Localizing Climate Change
Byline: Francis N. Tolentino
NOW that the much-awaited Paris Climate Change Report is out, plotting the next steps would be extremely difficult, especially for a third world country like the Philippines.
We recall that in 1988 and 1989, the UN General Assembly determined that "climate change is a common concern of mankind'' and urged governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to collaborate in a concerted effort to prepare, as a matter of urgency, a framework convention on climate change. Beginning with the 1990 Ministerial Declaration of the Second World Climate Conference which led to the 1992 Climate Change Convention (signed by 155 states) and later the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the 2001 Bonn Agreement, and the November, 2001 Marrakesh Accords, the world community, assisted by science, has focused on the impact of climate change in relation to sustainable development.
Article 1 (3) of the Climate Change Convention defines "Climate Change was a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.''
No one can dispute that scientific evidence suggests that continued increases in atmospheric concentrations of selected greenhouse gases due to human activities will lead to an enhanced "greenhouse effect'' and global climatic change. The 1992 Climate Change Convention defines "Greenhouse Gases'' as "those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, that absorb and re-emit infra-red radiation.'' [Art. 1(5)]
As referred to earlier, the Paris Climate Change Report (produced by 600 authors. Scientists from 40 countries) was released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change representing 113 governments last week and declared, inter alia, that:
1. Climate Change was very likely caused by human activity - that global warming is caused by man's burning of fossil fuels.
2. The report said no matter how much civilization slows or reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, global warming and sea level rise will continue for centuries. …