EVEN BEFORE the pandemic, heavy rainfall flooding was common in most urban parts of Metro Cebu, especially downtown Cebu City, and these were the usual scenes: individuals wading through cloudy floods; small vehicles stranded in the middle of the road after an engine failure causing traffic; Residents secure televisions, refrigerators, and other essential gadgets from their homes flooded by a nearby river; smiling street kids playing and swimming in a flood pool, a demonstration of innocence about their world that could become a super monster in the future.
Rain is a welcome respite after days of heat and dust. But when it becomes incessant, the romantic story turns into a horror story.
Cebu City’s urban barangays in Cebu City near the Kinalumsan River went through hell when the river swelled last Friday, October 1, 2021. Poor residents who lived near the river had to secure their belongings. Others stayed on the rooftops and watched the rage of the river. Flood protection projects seemed pointless.
Disasters are like Greek gods unleashing their wrath and brute force.
Deadly typhoons and increasingly unpredictable weather are part of climate change that has never stopped. The Covid-19 pandemic stopped factories, coal-fired power plants, and other industries emitting air pollutants as it raged in the first half of 2020, partially clearing the air of megalopolises like New Delhi in India and industrial cities in China in Asia. in Germany and other major cities in Europe, USA and America. But it was only temporary, the fear of air pollution returned as the world economy slowly re-emerged.
The planet and human existence are fragile in the face of climate change. On October 31st-Nov. On February 12th, 2021, the United Kingdom will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (UK COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland. UK COP26 states on its website that the â€œSummit will bring the parties together to accelerate action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Paris Agreement is a groundbreaking international agreement adopted in 2015 by almost every country in the world, including the Philippines, to combat climate change. It includes commitments from all major emission countries to reduce their climate pollution and to strengthen these commitments over time. “
â€œIn order to ‘significantly reduce the risks and effects of climate change’, the agreement calls for the global average temperature increase to be limited to well below 2 degrees Celsius in this century and, at the same time, efforts to be made to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. It also calls on countries to work to ensure that global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced as quickly as possible and become greenhouse gas neutral in the second half of this century, â€said the report by the US environmental organization Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
The NRDC report goes on to say: â€œIn order to achieve the original goals of the Paris Agreement, 186 countries – responsible for more than 90 percent of global emissions – submitted CO2 reduction targets before the Paris conference, which were classified asâ€œ Intended nationally determined contributions â€are known. These goals outlined each country’s commitments to curb emissions (including by maintaining carbon sinks) by 2025 or 2030, including macroeconomic targets to reduce CO2. “
Some of these countries are the United States, China, India, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, South Korea, and European Union countries.
According to the Declaration published by UK COP26, the “obligation to aim for 1.5 degrees is important because any fraction of a degree of warming leads to the tragedy of many more deaths and livelihoods”.
â€œDespite the opportunities, we are not acting fast enough. In order to avert this (climate) crisis, the countries urgently need to join forces, â€it said.
Last Tuesday, October 5th, just a few weeks before the UK’s COP26, the Swedish Academy awarded three scientists – Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi – the Nobel Prize in Physics for their â€œwork that found order in seeming disorder and for explanation contributed “. and predict complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change, â€reported the Associated Press.
“It is very urgent that we make very strong decisions and move at a very fast pace” to combat global warming, said Parisi.
Climate change is an existential threat to Cebu and the whole world. The heated planet has made typhoons more violent and unpredictable.
Cebu City and the rest of Cebu could experience more deadly weather disruption and flooding could be more merciless if global temperature continues to rise. The planet’s survival depends on how quickly world leaders can address the climate crisis.