Thursday, February 10, 2011

Report paints grim scenario of impact of climate change for the Philippines

Manila Bulletin (Philippines): Hundreds of lives, thousands of homes, billions of pesos worth of property and livelihood, even government’s growth and revenue targets are at the mercy of a single extreme weather event if countries, including the Philippines, do not have an effective disaster prevention program in place.

This was the warning aired in “Natural Hazards, Unnatural Disasters: the Economics of Effective Prevention,” a recent report on the economics of disaster prevention jointly produced by the World Bank (WB) and the United Nations (UN), that was presented Thursday to the Senate.

“Climate-related hazards (extreme events) have resulted in an average of $59 billion (P2,596,000, 000,000) a year in global damages from 1990 through 2008 or 0.1 percent of world product in 2008. Tropical cyclones account for 44 percent and floods, 33 percent,” the report said. It said “there is a widespread concern that climate change could increase future damages from extreme events.’’

“We are fortunate that we are the second country in the world to receive this special briefing,” noted Sen. Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate climate change committee, which has been spearheading the adoption of disaster risk prevention programs.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has teamed up with Legarda in raising awareness in Congress and the national government that the world is now experiencing the bad effects of changing weather patterns. “As the Philippines seeks to pursue sustainable development, the lessons of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng have taught us that we should not train our sights merely on enhancing our capacities to rebuild after each and every disaster,” she said….

Typhoon Parma (Pepeng) in 2009

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