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Philippines incurs over P500B in losses due to climate-related hazards

MUD-COVERED houses and trees are seen after a typhoon hit Balzain, Tuguegarao in November 2020. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

CLIMATE-RELATED hazards have caused P506.1 billion (around $10 billion) in losses and damage to the Philippines over the past decade, emphasizing the country’s vulnerability to the climate crisis, the Department of Finance (DoF) said.

This despite the Philippines contributing only 0.3% of the world’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it added.

In a statement on Tuesday, the DoF said such climate-related hazards made up 98.2% of the country’s total P515.51-billion losses and damage from 2010 to 2020.

Annual average losses of P48.9 billion from climate events represent 0.33% of each year’s average gross domestic product (GDP).

“Located in the typhoon belt and the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines constantly experiences unavoidable losses and damage amounting to 0.5% of its annual GDP primarily from an increasingly unpredictable climate,” the DoF said.

“The Philippines is struck by around 20 tropical cyclones every year and an almost daily occurrence of seismic shocks.”

Based on the preliminary 2022 fiscal risk statement from the Bureau of the Treasury, the country recorded P74.75 billion of damage from disasters last year, including those caused by three consecutive typhoons. Estimated economic losses stood at P35.74 billion in 2020.

In 2019, Typhoon Tisoy alone caused a total of P6.6 billion in damage to infrastructure (P2.9 billion) and agriculture (P3.7 billion).

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III is leading the Philippine delegation at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland this week.

“This is the 26th time that the COP will be meeting. Yet, little action has been taken. Nothing would please us more than seeing the countries that emitted and continue to emit the most greenhouse gasses to accept the responsibility of financing the transition to carbon neutrality,” Mr. Dominguez said last week.

The delegation will also present the Philippines’ newly released sustainable finance roadmap to policy makers at the COP26.

The Philippines has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% from 2020 to 2030. Of the 75% target, just 2.71% could be done through the country’s own resources while the remaining 72.29% is conditional on international assistance. — Jenina P. Ibanez

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