Metro Manila among most vulnerable to climate change

Published by rudy Date posted on March 7, 2009

Metro Manila is the seventh most vulnerable to climate change among 132 provinces or districts in Southeast Asia, according to a new study.

Dr. Herminia Francisco, the director of the research center Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia, said Friday that the study identifies the regions most vulnerable to climate change in Southeast Asia. She also is an author of the study.

“The assessment covers 530 sub-national areas, which consist 341 districts in Indonesia, 19 provinces in Cambodia, 17 provinces in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 14 areas in Malaysia, 14 provinces in the Philippines, 14 provinces in Thailand and 53 provinces in Vietnam,” Francisco explained during the launch of the New Regional Climate Change Vulnerability Map for Southeast Asia in Makati City.

The other vulnerable provinces in the country are Cordillera Administrative Region (ranked 27th), Central Luzon (30th), Cagayan Valley (34th), Bicol (36th), Ilocos (40th), Southern Tagalog (44th), Eastern Visayas (60th), Northern Mindanao (74th), Central Visayas (86th), Western Mindanao (87th), Western Visayas (96th), Southern Mindanao (103th) and Central Mindanao (105th).

The study evaluates exposure to climate hazards using information from historical records based on the assumption that past exposure is the best available proxy for future climate risks, Francisco told reporters.

She said that the Climatic Hazards Map is based on five climate related risks— tropical cyclones, floods, landslides, droughts and sea-level rise.

She added that population density is used as the proxy for human sensitivity to climate hazard exposure. “The extant of protected areas is considered the proxy for the ecological sensitivity of the respective sub-national areas.”

Other factors

The study also indexes adaptive capacity as a function of socio-economic factors, technology and infrastructure. The socio-economic variables comprise the Human Development Index (income, literacy and life expectancy), poverty and inequality.

“Based on this mapping assessment, all the regions of the Philippines, the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam, almost all the regions of Cambodia, North and East Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Bangkok region of Thailand and West Sumatra, South Sumatra, Western Java and Eastern Java of Indonesia are among the most vulnerable regions in Southeast Asia” said Francisco and Arief Yusuf, also an author of the study.

Francisco added that the study would guide the international research center to help communities adapt to climate change. The center is currently developing a plan to help the communities that have been identified to be vulnerable to climate change.

Information from the study is “expected to be highly valuable to policy-makers as well as external donors in resource-allocation decisions on climate-change initiatives in the region,” she added.

Government agenda

Climate change was on the government agenda also on Friday.

President Gloria Arroyo said that she would order households and businesses to segregate their trash as part of a government campaign aimed at reducing solid waste output by 50 percent within six months.

President Arroyo issued Executive Order 774 in December 2008 directing all government agencies, including local governments, to reduce their solid-waste production by 50 percent within six months to lessen the country’s greenhouse emissions.

The President announced her intention to require households and businesses to segregate their garbage during a meeting with Environment Secretary Lito Atienza, Presidential Assistant for Global Warming and Climate Change Heherson Alvarez, Rep. Roman Romulo of Pasig City and city officials.
–Ira Karen Apanay And Angelo S. Samonte, Manila Times

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