No cli­mate emer­gency

Business World - - Opinion - BIENVENIDO S. OPLAS, JR. is the pres­i­dent of Min­i­mal Govern­ment Thinkers min­i­mal­go­v­ern­ment@gmail.com

Among the big head­lines this week is the re­port that Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte is con­sid­er­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists’ lobby to de­clare a “cli­mate emer­gency.” Green­peace in par­tic­u­lar lob­bies to phase out or kill coal and other fos­sil fuel power, min­ing. They want to plunge the coun­try in black­out-friendly in­ter­mit­tent, vari­able re­new­able en­er­gies ( VREs) like wind, so­lar and biomass.

The end­less lobby to de­mo­nize fos­sil fuels, min­ing, con­ven­tional ve­hi­cles run­ning on oil, re­lated

mea­sures are based on a very op­por­tunis­tic, cor­rupt, even brain­dead “anal­y­sis” that these com­modi­ties cause less rain and more rain, less flood and more flood, less storms and more storms, less cold and more cold. What­ever weather and cli­mate, peo­ple should be scared and wor­ried so that the VRE lobby should con­tinue to get rich, so that govern­ments can con­tinue to slap car­bon tax, oil tax, car­bon cap and trade, cre­ate and ex­pand cli­mate bu­reau­cra­cies.

Cli­mate change is true, global warm­ing and global cool­ing are true. They have hap­pened since planet Earth was born some 4.6 bil­lion years ago, warm­ing-cool­ing in nat­u­ral, end­less cy­cle. Take the cur­rent La Niña – the sea sur­face tem­per­a­ture ( SST) anom­aly or de­vi­a­tion from the mean tem­per­a­ture is -0.5 C or lower in the Pa­cific Ocean Niño re­gion 3.4. This re­gion is the widest and cen­ter-most part of the Pa­cific Ocean. Aus­tralia’s Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy ( BOM) weekly mon­i­tor­ing re­ported on Sept. 6 that Niño re­gion 3.4 has dipped to -0.52 C or La Niña ter­ri­tory al­ready. The lat­est up­date on Sept. 27 showed -0.80 C.

I checked El Niño- La Niña cy­cle, 70 years data from 1950 to early 2020, data from the US Na­tional Cli­matic Data Cen­ter (NCDC) un­der the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NOAA). Then I added the chart of NOAA fore­cast, the 40+ mod­els pre­dict a big and deep La Niña from Septem­ber 2020 to April 2021, the SST anom­aly will see a deep -1.5 C in Nov. 2020 to Jan­uary 2021 (see Fig­ure 1).

This means that in the com­ing weeks and months we ex­pect more rains and floods, more land­slides, more flood/wa­ter-re­lated killer dis­eases like lep­tospiro­sis and dengue. And the cli­mate lobby will say that these are proof of “man-made warm­ing/CC,” never proof of tran­si­tion to nat­u­ral global cool­ing.

So if the planet un­der­goes warm­ing- cool­ing in nat­u­ral cy­cles, like day-night cy­cle, win­ter­spring­sum­mer­cy­cle, El Niño-La Niña cy­cle, wa­ter evap­o­ra­tioncon­den­sa­tion cy­cle, car­bon cy­cle in plants-an­i­mals/ hu­mans, where is the “cli­mate emer­gency”?

The Philip­pine govern­ment has been spend­ing hun­dreds of bil­lions of pe­sos yearly on cli­mate adap­ta­tion and cli­mate mit­i­ga­tion pro­grams. From 2018 to 2021 bud­get, the govern­ment would have spent some P878 bil­lion or an av­er­age of P219 bil­lion/ year. This is equiv­a­lent to 7.8% of the to­tal bud­get ex­clud­ing ap­pro­pri­a­tion for in­ter­est pay­ment and al­lo­ca­tion to lo­cal govern­ment units (ALGUs). While the Depart­ment of Pub­lic World and High­ways, Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Depart­ment of a and Nat­u­ral Re­sources are the lead de­part­ments, other agen­cies also have sub­stan­tial cli­mate projects and bud­gets, like the Na­tional Dairy Author­ity, Philip­pine Crop In­sur­ance Corp., Philip­pine Fish­eries De­vel­op­ment Author­ity, Philip­pine Rice Re­search In­sti­tute, and Na­tional Ir­ri­ga­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion (see Fig­ure 2).

Note also that the bud­gets by LGUs, from pro­vin­cial to barangay, for var­i­ous cli­mate of­fices, pro­grams and meet­ings are not in­cluded there. Plus the var­i­ous huge cli­mate loans from the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank, World Bank, Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank, other mul­ti­lat­er­als.

The Pres­i­dent should not heed the op­por­tunis­tic and cor­rupt lobby to de­clare a “cli­mate emer­gency” be­cause there is none. The Pres­i­dent should not im­pose new car­bon tax, higher oil tax, coal tax and ve­hi­cle tax, cre­ate a car­bon cap and trade, kill min­ing, and so on.

To has­ten eco­nomic re­cov­ery from this pan­demic and in­def­i­nite lock­downs, we should have cheaper en­ergy and more jobs cre­ation in­clud­ing jobs from the min­ing sec­tor.

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