Climate change threatening regional agri, food security

  • 28 April 2015, Tuesday

Source:Manila Bulletin
17 Apr 2015

Philippine Climate Change Commissioner Naderev Saño said the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia will see a decline in agricultural production and food security unless climate change adaptation and mitigation measures are implemented in the region.

He raised the concern during a book writing workshop organized by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) in Los Baños, Laguna.

“Inaction to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change will threaten agricultural production in the ASEAN region, with most of Southeast Asia risking to lose up to 7 percent of its total gross domestic product (GDP) by the next century, which is more than twice the global average,” Sano said.

Unless checked, he said climate change impacts will threaten food availability and trigger famine.

Sano warned that changes in local climate patterns, temperature, rainfall intensity, and daylight will shift production cycles and ultimately, modify food prices and source of livelihood for most in the region.

“However, there’s good news: Agriculture is a fundamental part of the solution to climate change,” he stressed.

Sano said global estimates showed that for every one percent of GDP invested in climate change adaptation, 10 percent of the GDP will not incur losses due to climate change impacts.

“This is a compelling argument for us to invest, especially among economies based on agriculture. Building resilience though mitigation is important but the climate-smart paradigm highlights the need for innovation to try new things. Let us see climate change as an opportunity to fight the defining issue of our generation,” Sano said.

“I commend SEARCA as one of the foremost institutions in developing knowledge not only in the region but globally. The concepts of inclusive development and sustainable agriculture and rural development are ideas whose time has come; and no power can stop an idea whose time has come. So I challenge all scientists and experts here today to go out there and change the world,” he added.

SEARCA Director Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. stressed that the official of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) had worked tirelessly to win global consensus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and compensating countries threatened by the dire consequences of global warming, to which China, the US, India, Japan and other countries are major contributors.