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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, November 22, 2016
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The heat is on

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The year 2016 is on track to be the hottest year on record and, according to the World Meteorological Organization records showing that sixteen of the 17 hottest years of record having occurred in this century, climate change is definitely real.

This report, along with reports that the World Bank has calculated that 26 million people will slip into poverty annually due to natural disasters, and scientists have reported that greenhouses gas emissions from burning fossil-fuels which are the main driver of global warming have remained constant for the third year in a row in 2015; were issued on the sidelines of the high-level United Nations' climate talks in Marrakesh as participants were still reeling from news that Donald Trump, a climate change denier, had captured the White House.

The scientists warned that unless carbon pollution is slashed quickly and deeply, humanity will exhaust its “carbon budget,” or the total amount of CO2 that can be emitted without crossing the redline of dangerous warming within a few decades. The steady pace of emissions still puts Earth on a collision course with deadly super storms, droughts, heat waves and other extreme weather events.

The annual Global Carbon Budget report estimates that our plant has already used more than two-thirds of the emissions quota to keep climate change well below two degrees. This limit that was set in the 196-nation Paris Agreement that went into force earlier this month is now in danger because of US President-elect Donald Trump's well documented views on climate change.

With successive hottest years on record and parts of Arctic Russia showing average temperatures increasing by six to seven degrees Celsius compared to the WMO's long-term average, it is imperative for all nations, developed or developing, to band together for the sake of the planet and the people that reside in it. If the USA is no longer going to take the lead as far as this initiative is concerned, other nations are going to have to take up the slack.

It may not be good for the short term, but it is definitely in the interest of a country that is among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change to keep its effects to a minimum. It's a good thing the Philippines' President Duterte has finally decided to honor the Paris Agreement. Let's hope the world can still band together to slow down climate change and to minimize its awesome effects on our planet and its people.*


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