Doomsday in 10 years.

This was how former United States Vice President Al Gore bluntly put the fate of major coastal cities if governments worldwide continue neglecting the dangers of global warming, in a forum sponsored by Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco last Feb. 9 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium.

Gore warned that unless governments halt global warming in the next 10 years, melting glaciers and polar ice caps could raise sea levels worldwide of up to five meters.

“Two million Metro Manila residents will have to be relocated,” he said as his simulation showed Manila Bay rushing inland, flooding the northern and other low-lying areas of the metropolis.

The standing-room only audience of politicians, business leaders, and members of diplomatic corps listened in rapt attention, as the vice-president of the Clinton administration gave a science lecture on the menace of global warming, with the latest graphs and NASA satellite photos, showing the extent of the environmental damage worldwide.

Gore urged international and local leaders to advance efforts to stop global warming by promoting cleaner energy technology including solar and wind power.


Feb. 16 marked the first anniversary of the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, the first successful agreement between nations, including the Philippines, reduce emissions of green-house gases like carbon dioxide, largely blamed for “blanketing the globe and pushing up world temperatures.”

Many scientists believe that the rising temperature is likely to spawn more droughts, heat waves, and massive floods.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change reported that information filed early this year showed “significant progress” in working out new policies and rules. Officials said Kyoto nations were on their way to lower emission levels,at least 3.5 per cent below the 1990 level.

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The bottom line: we have an environment to save. We don’t need to wait for 2016 to ascertain if any of Gore’s predictions would indeed happen. We have seen in recent years how painful nature’s wrath can be. The thousands of lives lost in Ormoc, Gen. Nakar, Aurora, Quezon, and recently, Southern Leyte are enough proof. Nature’s wrath is something we can never prevent, but can be minimized , if we only learn how to.

The Al Gore visit serves as a good wake-up call for our leaders to take global warming seriously. We’ve already had a Clean Air Act for seven years but it has yet to be implemented.

It’s also a welcome development that the Kyoto protocol is somehow making a difference, despite the indifference of some global superpowers, including the US. Gore is right: the earth, our home, is now at risk. It’s up to us to save it.


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