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Philippines' 18-year program vs climate change hailed

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As the country observes the National Climate Change Consciousness Week, a network of civil society groups has hailed President Benigno Aquino III for signing the National Climate Change Action Plan which outlines the measures the government will undertake to address climate change.

The action plan, a comprehensive national program of the government covering a period of 18 years, is the country's roadmap for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

"Though P-Noy (President Aquino) was a no-show during the formal celebration, he more than made up for it by finally signing the NCCAP (National Climate Change Action Plan). This signals the government's firm commitment to help us all cope with climate change impacts," Rowena Bolinas, Aksyon Klima (AK) coordinator, said in a statement.

Greenest president

Aksyon Klima is a network of 40 civil society organizations working on various climate change and development-related issues.

Officials said that President Aquino's signing of the government's action plan against climate change would make him "one of the greenest president'' in the country.

The President, as chair of the Climate Change Commission (CCC), approved the action plan on Tuesday.

"We did an 18-year plan to cover the six-year terms of Presidents and we said that President Aquino will not be anymore just a Yellow president but one of the greenest presidents of the country,'' CCC vice chair Mary Ann Lucille Sering told reporters.

Sering said the action plan would outline the agenda for climate change adaptation and mitigation for 2011 to 2028.

Under the plan, the government would undertake seven strategic priorities¿food security, water sufficiency, ecosystem and environmental stability, human security, climate-smart industries and services, sustainable energy and knowledge and capacity development.

"The President is happy that we will not start from nothing," Sering added.

She said the implementation of the action plan would help the country get out of its current ranking of being the 6th of 170 countries being "at extreme risk of the impacts of climate change."

The action plan provides details on what solutions the government will do in addressing climate change, Sering said.

Sering said the action plan would also enable the country to gain access to the $10 million adaptation fund under the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Researches conducted by the Manila Observatory, a Jesuit scientific institution engaged in the study of space weather, geomagnetics, climate and climate change mitigation and adaptation, among others, forecast warming temperature in the country in the coming years that would impact on its food security.

Rising sea level

It also noted that the most visible effect of climate change was the rise in sea level, and that its impact would also be seen in the intensity of rainfall.

The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) also welcomed the signing of the government action plan on climate change, but pressed for climate justice from the world's major polluters ahead of the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) and the 7th Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Durban, South Africa.

Citing a study of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), PMCJ said the United States is the biggest historical emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG), while the Philippines does not account for even a percent of global GHG emissions.

The Philippines, however, is No. 6 in the Climate Change Vulnerability Index, and third most vulnerable to disaster risks and natural hazards in the World Risk Index 2011, next to Vanuatu and Tonga.

"The Philippines does not contribute much to the GHG emissions worldwide, but we are the ones experiencing its worst impacts," said PMCJ lead convenor Milo Tanchuling.

"Time is of the essence. These rich industrialized countries must accept their historical responsibility on the climate crisis and undertake drastic emissions cuts without offsets," he said. With a report from Christine O. Avenda?






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