New UN climate report urges decisive, urgent action to address climate change

September 25, 2019 Wednesday

DILIMAN, QUEZON CITY, September 26, 2019 – The new landmark report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the Special Report on Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) – emphasizes the need for decisive, urgent and more ambitious action to address the intensifying impacts of climate change in the ocean and cryosphere.

In a joint press briefing organized by the Climate Change Commission, Rare Philippines and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, Ms. Lourdes Tibig, member of the National Panel of Technical Experts and the only Filipino among the 104 scientists who drafted the landmark report, shared that “only transformative governance that integrates a variety of strategies and benefits from institutional change can reduce risks posed by the changing climate.” 

“We need to change practice, process and structure which consider equity and co-benefits appropriate to the issue at hand,” Ms. Tibig said.

Millions of people and species benefit from the oceans and cryosphere – the frozen parts of the planet. Drastic climate changes in these ecosystems poses threat to their existence disrupt biodiversity therein.

The Philippines, most of its communities are situated in coastal areas, will not be spared from the horrifying impacts of rising sea levels brought by climate change.

According to PAGASA, our seas are nearly double the global average rate, and therefore, are at higher risk of coastal flooding, sea salt contamination of ground water, beach erosion, and storm surges, among other impacts of climate change.

From 1951-2015, observed temperature rise in the Philippines is warming at an average of 0.1°C per decade. By 2100, average mean temperature could rise by as much as 1.3°C to 2.5°C for a moderate emission scenario, and by as much as 2.5 to 4.1C for a high emission scenario.

The release of the SROCC strengthens the Philippine leadership stand and policy advocacy on the pursuit of the global warming threshold and long-term temperature goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

Moreover, the report shows the importance of building and enhancing the adaptive capacity of individuals and communities of the most vulnerable countries amidst the impacts of climate change, which the country is already doing. 

“We contributed next to nothing to the climate change problem, yet we suffer the brunt. Nevertheless, we are making a stand because we believe that a resilient low-carbon future is the only pathway that will secure inclusive, enduring development for all. There is no excuse for inaction. It is our moral and intergenerational responsibility to build the capacities of our communities to these impacts and to take greater steps to protect our oceans,” CCC Commissioner Rachel Herrera said.

Immediately after the briefing, the Climate Change Commission will provide a more localize viewpoint of the IPCC Special Report to the public, and share the highlights of the Report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, chairman of the Climate Change Commission, to the members of the Cabinet, and leaders across the country.

“We shall ensure that this latest climate science will inform government processes on policymaking, development planning, and programming of service delivery, pursuant to the laws of the land,” said Herrera.