pope3Will it finally take a Pope to convince Filipinos to be more pro active and  take the climate solutions to heart? The visit of Pope Francis encourages us to focus on climate solutions, strengthening the recommendations of  World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as a response to natural calamities. “Seize your Power” and “Seize the Wind” campaign may be the key to saving the earth as well as lives in the future but more support is needed to achieve its noble goals.

Tacloban After Haiyan by Gregg YanThe fact is the Philippines is the third most vulnerable country to climate change,  besieged by no less than 20 storms yearly, with its location on the northern tip of the Coral Triangle along the Pacific Typhoon Belt,

Two months before Typhoon Haiyan barreled through the country, WWF and Tacloban city’s leaders predicted the possible arrival of a mega-typhoon within a decade. It arrived much too soon – Typhoon Haiyan took over 6000 lives and caused over $14 Billion in economic damage.

With impacts ranging from stronger typhoons, floods, droughts to forced migration, climate change is a reality that millions of Asians have had to face early. Whether or not the Philippines is a major carbon emitter is beside the point. Many countries which contribute the least to global carbon emissions are the most vulnerable, having fewer resources to cope with disasters.

WWF believes in proactive – rather than reactive – climate solutions. Philippine climate adaptation efforts include a four-year, 16-city study to prepare the largest Philippine cities for climate impacts. Climate mitigation will be crucial. Though the Philippines contributes less than 0.35% of global emissions, its share will spike due to economic and population growth coupled with rapid urbanization.

In 2013, WWF led a global campaign called Seize Your Power, which called on financial institutions, private investors, pension and sovereign wealth funds, plus governments to significantly increase investments in renewable energy while divesting from fossil fuels. This year, the initiative lives on through WWF-Philippines’ Seize the Wind campaign, which aims to convince public sector players to enhance support for local wind power projects.

“The world must learn from Typhoons Ondoy, Sendong and Haiyan – lessons paid for in lost lives and livelihoods,” says WWF-Philippines Climate Change and Energy Programme Head Atty. Angela Ibay. “The Pope’s visit to Tacloban shows that the Church cares deeply about people affected by climate change – many living in vulnerable, developing nations. The onus is on negotiators and leaders in Paris this December. Lives will be saved should they do what is right.”

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