The Present We See
We could argue and debate endlessly on why or how events have unfolded, but:
WE BELIEVE that what we see happening in the world today could have been mitigated had we paid more attention to five closely related challenges interlinked with climate change, to which the Philippines is among the most vulnerable:
CARBON. We depend heavily on hydrocarbon fuels for industry, commerce, transport, and most other aspects of our family and community life. We have imbibed a “Petro Culture,” a lifestyle routinely dependent on petroleum and petrochemical products like gasoline, diesel, and plastics. It is a lifestyle that makes Filipinos vulnerable, not having our own supplies of these commodities. Unless we make a decisive shift, we would in due time risk our national security.
CELSIUS. Our “Petro Culture” in turn contributes to rising global temperatures, and all its attendant perils. More and stronger typhoons, and prolonged drought episodes especially in our food baskets in Eastern and Central Luzon, Western Visayas and portions of Eastern and Central Mindanao, are expected to break new levels in the next decade.
CONGESTION. At current trends, our population growth will soon outpace the carrying capacity of our rich yet fragile resource base. And as climate change diminishes reliability of agriculture as a livelihood, the lure of urban centers heightens, especially for young people. Densely populated megacities already challenge society’s ability to protect the welfare of urban dwellers, as physical congestion translates into escalated costs of traffic delays, respiratory and other illnesses, criminality, and provision of basic needs and facilities.
CONTAGION. Higher temperatures are fueling the rise in density of pests, parasites and pathogens such as swarming rodents, bloodsucking parasites like mosquitos and ticks, and viruses. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic heralds a new era of persistent public health risks, especially in congested highly urbanized areas and areas underserved by the limited health care assets of our country. Weak public health administration and policymaking could swell the ranks of our country’s poor and inherently disadvantaged population.
CONSUMPTION. Unsustainable highly carbon-using and waste-generating lifestyles are a major driver of ecological stress. The rapid rise in our consuming population exacts heavier tolls on the supply chain, linked in turn to the breadth of our carbon footprint, extent of heat generation, congestion in production areas, and to expanded avenues for contagions.
Climate change is real, and is now fast plummeting into “Climate Chaos”
for the Philippines and for the rest of the world. It poses a “near- to mid-term
existential threat to human civilization” (Queally 2019). In a Climate Change Vulnerability Index that rated 16 countries out
of 170 examined as “extremely vulnerable to climate change,” the Philippines
ranked sixth of the 16 (Maplecroft
 Queally, J. 2019. “ ‘Existential Threat to Civilization’: Planetary Tipping Points Make Climate Bets Too Dangerous, Scientists Warn”, in Common Dreams, November 28, 2019; see https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/28/ existential-threat-civilization-planetary-tipping-points-make-climate-bets-too.
 Maplecroft, 2010. Climate Change Vulnerability Index: Where will your business face the greatest threats from climate change? https://www.maplecroft.com/risk-indices/climate-change-vulnerability-index/
WE SEE our country and the world now facing the prospect of unfamiliar “new normals” with climate- and contagion-related conditions turning life as we know it on its head.
Prospects for recovery are made even more challenging because:
WE CONCUR with the scientifically documented findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that:
WE TAKE HEED of the IPCC’s warning that only 10 years remain for humanity to keep global warming to within 1.5oC, beyond which the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and associated wider incidence of poverty would severely escalate and cause untold disaster.