Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Greenpeace comes to bring relief--and a warning

This story did not come out of the paper where I work, so, I decided to post it here. Greenpeace describes the recent typhoon Pablo as “very rare” and “unusual,” a sign that what has been predicted a decade ago about climate change is already happening. Mark Dia, Greenpeace Southeast Asia typhoon Pablo operations chief, reiterated the environment watchdog’s warning for governments to do everything they can to stop carbon emissions, including calling off coal-fired power plants being lined up in Mindanao, before the worst can happen. “It is very rare to see typhoons forming near the equator, especially at this time of the year. And for us (in the Philippines) to be hit by a category five typhoon is something unusual and extraordinary,” Dia said as the Greenpeace ship Esperanza docked at the berth 3 of Sasa wharf here, to deliver relief goods to typhoon victims. He said the impact of the recent typhoon should be sufficient warning for the Philippine government to take with extreme urgency the call to shift away from coal-fired power plant in favour of renewable energy. “We have to act fast,” Dia said, “Are we going to wait for a tsunami type of event to happen?" he asked. "Even Japan has declared it will close a lot of its nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster.” “For those who are still skeptical, are we still going to risk more lives and limbs before you can change your mind?” He cited the report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change that the severity of typhoons, drought and extreme weather conditions has been increasing in intensity for every rise in seawater temperature. “We don’t have any argument now that the weather has been changing in a very bad way,” he said, of the typhoon. He also said that for countries like the Philippines, identified among the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change, with very limited resources to deal with the problem, “It is very urgent that we solve the problem, not only globally but also in our own small way,” he said. “We have to ensure a better pathway for development, one of which should be a shift to from coal-fired power plants to renewable energy,” he said. “If we will not help each other now, we can see more of this (typhoon) happening in the future and the cost will be immense in terms of property and agriculture and lives lost.” He said once each coal-fired plant is built in the country, people will be stuck in this form of energy sources in the next 20-30 years, and hopes for the environment will be getting dim. “We have to do it now,” he said, referring to the shift to renewable energy. “We need to really act fast at the same time, start preparing for the worst.” The Greenpeace ship Esperanza, which has last been involved in the clean up of the oil spill that hit the island of Guimaras several years back, unloaded 55 tons of relief goods from the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Save the Children Foundation to help the typhoon victims. “This is just a small thing against the immensity of the impact of the typhoon,” he said.

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