Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Hits Keep Coming . . .

Jakarta floods blamed on climate change -

Sifting through the Middle East headlines is like an exercise pulling your teeth with dental floss. You got that right. For all of the positives of economic development in the region, everyone's getting the collective shaft in Iraq --- and though I don't really like the U.S., I feel for the poor average-Joe soldiers getting shot at and killed while their puppet masters make off with the cash (shades of Oliver Stone - I know, I know, but that man may have a point). Meantime, Iraqis are killing their fellows with a vengeance. What a mess.

On the "local" front, the big issue is a Filipina getting the death penalty in Kuwait. Really a sad story - Filipinos are not just peons you can rub your boogers at, so I guess that employer had it coming. But still - you tell me why our government still keeps on allowing these issues to continue. Filipinos, domestic duties, and abusive employers are a bad mix. Throw in desperation and homesickness and you have it --- you produce these kinds of cases. And now the Philippine government sends the VP over to perform heroics. It's unfair to Ka Noli to give him this task and expect great results, and nobody put a gun to Marilou Ranario's head to take that job.

And oh, don't get me started on the new round of peace talks on Palestine. One sh*t pile of deception after another, and no side comes clean. What a train wreck.

On to the main feature --- the troubles in Indonesia as a result of climate change are a sure sign that worse things are also in store for the Philippines. For an archipelagic nation such as the Philippines, the signs are already there - killer flash floods, the smog in Manila, the receded coastline of Manila. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its Climate Change report some few days back. Al Gore wasn't kidding. The tragedy in Bangladesh with typhoon Sidr is not incidental. We need to make changes now.

Some fast facts:

• We are fast losing snow, and Arctic summer sea ice has been reduced.
• By the start of the next century, average surface temperatures could rise by between 1.1C and 6.4C, compared to those of the '80s.
• Sea levels will rise by at least 18 cm.
• Expect more forces of nature acting against us -- heat waves, rainstorms, tropical cyclones and surges in sea level --- more frequently and to a greater degree
• The first and the most to lose will be the poor nations, as always, particulary small island-states, and developing economies where people live in river deltas.
• Expect more famine in Africa as water and rainfall would be ever more scarce. Half a billion people will be affected by 2020. Crop yields will be cut in half.
• Thirsty? By the middle of this century, lots of water due to flooding in the coastal areas of Central, South, East and Southeast Asia, but fresh water for drinking will be less available due to depleted water tables and aquifers.
• We are losing more forest cover than those industrial foresters are claiming to replenish.

Them hits just keep on coming. It's never too late to start conservation efforts.

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