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The production of this manual was funded by the Japan Fund for Global Environment (JFGE).











Climate change is real. The evidence is clear and the science is firm. The effects
of climate change have been evident in the past decades and are expected
to worsen in the future. Scientists suggest the world’s average temperature
could increase by 4°C or more by the end of the 21st century, an alarming
change that could translate into catastrophic results for many ecosystems.

Indeed, climate change has been gaining attention and concern all over the
world. It has reached global and national discussion and policy-making. National
and local governments have also started to act and implement initiatives. Yet,
climate change is not something that only government has the responsibility
to solve. There is a need to communicate it to the public as the concept remains
less understoond in local communities, especially in developing countries. This
raises the need to increase public awareness about the issue and consolidate
efforts in order to have a significant impact in tackling climate change.

Everybody needs to know and understand climate change because each of us is

rendered vulnerable to it, though in varying degrees. The youth, in particular, plays
a vital role in combating climate change. Their education is crucial because they:

will be the ones who will face the worse impacts of climate change
as future inheritors of the Earth;
can serve as key agents of change brought about by their youthful
energy and enthusiasm;
have high concern for cleanliness and green initiatives;
have a strong ability to mobilize;
are not subjected to established routines and stereotypes; and
comprise more than half of the human population which means that
they have a stake in decision-making even at the international level.

The Philippines is considered one of the highly vulnerable countries to climate change
due to its exposure to potential impacts, which is exacerbated by the lack of capacity
and resources. The lack of public awareness and understanding about climate change
especially among the youth is a great concern. Climate change education is crucial
in order to strengthen their capacity and increase their resilience to its impacts. It is
also important to instill the concept of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’
– that, although the Philippines is not a major CO2 emitter compared to many other
countries, all of us need to contribute in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The
youth, who will be the future leaders of the country, should have a vision towards
low-carbon development.

This manual is aimed at providing a knowledge base on climate change, especially
catered for teachers and trainers. The manual will introduce the basics of
climate change – what is it, why is it happening, what are the projected impacts,
and what can be done. It has a strong focus on the science of climate change
which is essential in providing a better understanding of the broader picture
– why climate change is happening and how to better address the challenge.

Also, this manual aims to bring climate change closer to the youth by providing a
local context. It explains the observed and projected climatic changes as well as the
vulnerabilities of the Philippines. It recognizes the importance of engaging the local
government in educating the youth. Their participation and support in terms of
providing information related to climate change in the city or municipality is important
in order to better understand the direct impacts of climate change to their communities.

Lastly, this manual could aid in catalyzing youth action towards a low-carbon and
climate-resilient future. It provides options for mitigation and adaptation actions
that can be adopted by the youth, as well as youth-led initiatives in the Philippines
and around the world. This is crucial because the real challenge goes beyond raising
awareness, but inducing behavioral changes in order to truly address climate change.

Course goals & objectives

This manual aims to:

increase awareness of teachers and trainers on the science of climate

change, its causes, projected impacts and other related issues;

enhance participants’ knowledge on the various methods and initiatives

targeted at addressing climate change;

develop participants’ practical skills on carbon auditing and community


catalyze youth action for climate protection by providing actual youth

initiatives in the Philippines and all over the world; and

present specific strategies which can induce behavioral change and instill
a deep sense of responsibility in the youth for them to assume roles as
climate leaders, at least in their locality.

The term ‘climate change’ has entered the popular discourse but has yet to be
fully understood by many. What really is climate change? What is causing it? This
module attempts to answer these questions by providing the base knowledge and
background on climate change.

Before climate change can be explained, certain key concepts need first be
understood. What is climate? How is it different from weather? What are the
different types of climate? What is the climate in your city/municipality?

Weather is the current atmospheric conditions, including temperature, rainfall,

wind, and humidity at any given place. It is what is happening right now or likely
to happen tomorrow or in the very near future. For example, the weather today in
Manila is sunny.

Climate, on the other hand, is the general weather conditions for a relatively long
period of time. It is often referred to as long-term ‘average weather’ for a given area.
For example, the climate in the Metro Manila is tropical wet (May-October) and dry

Meteorologists often point out that “climate is what you expect and weather is what
you get.” Or, as one middle school student put it, “Climate helps you decide what
clothes to buy, weather helps you decide what clothes to wear” (EPA 2013).

The Philippines is a tropical

country, but it has four
types of climate. The
description of each type
of climate is presented at
Figure 1. The types differ
in terms of pronounced
seasonal changes and
amount of rainfall. In the
map, it can be observed
that the types vary when
you go from eastern to
western Philippines. That
is, the eastern portion of
the country experiences
more rainfall (Note: the
eastern coast of Visayas
and Mindanao (Type 2) has
no dry season!). In addition,
the wet and dry seasons
become more evident as
one goes from east to west.
Ask the students
about the type of
climate in their

Figure 1. Climate Classification in the Philippines

Global Temperature Changes over the Earth’s History

The temperature of the Earth (consequently, the different climates around the world) has
varied significantly over the planet’s existence. These temperature changes can occur
naturally, but over a long period of time. Looking back 4,600 million years ago (mya) when
the Earth formed, it is evident that the planet has experienced changes from warm to cool
temperatures (Figure 2). Experts are still trying to study the exact causes of these warming
and cooling by using evidence from rocks, fossils, and other sources. Some theories include
changes in orbital cycles, massive volcanic eruptions, an asteroid collision, and continental
drift. Changes in the Earth’s atmosphere have also occurred naturally in the past, and such
changes can cause the planet to warm up or cool down.

It can be observed that during most of its history, the Earth has experienced a much
warmer temperature compared to the present time – with exceptions of ice ages during the
Precambrian and Palaeozoic eras. Natural cycles, catastrophic events, and changes in solar
radiation contributed to these shifts, which, together with evolutionary processes, resulted
in an environment suitable for mankind and other species to evolve and thrive. At present,
we are living in a warm phase of an ice age that had its peak 20,000 years ago.

So, what are the causes of changes in global temperature?

Figure 2: Earth’s history

and its temperature

Source: ICLEI SEAS, using

images from Saltzman
(2002) & Encyclopedia
Britannica (1996).

Factors that can affect changes
in the Earth’s GLOBAL CLIMATE
There are several factors that affect the Earth’s temperature and climate.

