Climate Change: The 1.5 Climate Challenge

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Climate Change: The 1.5 Climate Challenge

Climate Change Projections

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PH Legislators, CVF Ambassador and Deputy Speaker Legarda Urge Creation of CVF Parliamentary League
November 26, 2020 Thursday

MANILA, 26 November 2020 — In the Inaugural Global Parliamentarians Meeting of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) held yesterday, high-level representation from the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives were united in the call for stronger engagement among lawmakers of 48 climate-vulnerable countries in light of the climate crisis.   Senate President Vicente Sotto III, House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco, Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, and House Committee on Climate Change Chair and Bohol 1st District Representative Edgar Chatto called for the creation of a CVF Parliamentary League as a dedicated cooperation platform to advance a common legislative agenda for integrating climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction in all facets of sustainable development pursuits.   “Enabling our people to survive and prosper in this era of climate change and the pandemic is a moral imperative. We may be vulnerable. Our nations may be at most risk. But together, we can be a powerful force that could drive the global transformation we seek for a safer, healthier, and more sustainable future.” said Senate President Sotto in his remarks.   “The Philippine Nationally Determined Contributions we have set shows the world our resolve to pursue low-carbon development, as well as the support we need from developed countries in terms of climate finance, capacity-building, and technology transfer in the context of climate justice and in accordance with the Paris Agreement,” said House Speaker Velasco.   “We must organize our efforts regionally. It will be our platform for exchanging experiences and good practices on climate action, developing a common stand on critical climate legislation, and strengthening our cooperation in championing the 1.5 Paris goal,” said Legarda. As CVF Ambassador for Parliaments, Legarda also serves as UNDRR Global Champion for Resilience and Board Member in the Global Center on Adaptation, which co-organized the webinar.   “We must influence more, and we must do what we can, because we must, and because solidarity and hope are what will in the end prevail. Through our shared leadership and with far greater urgency, we can hasten the transition of our countries to decarbonized development and ensure a safer, more equitable, and more resilient future for our people,” Legarda added.   Legarda cited massive damages from typhoons that continue to hit the Philippines, the most recent one being typhoon Vamco in November alone, which affected almost four million Filipinos and caused damages to agriculture worth 87 million US dollars and to infrastructure worth 181 million US dollars.   Legarda said that hard-fought development gains and productivity will continue to be undermined, or worse, reversed, if the 1.5 global warming threshold of the Paris Agreement will be breached.   “In light of these intensifying impacts of the climate crisis, we are required to do much more. If countries historically responsible for the climate crisis won’t act with urgency, we in the developing world must act in concert to compel them to take action—to take the lead in deep and drastic cuts in carbon emissions,” Legarda said.   Legarda expressed that vulnerable country parliaments play a crucial role in enhancing countries' Nationally Determined Contributions and in demonstrating climate leadership.   “Using our oversight, legislative, and representation functions, we must take a far more active role in helping steer our peoples away from the dire threats of the climate emergency. I am certain we have all been equal to the task before and I am even more sure now we will be equal to the rough tests ahead of us,” Legarda added.   Coinciding with the meeting was the plenary adoption of House Resolution No. 1377, Resolution Calling for a Climate and Environmental Emergency, sponsored by House Special Committee on Climate Change Chair and Bohol 1st District Representative Edgar Chatto.   The Climate Vulnerable Forum is an international partnership of 48 countries highly vulnerable to a warming planet and serving as a South-South cooperation platform of nations for global climate action. The online meeting was convened in cooperation with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Global Center on Adaptation.   Other CVF Ambassadors are H.E. Mohamed Nasheed, Speaker of the People’s Majlis and former President of the Maldives; and MP Saber Chowdhury, Honorary President of the IPU and Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee in the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) of Bangladesh.

Legarda: Build a resilient recovery for the Philippines
November 25, 2020 Wednesday

