• Govt budgeting must include climate change impact

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    Fully integrating climate change agenda in government’s planning and budgeting will boost the Philippines’ resilience against the impacts of global warming, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) said in a report.

    Secretary Lucille Sering, commissioner and vice chairperson of the CCC, said that policy makers have put in place comprehensive sets of policies, programs and institutions for dealing with climate change, which makes communities less vulnerable to sea level rise, degradation of marine ecosystems and extreme weather events.

    “This important report helps put greater focus into our work as we try to make our communities safer from and the people less vulnerable to sea level rise and extreme weather events like strong typhoons, floods and storm surges, among other impacts,” she said

    Entitled “Getting Grip on Climate Change in the Philippines,” the report looks at the innovations as well as gaps in policy and financing of climate change programs since the country adopted the Climate Change Act four years ago.

    The report also provides detailed analysis and recommendations on how the country could accelerate reforms for managing the growing climate change impacts, and increasing greenhouse gas emissions while contributing to poverty reduction.

    In 2009, Congress passed the Climate Change Act creating the CCC to develop policies and coordinate government programs on climate change. The CCC in turn developed the National Climate Change Action Plan that serves as a road map for all climate change programs in the Philippines.

    “Incorporating the climate change action plan into the national and local development process, supported by properly targeted public investments, is important to ensure that climate change priorities are translated into concrete actions on the ground,” said Sering.

    The report was conducted at the request of, and in close collaboration with the CCC and the Department of Budget and Management.

    According to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, appropriations for climate change programs have been increasing at an average of 26 percent yearly since 2009, outpacing the growth of the national budget, which has been growing at around 6 percent.

    “Climate change has a direct and immediate impact on development. As it stands, the Philippines is already in the path of major weather disturbances that damage property and critical infrastructure,” Abad said.

    Abad, however, said that more urgent is the fact that these weather patterns frequently jeopardize the welfare of communities in high-risk areas.

    “Recognizing this, the Aquino administration remains committed to providing sufficient budgetary support for programs and projects that mitigate the effects of climate change in the country,” Abad said.

    The report provides recommendations along three themes, namely strengthening the planning, execution and financing framework for climate change; enhancing leadership and accountability through monitoring, evaluation and review of climate change policies and activities and building the country’s capacity and managing change.

    World Bank report
    Last week, the World Bank launched a global report titled “Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience.” The study said that climate change-related impacts are projected to increase in the coming decades, threatening in particularly coastal populations, farming and fishing communities.

    According the to the report, climate change is expected to lead to more intense typhoons, higher sea levels and storm surges. Storm surges are projected to affect about 14 percent of the total population and 42 percent of coastal populations.

    Informal settlements, which account for 45 percent of the Philippines’ urban population, are particularly vulnerable to floods because of less secure infrastructure, reduced access to clean water and lack of health insurance.

    Climate-related impacts, on the other hand, are expected to reduce agricultural productivity in the Philippines. Also, warming oceans and ocean acidification affect coral reefs, which serve as feeding and spawning grounds for many fish species that support the livelihoods of fisher folk.

    World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi said that implementing the country’s climate change programs with increased financing, improved design, and greater focus and coordination contributes significantly to the country’s development goals.

    He said that promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency, for instance, boosts energy security and can lower energy costs, thus improving the country’s competitiveness.

    In agriculture, adaptation activities like conserving water and improving water quality will enhance food security.

    The report also underscores that while the government builds resilience to climate change impacts, it should also ensure that the country’s emissions of greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide, remain in check.

    Though a minor contributor to climate change globally, the Philippines’ greenhouse gas emissions rank in the top 25 percent among low- and middle-income countries, with significant increases projected in the coming decades. Emissions from the energy sector are projected to quadruple by 2030, with the transport sector expected to double its emissions.

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