1) Amount of solar radiation being received by the Earth

a. The amount of radiation being emitted by the sun:
Solar radiation varies over time depending on the sun’s activities.
The more sunspots (black dots) there are on the sun’s surface,
the more energy is being released by the sun.

b. Earth’s orbital cycles and orientation as it moves around the sun
The Earth’s orientation and the shape of its orbit can also
affect the amount and distribution of solar radiation being
received (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Natural Earth’s cycles that affect its orbit around the sun

Note: These changes happen

over very, very long periods
of time (in the scale of
10,000 to 100,000 years!).

the shape of its orbit ITS TILT ITS ROTATIONAL AXIS

Source of photos: Woodward (2008)

c. Amount of radiation being reflected by the Earth

The amount of radiation being
Figure 4: Albedo values
reflected by the planet is

determined by its temperature
and its color. Albedo refers to
the reflectivity of the Earth’s
surface. Ice surfaces would
reflect more solar radiation
compared to dark blue oceans,
(Figure 4). This means that more
ice sheets or glaciers would
decrease the solar radiation
received by the planet.
Source: marineecology.wcp.muohio.edu

2) Catastrophic event
A catastrophic event such as a volcanic eruption or asteroid collision can
also affect the climate. For example, when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in
1991, it threw up massive amounts of ash and gases (sulfur dioxide)
high into the atmosphere. The gases turned into tiny liquid droplets
that remained suspended for many months. Together with very small
ash particles, this created a natural haze high in the atmosphere which
reduced the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface. This was
enough to cause a measurable drop in global temperatures for about
two years.

3) Composition of the Earth’s atmosphere

The Earth releases the energy it has absorbed from the sun back into
outer space. The amount of energy being emitted by the planet is
determined by the temperature of the planet, and the quantity of
greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere. More details about the
‘greenhouse effect’ are discussed in the following section.


The ‘greenhouse effect’ is a term used to describe a natural feature of the Earth and
many other planets. It refers to the fact that certain gases in a planet’s atmosphere
can cause the temperature at the surface of the planet to be warmer than would be

The Earth receives energy from the sun, but it also gives off the same amount of
energy it receives. This energy is lost to space. Although the total amount of energy
received and lost is the same, the wavelength of the energy is different. Since the sun
is much hotter than the Earth, energy from the sun is shorter in wavelength than the
energy that Earth itself emits.

When solar radiation reaches the planet, a portion of it is reflected by clouds and white
surfaces back to space. Much of this solar radiation passes through the atmosphere
and gets absorbed by the earth’s surface, land and water, (Figure 5).

After absorbing solar energy, the earth radiates some of this energy back to space
in a longer wavelength, known as infrared radiation. However, some gases in the
atmosphere prevent a portion of this radiation from escaping the earth’s atmosphere.
The phenomenon of trapping heat at the surface of earth is called the greenhouse
effect. The gases which are responsible for this are collectively known as greenhouse
gases (GHGs).

Figure 5: Solar energy flow

Source: EPA (2013).

Natural Greenhouse Effect vs. Enhanced Greenhouse Effect
Natural greenhouse effect is very important because it is one of the features of the Earth that enabled life on
the planet. Without GHGs, the average temperature of the Earth will be -18°C which is way below freezing
point! Therefore, we need greenhouse gases (CO2) at the right amount so that the earth’s temperature
would be just right for us (humans) and for a wide range of complex species to live.

However, the balance of natural greenhouse effect is being altered by human activities. We are causing
enhanced greenhouse effect (consequently enhanced global warming) as we send more CO2 and other
GHGs into the air. As the greenhouse effect gets stronger, global temperatures rise and this can upset the
natural systems in the planet (Figure 6). To better understand this, we should investigate the observed
causes of climate change and identify human activities that contribute significantly to enhanced greenhouse
effect (see next module).

Figure 6: Natural
Greenhouse Effect
vs Human-enhanced
Greenhouse Effect

Source: Will Elder,

National Park Service
(from livescience.

Common GHGs include carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, water vapor, nitrous
oxide, and halo-carbons. The chemical formula and common sources of these gases
are summarized in Table 1. It can be seen that each gas has a different amount of
contribution to the greenhouse effect. Water vapor has the highest contribution
because it has a higher global warming potential can absorb/trap energy more
strongly, compared to dominant GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere, and it is also the
most abundant. However, it gets easily converted into other states like clouds or
precipitation so it stays in the atmosphere for only 3-7 days. On the other hand, CO2
accounts for 70 to 80% of the GHGs which stay in the atmosphere for a long period
of time. In fact, on average, a CO2 molecule can stay in the atmosphere for 200 to
300 years! Thus, it is considered as the principal GHG that affects human-induced
global warming on earth.
Table 1: Greenhouse gases on the Earth’s atmosphere

DEFINING ‘climate change‘

Climate change is defined as ‘change of climate which is attributed directly or
indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere,
and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time
periods’ (UNFCCC 2014). This definition stresses the role and responsibility of humans
in bringing about changes in the current global climate.

CLIMate change: a Natural phenomenon?

We have seen the temperature of the Earth fluctuating throughout its existence. These temperature
changes, shifts to ice ages and warm phases, have caused climatic changes in different parts of the planet.
If climate change occurs naturally, what is the problem?

What causes serious concern today is that it seems that the climatic changes we have been experiencing
are happening at a much faster rate compared to previous climatic changes. We, humans, have a huge
responsibility for this because our activities are inducing enhanced greenhouse effect, which lead to the
imbalance of natural systems. Details will be discussed in Module 2.

CLIMate change and global warming

Global warming refers to the recent and ongoing rise in global average temperature near the Earth’s
surface. It is caused mostly by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global
warming is causing climate patterns to change. However, global warming itself represents only one
aspect of climate change.

Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period
of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind
patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer (EPA, 2014).

Natural greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and
methane. Water vapor is part of the water cycle and this serves as one of the factors
that regulate the earth’s temperature. The major sources of other natural GHGs are:

1) Carbon Dioxide
a. Ocean-atmosphere exchange
b. Plant and animal respiration
c. Soil respiration and decomposition
d. Volcanic eruptions
2) Nitrous Oxide
a. Soil under natural vegetation
b. Oceans
c. Atmospheric chemical reactions
3) Methane
a. Wetlands (marshes & swamps)
b. Termites
c. Oceans
d. Leaks from gas deposits
e. Permafrost melting

Investigating CO2 concentration through time

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is considered
Figure 7: CO2 Concentration
as the primary GHG causing global
warming. Scientists make continuous
measurements of CO2 concentration
in the atmosphere at many different
places around the world, which
show that the concentration
of CO2 is steadily increasing.
One such measure is the Keeling
curve (Figure 7). The curve here
shows concentrations measured
at Mauna Loa in Hawaii, where
regular measurement first started
in 1958. Up and down vertical
movement of the curve shows the intake and release of CO2 caused by surges in
plant growth that occur every northern hemisphere spring. That is, CO2 concentration
during the year varies with the season – decreasing during spring when plants are
growing, while increasing during the autumn and winter. The seasonal variation in CO2
concentration is reversed in the southern hemisphere, although the seasonal signal is
less strong there because of greater ocean area in the southern hemisphere.

