Ondoy and Climate Change

The depletion of the world’s forests has also significantly affected climate change. The growth of forests causes the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and its absorption into leaves, soil, and wood. Based on data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), deforestation worldwide took place at the rate of 13 million hectares a year for the period 1990-2005 – with little signs of decrease over the years. As of 2005, 3.95 million hectares or only 30 percent of the planet’s total land area was covered with forests.

Based on the IPCC’s research, the increased carbon dioxide emissions have been the biggest contributor to what is now known as global warming. The increase in the emissions of other principal greenhouse gases have contributed to warming trends experienced in many parts of the world.

Global warming is a significant factor in the increasing frequency and intensity of typhoons.

Typhoons develop from the heat that dissipates when water vapor from warm sea surfaces condenses and forms cloud drops. The strength of typhoons increases when sea-surface temperatures are higher than 26°C, and goes down at sea-surface temperatures below 26°C.

Based on data from the socio-economic think-tank Ibon Foundation, the Asia-Pacific region has experienced in recent decades a general trend toward warming, which is consistent with global temperature patterns. Southeast Asia has warmed by 0.32°C over the past three decades.

“It is unfair that people in the Philippines should be the ones paying a greater price for the damage that developed countries have wrought on the environment,” said Amalie Obusan, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, in a statement.

“The plight of vulnerable developing countries such as ours should put forward a strong moral imperative for early and decisive action” Obusan also said. “The threat to our people’s survival is a harsh reality that should inform the actions of the industrialized world’s leaders.”

On Monday, at the ongoing intercessional meeting of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) in Bangkok, UN climate chief Yvo de Boer said the floods wrought by Ondoy in the Philippines highlight the need for an international agreement on climate change. “One of the reasons why countries have gathered here is to ensure the frequency and severity of those kinds of extreme weather events decreases as a result of ambitious climate change policy,” he said. (Bulatlat.com)

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