Philippines loses billions to climate change

Greenpeace calls for aggressive investment in Renewables for RP

Press release - November 4, 2006
Developing countries like the Philippines are bearing the brunt of high costs of climate change, Greenpeace said today in a press briefing on the eve of next week’s climate conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Greenpeace has been calling upon the RP government for action on the need to address climate change by investing heavily in renewable energy sources, stressing that the economic costs associated with the impacts of climate change will exacerbate the misery and predicament of the Philippines’ already overburdened populace.

Climate change impacts have been manifested in the Philippines by extreme weather occurrence such as floods, droughts, forest fires, and an increase in tropical cyclones. These extreme weather events associated with climate change, and the disasters these have wrought, have caused losses amounting to billions of pesos. From 1975 to 2002, tropical cyclones have resulted to losses of 4.578 billion pesos due to damage to property, including damage to agriculture worth 3.047 billion pesos. Drought in Southern Mindanao in 1998, the 2nd hottest year on record, incurred crop losses amounting to 828 million pesos. And damages due to four successive tropical cyclones towards the end of 2004 cost the nation an estimated 7,615.98 million pesos.

"The impacts of climate change will be most catastrophic to countries who are the least able to cope," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate and Energy campaigner Abigail Jabines. "The Philippines will lose billions of pesos to climate change. As it is, this is money that we can ill afford to spare."

Across the globe, impacts of climate change on human lives and ecosystems are already being experienced, and new studies suggest that unchecked climate change will have disastrous economic impacts especially in developing countries. The recent groundbreaking study by former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern in the UK warns of a major global economic catastrophe which will be far worse than the two world wars and the great depression combined. That is, unless governments take bold steps to stop climate change by slashing the world's carbon emissions.

Greenpeace is urging governments attending next week's climate conference to 'wake up and smell the coffee,' saying that "the climate crisis is urgent: the science is indisputable, the moral obligation is unquestionable, and the economic imperative for urgent action is clear."

In the Philippines, Greenpeace is calling on the government to set renewable energy targets and facilitate the rapid expansion of renewable energy sources to combat climate change.

"Developed countries are not the only ones to blame for dumping billions of tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Instead of avoiding the mistakes of industrialized nations, the Philippines still relies on coal, the most carbon intensive of fossil fuels, for its energy source," said Jabines.

She added, "It is imperative for the Philippines to switch to renewable and sustainable energy sources. To date, our country has harnessed less than 1% of its energy needs from renewable energy such as solar and wind power. The Philippines must set ambitious renewable energy targets to fast track the development of these energy sources to make a difference in the fight against this global threat."

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organization which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environment problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.