The measurement of CO2 in air is relatively straightforward, but how do we know the
concentration of CO2 in the air long ago, before modern measurements began, or
before humans had even evolved? How can we make a comparison and say that the
CO2 levels at present are significantly higher than in the past?

One method is by analyzing ancient ice

that has been buried thousands of years
ago. Scientists drill ice cores (vertical
columns of ice, left) from ice sheets or
glaciers in Greenland or Antarctica. These
ice cores contain bubbles of ancient air
that was trapped by layers of snowfall over
time. Important information was revealed
from ice cores (Cherry & Braasch 2008):

Antarctic cores show temperature and CO2 rising and falling together almost
perfectly over many long ice-age cycles up to the current time.
There is more CO2 in the air now than there has been for the whole 800,000
years of the ice core record

Another method of knowing ancient climatic

conditions is through mud cores (left). Similar
to the concept of the ice core, scientists study
layers of mud from the ocean floor. Among
other things, mud cores reveal temperature
conditions in the ocean thousands or millions
of years ago based on the chemistry of the
shells or bodies of organisms buried under
the ocean floor.

Results from various scientific studies serve

Figure 8
as pieces of the puzzle that would answer
some uncertainties on climate change. The
combined results of the Keeling curve and
ice core analysis support the statement
that average global temperature has
increased in parallel with the increase in CO2
concentration in the atmosphere (Figure
8). This suggests that one factor (e.g. CO2
concentration) may be affecting another
factor (e.g. temperature). Resolving the
issue requires important evidence related
to the ability of CO2 to absorb radiation at a

specific range of wavelength upon exposure (see box below). This would explain
how CO2 is identified as the principal GHG, causing enhanced greenhouse effect.
Nevertheless, scientific studies point to the same message: ‘geological and paleo-
climatic evidence makes clear that the present atmospheric CO2 concentrations are
higher than at any time in the last 15 million years’ (World Bank 2012).

Key piece of the puzzle
Let’s review. The Earth receives radiation (shortwave: ultraviolet) from the sun and emits
radiation (longwave: infrared). GHGs absorb infrared radiation emitted by the Earth and prevent
it from escaping back to outer space. This causes the warming of the Earth’s surface through the
greenhouse effect.

Each GHG strongly absorbs radiation at certain wavelengths. CO2 strongly absorbs radiation at
wavelengths within the infrared radiation spectrum. Specifically, it absorbs at the same wave-
lengths in which the Earth radiates the most energy/heat. This is strong evidence that points to
the main reason why increasing CO2 is the likeliest cause for the observed warming.

snapshot from the past
The key premise underlying the idea of a greenhouse effect goes back to
1896. The calculations of CO2’s warming potential were first done then.
Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927) – a Swedish scientist – argued that fewer
volcanic eruptions, which release GHGs in the atmosphere, might have
caused the past ice ages. He pointed out that intense industrial activities,
which produce more GHGs through burning of fossil fuels, can warm up
the world. Through his greenhouse law, he was the first scientist who
attempted to quantify the effect of changes in CO2 concentrations in the
atmosphere on the Earth’s surface temperature.

Human impacts (anthropogenic sources)

There is scientific evidence that the rise in global temperature at present is highly
related to the increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, as shown in the
previous section. So where did all the CO2 come from? This would be answered by
looking at the change in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere over time.

Figure 9 shows the changes in CO2 concentrations starting from 400,000 years ago.
It can be seen that CO2 concentrations fluctuated at the scale of 100,000 years during
the ice age cycles. Natural processes and cycles are thought to have caused these
changes. As evident in the figure, there is a sharp increase in CO2 concentrations that
is way beyond the ‘normal’ fluctuating trend observed from 400,000 to 100,000
years ago.

This can be attributed to human civilization, which have altered the planet significantly
in a relatively short span of time.

The sharp increase in CO2 Figure 9: CO2 concentrations over time

concentrations started at around
the 1700s, the period when the
Industrial Revolution began and
when humans started using fossil
fuels that boosted technological
innovation, such as steam engines
and iron-making. Demands of
modern society have continued
the steep increase in CO2
concentrations, evident at around
1900s up to present.
Image created by Robert A. Rohde/ Global
Warming Art
In another study, the observed
trend in the rise of global
temperature in the 1900s does not Figure 10: Observed ave. temperature rise
follow the same trend or direction
of natural factors such as volcanic
eruptions (Figure 10). Instead,
it has a close match with both
human and natural influences.

These results suggest that global

warming is mainly caused by
human-related activities which
release of GHGs in the atmosphere. Source: EPA (2013)

CO2 absorbs some of the heat energy that the Earth emits.
The amount of CO2 in the air is increasing, and so more heat energy is
absorbed in the air instead of leaving the Earth.
Average global temperature is rising
The rise in global temperature matches with the increased
concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Scientific evidence points that CO2 is the principal GHG responsible for
enhanced greenhouse effect/ global warming.
CO2 concentration has increased because humans have been burning
large quantities of fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Revolution
about 200 years ago.
Fossil fuels burning produces CO2. So it is human activities that release
GHGs into the atmosphere and cause global warming!

Humans have been responsible for emitting GHGs into the atmosphere. What are the sources
of these GHGs? What kinds of activities are the main contributors of these emissions?

There have been many studies that try to identify main causes of anthropogenic GHG
emissions. Activities which contribute significantly to these GHG emissions are:

1. Burning of fossil fuel

Fossil fuels (like petrol and coal) are products of dead plants and animals that were
buried under the earth’s surface millions of years ago. These fossil fuels contain the
carbon those plants and animals absorbed out of the atmosphere. When we burn
them for energy we release that accumulated carbon back into the air as CO2.
At present, fossil fuels are mankind’s primary sources of energy

2. Loss of forest and vegetation

When forests are cut down, the amount of CO2 that could have been absorbed
by the trees is reduced. Worse, if those trees are burned for whatever reason
they add to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is important because it
is estimated that 12.2% of emissions come from cutting down forests.

3. Agriculture

Nitrogen oxide is released when farmers use nitrogen-based fertilizers. Raising

livestock is now also said to contribute to global warming. Methane, which
is more than 20 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2, is produced
by decomposing manure and cows’ digestion systems. Rice production also
contributes 10-15% of total methane production in the world, caused by
microbes in paddy fields.

4. Industrial Processes

An example is cement production. The manufacturing process requires the

burning of limestone which directly releases CO2 into the atmosphere. Indirectly,
the energy source that would fire the process could also be a significant source
of GHG emissions.

5. Waste

When biodegradable waste decomposes, methane is produced. If not properly

disposed, this methane goes directly to the atmosphere. Also, the practice of
burning waste releases CO2 and other GHGs.

