EDITORIAL

Local action is crucial

AS IT barreled towards Northern Luzon yesterday afternoon, “Lawin” (international name: Haima) reached super typhoon status. This was no surprise. Year after year, typhoons visiting is are getting stronger. Communities are expected to be prepared. Local government units, in particular, must have contingency plans already as mandated by the Climate Change Act.
All LGUs should follow the law and have their own local climate action plans. We can no longer delay climate action. For a vulnerable nation like the Philippines, delayed action means loss of lives, livelihood, ecosystems and biodiversity. We need to take urgent action to adapt to the effects of climate change, reduce the risks in the communities, mitigate global warming, and move towards sustainability.
Republic Act 9729 dictates that “LGUs shall be the frontline agencies in the formulation, planning and implementation of climate change action plans in their respective areas, consistent with the provisions of the Local Government Code, the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change, and the National Climate Change Action Plan.”
Local action is crucial because every community has its own vulnerabilities, risks and hazards. LGUs must determine how their community is affected by climate change. Is it a coastal community that may be affected by sea level rise or declining fish catch because of coral bleaching? Is it a farming community greatly affected by El Niño or too much rainfall? Is it an urban area prone to flooding? The location of the community, the direct impact of climate change, and the risks posed by extreme weather events are crucial in crafting a climate change adaptation plan.
It is lamentable that we are among the least emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) yet we are directly hit by the effects of climate change. But we have no more time to wail and complain. We need to address the risks even as we compel the big emitters of GHG to support the most vulnerable nations and cut down on their emissions. We must prove the world that though we are vulnerable, we are not incapable of action.

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