Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Warming may turn Philippines into "water world"

Philippine Daily Inquirer: Half of Naga City submerged along with five eastern towns of the Bicol region, and between 20 million to 30 million turned into environment refugees across the Philippines. Speaking of the country’s own “inconvenient truth,” environmentalists painted this grim forecast at a conference on climate change and conflict at the Asian Institute of Management's Policy Center on Tuesday.

The scenario may well happen within the century if people continue to disregard the consequences of a warmer planet, they said. They shared science-backed forecasts of the Philippines at a time when ice caps surrender to a warmer Earth.

Nereus Acosta, convener of the Philippine Climate Change Initiative and former Bukidnon congressman, said a meter higher of sea levels will submerge 15 of the country's 17 regions, with the northern highlands as the only areas spared from the catastrophe.

“The Philippines as an archipelago is considered a climate hotspot ... with 20 out of 80 provinces vulnerable to a one meter rise in sea level,” said Acosta in a presentation before an audience of 60 listeners, among them officers from the environment and energy departments, the academe and non-government organizations.

Acosta said provinces in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Zamboanga Peninsula, Eastern Visayas and the Bicol region, “incidentally those with the higher poverty incidence and greatest food insecurity in the Philippines,” are among places to be worst hit by widespread flooding because of global sea-level rise. “With these regions affected, there will be 20 (million) to 30 million people who will be dislocated, they will become environmental refugees who will be fighting for scarce resources,” said Acosta in an interview….

Map of the Philippines, CIA World Factbook, Wikimedia Commons

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