The contribution of each of these activities in the total GHG emissions is summarized
in Figure 11. As evident, burning of fossil fuels, including power stations, transportation
fuels, fossil fuel manufacturing, and residential and commercial sources, accounts
for more than half of total GHGs emitted. This is followed by industrial processes,
agricultural by-products, land-use and biomass burning, and waste treatment.

Figure 11: Sources of Human-caused GHG Emissions

Source: Woodward (2008)

Low-Carbon Development

Modern life with all the technologies that we have is a product of Industrial Revolution. We would
not have developed - no mobile phones, no internet, no electricity, no vehicles (motorcycles or
motor boats), no man on the moon, the list goes on. We would not have known about climate
change without the technologies that we now have.

The point is, modern life has been created because of the activities that produced GHGs. The call
now is to be able to develop while emitting less GHGs – low-carbon development.

It can be observed that more than half of the country’s GHGs come from the energy
sector, which involves the use of fossil fuels for electricity and transport (Figure 12).
In order to reduce GHGs, there is a need to diversify energy sources by incorporating
more renewable energy (discussed in Module 6). The second major GHG source is
agriculture. Farmers should be able, and assisted, to adopt sustainable farming
practices or technologies, such as the capturing of methane from agricultural animals.
The other two main sources are waste and industry. There is a challenge to treat waste
in such a way wherein methane is captured and used as an energy source, closing the
energy-waste ‘loop’, or ensure that the waste is treated so that it does not release


Figure 12: Major GHG sources in the Philippines

Source: 2000 Philippine GHG Inventory (Image: Klima-MO)

Identify sources of GHG emissions in each barangay. Consider the following: sources
of energy at home, electric appliances, modes of transportation, agricultural activities,
waste management, industries (if applicable).

In many different places all over the world, scientists have recorded changes in
the features which make up the climate: i.e., day and night temperatures, rainfall,
humidity, and winds. The extent of the changes is not the same everywhere, but the
general movement is clear – the climate is changing. For example, we are starting to
experience stretches of hot, sunny days during the rainy season. Other countries might
be experiencing shorter winters or hotter summers. The general direction is towards
a warmer world, although in a few places, there may even be cooler temperatures for
part of the year, caused by changed ocean currents.

This module will look at the signs and evidence that climate change is happening. It is
important to take notice of these signs as they might indicate other bigger impacts. It
is also important to remember that Earth’s systems are interrelated – an upset in one
system can significantly affect others.


Figure 13: Web of climate change impacts

What are the effects of climate
change? Are we experiencing
them already? It is important
to note that a number of
phenomena is connected to the
Earth’s climate. Figure 13 shows
the web of these interrelated
climate impacts. Direct impacts
are those in the inner circle (light
orange) while indirect impacts are
those in the outer circle (orange).
Understanding them is important
Source: EPA 2013 as we are all affected by these
impacts in one way or another.

1) Increase in atmospheric temperature

This refers to the observable increase in average atmospheric temperatures. It is

estimated that the global average temperature has increased by 0.8°C compared
to the pre-industrial level (WB 2014). As shown in Figure 14, this has led to multiple
impacts: more evaporation, warming of oceans, melting of ice sheets/glaciers, extreme
weather events (stronger typhoons and drought), etc.

Average Global Temperature Anomalies from 1880-2014 (NASA video)
The main objective of the video is to show that the Earth
has been experiencing higher temperatures compared
to decades ago. It shows temperature changes for
130 years. This is proof that the planet is warming.
SOURCE: NASA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtPkFBbJLMg)

2) Shrinking ice caps and melting glaciers

As global temperatures rise, areas covered

by snow and ice start to melt and shrink. One
concrete example is the observed decrease
in the area of the Arctic ice compared to
the average minimum area (area inside the
yellow line, left).

When ice sheets or glaciers melt,

Photo: NASA Goddard’s Scientific more water enters the oceans causing
Visualization Studio/Cindy Starr (2013) sea levels to rise. In some places, the
water from melting glaciers leads to localized flooding, as the water surges through rivers and
lakes on its way to the sea.

Moreover, reducing the area of ice cover on Earth means less white areas that reflect sunlight.
This is especially true when ocean ice melts, as is happening now in the Arctic, because the
dark blue of the sea underneath absorbs the incoming solar radiation far more than does the
bright ice. This extra absorbed heat contributes further to warming the planet

3) Warming Oceans

Oceans have absorbed about 90% of additional heat energy from increased GHGs
concentrations since 1955. When oceans warm up, more water vapor escapes to the
atmosphere, leading to more rainfall in the form of more intense heavy rainfall events
(e.g. typhoons). Increased ocean warming also changes both ocean currents and
surface winds, causing some parts of the world to lose moisture because of changes to
their particular prevailing winds. This leads to increased rainfall for one area and severe
droughts for another.

Also, the warming of oceans leads to sea level rise and impacts marine ecosystems. As
an example, warm waters cause coral bleaching – whitening of corals as a response to
stress – which eventually kill the corals. Warmer oceans also absorb less CO2, resulting
in less phytoplankton for consumption of aquatic plants and animals.

4) Ocean acidification

When CO2 enters water, some of it reacts chemically with the water molecules to create
carbonic acid and bicarbonate. It is estimated that the oceans have absorbed around
30% of anthropogenic (produced by human activities) CO2, which has decreased the pH
level at the ocean’s surface by 0.1, a 30% decrease. This has direct implications for marine
ecosystems, especially for shell creatures and coral reefs. Increases in ocean acidity are
more pronounced at higher latitudes than in the tropics or subtropics (WB 2012).

5) Changing ecosystems

Plants and animals are more sensitive than humans to climatic changes. A study
reveals that 80% of species – birds, mollusks, mammals, grasses, and trees – have
been changing their behavior and patterns as a result of climate change. Moreover,
warm weather can encourage the growth of certain species, for example, insects or
weeds. Climate change can disrupt the balanced ecological relationships resulting
in the dominance of certain species and loss of biodiversity. Evidence of a changing
environment include:

flowers blooming earlier (e.g. cherry blossoms are blossoming 6-7 days earlier
than they did in 1970’s, while most plants were flowering 4-5 days earlier) due
to rising temperature
butterflies (checkerspot) changing its range by shifting to the north
tropical animals (birds, frogs, and tree possums) moving higher up to the
mountains for more desirable temperature and moisture conditions.
50 species of frogs in Central America (harlequin toad) have not been seen.
Some are thought to have become extinct because of a fungus that thrives in
warmer temperature
polar bears not surviving well with decreased natural habitat and babies being
born smaller
penguins traveling longer distances to find food
forests in the north are changing because cold-climate trees are unable to
cope with warm temperatures

6) Rising sea level

As oceans warm, the water expands and causes an increase in sea level. Also, as
the ice caps and glaciers melt, water that has been locked as ice flows into the
oceans. Other causes of sea level rise are identified in Figure 14. This presents a
serious threat for cities or communities situated along the coast or in low-lying
areas. It is estimated that the average global sea level rise has been in the range
of 15 to 20 centimeters over the 20th century (World Bank 2012).

