According to Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad, appropriations for climate change programs have been increasing at an average of 26 percent yearly since 2009, outpacing the growth of the national budget which has been growing at around 6 percent.
“Climate change has a direct and immediate impact on development. As it stands, the Philippines is already in the path of major weather disturbances that damage property and critical infrastructure. More urgent however is the fact that these weather patterns frequently jeopardize the welfare of communities in high-risk areas. Recognizing this, the Aquino administration remains committed to providing sufficient budgetary support for programs and projects that mitigate the effects of climate change in the country,” said Secretary Abad.
Last week, the World Bank launched a global report titled Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience. The study says that climate change-related impacts are projected to increase in the coming decades, threatening in particular:
• Coastal populations: Climate change is expected to lead to more intense typhoons, higher sea levels, and storm surges. Storm surges are projected to affect about 14 percent of the total population and 42 percent of coastal populations. Informal settlements, which account for 45 percent of the Philippines’ urban population, are particularly vulnerable to floods due to less secure infrastructure, reduced access to clean water, and lack of health insurance.
• Farming and fishing: Climate-related impacts are expected to reduce agricultural productivity in the Philippines. Also, warming oceans and ocean acidification affect coral reefs which serve as feeding and spawning grounds for many fish species that support the livelihoods of fisher folks.
World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi said that implementing the country’s climate change programs with increased financing, improved design, and greater focus and coordination contributes significantly to the country’s development goals.
He said that promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency, for instance, boosts energy security and can lower energy costs, thus improving the country’s competitiveness. In agriculture, adaptation activities like conserving water and improving water quality will enhance food security.
“Labor-intensive activities like developing climate-resilient farming and retrofitting infrastructure for flood control will build resilience while increasing job opportunities, especially for the poor. Climate change adaptation is very important in achieving inclusive growth,” said Mr. Konishi.