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In a press release dated January 18, 2017, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed that 2016 was the hottest year on record. With a global average temperature of 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial period, it surpassed the heat recorded in 2015.According to WMO, it was approximately 0.07 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous year.

A strong El Niño event was assumed as one of the main factors that fuelled high temperatures during the early months of 2016. However, high temperatures prevailed even after the El Niño episode.

Climate change is the long-term shift in weather patterns in a region. This includes changes in precipitation, temperatures, sea levels and many more. It is also a phenomenon brought by the increased emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

According to Dr. Rosa Perez of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate change can be caused either by natural occurrences or human activities. Natural causes include the sun’s activity, volcanic eruptions and other natural events that contribute to the warming of the earth.

But the problem now is that climate change has worsened due to human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, clearing of forests, improper waste management and production of industrialized products.

Among the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide has one of the most ample concentrations in the atmosphere. In September last year, carbon dioxide levels have exceeded the tipping point or the harmful threshold of 440 parts per million (ppm). This figure indicates more catastrophic events like extreme drought, melting of ice, sea level rise and stronger typhoons in the future.

2016 was filled with extreme weather events, leaving socio-economic disruption and losses. The warming of the ocean has contributed to widespread coral bleaching.

Recently, the United Nations reported that three-quarters of the world’s coral reefs are expected to be exposed to terrible heat by 2070. Reefs closer to the equator face annual bleaching that may occur at an earlier frequency, affecting more than 75% of the reefs.

Coral bleaching happens once the micro plants called “zooxanthellae” leave the corals when the water becomes warm because of climate change. This leads to the deprivation of the corals’ food source and color, turning them white or bleached. If the heat persists for a longer period of time, the corals may die. When this happens, it will take decades for reefs to recover or worse, they may not recover at all.
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PH ratification of Paris Agreement underway

“Addressing global warming shall be our top priority, but upon a fair and equitable equation. It must not stymie our industrialization.” These were the words uttered by President Rodrigo Duterte during his 1st State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2016.

Earlier this year, Duterte announced that he will be signing the Paris Agreement by July 2017. Before the agreement reaches our President, 33 government agencies and private groups have to submit their respective Certificates of Concurrence first. These certificates will serve as a guarantee that the agencies understand, approve and are willing to cooperate in the implementation of the pact.

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