What would you do if the temperature becomes too hot that you must stay every single day indoors?
Sounds like doom to me, right?
Unfortunately for us, this a possible scenario if we keep up with the business-as-usual in dealing with climate change. Or at least that’s what a climate change expert says.
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the Vatican and the Director of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) warned us that the Philippines and its neighbors in Southeast Asia could suffer from extreme temperatures daily if countries continue with the present high emission levels.
The Nobel Prize Winner stressed that “All of the tropics will develop conditions that physiologically, humans cannot live outside anymore.”
Schellnhuber was in the country to present the study “A Region at Risk: The Human Dimensions of Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific.” He said that based on modeling and simulation studies from the report, temperatures would keep increasing by 1.7 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2030, and up to 2.7 degrees by 2050. By 2070, temperatures could be up to 4 degrees.
According to Schellnhuber, we could “see a complete shift in living conditions,” if people fail to address climate change. He further stressed that we would be facing extreme summer heat, an unusual weather condition, which the Philippines only experience once in every 740 years.
Nations must do everything they can to avoid such extremes, he warns. If not, Schellnhuber pointed out, that millions of people will be forced to flee their homes. “You would actually have to give up the Philippines altogether….Unless you put the entire population into a shopping mall, which would be a very big mall, and by the way, needs a lot of fossil energy to keep air-conditioned, and that would exacerbate global warming, so it is certainly not a solution.”
Schellnhuber’s words reminded me of the Pope’s encyclical on climate change two years ago. Pope Francis made strong calls to act quickly on the issue of climate change. “We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now.”
Unfortunately, two years after the powerful message of the Pope, little has been done locally to work on reducing our carbon footprint if we are to talk about renewable energy development.
The BMI Research of the Fitch Group recently released its study noting that there will be more coal-fired power plants in the next 10 years. “Growth in the Philippines power infrastructure sector over the next 10 years will be driven by investment in coal-fired generating capacity as companies and the government build a slew of new power plants to support growing electricity demand.”
The report noted that 90 percent of roughly 7,300 megawatts (MW) power plant projects in the pipeline are coal-fired ones.
So, we are in the business-as-usual scenario, still relying heavily on coal for our energy needs.
We certainly have failed to heed the Pope’s call. I can only pray and hope that Schellnhuber’s warning below will not be ignored, too.