Figure 14: Factors causing sea level rise

Source: Briggs (2001)

7) Extreme weather events

Extreme weather events – such as drought, violent typhoons – have always happened.
But the extremes appear to be growing stronger, and the number of such extreme
events around the world seems to be increasing. For example, a strong heat wave
caused 55,000 deaths and economic losses up to USD15 billion in Russia. Observations
showed that across the globe, areas which experience severe heat have increased by
ten times since the 1950s (World Bank 2012). Similarly, areas affected by drought have
significantly increased over the last 50 years. It is also estimated that the 2012 drought
experienced by the US was its worst drought since the 1950s and affected 80% of
agricultural land.

On the other hand, some areas are experiencing severe flooding caused by heavy rainfall
and strong typhoons. Either way, extreme weather events have serious implications
on economic growth as they can affect agricultural and industrial productivity.


The major climate change impacts described in the previous section could further
lead to other impacts that could alter life on the planet. Climate change impacts pose
serious threats to different aspects of human life, both directly and indirectly (Table 2).

Table 2: Specific impacts that can be caused by climate change.

The future of climate change is faced with a lot of uncertainties., because human
choices will affect how climate change will progress or regress. Experts have tried
to predict future effects of climate change depending on possible human actions.
One example is shown below (Figure 15 a & b). If we do nothing to reduce our
emissions (A2-high emissions scenario), we can expect temperatures to increase
rapidly (orange lines). If we act now to decrease our emissions significantly (B1-low
emissions scenario), we can expect temperature rise at a slower pace (green lines).

Figure 15a: Estimated increase in GHG emissions

Figure 15b: Estimated increase in temperature

Source: EPA (2013)

For a clearer picture, an estimation of the world’s average temperature in 2090 is

shown in Figure 16. As may be seen, many areas are in the high temperature range
(red and orange) – especially areas near the equator, including the Philippines.

Figure 16: Estimated increase in global average temperature

At present, most scientists are predicting a 2°C increase in average global temperature
by the end of the century. They also fear that current actions to address climate
change at the global level – nations’ UNFCCC commitments – would most likely lead
to a 3-4°C warming (World Bank 2012).

Figure 17 shows how things are expected to change in terms of small increases in
global temperature. Even a one-degree increase in temperature can affect certain
species, which can eventually lead to major changes in the ecosystem. Incremental
changes in the global temperature can impact supply of food, water, and ecosystems.

Figure 17: Projected Impact of Climate Change Global Temperature Change

Scientists are anticipating, in the long run, a 4°C rise in global mean temperature. The
effects of this will not be evenly distributed across the globe. Here are the projected

Massive sea level rise – Sea level rise is projected to be around 20% higher in
the tropics (near the Equator) compared to those at higher latitudes. Many scientists
are convinced that at the current rate sea levels will rise by more than 1 meter by
2100. However, if the combined ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica melt, sea level
could rise by up to 25 meters

High temperature extremes – There would be more instances

of high temperature extremes. Tropical islands in the Pacific, including the
Philippines) would regularly experience longer and more intense heat waves.
Extreme high temperatures could also lead to collapse of some natural systems

Acidic oceans – The oceans’ acidity can increase by around 150%, which will
have adverse consequences on marine species and ecosystems. A 4°C increase would
mean extinction of coral reef systems. This ‘would have profound consequences
for their dependent species and for people who depend on them for food, income,
tourism and shoreline protection’ (World Bank 2012)

Water scarcity and decrease of agricultural productivity – due to higher

incidence of drought and extreme high temperature

Health impacts – Increased mortality due to extreme temperature and

weather events and higher risks of disease

Further global warming – Forest fires and melting of permafrost (frozen
vegetation) could release significant amount of CO2 and CH4 in the atmosphere that
shall intensify the greenhouse effect.

We have discussed what is happening and what is expected to happen at the global
scale. Now, it is also important to know climate change impacts in the Philippines.
What have we been experiencing in the recent years or decades? What are the
impacts that are evident and how are these expected (projected) to change in the
future? The observed trends below are climate projections for 2020 and 2050 in a
mid-range scenario.


1) Rising average temperature

Temperature observations from 1951 to 2010 reveal an annual increase in
temperature at a rate of 0.01°C per year with a total increase of 0.64°C for the
whole period. How annual mean teperatures have changed from normal values,
taken at the period 1971-2000, is shown in Figure 18.

Also, there is an observed increase in both maximum (+0.35 °C) and minimum
(+0.94 °C) temperatures. Consistent with these, the number of hot days have
been increasing, while the number of cool nights have been decreasing.

Figure 18: Average Temperature Anomalies

2) Frequency and Intensity of Tropical Cyclones

Figure 19 indicates the tracks and intensity of tropical cyclones globally. On average, 20
tropical cyclones enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) every year. There is no
indication of increase in frequency but, there is an observed slight increase in typhoon
intensity, more typhoons with sustained winds greater than 150kph, during El Nino years.

Figure 19: Tracks and Intensity of tropical cyclones

Source: Robert A. Rohde, Global Warming Art (nasa.gov)


1) Change in average temperature

It is projected that the average temperature across the country will rise by 0.9-
1.1°C in 2020 and by 1.8-2.2°C in 2050. The projected seasonal temperature change
(in °C) is mapped out in Figure 20a. It is evident that we are expecting a hotter
future, especially during summer months. This would have serious implications as
we are expecting a 2°C increase by the middle of the 21st century.
2) Change in seasonal rainfall

Amount of rainfall is expected to decrease during the summer season (March-

May) and to increase during the rest of the year for most parts of the country.
This means, the Philippines can expect dry months to be drier and wet months to
be wetter. Projected rainfall change (in % increase or decrease) is mapped out in
Figure 20b.

Figure 20a: Projected seasonal temperature increase

Figure 20b: Projected seasonal rainfall change

Source: PAGASA, 2015 (pagasa.dost.gov.ph)


A study conducted by the Manila Observatory and Department of Environment

and Natural Resources (DENR) indicates provinces that are most at risk to projected
climate- and weather-related hazards, using 2080 climatology (Figure 23).

