The Philippines is once more at the front door of the rainy season, which puts into sharp focus yet again the challenge of climate change in this basically agricultural economy of 114 million people.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. himself has underlined that “Developed countries have a moral obligation to support adaptation and mitigation efforts of the most vulnerable countries through technology transfer, capacity building, and climate financing, this to address loss and damage, and to achieve necessary breakthroughs for climate action at a global scale.”
His statement was contained in his call last month for unity among 10 ASEAN member states at their 42nd Summit Plenary Session in urging developed countries to fulfill their longstanding commitments to the Paris Agreement.
Sans doubt, the climate crisis poses an existential threat to the world, especially to unguarded countries like the Philippines, and the President was on track in urging the commonality of ASEN states in tackling these shared challenges.
“Although developing countries such as the Philippines only account for less than one percent of global emissions, our countries bear the brunt of the devastating impacts of climate change,” President Marcos said.
Weather authorities have said there is a 60 percent chance for a transition from ENSO-neutral to El Niño during May-July 2023, and this will increase to about 70 percent in June-August and 80 percent between July and September.
The El Niño-Southern Oscillation is a recurring climate pattern involving changes in the temperature of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
The Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization has described the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere during the 20th century as resulting ”from the growing use of energy and expansion of the global economy.
In 2009, the Philippine Congress passed the Climate Change Act which created the CCC to develop policies and coordinate government programs on climate change.
The CCC in turn developed the National Climate Change Action Plan that serves as a road map for all climate change programs in the Philippines.
In 2021, the Philippines committed to reduce 75 percent of its emissions by 2030 and quickly scale up efforts to adapt to a changing climate, setting itself one of the most ambitious targets among Southeast Asian countries.
Weather experts have underlined that changes due to the variability and intensity of rainfall in the country and increased temperatures will affect food security and the safety of the population.
Multiple indices rank the Philippines, where impacts of climate change are immense, as one of the countries most affected by extreme climate events.