading climate initiatives before and during this pandemic. Featured in last Thursday’s episode were youth Climate Reality Leaders Ms. Christine Paula Bernasor, Project Manager and Experience Designer from Talisay, Cebu; Mr. Johnny Altomonte, CEO and Founder of Verne Energy Solutions; Dr. Renzo Guinto, Chief Planetary Doctor of PH Lab; Ms. Ruzzel Morales, Committee Chairperson for Environment of the 12th National Youth Parliament; Ms. Jessica Wu, Co-founder of Lesstics; Mr. Carl Alonsagay, Project Liaison Officer of the ClimatEducate Project; and Ms. Hilary Hao, Business Development Associate of AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation. Ms. Nazrin Castro, Philippine branch manager of The Climate Reality Project-Philippines also joined the online conversation as Legarda’s co-host. Mr. Ethan Spaner, Director of The Climate Reality Project’s International Program, also joined from their Washington, D.C. headquarters. Mr. Spaner shared how The Climate Reality Project supports the community of Climate Reality Leaders in engaging world leaders, policymakers, experts, and advocates to find solutions to the global climate crisis. He also stressed the importance of youth activism in today’s global challenges. “Youth activism around the world is important to us. We are in full understanding that tomorrow’s leaders need to have the space today. But we’ve found out that the youth are already the leaders of today. We could learn a lot by listening to our young leaders in our country, especially the Filipino youth who are passionate and fighting for their lives. They give me hope,” said Spaner. Ms. Bernasor presented an overview of climate initiatives and activism online, and how the digital landscape is presenting various avenues to advocate for climate action even on a pandemic. She explained how social media and digital platforms should be utilized in terms of advocacy campaigns, including awareness raising and mobilization, especially in urging environmental protection and climate action towards sustainability. “We had gotten more reliant on digital platforms. It has become easier to convince the youth and everyone who are affected by the pandemic that we should care about our climate and environment. Climate activism does not need a big budget. It just needs you—quarantine or no quarantine! A small seed of action can grow into a rebellion,” said Bernasor. Mr. Altomonte shared how he decided to venture into renewable energy at a young age. He also encouraged the greening local government units (LGUs), which could help address other issues by the communities. “The renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions will solve a lot of existing pain points for LGUs, such as clean water, access to energy, market access, employment opportunities women empowerment. Sustainable development is dependent on sustainable energy. It's really important even at the barangay level to start greening from an energy perspective because energy is the foundation from which we move forward. We can’t have a sustainable community without sustainable energy,” said Altomonte. Dr. Guinto, a medical doctor, expressed that the health system of the future must be universal, high quality, climate smart, and pandemic-resistant. He also said that health workers must be engaged as LGUs craft their Local Climate Change Action Plans (LCCAPs) and that climate change and health must be integrated into our education system. “Early on in my career, I already realized that my patients are not just the people, but it's also the planet. Both people and the planet are currently sick. As we talk about COVID, we know in the backdrop there is a climate crisis that is continuously happening. In an increasingly warming planet, the risk for infectious diseases becomes so high. There are old infectious diseases that we expect to reemerge and new ones to emerge,” said Dr. Guinto, who also called for the flattening of our curve in terms of carbon emissions and ecological footprint. Ms. Morales discussed the importance of engaging the youth in crafting national plans and strategies and underscored the need for the government to step up its efforts on climate action. “The youth and majority of groups and communities have long been asking for an alternative to this current system. We know and feel that we deserve better. What we need is a balanced revolution. We need not only the youth to step up, but also the government. We are tired of token representation. We want action. The future is for the youth. We will claim it, no matter what,” said Morales. Ms. Wu shared her initiatives on zero waste and her advocacies on women and youth empowerment and youth, as well as the importance of recognizing the people’s connection with the environment. “We are not separate from the environment. All of us are interconnected. We should be conscious of the intergenerational responsibility in all that we do. If we do not act now, when?” said Wu. Mr. Alonsagay introduced the ClimatEducate, a youth-led climate change education project composed of students, youth advocates, young