Just how serious is climate change? (Business Mirror (Philippines))

VERY serious and we tell you why. We are raising against time, against global warming caused by the emission of gas and toxins into the atmosphere.
Once the world temperature rises 2 degrees Celsius, which is really not much, onethird, or 33 percent, of the planet’s species will die, Sen. Loren Legarda, chairman of the Senate committee on climate change and the United Champion for the Environment, affirms.
If that doesn’t scare you, remember that we were not born cannibals. Therefore, we depend mostly on terrestrial and marine animals for our food and that 90 percent of our medicines are derived from plants. Doesn’t that scare you by even a wee bit? Think again if you believe this environmental issue is no “big deal”.
The cost of rehabilitating houses and roads (excluding the culturally irreplaceable churches) could reach P2.3 billion in Bohol province due to one disaster, an earthquake whose financial cost was almost twice the annual budget of the provincial government. And just one storm, Yolanda, claimed the lives of over 6,000the same number said to equal the worldshaking 911 terrorist attack in New York City. How many other storms elsewhere happened in the world in just one year?
Consider this further. In the 2015 Global Change Climate Risk Index, the top 10 most at risk were all developing countries, and the Philippines was ranked the No. 1, or the most vulnerable to climate change. Doesn’t that scare you?
The catch phrase of “preserving our planet as a livable place for future generations” may, to some, smack of mushy romanticism and science. It is not, ladies and gentlemen.
Don’t look now, but statistics point out that 300,000 lose their lives each year due to floods, heat waves and forest fires. The number is seen rising to 500,000 by 2030. Pollutants are in the air and toxins are in our food, water and in the goods we consume. Some 4 billion people are considered vulnerable to weatherrelated diseases. About 2 million people die each year from mere air pollution that corrupt the lungs of the human race.
The World Health Organization has declared the heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the world today. Many of these deaths are blamed directly on pollutants in the air we breathe.
Let us review what global warming, and the climate change it spurs, does to the environment. Extreme heat (droughts and heat strokes) and super typhoons ensue and threaten agricultural or food output, melt the planet’s polar extremes, and causes oceans to rise that threaten to sink islandstates like Fiji and the Maldives.
Warm water causes some marine life to die or to migrate to cooler climes, depriving communities of sea food and livelihood as fish catch decline. Water scarcity destroys ecosystems and disrupts nature’s balance and drives out many species to extinction. It exacerbates other health hazards. Increased volume of ocean water from melted ice can jar seabeds and can cause earthquakes. The list goes on.
The irony of it all is that the developing nations, especially the top 10 most environmentally vulnerable that include the Philippines, are the least to contribute to the global pollution, mainly because we have less industrial scale activities. On the other hand, 60 percent of the earth’s pollution is caused by the following rich nations: the United States of America, Russia, India, Japan, Germany, Iran, South Korea, Canada and Saudi Arabia.
Who is going to pay for the cost of the destruction and the rehabilitation of a poor affected nations by environmental causes in this lopsided, unfair equation?
This is the reason why in Paris, France, this December, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be held. This was also the main point of French President Francoise Hollande’s state visit to the Philippines on February 26 and 27.
The Paris Conference will try to raise $100 billion a year until 2030 for this global fund to help at risk nations and elicit solid legally binding commitments from among the 195 environmental offendernations to reduce their toxic emissions.
Environmental disasters not only claim hundreds of thousands of livesmore than all major recent modernday military battlesbut destroy properties and infrastructure as well. When they destroy crops, they cause famine/poverty and create massive migration to neighboring countries that, in turn, causes economic chaos. Can you picture this horrific situation in your mind?
Such a horrible scene is not far from reality in the not too distant future, especially if we do not take the environment seriously.
It will take more than just former US Vice President Al Gore creating a documentary on climate change titled the Inconvenient Truth and even for the schools to make ecology and its preservation as mandatory classroom subject at all levels.
What all governments should do, national and local, is to pass laws and ordinances that will help stop our perilous ride toward the plus 2degreesCelsius rise in global temperature that the world dreads like the unlucky digits 666.
By then, civilization shall have been clothed with an entirely different meaning and the “Next Dark Ages” lurking menacingly at the corner.
Our own species and our survival are at stake here. Let’s get serious, boys.