Climate Change: How Serious Are We

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CURRENT NATURAL EVENTS like El Nino and La Nina have been inflicting untold damage to life and property hereabouts these past several years. True, these are natural phenomena now being made worse by climate change, but can we do something about it?

For sure, we cannot put a halt to weather disturbances. We can’t just say, okay, this year we’ll stay out of nature’s path by making it divert its course. That’s being foolhardy. Fact is, the most that we can do, out of safety considerations, is simply to be out of harm’s way.

While we cannot stop nature’s erratic behavior, made more virulent in recent years, we can however slow down climate change which is what is making nature behave that way in the first place. The simple answer will be to cut our greenhouse gas emissions to scientifically determined barest levels, the most common of which is carbon dioxide. Yes that’s what we generate into the atmosphere by the industries we run and the motor vehicles we drive around with.

A few essential things must be accepted as part of a reality check. First, greenhouse gas emissions come from our own activities — something as basic as taking the car for a short drive instead of walking short distances. The earlier we accept this, the better for us to understand that we alone, as humans, can do something about it. Since much of the carbon dioxide output is human-produced, then cutting down on it should equally be a human response.  What you and I can do, by ourselves, whether singly or collectively, will do much to reduce our own gas emissions.

But this is easier said than done. Given our country’s extreme vulnerability to climate change, it makes sense that we cut down our dependency on coal utilization. Are we in that direction? Think again, since our Department of Energy has even taken the frontline role of approving 20 more coal plants targeted to operate in the next three years. Are we really serious about climate change?

Perhaps, there is need to highlight anew how vulnerable we are amid climate change-induced extreme weather systems. Yolanda remains a grim reminder of what can happen when nature strikes at human settlements with such ferocity. The devastation from that super typhoon catapulted the Philippines to the very apex in the list of the most vulnerable countries anywhere else.

Clearly, there is no other way but to shift the country’s energy mix in favor of renewable energy, but government policies would seem to rely more on the traditional (meaning coal) than on the out-of-the-box (meaning solar, wind, natural gas, etc.) processes that will fuel economic, yet sustainably maintained development. Clearly, we must do our share in contending with climate change, in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in shifting our energy reliance from coal to alternative renewable energy sources, in making serious a steadfast resolve to save our vulnerable planet from our own deadly folly.

Doing the right thing now by ourselves is just the right thing to do.

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