In summary, the following areas are identified:

1) Temperature increase: Central Visayas and Mindanao

2) Rainfall change: Central and South Luzon, Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas

3) Typhoons (including tropical depressions, tropical storms, typhoons and super

typhoons): Northern Luzon, Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas

4) El Niño: Central and West Mindanao

5) Combined Risks (aggregation of above-mentioned risks): Bicol Region and

Eastern Visayas

Climate Change IMPACTS

1) Drought and Water Scarcity

The projected increase in temperature, number of hot days, and decrease in rainfall during
dry season will mean higher risks to water scarcity and severe drought in some areas in
the country. There has been an observed decrease in rice yield associated with increase of
temperature and this can worsen in the future.

2) Stronger Typhoons

The country has been experiencing stronger

and more destructive typhoons for the past
decade. Climate change renders this trend
as the “new normal”. To better prepare for
these, DOST-PAGASA released a new public
storm warning signal, which includes a “super
typhoon” category.

Photo (left): Supertyphoon Haiyan as it

approaches the Philippines

Photo (below): PAGASA’s modified public storm warning signal

3) Ocean Warming and Acidification

The Philippines has a rich marine

biodiversity, which will be severely
impacted by warming and acidification
of ocean waters. This could destroy coral
reefs and other endangered marine
species. During the 1997-1998 El Niño
event, there was an observed massive
coral bleaching throughout the country.
This could worsen in the future.

4) Sea Level Rise

The Philippines is the among the highly

vulnerable countries to sea level rise, storm
surges and extreme floods (World Bank 2012).
Several major cities are located along the coast
and many communities in small islands.

According to a study (Clavano 2012), several

provinces in the eastern side of the country,
particularly those located at coastal areas
below sea level, are more prone to sea level rise
compared to the west (left). Coastal vulnerability
is determined by sea level rise, coastal slope, tidal
range, and mean significant wave height.

5) Health Impacts
The projected increase in average temperature and number of hot days could increase
risks related to vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, and leptospirosis.
Increased incidence of flooding could spread water-borne diseases such as diarrhea.

One main strategy to address climate change is to lessen its scale and/or rate of
change. This strategy is known as climate change mitigation. Since climate change
is caused by the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from human
activities, there are two broad methods to mitigate climate change: 1) reduce the
GHG emissions and 2) capture CO2 from the atmosphere in a process called carbon
sequestration. Each method will be discussed in detail.

The most common strategy for climate change mitigation is reducing the amount
of GHGs that is being released into the atmosphere. The previous section already
identified the main causes of human-induced GHGs from various sectors. This gives
us a general idea on what and how to approach the challenge.

However, it is important to acknowledge that each country, community, and

individual differs in terms of characteristics, activities and priorities. Thus, each
would have different sources and levels of GHG emissions. Figure 21 clearly illustrates
the level of emissions of each country in the world. At present, China is the top CO2
emitter in the world due to its rapid economic development in recent years and its
heavy reliance on coal-burning.

Figure 21: Global CO2 Emissions

Source: Rogers & Evans (2011)

In order to come up with specific strategies to cut emissions, it is important to analyze

the context of a specific country/community/individual, depending on the focus, –
the main GHG sources and level of GHG emissions in a specific area.

GHG ACCOUNTING Table 3: Global Warming
Potential Values
The process of identifying sources, quantifying
and organizing information about GHG emissions
based on common standards and protocols is called
GHG accounting or carbon auditing. The main
goal is to determine GHG sources and emissions
of an entity, community, city, or country. The list
of GHG emissions and the level of emissions of this
accounting is a GHG inventory. This serves as an
important step for designing emission reduction

Experts have also developed the Global Warming

Potential (GWP), a value used to compare the
contributions to global warming of different GHGs.
Each GHG has an assigned GWP value, as indicated
in the IPCC report (Table 3). GWP serves as a
conversion factor for non-CO2 GHGs to carbon
dioxide equivalent (CO2e). It is calculated
based on a specific time frame, most commonly
100 years, in order to consider both impact and
length of time the gas remains in the atmosphere.

Another term – carbon footprint – is defined as

a measure of the total amount of carbon dioxide
(CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions of a defined
population, system, or activity, taking into account
all relevant sources, sinks, and storage. The
carbon footprint is more commonly known at the
individual level. Each of us leaves a carbon footprint
in everything that we do.

Show Simpleshow’s “The Carbon Footprint”

This explains Carbon Footprint in simple terms.



Some LGUs have conducted the GHG inventory in the city or municipality. If data is
already available, it would be very useful to invite somebody from the LGU to talk
about the major sources of GHG as well as identified carbon sinks in the locality.

As an introduction, include the characteristics and profile of the locality. By doing so,
students will have an idea on the kind of development that they are promoting

If no data is available yet, a checklist may be provided to help the city planning or
environmental officer toidentify potential GHG sources in their locality. The checklist
can include:

o Modes of transportation within/into/from the locality
o Fuels being used/available
o Sources of fuels
o Source
o Means of distribution
o Consumption of the locality
o Big consumers of electricity
Residential Sector
o Energy source at home
o Electric appliances normally used at home
o Common agricultural livelihood
(for example, crops produced, livestock)
o Common fishery livelihood
Solid waste management
o Segregation
o Collection
o Disposal
o Types of industries/factories
Power plants
o Type of power plant
o Size of power plant


The energy sector accounts for more than 60% of global GHG emissions. While we
are not yet prepared to completely stop the use of fossil fuels as energy sources,
there have been efforts to promote sustainable energy in order for people to be less
reliant on fossil fuels. Two strategies are:

1) Energy efficiency
This refers to being smart in using energy (minimum use). By practicing energy
efficiency, you can save the environment, contribute to mitigating climate change,
and save money. Energy efficient practices include:

use of energy efficient devices/appliances/infrastructure

- use of fluorescent over incandescent light bulbs: a compact
fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) is 75% more energy-efficient than
a regular lightbulb. CFL has a longer lifespan and cheaper to
use in the long run

use of fuel-efficient cars

- improving the insulation of buildings – use of curtains or better
construction materials
- improving building design – for example making use of natural
light through bigger windows or maximizing ventilation
through open spaces

preventing unnecessary use of electricity and fuel

- turning off appliances when not in use
- pulling plugs to avoid ‘ghost power’ – electicity used by appliances
that are plugged in when not in use
- carpooling – sharing a ride with other people
- use of public transportation
- walking or using bicycles
- no idling of vehicles

Household energy saving tips (Source: DOE-AREC 2013)

