Rationale and Objectives

Rationale

Scientists have long recognized that the planet Earth will heat up with increasing levels of carbon dioxide emissions. Greenhouse gases in the air contribute to too much heat stored in the atmosphere which consequently causes drastic climate change. Significant heat changes in the Earth's climate can severely have an impact on all forms of life, including animal, plant, human and aquatic / marine (Stouffer, 2009).

It was only in the 1980s that these fears have become more profound as regards global environmental impacts of rising greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).   In 1992, international negotiations on global warming led to the signing  of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Signatories ratified the FCCC in its initial meeting, the Conference of the Parties (COP) the supreme decision making body of FCCC on March 28,1995. Since this meeting (COP1), member nations have focused on targets and timetables for controlling emissions of greenhouse gases and the need for financial and technological transfers (Giambelluca and Henderson-Sellers, 1996).

The current climate debate on several contentious issues are either political in nature or are focused on questions of priorities - intensify economic development or reduce carbon dioxide emissions. While as a whole, several nations have switched to cleaner and more efficient technologies to address GHG emissions,  the FCCC targets thru the series of COP meetings, have not been fully achieved. One of the difficult questions confronted by COP is the implementation of the commitments of member nations.

Kyoto Protocol, another international agreement, envisioned to alleviate the growing concerns related to global warming / climate change by targeting global GHG emission reduction by 2012, has its shortcomings. Some of the rich countries, consequentially the world’s great GHG emitters, have refused to sign this international agreement. The irony of this development is that the world’s poor, mostly from developing countries, continue to bear the dire consequences of climate change, to include thousands of people dying or are displaced due to  deadly droughts and floods and diseases. Worse, these rich countries and international corporations have victimized these poor countries by acquiring land from poor countries to be farmed to answer their countries’ food supply needs and energy source.

The Philippines, a developing country, accounts for only 1/3 of 1% (0.3%)  of GHG (Manila Times June 2009). It is one of the most affected countries having suffered extreme weather catastrophes in the world in 2006. This is in spite of the country being ranked as 51st in the Global Climate Risk Index of 2005 (Global Rate Index 2006, Phil Daily Inquirer, Jan 2008) and being one of the low GHG emitters.

While there is an increasing acceptance of the high probability of global climate change, in depth discussion on the science and social impact of climate change has not been dealt with. Scientific researches and policy programs / plans (Giambelluca and Henderson-Sellers, 1996) need to be assessed and integrated in a holistic approach in order to effectively address climate change impacts and undertake appropriate adaptations in the Philippine context. Scientific findings and mitigative measures to address consequent impacts of climate change on the society, especially those belonging to the marginalized groups, (farmers, fisherfolks, rural and urban poor, women and children) remain to be of paramour importance. 

It is in this setting that the College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines Manila has organized the UP Manila Global Climate Change Conference with the theme: “The Science and Social Impact of Global Climate Change – A Philippine Setting.”

Learning Objectives

  • Assess the impact of climate change in the Philippine setting, especially on the most vulnerable sectors or areas like water, agriculture, coastal areas, as well as on terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
  • Assess what the different sectors in society have been doing to address and mitigate the impact of climate change in the Philippines – Law and Governance; Education, Science and Technology; and, Industry and Economy.
  • Identify how different sectors--to include agriculture, fishery, energy, etc--could be made sustainable in the midst of climate change.

Participants

The College believes that the following individuals or organizations will benefit the most in attending the Conference:
  • Faculty members teaching in related disciplines (including but not limited to Environmental, Natural and Physical Sciences, Energy, Development and Social Studies)
  • Researchers
  • Government agencies (eg, DENR, DepEd, DOE, DOH, DOST, PAG-ASA, PCIERD, DA, DOTC, LTFRB, Presidential Task Force on Climate Change)
  • Business and industry groups
  • Energy-related businesses
  • Climate and environment-related advocacy groups
  • Graduate students in the related fields of study
For other inquiries on how the conference may be related to you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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