MANILA, Philippines – The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) urged authorities to discuss more climate solutions following the recent visit of Pope Francis.
The Philippines is the third most vulnerable country to climate change, a tropical archipelago besieged by no less than 20 storms yearly, the environmental group said.
The group cited Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) which left at least 6,000 dead and caused over $14 billion in economic damage.
“With impacts ranging from stronger typhoons, floods, droughts to forced migration, climate change is a reality that millions of Asians have had to face early. Whether or not the Philippines is a major carbon emitter is beside the point. Many countries which contribute the least to global carbon emissions are the most vulnerable, having fewer resources to cope with disasters,” the group said.
As such, the group called on authorities to craft out more proactive – rather than reactive – climate solutions.
The Philippine climate adaptation efforts include a four-year, 16-city study to prepare the largest Philippine cities for climate impacts, it said.
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The group predicts that the Philippines’ global emissions will increase beyond the current 0.35 percent due to economic and population growth coupled with rapid urbanization.
“The world must learn from Typhoons Ondoy, Sendong and Haiyan – lessons paid for in lost lives and livelihoods,” said WWF-Philippines Climate Change and Energy Program head Angela Ibay.
She said the Pope’s recent visit to Tacloban shows that the Church cares deeply about people affected by climate change.
Pope Francis has been known for his focus on the issue of climate change. He said during his visit here that “man continuously slaps down nature.”
The United Nations will have a meeting on climate change this year.