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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Legarda: Incorporate Climate and Envi-Friendly Programs in COVID-19 Rehab
April 02, 2020 Thursday

April 2, 2020 - Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda today urged governments and leaders to incorporate climate change and environmental protection initiatives into the health, social welfare, and other support and rehabilitation programs for populations and communities affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country and the world.  Legarda said that the health crisis—with COVID-19 cases now at over 827,000 in 205 states and deaths of more than 40,000 worldwide—gives countries the opportunity to utilize funds for support programs to further their transition towards a greener and more sustainable economy. “The crisis we face is truly unprecedented, but we need to think deeper in finding long-term sustainable solutions, especially for the disproportionately affected poor and marginalized sectors of our society. Let us spend our public and private resources wisely to improve the quality of our lives so as to face present crises on health, climate, and environment better equipped and able to cope with the challenges,” Legarda said.   Citing an article from the World Bank, Legarda said that as governments design fiscal stimulus packages, they could also prioritize climate-smart investments in these four areas: •    Renewable energy (RE) – to improve energy security, reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports, reduce air pollution, improve health and well-being, and as renewable power plants are often more labor-intensive, generate more jobs; •    Low carbon infrastructure – to help curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through public transport and solid waste management, as well as promote clean and efficient energy; •    Climate change adaptation – to enhance climate resilience, while creating jobs and delivering basic needs through protective infrastructure, water and sanitation, irrigation, and ecosystem rehabilitation; and •    Maintaining carbon taxes and fuel tariffs – putting a price on the external cost of carbon emissions, to catalyze the shift towards sustainable development.  Legarda earlier called for more urban food gardens and backyard farms in households and public spaces; the promotion of renewable sources of energy to sustain the seen improvement of air quality in Metro Manila and urban regions; and stronger enforcement of laws and policies concerning the illegal wildlife trade. She also supported the call of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that “the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis must lead to a different economy… with a strong focus on building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change, and the many other global challenges we face.” “Governments and leaders across the world must heed the call for a better and healthier planet. COVID-19 will not be the only crisis that will test our physical, emotional, and mental resolve. Let our proficiency, goodwill, compassion, and solidarity prevail in these trying times,” Legarda concluded.

Legarda: Sustain Clean Air after COVID-19 Pandemic
April 01, 2020 Wednesday

The Sierra Madre mountain range looms over the Metro Manila skyscrapers. Photo by Johair Siscar Addang from ABS-CBN website MANILA 1 APRIL 2020 – Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda today called on the national and local governments to ensure that the air quality in Metro Manila and urban regions becomes healthier even after the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), which was imposed due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Legarda cited figures showing a substantial decrease in levels of particulate matter (PM)—which refers to a mixture of solid particles or liquid droplets in the atmosphere capable of penetrating deep into lung passageways and entering the bloodstream causing cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory impacts—in different parts of Metro Manila. According to the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the air quality in Metro Manila is “improving”, recording “good” or “moderate/fair” levels of PM10 (inhalable particles 10 micrometers or smaller in diameter) in various cities. Meanwhile, according to the Environmental Pollution Studies Laboratory of the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, data gathered from airtoday.ph stations shows that the levels of PM2.5 (2.5 micrometers or smaller) decreased by 80 to 180% at the Lung Center of the Philippines compound, and by 70 to 90% as measured along EDSA Muñoz, from two weeks to days prior the ECQ. “The improvement in our air quality may just be temporary and would likely see a reverse when industries, businesses, transportation, and daily activities resume. This health crisis, although truly unfortunate, provided us a glimpse on the quality of air we and our families could be enjoying if our economy utilizes more of the clean sources of energy and not fossil fuel,” said Legarda, who also authored the Clean Air Act and Renewable Energy Act. Legarda cited the World Health Organization (WHO) report that air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year and that nine out of ten people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. In the Philippines alone, 120,000 Filipinos die every year because of air pollution. Legarda also said that air pollution, which causes long-term ailments such as asthma, and impairs children's cognitive development, costs societies across the globe USD5 trillion annually. She also reiterated UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' earlier call to help address air pollutants that cause global warming, such as black carbon from diesel engines and trash burning, and that reducing emissions from such could help alleviate global warming by up to 0.5 degrees Celsius over the next few decades. "As we exert all efforts to contain this pandemic, let us also be reminded to pursue and embrace sustainable principles and practices in our communities and homes. Let our environmental laws urge us to take care of our environment as our means to ensure public safety and health for the present and future generations,” Legarda concluded.

