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Cost Of Climate Change in the Philippines

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Costs of climate change in the Philippines

Given the economic, social and environmental havoc that climate change has wrought in the Philippines, embracing coal is a dangerous policy. Short term benefits of coal to some elite players in the Philippine economy pale in comparison to the billions that coal is costing the Philippines as a nation, with respect to climate change impacts alone.

In the Philippines, 13 operational coal-fired power plants already burn coal to produce electricity, with an installed capacity of 5,568 MW in 2013. Worse yet, the government plans to bring online another 45 coal-fired power plants. Our leaders have been publicly talking a green talk, but quietly walking on the path of dirty fossil fuels. Our coal addiction fuels climate change and undermines our ability to stand up as world leaders for a climate change treaty – one that can save us.

The Philippines is highly vulnerable to climate change. We now know that climate change is loading the dice for extreme weather events: Climate change has made sea levels rise. Higher sea levels in turn trigger higher storm surges, which mean that more water is pushed farther inland. This amplifies the damage done by tropical cyclones to people, housing, and infrastructure. Moreover, a one-meter rise in sea level could inundate almost 700 million m2 of land and potentially displace at least 1.5 million Filipinos. Beyond extreme weather events and sea level rise, climate change triggers temperature shifts, rainfall shifts, flooding, landslides, and droughts, and can have extreme negative impacts on our agriculture as well as on health. Without expanded climate change mitigation or adaptation, the Philippines could suffer a mean loss of 6.7% of our nation’s GDP by 2100 on an annual basis, considering agriculture, coastal zones, health and ecosystems, and catastrophic risks.

We need to face facts, and act now. Instead of clinging to its dirty coal addiction, the Philippines should be part of the global solution to climate change and embrace an energy revolution.

 

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