All peoples of the world must be involved in two types of response to the threat of climate change: mitigation and adaptation.
"Prevention" is no longer possible, according to Roger Bracke of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the other experts at the Climate Change forum, since climate change is already happening.
The forum's speakers all noted the increasing number and intensity of devastating typhoons--most recently cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, which killed more than 100,000 people--as evidence that the world's climatic and weather conditions are turning deadly because of climate change. They also reminded the audience that deadly typhoons have also hit the Philippines recently, particularly Milenyo and Reming, which left hundreds of thousands of Filipino families homeless.
World Wildlife Fund Climate and Energy Program head Naderev Saño said that "this generation the last chance for the human race" to do something and ensure that humanity stays alive in this planet. According to Saño, while most members of our generation will be dead by the time the worst effects of climate change are felt, our children will be the ones to suffer.
Joyceline Goco, Climate Change Coordinator of the Environment Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, focused her lecture on the programs Philippine government is implementing in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Goco said that the Philippines is already a signatory to global agreements calling for a reduction in the "greenhouse gasses"--mostly carbon dioxide, chloroflourocarbons and methane--that are responsible for trapping heat inside the planet and raising global temperatures.
Goco said the DENR, which is tasked to oversee and activate the Clean Development Mechanism, has registered projects which would reduce methane and carbon dioxide. These projects include landfill and electricity generation initiatives.
She also said that the government is also looking at alternative fuel sources in order do reduce the country's dependence on the burning of fossil fuels--oil--which are known culprits behind global warming.
Bracke however said that mitigation is not enough. "The ongoing debate about mitigation of climate change effects is highly technical. It involves making fundamental changes in the policies of governments, making costly changes in how industry operates. All of this takes time and, frankly, we're not even sure if such mitigation efforts will be successful. In the meantime, while the debate goes on, the effects of climate change are already happening to us."
A few nations and communities have already begun adapting their lifestyles to cope with the effects of climate change. In Bangladesh, farmers have switched to raising ducks instead of chickens because the latter easily succumb to weather disturbances and immediate effects, such as floods. In Norway, houses with elevated foundations have been constructed to decrease displacement due to typhoons.
In the Philippines main body for fighting climate change, the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change, (PTFCC) headed by Department on Energy Sec. Angelo Reyes, has identified emission reduction measures and has looked into what fuel mix could be both environment and economic friendly.
The Department of Health has started work with the World Health Organization in strengthening its surveillance mechanisms for health services. However, bringing information hatched from PTFCC’s studies down to and crafting an action plan for adaptation with the communities in the barangay level remains a challenge.