Senator Loren Legarda expressed deep concern over the lack of concrete result in the 18th Session of the Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha, Qatar as some industrialized countries refused to participate to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that legally binds developed nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are saddened by the fact that many developed nations were reluctant to deeply cut their greenhouse gas emissions and set new aid targets in light of their own financial difficulties, even as global temperature rises. The World Bank has already warned that we are nearing a crisis—that of a 4 Degrees Celsius global temperature—which if not responded to proactively, will continue to endanger the survival of this and the next generations,” she said.
Legarda, the UN Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, noted that the Doha Climate Talks, which was held from November 26 to December 8, 2012, left many disappointed because of the lack of commitment to address the threats of climate change even as a lot of nations, even those who refuse to commit to the climate agreements, are already experiencing the threats of extreme weather events.
“We have just recently experienced the results of the international community’s continued lack of meaningful action to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Nearly a thousand lives have been lost, and hundreds are missing. Industrialized countries, like the United States, have had their share of losses resulting from climate-induced disasters. And yet, when countries are given a chance to collectively agree on measures to correct the situation, nothing is done,” Legarda said.
“No nation is safe from climate change unless we do something now. The feared 4-degree Celsius rise in global temperature is likely to happen if nations do not commit to meaningful reduction levels of greenhouse gas emissions,” Legarda stressed.
The Senator cited the World Bank report in giving a fair warning that a 4-degree Celsius global temperature will cause sea level rise by up to 3 feet. It would also cause flooding in many coastal cities; dry regions are expected to become drier while wet regions will be wetter; there will be extreme heat waves, water scarcity, stronger tropical cyclones, and loss of biodiversity.
If global mean temperatures exceed 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, 30% of all species will face high risk of extinction. Moreover, a 2 to 4-degree Celsius rise in global temperature will also result in a 3% decline in global GDP.
“Even as the result of the Doha Climate Talks is far from being encouraging, there is no reason to stop or waver. We are still hopeful that we can gain, even outside of these conferences, the needed commitment to deep cuts in emissions and support for poor countries in coping with the impacts of climate change,” Legarda concluded.***