Climate Reality Change:
A Global Challenge
by Ernesto T. Solidum
Special Weekly Kapihan on May 1, 2015 discussed the topic, “Climate Reality Change”. It was held at Bakhawan Ecopark, New Buswang, Kalibo. Guests are led by Mr. Rodne Galicia who carried out education info awareness about climate reality change. It comprises 11 activities from the academe, NGO, and LGU who walk the talk at grassroots level drumming up support for meaningful government action against climate change.
Mr. Galicia cited the 1997 report of Inter-governmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) that our carbon concentration in the atmosphere is at critical level. The effects are global warming that induce abnormal melting of polar ice caps, sea level rise, coastal subsidence and even disappearance of islands. Vulnerability of developing nations like Vanuato, Tonga, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Guatemala, Bangladesh, Timor-Leste, Costa Rica, Cambodia and El Salvador to experience mega disaster is a chilling reality.
“We are strongly committed to get five (5) million signatures from the provinces for the Climate Reality Change Project that will provide moral support to our local and national leaders to forge a global deal on reducing carbon footprints in Paris, France this coming December. This is a daunting task since developed countries are largely the culprit of climate change contributing 90 percent of the greenhouse gasses.”
Former US Vice Pres. Al Gore and the Geneva-based IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Prize for their comprehensive research and documentary of retreating alpine glaciers, melting polar ice caps and greenhouse measurements. In 2005, Mr. Gore produced a documentary entitled, “An Inconvenient Truth” which reinforced global warming trend and its effects on mankind’s future.
Carbon deposits in the atmosphere and oceans worsened at the start of the 1800’s or the machine age. The group of eight (8) industrialized nations since the 1997 Kyoto summit followed by two (2) important meetings in Copenhagen and Rio de Janeiro have so far failed to arrive at accepted tolerable level limiting fossil fuel carbon emission. Due to the urgency, nations must invest in new technology and energy efficiency in order to produce nore goods at competitive costs and protect the environment. Global Carbon Project reported that greenhouse gas emissions jumped 2.3 percent in 2013 because of increased oil consumption in China and India.
Practically, there is no sense in convincing people about climate reality change since it has occurred centuries ago but only strongly felt for the last 50 years when world human population reached seven (7) billion. Record disasters are Uring in 1991, Frank – 2008, Glenda – 2011, Pablo – 2012, and Yolanda – 2013. Hurricane Katrina (USA) occurred in 2005. It left unprecedented death toll to human lives and properties.
Local project mitigations are the 8R’s namely: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, Rediscover, Repair, Reforest, Reconnect and Respect. Mr. Galicia lauded the efforts of KASAMA, and Ngo headed by Atty. Allen S. Quimpo in mangrove reforestation management totaling 250 hectares and providing livelihood opportunities to its members. For the National Greening Program targeting 1.5 billion trees, native species must be planted like, Guijo, Narra, Kamagong, Red Lawaan, Tindalo, Yakal, and Molave. Our indigenous tree species number 3,600 and provide food and protection to our diverse animal wildlife.
The Worldlife Fund for Nature said that the Philippines used to have 27,000 sq. kms. of healthy coral reefs. However, after 50 years of destructive commercial and unregulated fishing, less than five (5) percent of it is left in excellent condition. Only one (1) percent is in pristine state. A significant contributory factor unknown to many is climate reality change.
Oceans absorb about one half of the carbon dioxide (CO2) which human produce and makes the seawater acidic. Once seawater becomes acidic, coral skeletons are prone to break down.
Climate Reality Change has increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere to nearly 40 percent from the start of the industrial revolution from 280 parts per million (ppm) to about 385 ppm now. Today, scientists estimate coral and other coral reef creatures will manage until that number reaches 400 ppm. They believed that at 500 ppm level, coral will essentially become extinct said David Rhine, a researcher at University of Queensland Coral Ecosystem Laboratory. Coral reef of Australia is a Unesco World heritage Site and world’s longest system spanning 1,430 miles.
Coral dislikes warm water about as much as acidity. Normally, a typical healthy coral thriving in cold waters can get the algae that symbiotically live in their skeleton providing food for shelter. In warmer environments however, there is ejection and the process is called bleaching.
A mass bleaching in 1998 killed 90 percent of the corals in the Indian Ocean. In 2010, one of the hottest in recorded human history, reefs bleached throughout the Caribbean and Indian Oceans and off the coast of Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. As the oceans’ coral collapse the whole food chain might collapse too. Fish corals comprise about 4 percent of the sea or large bodies of water but supports 70 percent of total fish population. Scarcity of fish could limit access to cheap animal protein essential for human health and nutrition.
Mr. Galicia comes from neighboring Sibuyan Island dubbed as Asia’s Galapagos. His team members include: Rose Jan Michael, Philline Donggay, Napoleon Parce, Myke Magalong, Nestor T. Baguinon, Shiea R. Castillo, Pealtie Pioquino Valeca, Agnes Baguera, Ellam Estares and Rebecca P. Barrios. /MP