The Heat Wave, The Arctic Melt And Climate Change

Sep 9th, 2013 | By | Category: Adaptation, Advocacy, Agriculture, Development and Climate Change, Disasters and Climate Change, Governance, Green House Gas Emissions, Guest Speak, Information and Communication, Lessons, M-20 CAMPAIGN, Opinion, Population, Resilience, Vulnerability, Water

Antonio-ClaparolsAntonio M. Claparols (Philippines): I could not wait to write this when the news appeared in the July 24,2013 issue of The Financial Times that the airline company, Easy Jet, may be the next victim to global warming and climate change due to the extreme heat wave affecting Europe, the Middle East and the United States, amongst many.

To make matters worse, FT reported the next day what made me worry more.

FT’s  Pelita Clark wrote in the article entitled ‘Arctic Melt is Economic Time Bomb’  that   “the rapidly melting Arctic sea ice and permafrost is an economic time bomb likely to cost the world at least $60 trillion dollars,said researchers who have started to calculate the financial consequences. The release of methane is making it even more drastic.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Gail Whiteman,a Professor  of Sustainability Management and Climate Change in Erasmus University,  said that “It is not just important for polar bears , but for societies and economies”.

She added that “the research underlined the need for world leaders to start thinking that an economic time bomb, at this stage, has not been recognized on the world stage.”

The  said research was published in the Nature Science Journal.

Surely,have all of us felt the heat  now compounded with the global economic crisis?

This crisis has been the focus of the world leaders,to no avail, as the economic model and its quantitative easing has caused more harm than health.

As of this writing, the global heat wave seems to increasing and higher than expected.

A Tibetan flag flies over the Dagu Glacier which lies at 5100 metres on the Dagu Snow Mountain, on the south-east edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The glacier has been reducing in size in recent years, as a resulting of rising temperatures in the region.

A Tibetan flag flies over the Dagu Glacier which lies at 5100 metres on the Dagu Snow Mountain, on the south-east edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The glacier has been reducing in size in recent years, as a resulting of rising temperatures in the region.

In some areas in Africa and the Middle East , temperatures have reached as high as 50 degrees Centigrade, causing massive damage in some areas. The heat lead to abrupt occurrences of strange weather patterns causing unusual  thunderstorms and rains elsewhere.

The austerity measures they had been imposing everywhere proved useless and are just making  the poor even poorer.

These measures created a global poverty groups on its own which are  pocketed in different categories but still within the premises of poverty. Thus, the problem remains unsolved.

With that, yes, we can expect more Arab springs to arise due to the said scenario.

In effect, the multitude, specifically the poor,  they have to change their entire
daily routine and schedule, such as going to school and work early in the morning and back home before the heat bears down upon them. The heat will not only affect the health of the people, particularly the young and the elderly.

nepal-agricultureIt will devastate crops and turn fertile farms into deserts. Rivers will begin to dry up and the agricultural produce will shrink as yields will decline, forcing many farmers not to plant but rather divert to other means of livelihood.

The whole ecosystem will be imbalanced affecting species, including man, leading to extinction even of our civilization. This is why the issue of global heat must be taken seriously by everyone.

What will happen when peak water and food will be reached ? What will we expect to happen when water and food would be scarce? Countries will hold on to their own supply of food and water. The global issues will escalate into power struggle and a fight for survival.

Another item in the climate change arena is that the melting ice in the Arctic has made shipping lanes narrower, the very reason why they can now  ply the route from Rotterdam to Kobe, Japan or to Busan, South Korea as they aim to save at least 10 hours and many nautical miles for business purposes.

Should the leaders not mitigate and reduce greenhouse gasses and win the war against global warming and climate change ,the battle for resources will escalate to a point when the only solution would be war and military action.

Already we are seeing that tug-of-war  manifesting in many Asian islands,with  China against Japan or Taiwan. Even our very own Scarborough Shoal is not spared from being grabbed from our territorial grasp.

This is our land and we will defend it with our lives. Expectedly, every country will defend their own to survive this deluge.

Let us  not wait for this kind of war to intensify. All we need to do is reduce emissions and restore  carbon dioxide back to  the 350ppm-level.

081012_0437_IsMitigatio1.jpgFor our part, as one way to mitigate climate change, we do help fastrack the needed  mangrove reforestation as well as continuously foster the spirit of volunteerism while educating the masses about what threatens our ecosystem these days.

It is surprising to note that so many in the grassroot level here in our country are still unaware of the threats to our environment. It goes to prove there is a need for massive campaign for educating them considering their high spirit of volunteerism.

We also network with environmental experts in this endeavor and encourage the media to help disseminate the activities to the public so that others would be empowered to get involved in this battle against climate change.

The recent news that China and the United States would bilaterally reduce floro-chlorocarbons is a welcomed one.

However, I am more concerned with the ecological time bomb ticking even faster while leaders do nothing but assure us with their theoretical solutions based on uncertain studies and so-called expert advice.

We must go organic and re-direct  into renewable energy, among other priorities. Our government must spearhead the campaign to help the active environmental NGOs and individuals who even put their own health and lives at risk in the frontline.

Only through such unwavering commitment  can we win the battle to protect our biodiversity. Leaders who  do not walk their talk must be compelled to change their approach to the pressing global problems about our planet’s declining health.

Their words ,no matter how intense and promising, remain like feathers in the wind.

In this kind of war for  the preservation of our natural resources,  what we need is only one effective word.

And that word is …. ACTION!


Antonio M. Claparols, is the President Ecological Society of the Philippines, sends this article for Climate Himalaya’s Guest Speak column.  Born in Manila, Philippines in 1952, Antonio received an MBA from Arthur D. Little MEI, Cambridge, MA in 1982 and published two books; ‘For Our Children” and “Treaties Amongst Peoples” (1994) and was a contributor for IMPACT magazine “Ecological Minute” column (1979 – 2000). He is President & CEO of JRS Business Corporation and an active IUCN Member since 1979. Antonio was an elected IUCN Councillor in Montreal 1996 & 2000 and is a member of IUCN Commission on Environmental Economic and Social Policy (CEESP). He was the member of the Philippine delegation to World Parks Congress in Durban, 2003. Antonio established sustainable forest, mangrove planting/protection and organic aqua-culture projects in the island of Negros in Philippines.  Apart from being a father and a businessman Antonio is a scuba diver, an underwater photographer and a farmer. He can be contacted at

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Climate Himalaya Initiative’s team.


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