Thursday, July 21, 2016

I will honor Paris agreement even if the President doesn’t

“You should not burn wastes”, says my 9 year old friend Brie.  “It will emit carbon in the air and it will damage our climate.”

I couldn’t quite understand carbon footprint and this simple explanation suits me well.

“Plants eat carbon but less plants mean more carbon in the atmosphere which is bad for the earth.”, she continues to lecture.

To further my studies, I consulted youtube.  This is the simplest explanation I got as explained by yet another child.

video from rappler

If you watched the video, the narrator mentioned that leaders of different nations will meet and decide on the future of our home.  This was the Conference of Parties which was held in Paris, more commonly know as COP21.

It was monumental because for the first time in the 21 times the leaders have been meeting they have finally come into an agreement.  Each of the 195 nations which attended the conference pledged to reduce carbon emission.  US promised to reduce carbon emission by 26% (based on the 2005 level), the European Union will cut emission by 40% and China will invest heavily in clean energy and will attempt to decrease carbon emission in 2030.  The goal is to keep the average temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius.

video from youtube

“This could be the best chance we have to save the one planet we have.”, said US President Obama in his COP21 speech.

On the other hand, Philippine President Rody opts not to honor the Paris agreement arguing that it will stifle the country’s growth.

Obama in the same COP21 speech reported that in 2014 the global economy grew while global carbon emissions stayed neutral.  He pointed out that this indicates that “strong economic growth and a safer environment no longer have to conflict with one another”.

Still, I respect my President’s decision.  He does have valid reasons.  However, I have my own mind and I will go with my own voice of reason.

The Philippines ranked fourth in the countries most hit by disasters according to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).  Asia and the Pacific faced 90 storms last year, 48 of which was attributed to rising sea levels and sea surface temperatures.

If nothing is done to address the issue of climate change, the losses we might incur as a result of it may far outweigh the gains of industrialization.

Having written all of that, I raise my last bottled water and say yes to the Paris agreement even if my President refuses to honor it.

Malcolm Gladwell says in his book The Tipping Point that “a small but precisely targeted push” can create big change.  Can you join me and give your own pledge?  Will you help save the world?

                         graphics by Mark Gosingtian

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