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Climate change impact on biodiversity

Manila Standard

Climatologists have warned again sea levels in the Philippines are rising at about twice the global average and are smashing into biodiversity.

The rise of mean sea-level for the Philippines has been noted in several studies to be above the global average rate, ranging from 5.7 to 7.0 mm per year.

This means rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and increased frequency of typhoons and extreme weather events can cause floods, landslides, and erosion that pollute water resources, damage infrastructure, destroy crops, and lead to loss of lives and livelihoods.

Weathermen say the sea level in the Philippines – a country of 115 million population with more than 36,000 kilometers coastlines – is rising three times faster than the global average, putting many of its coastal villages in peril, according to climate scientist Rosalina de Guzman, chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) climate data section.

With 70 percent of the country’s municipalities facing large bodies of water, including the Pacific Ocean, that could spell a “big impact” on those populations, she said.

Scientists have attributed sea level rise to warming temperatures, which melt the polar ice caps, causing oceans to expand.

But what is biodiversity?

This covers the different kinds of life we find in one area – the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and even microorganisms like bacteria that make up our natural world.

Each of these species and organisms work together in ecosystems, like an intricate web, to maintain balance and support life.

Weather experts say strong storms, many of which cut through land in a country that averages 20 a year, can induce higher sea level which contributes to storm surge that can rise upwards of 15–20 feet, displacing thousands or even millions of citizens in coastal communities.

Experts note that rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and increased frequency of typhoons and extreme weather events can cause floods, landslides, and erosion that pollute water resources, damage infrastructure, destroy crops, and lead to loss of lives and livelihoods.

The warming of ocean temperatures due to climate change also poses a severe threat to the Philippines’ vibrant coral reefs.

Rising sea temperatures lead to coral bleaching, a process in which corals expel their symbiotic algae, causing them to turn white and become more susceptible to disease and death.

What is the government action on climate change in the Philippines?

We are glad the Philippines has committed to reduce emissions by 75 percent by 2030, one of the most ambitious targets in Southeast Asia.

To accelerate its transition to a green economy, the country also aims to increase the share of renewable energy to 35 percent of the power generation mix by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040.

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