1) on lighting
a. replace incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent lamp
b. use appropriate wattage for the lighting purpose
c. plan the location of lighting fixtures
d. put off lights that are not needed
e. clean the tubes of the lamp regularly
f. use natural lighting when feasible
2) on cooking
a. match the pan/cookware size with the heating plate
b. thaw frozen food before cooking
c. set to medium or low heat when the water/food is already boiling
d. plan before you cook
e. do not reheat food using the electric stove
3) On washing and ironing
a. use the right size of washing machine for your need
b. soak clothes in detergents before loading up in the washing machine
c. do not over-wash the clothes
d. do not overload the unit
e. do all the ironing at one time
f. iron heavy clothes first and dampen clothes moderately
g. avoid watching TV and doing other things while ironing
h. use iron with thermostat/select the appropriate heat level for the clothes
4) on using the refrigerator
a. use the right size of unit for your need
b. ensure that there is no leakage at the door seal
c. avoid frequent opening of the door
d. defrost the refrigerator once a week
e. buy a refrigerator with an energy efficiency label
f. clean the condenser tube regularly
5) on cooling and ventilation
a. use the right size of unit for your need
b. use air-conditioner with timer/ecozone
c. put of unit when not needed
d. determine your comfort level
e. buy a unit with higher energy efficiency ratio (EER) or yellow tag
f. place the unit in a ventilated area and regularly clean the condenser and
g. use the right size of fan for your need
h. turn off the fan when not needed
i. determine your comfort level
j. avoid using the oscillator
6) on using gadgets and other appliances
a. use electric airpot sparingly
b. limit/shorten the use of TV/computer
c. do not put VCR/TV/stereo/computer on stand-by mode
d. turn off battery or cellphone charger when charging is complete


1) Reduce the number of units that are being used.
2) Use low rating smaller unit appliance/equipment.
3) Reduce the operating hours/frequency of use of appliance/equipment.
4) Use appliances/equipment with higher efficiency rating.
5) Find other alternative ways of doing things.

2) Renewable energy (RE)
Renewable energy refers to energy sources that are not reliant on carbon fuel use
but on sources that can be used over and over. These sources are part of nature
and can be used as long as the earth exists. Famous renewable energy sources are
summarized in Table 4.

Table 4: Renewable Energy Sources

Another renewable energy source which is not included in the table above is biogas.
It uses methane and carbon dioxide from waste – animal, plant, food or agricultural
waste in an anaerobic process, closed space without oxygen). The good thing about
biogas is it captures would be harmful GHGs waste and converts it into an energy
source. This cyclical approach to the use of natural resources is starting to gain
popularity in an effort to promote sustainable development in cities. This option
should be considered in very dense cities in order to ease the burden of using fossil
fuels as an energy source.

As mentioned earlier, everybody contributes in emitting CO2 in the atmosphere through
every activity that we do. There are ways to know a person’s or a household’s carbon
footprint by looking at the energy use at home, modes of transportation, shopping choices,
and waste management practices.

Ask students to assess the level of GHG emissions in their households by providing a score
sheet which asks simple things about their households. Below is a sample score sheet
used in Kumamoto, Japan. The total score would reflect the potential for the student to
reduce more CO2. Please note that this score sheet is based on the Japanese context.
There is a need to contextualize this depending on the target youth participants.

Table 5: Sample score sheet to calculate carbon footbprint at home

Source: Nagata, 2013

Another option is to compute for energy consumption in the household. Record
the consumption for last year and this year and the difference would be the energy
consumption saved in one year. Multiplying this to the emission factor (provided by the
government) would enable the students to identify their reduction in CO2 emissions. A
sample template from Kumamoto, Japan is shown below.

Table 6: Sample template for computing energy consumption at home

Source: Nagata, 2013

There are carbon footprint calculators which are available online (Table 7). Although
the context might be different (questions were designed for people from the country
it was developed), these would provide a rough estimate of GHG emissions of a
household or an individual. Cool the World has cool visuals, but Ecological Footprint
is country-specific.

Table 7: Available online carbon footprint calculators

CAPTURING/Storing c from the atmosphere

Another strategy that could mitigate climate change is by capturing and/or storing
CO2 from the atmosphere, known as carbon sequestration. This can be done by
making use of natural processes or through technological innovations (Figure 23).

One common and easily adopted natural means of capturing carbon is by planting
trees. Trees use CO2 to grow. Tree planting can be effective at absorbing CO2 for as
long as the trees are growing; when a tree is mature and stops growing, it is no
longer a net carbon absorber. If the planted trees die, they will naturally rot and all
the carbon will reach the atmosphere again. If the planted trees are deliberately
harvested/chopped down the CO2 can also return to the atmosphere. It all depends
on the fate of the wood. If the wood is burnt, the CO2 goes straight back into the air. If
the wood is used for paper, it may be a few years before this happens; and if the wood
is used for durable goods such as furniture it may be decades or centuries before the
carbon returns to the air. Trees also contribute to providing cooler temperatures in
their surroundings because of its leaves and shade.

Figure 22: Carbon Sequestration Methods

Amazingly, there are carbon

capture and storage (CCS)
technologies that can capture
CO2 being emitted from coal-
fired power plants and bury it
deep into impermeable soil.
This can be injected directly
into old oil wells or coal mines
to help replenish supply
(cyclical approach). There is a
concern, however, that some
of the CO2 may leak out after
some period of time. Also, there
Source: Earth Ethics, 2011
is a technology that converts
coal into natural gas (methane)
underground and the process
separates CO2 emissions and
pumps the CO2 back into the
coal seams (Figure 22).

Climate change is already happening! Mitigation actions are important to slow it down
and reduce projected impacts, but it will take time for these actions to take effect. Even
if we stop our emissions now (which is impossible), global temperature will continue
to rise for the next 30 years because the CO2 we have emitted in the atmosphere
will stay there for decades and the heat absorbed by the ocean will also be released.
Also, at the rate of current policies and programs both planned and existing, experts
predict a warming greater than a 2-degree increase in temperature (World Bank 2012).
Therefore, climate change will proceed and its impacts will continue to be experienced.
Thus, we have to prepare, to reduce the risks of disasters, and to have the capacity to
adapt to the projected impacts of climate change. This refers to another main strategy
of climate change which is climate change adaptation. Adaptation is defined as ‘any
adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic
stimuli or effects which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities’ (IPCC).

Before identifying actions needed to adapt to climate change, it is important to know

how we will be affected and what are the things that we have to prepare for. However,
the effects of climate change vary across countries and even across provinces within a
country. How does this vary and what are the factors that contribute to this deviation
can be explained by the concept of vulnerability.


Vulnerability refers to the degree to which a system (for example, a group of people, a
community, a country) is prone to, or unable to cope with harmful impacts of climate
change. It is a function of the character, magnitude and rate of climate variation to
which a system is exposed; its sensitivity; and adaptive capacity (IPCC, 2007).