MANILA, 25 November 2020 — House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda recommended stronger policy measures to help avert future loss and damage and ensure sustainable and resilient recovery, in light of the escalating climate-related disaster risks, compounded by factors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.   In a privilege speech before the House plenary, Legarda said that the recent back-to-back typhoons that hit provinces in the Luzon and Visayas regions affected more than 6.7 million Filipinos and damaged over 35 billion pesos worth of infrastructure and agriculture.   She also noted that the amount of rainfall brought by the typhoons and the volume of water released by dams and the environmental degradation of the Sierra Madre range as a natural buffer against tropical cyclones have worsened the level of flooding in the affected areas.   Legarda recently filed House Resolution No. 1363 directing the House Sub-Committee on the New Normal to conduct an inquiry on the massive flooding caused by Typhoon Ulysses, in relation to the enforcement of environmental, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk reduction and management laws by government agencies and local government units (LGUs).   The resolution also seeks to identify gaps in mainstreaming disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in development, investment, and land use planning.   Legarda noted that the track of Typhoon Ulysses was almost the same as Ondoy. In terms of rainfall amount, 347 millimeters of Ondoy rains fell within six hours as compared to the 356 millimeters of rains from Ulysses for the whole day on November 12.   She added that other factors led to Ondoy-level flooding during Ulysses, such as land use, construction of settlements and cultivation in flood-prone areas; excessive rainfall due to climate change; and siltation of waterways due to excessive soil erosion because of illegal logging and deforestation.   She also mentioned that poor or non-implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law also contributed as seen in the huge amounts of plastic debris floating on water. The law, which she principally authored and sponsored in the Senate, mandates the proper segregation of waste at source and the establishment of materials recovery facility within LGUs.   Among the recommendations she noted in the resolution were to:  Regularly declog canals, roadside ditches, and drains, as well as supplement traditional flood mitigation projects, such as river dredging, dike construction, and tree planting upstream, with natural flood intervention programs, such as river and floodplain restoration; Pursue landscape and ecosystem-based comprehensive development and land use planning informed by geohazard maps and risk assessments;  Ensure that geohazard maps are updated to take into account current and projected climate hazards and are well-understood by LGUs, and provide a basis to consider measures based on their assessment of these risks; and Determine areas for improvement in the capability and agility of PAGASA’s systems for climate observation and projection, weather forecasting, and real-time climate information dissemination to dam operators, national government agencies, LGUs, academe, and research institutions; as well as for translating scientific climate information into more relatable messages of potential impacts for more effective risk communication down to the last mile.  “While PAGASA provided timely and accurate scientific information about typhoon Ulysses, this did not translate to how people imagined the typhoon would be. Scientific information must be understandable, actionable, and relatable,” Legarda stated.   As a Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) Ambassador for Parliaments and UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience, Legarda voiced out the need to accelerate and scale up support for vulnerable developing countries like the Philippines in the areas of finance, green technology, and capacity development to build resilience against extreme weather events that are attributed to continued rising emissions of greenhouse gases mostly from industrialized nations.   “To make adaptation truly work for us requires efforts not just among us but from the international community, and both the public and the private sectors, to bring about the needed investments to enable genuine resilience,” Legarda stressed.   In closing, Legarda said that resilience should be all about empowering the people not merely with inspiration but with the right tools and the means to be able to decide and take action, for them not to be defenseless.   “We have described Filipinos as resilient or tenacious in the face of these many disasters that come our way, as if resilience is purely based on spirit and determination. As if wading through neck-deep floodwater, waiting for hours on top of your house to be rescued, or just generally enduring one typhoon after another, is resilience in itself,” Legarda said.   “As leaders of our nation, we are accountable to the people we serve. More lives are at stake, especially in this era of the climate crisis made more challenging by COVID-19. Our decisions and actions will have an impact on our communities and our nation,” Legarda concluded.

Responsible Gardening in 27th episode of ‘Stories for a Better Normal’ Series
November 24, 2020 Tuesday

MANILA, 24 November 2020 — Plant experts will gather virtually to underscore the importance of responsible gardening brought by the rising trend of collecting ornamental plants on the 27th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Change Pathways” with the topic, “Plant Wise: Responsible Gardening.”   The episode, hosted by House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, will air on Thursday, 26 November 2020, 10:00 AM via Facebook Live at facebook.com/CCCPhl and facebook.com/conglorenlegarda.   Joining the online conversation are Dr. Gideon Lasco, medical anthropologist from the University of the Philippines Diliman and a research fellow at the Ateneo de Manila University's Development Studies Program; Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, Executive Director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity; and Dr. Ireneo Lit Jr., entomologist and curator of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Museum of Natural History.   In previous episodes, the online series tackled food gardening and saving seeds, permaculture, good nutrition and diet, planting native trees, practical sustainability, narrating risk to resilience stories through books, tree pest, and disease management, reviving indigenous textiles and crafts, transforming waste into wages, sustainable urban mobility, and food waste reduction and management.   The upcoming episode will focus on the rising popularity of collecting ornamental plants. With more than six months of community quarantine, many Filipinos have turned to ornamental plant gardening as a hobby or to cope up with stress. However, the global and local circulation of plants comes with a significant ecological footprint, and so do all the materials used to tend to them like plastic pots, pesticides, packages used for transport, among others.   While ornamental plant gardening makes coping with the pandemic a little easier for many people, it is also important to be aware of the threats it poses to the environment, including plant poaching, wildlife trading, and unbridled profiteering.   Gardening ornamental plants come with the responsibility of practicing sustainable ways of tending them and making sure that the habitats where they are sourced remain unharmed, so as to not disturb ecosystems that are unique to the Philippines.   This episode will raise awareness on the possible environmental consequences and dangers of inaccurate wild plant harvesting to the Philippines’ native natural forests and biodiversity.   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.

