Mayor Abigail Binay has declared a state of climate emergency in Makati City as temperatures and sea levels continue to soar across the globe.
“As temperatures and sea levels continue to rise, low-lying coastal areas in cities like Makati have become more vulnerable to strong typhoons that bring floods and landslides,” said Binay during the webinar “Cafe Talk for Resilient Makati” that was organized by the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
“This will result not only in the disruption of public services but also the displacement of families and even entire communities,” she added.
Following the declaration, Binay said the city government is stepping up its initiatives to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
These include plans to procure an entire fleet of electric vehicles for the city government and the use of solar panels in public schools and government offices to minimize energy consumption and ensure continuity of services during calamities.
Makati has been consistently addressing climate change concerns since Binay assumed office in 2016. With the declaration, the city chief executive said she wants to see the active involvement of the business sector, communities, and other stakeholders.
“We call upon everyone to come together and act now. We must ensure aggressive application of the whole-of-society approach in combating climate change. We heard the data. We understand the science, and we are feeling its impact. Now is a crucial time to act, and we need to act fast. We need thinkers, doers, and movers,” she said.
Data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) showed there has been a 0.75 degrees Celsius increase in the country’s annual temperature over the past 70 years. By 2050, the temperature increase is expected to reach as high as 1.8 degrees Celsius.
Binay also said localities should educate residents and businesses about the impacts of climate change and involve them in creating plans to make communities more climate resilient.
“The time for action is now. As the new breed of Makatizens and global citizens, it is our responsibility to take care of our city and ensure that it remains a livable place for future generations. We must promote sustainability and climate consciousness in all our actions.
We must be the change we want to see in our city and the world,” she said.
Since 2017, Makati has been investing in state-of-the-art disaster equipment and distributing emergency go bags and hard hats to residents, public school students, and city hall workers to promote disaster preparedness.
At present, the city strictly implements the Solid Waste Management Code, Makati Green Building Code, plastic ban among households and business establishments, ban on cigarette smoking, Anti-Smoke Belching Ordinance, and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Ordinance.
Last Wednesday, Binay signed an agreement with officials of the Korea International Cooperation Agency to establish a smart public transport system in the city that uses electric buses.
Makati is also pushing forward with the construction of the Makati Subway, which is expected to decongest traffic in the city, improve air quality, provide jobs to thousands of residents, boost the economy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Last week, scientists warned the world must prepare for a “climate endgame” to better understand and plan for the potentially catastrophic impacts of global heating that governments have yet to consider.
Climate models that can predict the extent of global warming depending on greenhouse gas emissions are increasingly sophisticated and provide policymakers with an accurate trajectory of global temperature rises.
What is less well explored is the cascading impact of certain events, such as crop failures and infrastructure loss due to extreme weather events, which are made likelier to occur with every degree of warming.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) outlined what is currently known about “catastrophic outcomes” and found gaping knowledge gaps.
Writing in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, they proposed an international research agenda to help governments plan for “bad-to-worst cases.”
These included four main areas of concern – what the authors termed the “four horsemen” of climate change: famine and malnutrition, extreme weather, conflict, and vector-borne diseases.
“Irreversible and potentially catastrophic risks caused by human-induced climate change must be factored into our planning and actions,” said Johan Rockstrom, PIK director and a study co-author.
He said that the more research is done on Earth’s climate tipping points – such as the irreversible melting of the ice caps or the Amazon rainforest turning from a carbon sink to source – showed the ever-greater need to factor high-risk scenarios into climate modelling.
“Key is to do the math of disaster, in order to avoid it,” he said.