January 29, 2023

The losses and damage caused by typhoons Ketsana and Parma, locally known as Ondoy and Pepeng, in 2009; Haiyan or Yolanda in 2013, Mangkhut or Ompong in 2018, and Nalgae or Paeng just a few weeks ago are painful memories that must have already called the government and its people into action so that no more lives will be lost and efforts to further develop the economy will no longer have to be derailed every time Mother Nature unleashes her fury.
The same has been happening in other parts of the world, including countries like Pakistan recently devastated by floods, unexpected floods in Japan and South Korea, and the African region which is projected to face species extinction, irreversible loss of ecosystems including risks to food security, malnutrition, and loss of livelihoods due to reduced food production from crops, livestock, and fisheries.
But in taking action, it is our stand that every nation, especially those currently meeting at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change or COP 27 in Egypt from Nov. 6 to 18, must admit the risks and impacts of the changing climate are becoming greater every time, particularly for vulnerable countries, therefore making losses and damage unavoidable even with efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
This thought was shared by Dr. Adelle Thomas, a lead author of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2022 report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, and the Special Report on 1.5°C, the latter being the limit for global warming targeted in the landmark Paris Agreement, where “countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century.”
Thomas said the IPCC report aims to impart that scientific evidence is crystal clear that losses and damage are already being experienced, that they will rise with global warming and that they are unavoidable and unequally distributed, with disproportionate effects on developing countries and vulnerable groups.
She said COP 27 therefore is a critical moment to acknowledge and respond to the overwhelming evidence – a current reality – and there is a clear need for financial, governance, and institutional arrangements at multiple levels to address these issues.
Our point, however, is when we are going to take action on coping with climate change for the long term, since piecemeal solutions by a few are not going to work for this global issue.
All of us are aware this is a global concern. We have been making commitments for years, with even a number of binding agreements on what needs to be done.
We know climate change is largely caused by us, but particularly the rich countries, although the brunt of it is being felt by those who are the least involved in global warming.
We know it will still get worse – experts have warned us enough – that even the layman would not fail to realize everyone of us has taken part in the problem and therefore doing something is a moral imperative for everyone.
Every one knows it is imperative for us to act on the fact that disasters caused by climate change are claiming lives and destroying ecosystems faster than wars.
The takeaway from the ongoing COP 27 should be making everyone survive the impacts of climate change by putting into action commitments to respect nature and to do something towards its healing.
We have been alerted long enough on what our environments have been undergoing due to our own doing and it might already be late to reverse the damage.
Still, as UN Secretary-General António Guterres said during the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2022, putting in place methods of prior alert for everyone is a life-saver, and while extreme weather events are bound to happen, they do not need to become deadly.

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