Climate change is not an illusion but a reality that is actually affecting the Philippines. A recent study shows that it is the cause of some of the worst natural disasters in the past years.

The latest report titled “Human Cost of Disasters: An Overview of the Last 20 Years, 2000-2019” by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) revealed that climate change is mainly responsible for a near doubling of disasters caused by natural hazards in the past two decades.

Seven thousand three hundred forty-eight (7,348) major disaster events occurred between 2000 and 2019, affecting over four billion people and claimed over one million lives, thereby costing the global economy $2.97 trillion. The figure toppled the 4,212 major disasters recorded between 1980 and 1999.

The report tells us that global warming causes weather disturbances stronger and more frequent, leading to more flash floods and landslides and making the spread of infections and diseases faster than before.

The Philippines has been bearing the brunt of these changes, compromising the economy and Filipinos as a whole. But little is being done to address these adverse effects. Environmentalists, scientists, and lawmakers have repeatedly been prompting President Rodrigo Duterte for a more robust response in addressing climate change by declaring a climate emergency.

The declaration would highlight the importance of sustainability and solidify the country’s devotion to protecting the environment, the economy, and people against climate change. This would lead to acknowledging its severe effects and would lead the government to take action.

It’s important to note that the Philippines had previously made a pact with several other nations to fight climate change under the Paris Agreement which aims to maintain a global temperature of two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Unless Duterte will declare a climate change emergency, it’s unlikely that the country will take the matter seriously. A UN report says that we only have 11 years remaining to reverse the effects of climate change. Still, our collective efforts to mitigate these can only do so much, and little has been done to those who are responsible for the emissions that caused these drastic changes.

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