Legarda Seeks House Inquiry on Ulysses Floods, Enforcement of Environment and Climate Laws
November 19, 2020 Thursday

MANILA, 19 November 2020 — House Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Representative Loren Legarda today filed Resolution No. 1363 at the House of Representatives directing the House Subcommittee on the New Normal to conduct an inquiry on the massive flooding caused by typhoon Ulysses in relation to the enforcement of environmental, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk reduction and management laws by government agencies and local government units (LGUs).   The resolution also seeks a review on protocols followed by dam operators to ensure that measures are adjusted to climate risk scenarios, including pre-emptive safe discharge of water, and linked to effective early warning systems for communities at risk of floods down to the last mile, in order to prevent loss of lives, properties, and livelihoods.   Legarda aims to recommend stronger policy measures that will help avert future loss and damage and ensure sustainable and resilient recovery, in light of the escalating  climate-related disaster risks, compounded by factors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.   In the resolution, Legarda stated that “the massive loss and damage of the Philippines in October to November this year from back-to-back typhoons and weather disturbances, and from other extreme weather events that wreaked havoc in the country in recent years, shows that climate change is a clear and present threat to the country's poverty reduction and other sustainable development goals.”   The resolution urges national government agencies and local government units to promptly mainstream disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in their development, investment, and land use planning.   Legarda stressed that poor drainage systems and garbage disposal aggravate the impacts of the typhoons.   Through this resolution, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and LGUs are recommended to regularly declog canals, roadside ditches, and drains. It also suggests that traditional flood mitigation projects, such as river dredging, dike construction, and tree planting upstream, should  be supplemented by natural flood intervention programs, such as river and floodplain restoration.   It also mandates the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to determine areas for improvement of its capability and the agility of its systems for climate observation and projection, weather forecasting, and real-time climate information dissemination to dam operators, national government agencies, LGUs, academe, and research institutions; and translate scientific climate information into more relatable messages of potential impacts for more effective risk communication.   LGUs are also encouraged to have a landscape and ecosystem-based comprehensive development and land use planning informed by geohazard maps and climate and disaster risk assessments. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through its Mines and Geosciences Bureau, is mandated to ensure that geohazard maps are updated to take into account current and projected climate hazards and are well-understood by LGUs, and provide basis to consider measures to “protect, retreat, or accommodate” based on assessment of risk.   “Despite the enactment of landmark policies on the environment, climate change, and disaster risk reduction and management, there is still continued decline of the state of the environment. Challenges arising from poor urban governance, vulnerable rural livelihoods, and ecosystems decline drive disaster risks and poverty in the context of climate change and cause loss and suffering for millions of Filipinos,” Legarda emphasized.

Transforming Food Supply Chain in 26th episode of ‘Stories for a Better Normal’ Series
November 18, 2020 Wednesday

MANILA, 18 November 2020 — Small-scale agriculture advocates will gather virtually to underscore the importance of supporting small farmers, reducing food loss and waste, feeding the hungry, and keeping the local food supply chain functioning and resilient to shocks on the 26th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways” with the topic, “Transforming Supply Chain.”   The episode, hosted by House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, will air on Thursday, 19 November 2020, 10:00 AM via Facebook Live at facebook.com/CCCPhl and facebook.com/conglorenlegarda.   Joining the online conversation are: Ace and Andie Estrada, founders of Rural Rising PH; Iloisa Diga, co-founder of Session Groceries; and Tracey Santiago, Founder of Sustainable Sagada.   In previous episodes, the online series tackled food gardening and saving seeds, permaculture, good nutrition and diet, planting native trees, practical sustainability, narrating risk to resilience stories through books, tree pest and disease management, reviving indigenous textiles and crafts, transforming waste into wages, championing sustainable urban mobility, and food waste reduction and management.   This episode will recognize private sector initiatives to support distressed farmers and link farmers to consumers amid the pandemic and toward a better normal.   According to an SWS survey conducted in September 2020, families who hunger due to lack of food to eat reached a record-high of 30.7 percent, equivalent to 7.6 million households.   Meanwhile, farmers struggle to sell their produce due to movement restrictions since the imposition of community quarantine, forcing them to throw away fresh food that could have fed people in need without further hurting farm finances.   As the country battles the coronavirus pandemic, food security challenges are expected to persist, worsened by the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses that resulted in at least P2.137 billion in agricultural damages.   The upcoming episode will raise awareness on identifying strategies to improve the sustainability of local food supply chains and reduce food loss and waste, as well as encouraging the audiences and local communities to buy locally-grown food.   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.