This year, Climate Change became an inevitable topic. It had always a pressing issue, but as the Climate Change Conference in Paris drew nearer, it made international headlines. So before the year comes to a close, let us look back at some of the most memorable events related to Climate Change.

Workshop in Communicating Climate Change

From September 29 to October 1, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), together with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Vietnam Television (VTV and Climate Central, organized a workshop for Asian weather presenters in Hanoi, Vietnam. The participants from the media learned how they can be instruments in communicating Climate Change effectively to the public.

As one of the Panahon TV weather reporters, yours truly was able to attend the event together with other presenters from Thailand, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos.

During the workshop, the speakers shared their knowledge on the basics of Climate Change, mitigation and adaptation, and the best practices in communicating the science. Bernadette Woods Placky, the Chief Meteorologist of Climate Central, gave her thoughts on the role of the media in simplifying the concept of Climate Change.

Read my experiences on the workshop here. Panahon TV goes to Vietnam: Workshop for Weather Presenters (Highlights of Days 2 and 3)


NANSEN Initiative Global Consultation

Every year, millions of people are being displaced every year due to natural disasters like tropical cyclones, flooding, landslides, drought and earthquakes. This figure, according to experts, may rise in the next decades as the adverse effects of Climate Change and population growth continue.

Last October 12 to 13 this year, the Nansen Initiative, a high-level intergovernmental meeting in Geneva discussed the resolutions for today’s disaster displacement, as well as preparatory actions for new challenges in the future. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) came up with 10 challenges that are climate and disaster displacement-related:

• recognizing the facts
• recognizing that people rarely flee for just one reason
• finding out who are the displaced
• preventing displacement
• compiling better data
• analyzing risks
• preventing people from becoming poorer
• ensuring formal protection
• ensuring protection in practice
• commiting and working together


Climate Vulnerable Forum

On November 9 to 11, the most vulnerable countries to Climate Change impacts known as the V20, got together to talk about Climate Change. These low and middle-income, small and developing countries include Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Maldives, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal, East Timor, Barbados, Kenya, Philippines, Tuvalu, Bhutan, Kiribati, Rwanda, Vanuatu, Costa Rica, Madagascar, Saint Lucia and Viet Nam.

Since these nations were the ones that usually experienced extreme weather events and the impacts of the changing climate, they needed to raise their voice to fight the climate issue. This forum served as a preparation for the COP21 or the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris, France.


As part of the Climate Change Consciousness Week, the annual Greeneration event took place at the SMX Convention Center last November 25. Students from different schools in the Philippines gathered to affirm their responsibilities in climate action.

November 25 was also declared by the President as the National Day of Youth for Climate Change. Through the “#nowPH” campaign, the youth was able to show their determination in strengthening efforts to combat Climate Change. In fact, a human banner was formed in Rizal High School, participated by students and climate action advocates.

The National Youth Commission (NYC), together with the Climate Change Commission (CCC) of the Philippines, came up with 15 ways to lower emissions. These tips were recommended by students all over the country.


Climate March

Just a few days before the Paris conference, a climate march was held on November 28. Representatives from different organizations such as Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, World Wide Fund (WWF), Greenpeace, Global Catholic Climate Movement and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice walked altogether to express their thoughts and raise their concerns about the lack of efforts in climate action.

They called for a fair agreement in the upcoming COP21 and the nations’ clearer commitments to renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels. This march also aimed to convince world leaders and emphasize the need to protect vulnerable countries like the Philippines, from the worsening threats of Climate Change.

Photo credit: Moon Danipog
Photo credit: Moon Danipog

After so many years, the 1st universal legally binding deal on climate action became successful. The 21st Conference of the Parties, dubbed as COP21, became the biggest climate conference of the year. It was held on November 30 to December 12 in Paris despite the alleged terrorist attacks prior to the event.

The COP21 showed how different countries committed themselves to keep the temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius—or if possible, 1.5 degrees Celsius. Though highly ambitious, this target will reduce the risks and impacts of Climate Change. Higher than the said target may aggravate the impacts of Climate Change, such as more disastrous weather events, severe droughts, record-breaking heat, melting of glaciers and rising sea levels.

Over 100 leaders all over the globe pledged to opt for renewable energy sources to lessen greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities. The conference also required the most developed nations to be responsible and provide financial support to the small and vulnerable countries regarding climate issues.

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Photo credit: http://adserver.bworldonline.com/
Photo credit: cop21.paris.org
Photo credit: cop21.paris.org

As we face the year ahead, Climate Change is sure to be more relevant than ever. With its growing threat and impacts, the time to act is now. So don’t just shrug off the issue; read about it, learn from it, and act on it. It’s the only way we can allow future generations to live in a world filled with the best of what nature has to offer.

The Nansen Initiative, a high-level intergovernmental meeting which unites ministers and senior civil servants from more than 75 countries to discuss resolutions for today’s disaster displacement and prepare for new challenges in the coming years, holds its Global Consultation on October 12-13, 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. The initiative has seven other members, including the Philippines, along with Australia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Germany, Kenya and Mexico. There are 80 Consultative Committee Members composes of researchers, NGOs, and international and regional organizations.

Millions of people are being displaced every year due to natural disasters like tropical cyclones, flooding, landslides, drought and earthquakes. Experts claim that this could rise in the future because of climate change and population growth. Disaster displacement is now being recognized as one the main humanitarian challenges.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) enumerates 10 challenges that are related to climate and disaster displacement. These include the following:

1. We must recognize the facts.
2. We must recognize that people rarely flee for just one reason.
3. We must find out who are the displaced.
4. We must prevent displacement.

5. We must compile better data and analyse risks.
6. We must prevent people from becoming poorer.
7. We must ensure formal protection.
8. We must ensure protection in practice.
9. We must commit.
10. We must work together.

NRC also defines the drivers of displacement as population growth in hazard-prone areas, rapid or unplanned urbanization, unequal distribution of wealth, poor government or state and climate change.

During the previous consultations, key persons working on issues relating to humanitarian action, human rights protection, migration management, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, refugee protection and development were brought together to share practical experiences. The intergovernmental global consultation also aims to to build consensus on principles and elements for addressing the necessities of the displaced people affected by disasters and effects of climate change.

This year, the event takes place at the Starling Hotel and Conference Center in Geneva, hosted by the Government of Switzerland and is co-organized with the Government of Norway.

Nansen Initiative
Norwegian Refugee Council