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September 30, 2013

The Heat is On. We Must Act!

“The heat is on. We must act,” said UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

“Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire,” commented U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“If your doctor was 95 percent sure you had a serious disease, you would immediately start looking for the cure,” added European Climate Commissioner (ECC) Connie Hedegaard.

“The reduction in warming would have to last far longer, three or four decades, to be a sign of a new trend,” Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC.

Last Friday, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awardee, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), released its latest report on climate change. The UN commissioned group’s nearly one thousand scientists monitoring the temperature of the earth for more than 20 years were very much convinced that climate change is caused extremely-likely by human activities. The above quotes were some of the reactions and statements made by some of the main stakeholders in the world’s fight against climate change.

earth on fire

Photo credit: PG Web Designs

The first was a clarion call to action by the UN Secretary General addressed to all leaders. Close to 30 years now, representatives of member and observer countries had been meeting regularly all year-round in different cities around the world, trying to hammer out an agreed and reliable solution to climate change. Unfortunately and disgustingly, nothing clear and definite has been arrived at so far.

The second was Kerry’s response to those who still doubt that climate change was a natural phenomenon and not anthropological. It was an interesting statement because it was a known fact that the US was the only nation who did not sign the Kyoto Protocol. The protocol, which had expired and whose extension is now being debated, was supposed to make every nation commit to reduce its greenhouse gas emission by determined amounts.

 The third was European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard’s similar answer to skeptics of the report and an invitation to finally set aside doubts and start addressing the Earth’s health which is continuously dwindling as shown by various calamities and degradations all over the world.

The last was a clarification on the recent findings that the global warming did not increase as predicted from the last report. The findings put a lot of doubt on the authority and credibility of the IPCC.

The main points of the latest IPCC report are;

a. Climate change is almost certainly man made.

From 90 percent in their last report, the certainty went up to 95 percent. It was also noted that there was a significant increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. As a result, earth temperature has increased and is slowly nearing the 3-degree critical temperature increase.

b. Climate change is a factor in extreme weather conditions.

It was noted that since 1950, extreme weather conditions have been happening: hurricane Sandy, EF-5 tornado, Katrina, US heat wave, Great Plains drought, drought in Spain and Portugal, super winter in China, flooding in Europe. In the Philippines, we had Ondoy, Habagat, Maring, floods, and drought in places where they did not exist before. In the near future, extreme weather conditions which occur rarely will do so more frequently.

c. Thirty of the last 800 years were the warmest.

The world will experience more hot days and nights. It has been measured that between 1901 and 2010 (109 years), the temperature increase was 0.8 degrees Celsius. But from 1979-2010 (31 years), there was an increase of 0.5 degrees Celsius! No wonder our Decembers are not that cold anymore and our summers are becoming more unbearable as each year passes.

d. Sea level will rise due to warming of the oceans and melting of ice in the Arctic.

Water, when heated, expands. As the temperature increases, sea water level increases. Add to this the melting of ice in the Arctic. It was predicted that soon, we will have an ice-free Arctic. People near the shore should notice that slowly the sea is already expanding and creeping in the inland direction. Another danger of this is when sea water finds and joins our fresh ground water. Then, we will not only contend with inundation but shortage of drinking water as well.

e. Climate change is here to stay for centuries even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow.

This shows just how far we’ve gone. The call to action started more than 30 years ago. But, we were slow to act. Now, we try to do what we can to take care of the already warming earth.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

United Nations General Assembly Hall
Photo credit: Wikipedia

In these situations, developing and island countries are very much at risk. The irony of it is that the countries causing all these changes are the developed ones. The Philippines is an island. We can barely address our economic problems. We do not have the capacity to protect ourselves from the gloomy repercussions of climate change. Our experience in recent calamities can attest to that. As a member country of the UN, we must voice out our concerns and compel responsible countries to assist us by making relevant, effective, and concrete actions to fight climate change and by providing us with funds and technologies to prepare us to face climate change.

The sand in the hourglass of climate change is fast falling. But it is not yet too late. Let us take care of this earth that God has given us. Once, God promised that He will not destroy it again after the Noah-event (Genesis 8:21). But it might still be destroyed after all, this time, by us!

 

 

Photo credit: PG Web Design and Wikipedia

 Photos used under the Fair Use Exemption of the IP Code.

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5 Comments on “The Heat is On. We Must Act!”

  • reshiel says October 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Nice one father…right we must act..climate change is on…:>

  • Lexanne Garcia says October 1, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    This was really eye opening. 😀

  • Christelle Reyes says October 1, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    An article worth sharing 🙂

  • Cristina Latonero says October 2, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Nice article an eye opening for all

  • Aret Reyes says October 2, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Very ALARMING!

 


 

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