professional researchers and educators, which aims to promote climate change education in different schools and communities in the Philippines and in the global south. He shared how the project could complement and further integrate climate change and disaster risk reduction concepts into the K-to-12 curriculum. “One thing I realized in the last four years of providing climate awareness to schools and communities is that we cannot teach about the changing climate if we don’t make sure they know how to read and have food on the table. Climate change education should go along with the true aim of social justice,” said Alonsagay. Ms. Hao talked about climate change and nutrition, and encouraged fellow millennials to switch to a less-meat and plant-based diet to promote nutrition, while helping fight climate change. “Food is really something I'm passionate about. It’s something that should not be too difficult to incorporate in our life and has a positive effect on our climate. If we eat a more balanced diet, with more fruits and vegetables, it will actually give less strain on the planet,” said Hao. A Climate Reality Leader herself, Legarda encouraged the young leaders to pursue their passions and thanked them for taking an active role in helping implement environment and climate change laws, especially the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act. “To my fellow Climate Reality Leaders, push the way forward. Do concrete actions at home and within our communities. Engage other leaders, so all this talk will not go to waste. Our efforts at the local level is the most important. Put your initiatives online, so others may know what climate action means,” Legarda concluded. Climate Reality Leaders are individuals from diverse backgrounds and fields of discipline who have undergone training with The Climate Reality Project, which is founded by former US Vice President Al Gore, a climate activist himself who was awarded the Nobel Prize for the film “An Inconvenient Truth.” As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities. This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines, and the Mother Earth Foundation.
MANILA, 29 July 2020 – For the 11th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders including House Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda will gather for a special episode on “Youth Climate Activism” and discuss how youth leaders are driving and sustaining their climate initiatives, even during the pandemic. Climate Reality Leaders are individuals from diverse backgrounds and fields of discipline who have undergone the training of The Climate Reality Project (TCRP), which is founded by former US Vice President Al Gore, a climate activist himself who was awarded the Nobel Prize for the film “An Inconvenient Truth”. Legarda recalled her visit with Al Gore in Tacloban in 2016 to talk to the families affected by Typhoon Yolanda, as well as the training of more than 800 aspiring Climate Reality Leaders, including herself, also in 2016. In this upcoming episode, Legarda will be joined by youth Climate Reality Leaders Ms. Christine Paula Bernasor, Project Manager and Experience Designer from Talisay, Cebu; Mr. Johnny Altomonte, CEO and Founder of Verne Energy Solutions; Dr. Renzo Guinto, Chief Planetary Doctor of PH Lab; Ms. Ruzzel Morales, Committee Chairperson for Environment of the 12th National Youth Parliament; Ms. Jessica Wu, Co-founder of Lesstics; Mr. Carl Alonsagay, Project Liaison Officer of the ClimatEducate Project; and Ms. Hilary Hao, Business Development Associate of AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation. Mr. Ethan Spaner, Director of TCRP’s International Program and Ms. Nazrin Castro, Manager of the Philippine branch of TCRP Philippines, will also join the discussion. The episode will air on Thursday, 30 July 2020, 10:00 AM, via Facebook at facebook.com/conglorenlegarda and facebook.com/CCCPhl/. Legarda, author of the Climate Change Act, noted that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognizes the role of youth as key actors in raising awareness, running educational programs, promoting sustainable lifestyles, conserving nature, supporting renewable energy, adopting environmentally-friendly practices, and implementing adaptation and mitigation projects. She also noted that, according to the UN Joint Framework Initiative on Children, Youth, and Climate Change, the youth constitutes the majority of the population in many countries and have an increasingly strong social and environmental awareness. She added that youth aged 15 to 24 years represent 16% of the world population and will reach 1.3 billion people by 2030. This upcoming episode will provide a platform for young Climate Reality Leaders to present insights and experience in helping solve the climate crisis and to call for urgent actions from the country’s leaders. As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities. This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines, and the Mother Earth Foundation.
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