Not all scientists agree that global warming is as serious as it has been portrayed.

Dr. Carlo Arcilla, a geologist and coordinator of the Science and Society Program of the University of the Philippines College of Science, dismissed former US Vice-President Al Gore’s claims on the causes and effects of global warming as hot-air statements.

“If we are going to say that humans induce global warming through carbon dioxide emissions, then we have to distinguish this from the natural pattern that runs over a long period of time,” Arcilla told the Varsitarian.

According to him, the earth experienced four ice ages and incidences of global warming for the past hundred thousand years. “The cretaceous period is one of the hottest times for the earth,” Arcilla said. “There were absolutely no ice caps, and the sea level was at the maximum. When ice ages occur, the water transforms into its solid form.”

Arcilla explained that there are features in nature that cause the rise and loss of ice ages. At present, the earth is coming out of an ice age, and there is global warming again.

A big factor that contributes to heat increase and flooding is the subsidence of land area due to groundwater extraction. “The space previously occupied by water will be emptied, so the ground will subside,” Arcilla said. “This (phenomenon) invites seawater to come in and that’s the real score.”

In a study on groundwater overuse and flooding in Central Luzon made by a group of UP professors, the land areas were found to be prone to flooding since they are at level with the surrounding bodies of water. Even the seasonal rains and high tide occurrences contribute to frequent floods in the Luzon area.

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The study claims that the effect of global warming on sea-level altitude is only a minimum of two-millimeter rise, the rest are from other factors like groundwater use in urban, usually coastal, cities. Also, land subsidence in coastal areas naturally occurs 10 times faster than that of local areas within a land mass.

A long–term solution presented in the study is the enforcement of the Philippine Water Code, specifically the conditions for reduction of groundwater extraction from deep wells and water pumps. The Code considers the possibility of saltwater intrusion, land subsidence, and mining of groundwater as the causes of water-level rise.

In relation to the alarming ground- and surface-water plights, the Code requires the installation of control valves or other similar devices to regulate the flow of water into wells, the installation of drainage facilities for proper removal or transport of surface water flow from its sources, and the allocation of proper spacing of wells more than 30 meters deep to avoid drought and land subsidence.

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