A Philnews.com Editorial
The time for finger pointing has passed. It no longer matters if other countries spew more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the Philippines does. We need to get our act together because we Filipinos have—to put it bluntly—destroyed this beautiful country of ours. From its denuded forests to its over-fished seas, from its overbuilt cities to its polluted rivers and streams, from the smog-choked air above cities to the depleted water tables beneath them, the Philippines today is a far cry from the land Jose Rizal once called his "Pear of the Orient."
If we do nothing, we Filipinos of today will pass on to our children a Philippines in far worse shape than the one we inherited from our parents. And the sad part is that it will take several generations to undo all the damage we created.
Global warming, global problem
Aside from our own irresponsible stewardship of the land, industrial development and the burning of fossil fuels on a global scale has caused average temperatures to rise with dire consequences for the entire planet. The earth's climate has now been thrown into disarray. Sea levels are rising due to melting polar ice caps; super storms are occurring with greater frequency; planting and harvesting periods for many crops have been thrown out of whack (read related article below).
If humans continue to generate greenhouse gases at current levels, the earth would reach a tipping point were the damage to the environment becomes irreversible. Then the earth's fragile eco system could collapse bringing with it most living things ... including humans. At present, there is growing consensus that the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is bringing about undesired climatic changes to the entire planet.
Local action brings about global action
The UN Climate Change Conference going on in Paris might be the first worldwide response to global warming that nations and their leaders actually take seriously. Going forward, each country must do its part to prevent this global disaster from happening. As noted above, the period of pointing fingers and blaming other countries for the problem is over. Each country must instead do its level best to prevent global warming. Each political subdivision within a country must accept this responsibility as well. In the Philippines, that would mean each region, province, city, municipality, and barangay must do its part in cutting back greenhouse gas emissions in their areas.
Pinoys will do their part
There is a lot we Filipinos can do when we finally get serious about doing our part in this global effort. But before meaningful change can happen, the public must be made fully aware of the danger global warming poses on future of the planet. The government must institute an awareness campaign aimed at all Filipinos—young and old alike. Natural disasters like Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), floods, tsunamis, and the like will serve to reinforce the dangers that global warming brings.
When that message finally sinks in, Filipinos will begin to demand clean renewable energy instead of the coal-burning power plants they have today. They will start banning from their communities the two-stroke motorcycle engines found in most tricycles today. They will begin to demand cleaner motor vehicle engines. They will stop denuding forests and instead start planting more trees. They will begin to change their wasteful, polluting ways and become a more eco-friendly society.
Filipinos have always been a resourceful, resilient people and know how to survive. All they need is for their leaders (both public and private) to point them in the right direction.
And when all the nations of the world finally come together and address this global problem, you can rest assured that Filipinos will be there standing shoulder to shoulder with the rest of humanity, doing their part to save the planet. 12/05/2015
Why are emissions of carbon dioxide (CO₂) the most important substance causing climate change?
The short answer, according to Mr. Richard S. J. Tol, a professor in the UK and the Netherlands, is that “uptake of human emissions of ambient CO₂ is not balanced by natural uptake” in the carbon cycle*
Before the Industrial Revolution, the carbon cycle was characterized by a counterbalancing flux of “CO₂ . . . between the atmosphere, the ocean, and terrestrial vegetation.” The large stock of carbon in fossil fuels “[i]n natural circumstances . . . does not play a significant part in the carbon cycle. However, human exploitation has mobilized this carbon. Emissions of CO₂ from fossil fuel combustion are small compared with natural emissions—but unlike natural emissions, there is no counterbalancing flux.”
* Tol, Richard S.J. Climate Economics: Economic Analysis of Climate, Climate Change and Climate Policy. Cheltenham/Northampton: Edward Elgar, 2014