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Paradigm shift essential for climate adaptation: Palace adviser

By Catherine Teves

MANILA, Aug. 30 (PNA) — Presidential adviser on environmental protection Sec. Nereus Acosta is advocating a paradigm shift in investments, infrastructure, insurance, institutional arrangements and information dissemination.

He noted such action is essential in helping the country adapt to and survive the changing climate.

”Climate change forces us to rethink and redo things,” he said.

He raised urgency for action, warning studies show archipelagic Philippines is among countries most at risk for climate change-driven onslaught of weather extremes as well as sea level and temperature rise.

”Preparedness comes with realization of such new normal,” he said.

Last week, Luzon reeled anew from flooding as the southwest monsoon or habagat enhanced by tropical storm Maring (international name Trami) dumped heavy rainfall in various areas of the island.

Government weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported data from its station in Sangley show the enhanced habagat dumped on Aug. 21 a record 475.4 mm of rainfall in Cavite province.

PAGASA said such downpour exceeded the 354.2 mm rainfall its Sangley station registered for Cavite from onslaught of ‘habagat’ there on Aug. 7 last year.

The downpour in Cavite also surpassed the Sangley station’s 457.2 mm normal August rainfall value, PAGASA continued.

Weather data generated in the Sangley station represents conditions in Cavite, PAGASA noted.

PAGASA continues promoting public vigilance and action on expected weather developments nationwide, earlier projecting climate change to drive wetter rainy seasons and drier summers in the future.

Acosta also noted environmental degradation elevates need for preparedness and adaptation measures.

He pointed out the country already has less forest cover so the uplands can no longer retain as much water and soil as before, causing these to cascade to lowlands and water bodies there.

Experts noted pollution already reduced several of those water bodies’ carrying capacity so inflow of such water and soil increases the possibility of overflows there, flooding communities.

Onslaught of wetter rainy seasons will exacerbate the situation, they warned.

”We’re becoming more vulnerable,” Acosta said.

The presidential adviser is optimistic the landmark climate-smart headquarters of Laguna Lake Development Authority he heads will help raise public awareness and action on climate change adaptation.

Earlier, Acosta said LLDA targets soft launching around October this year its headquarters in Quezon City’s National Ecology Center.

He noted environment-friendly measures like natural lighting, ventilation and cooling as well as rainwater harvesting are among features of LLDA’s headquarters.

Experts continue pushing for environment-friendly buildings, noting such structures are among top emitters of greenhousegases.

GHGs trap heat in the atmosphere, resulting in higher global temperature that drives climate change. (PNA)


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