CCC Supports NEDA’s Proposed Covid-19 Program, Pushes for Recovery Planning Beyond Business as Usual
April 01, 2020 Wednesday

MANILA, 01 April 2020 — Echoing the pronouncement of United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) said that the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) pandemic presents an opportunity to rebuild the economy and set the stage for a recovery that forges new ways to pursue development. In a virtual press conference last 19 March, Guterres said that world leaders have the responsibility to “recover better” from the pandemic. “We must ensure that lessons are learned and that this crisis provides a watershed moment for health emergency preparedness and for investment in critical 21st century public services and the effective delivery of global public goods,” he said. The CCC also expressed support to the three-phased program of interventions proposed by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to prevent the Covid-19 situation from becoming an economic and social crisis. The first phase of the NEDA proposal involves (a) clinical and medical response, such as early detection and diagnosis, effective management and treatment protocol, and research and epidemiological studies; (b) public health responses such as travel ban, promotion of proper hygiene, school closures, and flexible work arrangements; and (c) short-term augmentation of the Philippines' health systems capacity, such as establishing makeshift outpatient consultation facilities with specimen harvesting and the increase of supply of personal protective equipment. The second phase will focus on rebuilding consumer and business confidence, while the third phase will involve the resumption of a "new normal" state of economic activity more prepared for another possible pandemic. According to the CCC, this three-phased program further strengthens the CCC’s leadership resolve to facilitate the country’s paradigm shift toward sustainable development pathways.  Since its establishment and pursuant to its mandate under the law, the CCC has been laying the groundwork for the transformation of critical sectors toward a more sustainable and equitable economic growth that is more resilient to the interconnected threats of climate change and public health emergencies. In line with this, the CCC reiterated its call for government and business leaders around the world to think and plan beyond returning to business as usual. The climate change body noted that restoring the status quo when the pandemic is over will only bring more public health problems in the future. The Covid-19 outbreak, just like the climate crisis, disproportionately affects the poor and marginalized. Preventing and overcoming another public health crisis, therefore, will entail investments across all sectors of society. For its part, the CCC said that it will advocate for more investments in (a) policy development and discourse that promote future thinking and health crisis scenario building; (b) surveillance and early warning for disease outbreaks and emergence of new diseases; (c) health emergency preparedness and response planning, including periodic simulation exercises for health care facilities, and (d) institutional strengthening, including human resource and systems enhancement, and health facilities upgrading across the health sector.

CCC: Heed Science to Avert Public Health, Climate Emergencies
March 30, 2020 Monday

MANILA, 30 MARCH 2020 – The Climate Change Commission (CCC) emphasized the importance of letting science inform strategies and actions to address global health and climate emergencies, which cause built in systems to be rapidly strained, such as in the alarming spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Twelve years before the emergence of COVID-19, which has now afflicted over 600,000 people, scientists through a study published by the Clinical Microbiology Reviews had early on warned of a possible disease outbreak in China due to the culture of eating exotic mammals in the southern section of the country. The study titled, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus as an Agent of Emerging and Reemerging Infection, explained that the rapid economic growth in the area resulted in the increase of demand for animal proteins, including horseshoe bats, which are considered host to coronaviruses. The inadequate enforcement of laws and policies to curb illegal wildlife trade and market increases the risk of virus transmission from animals to human. The study mentioned that “the small reemergence of SARS in late 2003 after the resumption of the wildlife market in southern China and the recent discovery of a very similar virus in horseshoe bats, bat SARS-CoV, suggested that SARS can return if conditions are fit for the introduction, mutation, amplification, and transmission of this dangerous virus.” The CCC also noted that for the past years, scientists have also been providing climate projections that can inform and enable nations to prepare and avert the adverse effects of climate change way ahead. In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the world’s leading scientific body for assessing the science related to climate change—released its Special Report on the Global Warming of 1.5°C, which urged governments to limit global temperature rise below 1.5°C to minimize the destruction of climate impacts to human, health, and ecosystems compared to a development path towards 2°C.   According to the report, limiting warming at 1.5°C is economically feasible, but will require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions, especially in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. “This report by the world’s leading climate scientists is an ear-splitting wake-up call to the world. It confirms that climate change is running faster than we are–and we are running out of time,” said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during the launch of the IPCC report in October 2018. Guterres also emphasized that with continuous inaction, more heat waves will be experienced by millions of people, more species will be lost, water scarcity will prevail in the most vulnerable countries, fast melting of ice sheets in the Artic region, which would result in higher sea level rise and a wipe-out of the world’s coral reefs. These scientific findings and projections about climate change and emerging new diseases, give authorities, policymakers, and the general public the information they need to make decisions and actions considering their context and needs. As a policymaking body, the CCC has been incorporating scientific research and data in the development and implementation of climate policies, plans, and programs and in coordination with other agencies, organizations, and stakeholders. The CCC emphasizes that science can help understand the problem and provide solutions to address it. Listening to science will help safeguard our health, food and human security, water supply, and socioeconomic growth of the country.

Earth Hour 2020
March 28, 2020 Saturday