Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Arresting Climate Change

(Fourth of four parts)

I have resigned myself that Climate Change is one change that will not change. It must be the exception to the rule. Climate Change have started since the dawn of life. In fact, the cooling and warming of the Earth is known as the glacial and interglacial periods in its history. Earth’s weather patterns are so erratic despite scientific advances to harness it that it prompted on scientist to claim that this long relatively stable interglacial period we are in, is a freak of nature. However, since the Industrial Revolution which saw the advance in technology combined with growth in agriculture and population, the human factor in Climate Change became a major contributing factor.

While I accept that Climate Change is a fact of nature and eventually, ultimately, unavoidable, we can do something to slow it down.

The Kyoto Protocol, Jaz Lumang, the IBON Foundation Executive Director, said, is the embodiment of market based mechanisms that the US, and its corporations lobbied for as part of the solution to Climate Change. It has created a global carbon market that is now estimated to be worth some US$126 billion! Kyoto Protocol turned out to be proto-COOL to capitalist countries that should have been more accountable for their gas emissions. Richard Gadit of Katribu even claims that the Kyoto Protocol ravages natural resources all in the name of the environment.

Last year, the Copenhagen (DIS)Accord was signed. At the very most, it is a bubble that can burst anytime and inconsequential to curbing Climate Change. The Accord urges industrialized countries to be more accountable for their carbon emissions, of which they are the biggest emitters. Also it calls on them to shoulder some $30 billion to $100 billion USD funds for the “developing” or third world countries, which face an eventual wipe-out if the ocean level rises even a meter high because of global warming.

This sounds all nice but the Accord signed by 91 countries, including the biggest carbon emitters, US and EU, is non-binding. So where does that leave it? It is as if the Copenhagen Accord did not exist. It would serve as nothing but a minor footnote in the history of our battle against global warming. The countries might as well have signed the death warrant of the Pacific nations, among others, that are in danger of following the fate of Atlantis.

So what can we actually do?

Locally, we can urge our government to stop enacting and implementing laws that are hazardous to the environment in the guise of development. I have mentioned some of them before, the Mining Act of 1995, the NIPAS, IFMA, Biofuels Act among others.

Manny Villar, a presidential candidate, was interviewed by The Philippine Star as part of their election special. He was asked what his views were on climate change. He answered: “We are victims here. The developed countries are the ones responsible for this. We have no choice except to participate in the efforts to stop global warming. We can seek carbon credits. We should tap the private sector... address global warming and address our economic problem. I want to be more aggressive on this.”

Another question on what, concretely, would he do to address the kind of flooding that Pepeng and Ondoy. He answered the regular beat, clearing the waterways, dredging canals, relocation, reforestation, planting trees. And interestingly, he also said that he would talk with the New People’s Army and try to tap them for a plausible working arrangement for reforestation.

This is either the election talking or Manny Villar sees Climate Change seriously enough to work with the NPA to curb its effects. Either way, I like his answer. I have never heard any of the other candidates speak to working with the NPA, Climate Change or not.

More importantly, I say we push these industrialized countries harder to be more responsible citizens of the earth. This will not be an easy fight. Imperialism, a Danaidean vessel of profit, is the Goliath in this fight.

This December, in Mexico, when the Climate Change talks will once again be held, we should make sure that the industrialized countries sign a legally binding agreement that they will reduce their carbon emissions to acceptable levels that will be agreed upon by the countries.

This is the first step in making capitalism be accountable for the catastrophic global phenomenon is has brought upon the peoples of the world. Because in the final accounting monopoly capitalism is the alpha and the omega of accelerated Climate Change. A social change is in order to arrest climate change.

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