Philippine Government Says Climate Change is Top Priority

The Philippines is making addressing and adapting to climate change a top priority, in the face of increasing extreme weather it’s having to contend with.

This year a series of laws will begin to be implemented, including the Climate Change Act of 2009. The emphasis is on increasing renewable energy and efficiency and a variety of measures to build resilience.

One of the laws is the $24.5 million Peoples’ Survival Fund, which will help communities develop local action plans. The government is looking to the private sector to leverage those funds.

In this year’s national budget, $295 million has been set aside to enhance early warning systems on climate events, create geohazard maps, assess the vulnerability of agriculture and other industries, and to scale up its Eco Towns.

The 2013 target for reforestation is 300,000 hectares, and the plan is to restore 1.5 million hectares by 2016.

"The Aquino administration has done quite well in crafting a more climate change sensitive national budget. But the executive has to scale up its efforts, given the magnitude of the climate change threat, which is faced largely by those in the frontline of the crisis, local governments and communities," Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the Institute of Climate and Sustainable Cities, told Reuters. He’s referring to the small amount of money so far allocated for the Peoples’ Survival Fund.

Last year, the Philippines approved a renewable energy feed-in tariff that covers small hydro, biomass, wind, solar and geothermal.

During the international climate change summit in Qatar last year, Naderev Saño, the Philippines negotiator, broke down and cried, "I appeal to the whole world, I appeal to leaders from all over the world, to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face. I appeal to all, please, no more delays, no more excuses." A typhoon had just killed hundreds of people and left thousands homeless. 

This photograph from Reuters shows people trying clean up their farm after the typhoon.


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