Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
While speaking at Tallinn University in Estonia on a tour of Baltic States, before joining a second week of climate talks in Poland, United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday that the super typhoon that killed thousands in the Philippines was an example of climate change and should serve as a warning to mankind.
“We have seen now what has happened to the Philippines. It is an urgent warning, an example of changed weather and how climate change is affecting all of us on earth”, Ban said. He adds that, “We need action before it is too late”, and says that a rise in temperatures would “affect us all”.
While many experts and climate change activists are still arguing, with scientists hesitant to conclusively link extreme weather phenomena to climate change and activists insisting that the unprecedented strength of super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda to us) is due to global warming, one thing is certain: the rising sea levels are making coastal populations like most communities along the eastern seaboard of the Philippines more vulnerable to storm surges. Making things worse, the World Meteorological Organization estimates 2013 to be one of the hottest years since records began, resulting in global sea levels reaching a record high.
The UN secretary general is joining the climate change conference in Warsaw where Philippine representative Naderev “Yeb” Saño is currently leading a protest fast to stress the urgency of unified global action to reverse climate change. Saño made an emotional appeal during the first day of the two-week conference where representatives of more than 190 countries will try to lay the groundwork for a new pact to fight global warming, and was, coincidentally, the time when news of the death and destruction wrought by super typhoon Haiyan was just starting to trickle out of the devastated areas.
As the scientists and the activists argue and the representatives in the climate change conference deliberate, Haiyan’s death toll continues to rise and the gargantuan relief effort plows on for the millions whose homes, livelihood and lives have been shattered by what is regarded by meteorologists to be the strongest storm to make landfall in history. One thing is certain: the climate is definitely changing, as temperatures and seas levels are rising, and the storms are definitely getting stronger with each passing year.
Thousands of lives have been lost, millions have been displaced, and billions in crops, businesses and property has been destroyed. Shouldn’t the inhabitants of this planet do everything they can to stop another Haiyan/Yolanda from happening again?*