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Climate change summit highlights importance of mangroves

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - An expert on climate change yesterday raised the importance of mangrove forests as barriers to natural calamities such as typhoons and storm surges.

“In other countries, you can see the positive effects of mangrove forests. Planting mangroves is an affordable solution, a win-win solution that can help us during natural calamities,” said Rodeo Lasco of the OML Center-Science for Climate Resilient Communities in a press briefing during the Greeneration Summit held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

The summit was organized by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) as part of the observance of the Climate Change Consciousness Week.

He also said that the OML Center is set to conduct a study early next year to check on the role of mangroves in areas affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda. A team of researchers from his office will be sent in typhoon-ravaged areas to assess the effects of the remaining mangroves on the communities.

Lasco clarified that the research team would not want to get in the way of relief efforts because they also “want the situation in the said areas to stabilize first.”

He also noted that “we all learned our lessons from Yolanda and hopefully, we can apply these in times we are put in a similar situation.”

Meanwhile, CCC vice chairperson Lucille Sering expressed dismay over the outcome of the recent Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland.

Sering said though they have pushed for the establishment of a “loss and damage” mechanism at the 19th Conference of Parties UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP19), developed countries are not really prepared to help developing countries address loss and damage due to climate change.

The loss and damage mechanism tackles measures that will help prevent further loss and damage as a result of disasters and calamities, or help mitigate their effects.

Sering noted that the loss and damage is “imperative” especially because industrialized countries displayed a lack of commitment in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Mitigation has become a sore subject at the climate change talks, as rich countries stick to low ambitions for decreasing their carbon footprint.

“What we wanted is for these countries to give strong commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as these greatly contribute to global warming,” Sering stressed.

 

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