1. Exposure - the nature and degree to which a system is exposed to significant

climatic changes. The two main elements to consider in exposure are:
a. Things that can be affected by climate change: populations,
resources, property
b. Change in climate itself: sea level rise, precipitation and temperature
2. Sensitivity - the degree to which a system is affected (positively or negatively)
by climate-related changes. It is basically the biophysical effect of
climate change, which can be altered by socio-economic changes. The
effect may be:
a. Direct: a change in crop yield in response to a change in the mean,
range, or variability of temperature
b. Indirect: damages caused by an increase in the frequency of coastal
flooding due to sea-level rise
3. Adaptive capacity - the ability of a system to adjust to climate change,
to reduce potential damage, to take advantage of opportunities or to
cope with consequences

Vulnerability is high when exposure and/or sensitivity is high and when adaptive
capacity is low. That is, the greater the adaptive capacity, the lesser is the vulnerability.
Therefore, reducing vulnerability would involve reducing exposure through specific
measures like building a dyke in case of sea level rise, or increasing adaptive capacity
through activities that are closely aligned with development priorities.

Why is it important to know vulnerabilities to climate change?

It is important to know the vulnerability of a particular population because these

would determine the appropriate adaptation actions. This is done by predicting
climate impacts and conducting a vulnerability assessment in that area. Results of
these studies can inform and guide the development of policies and programs that
would reduce potential damage caused by climate change.


Figure 23

Source: UNU-DSR, 2011

Vulnerable countries are those with high exposure to natural hazards, those who
have a high likelihood of suffering damages when hit by a disaster (in terms of living
conditions and societal framework), and those who lack capacity to cope and adapt
to the consequences of disasters (Figure 23). According to the World Risk Index (2011)
conducted by United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human
Security and the German Alliance Development Works (2011), the Philippines is third
in the list of most vulnerable countries to natural disasters (24.32% disaster risk). This
rank was measured according to: 1) exposure to natural disaster like storms, floods,
earthquakes, droughts and sea level rise, 2) susceptibility to damage based on the
state of their economy and infrastructure, and 3) the countries’ ability to respond to
these disasters through preparedness measures and early warning systems.

In another study, the World Bank ranked vulnerable countries for each specific climate
change risk (Table 8). It can be seen that the Philippines ranked as the most vulnerable
country in terms of facing more intense typhoons. This is not surprising. In fact, the
country has faced a series of catastrophic typhoons in the past five years including
the strongest typhoon to hit land in human recorded history (Table 9). It can be seen
that these destructive typhoons have caused serious property and infrastructure
damages affecting the economy, and more importantly those disasters led to loss
of hundreds and thousands of lives. An investigation of the damage reports of these
strong typhoons showed the importance of giving special attention to vulnerable
areas to flooding, landslides, and storm surges.

Table 8: Most vulnerable countries per climate change impact

Table 9: Destructive typhoons that hit the Philippines in the past 5 years

Areas that are vulnerable to climate change are those with high risks of being
impacted by its effects. Table 10 provides a simplified list of vulnerable areas for each
predicted impact, while Figure 24 shows climate change vulnerability(ies) of different
regions in the Philippines.

Table 10: Vulnerable areas to climate change

Figure 24: Climate change vulnerabilities in the Philippines

Source: DENR, 2012

The projected impacts of climate change and the vulnerabilities of the Philippines
have been discussed in Module 5 (Climate change in the Philippines). For the students
to feel that impacts or risks are being felt in their city/municipality or even in their
barangays, it is important to seek participation of the local government. If possible,
ask a representative from the LGU who would talk about the city/municipality’s
initiatives for climate change adaptation. For example,

policies or action plans in place (DRRM action plan, local climate action plan,
climate proofing of comprehensive land use plan)
local climate projections,
perceived climate vulnerabilities
past experiences of typhoons, flooding, drought, heat waves, and other
climatic events
hazard maps – flood, erosion, storm surges, rain-induced landslide

It would be very useful for the youth to be aware of vulnerabilities of their city/
municipality to climatic hazards. It is suggested to show areas that were actually
affected and also those areas prone to flooding, drought, and sea level rise by
projecting the map of the city/municipality. Ask the participants to look carefully at
their specific barangays.

Field Visit to vulnerable areas
A visit to identified or potential vulnerable areas is highly recommended. The site can be a coastal
area, a low-lying area, a drought-prone area, or any of those areas identified in Table 10. The
selection of area(s) to be visited would depend on results of the vulnerability assessment from the
local government (if available).
A field visit would serve as a good exposure and experience
for the youth. They would see an actual place with high
risks of being affected by the impacts of climate change.
This would also give them a chance to communicate to the
local residents and ask questions about perceived changes
in weather events, coastline movement, and amount of
precipitation at present compared to past conditions.
Photo: A field visit in a coastal barangay in Tubigon, Bohol (ICLEI SEAS). The youth participants also learned
about social problems like informal settlers who are forced to live in vulnerable areas along the coast (high
risks of sea level rise, flooding and storm surges).

community mapping
Ask the students to draw a map of their barangay, including residential areas, government offices,
parks, schools, open areas, agricultural lots, mountains, rivers, major and minor roads, among
others. Then, let them identify what they perceive as dangerous & safe locations in terms of climate
impacts as well as other disasters, best routes for safe evacuation, environmental hazards (e.g.
garbage, quicksand, wells). Each group will be asked to present and explain their work. It would be
very beneficial if representatives from the local government and other guest speakers/experts could
provide comments or suggestions.
This activity can enable participants to be even more
familiar with their own community and apply what they
have learned about climate vulnerability. This way, they will
be able to share what they have learned to their barangay.


It is not enough to know projected climate impacts and vulnerabilities. The next step
is to identify solutions that could lessen these vulnerabilities and thus reduce risks of
disasters. How do we reduce vulnerabilities?

Any specific action aimed at managing future climate risk and vulnerabilities is an
adaptation strategy. Each vulnerable sector requires a specific adaptation strategy
that would enable the population to better deal with climate impacts and prevent loss
and damage. Any adaptation strategy must be flexible and continuously updated to
deal with new impacts (climate uncertainties). It must be matched to the local needs
of the community because different communities in the same region would have
different priorities. Moreover, recognition should be given to indigenous knowledge
by involving the community – what they think have been happening and what they
think could be probable solutions.

Adaptation strategies can address one sector or several sectors (cross-cutting).

It can be:
anticipatory – actions done before the impacts are observed
reactive – actions done when the initial impacts have been evident
planned – deliberate policy decision
autonomous – triggered independent actions
hard measure – something tangible such as building dykes to prevent
soft measure – awareness raising and capacity building such as educating
farmers about climate change

Example adaptation strategies for each sector are listed in Table 11. Please note that
context is very important. Not everything in the list is applicable to every barangay
or city/municipality. The aim of putting this list is simply to give an idea of measures
which can aid communities and local governments in adapting to climate change.

Table 11: Sample adaptation strategies


1 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – scientific body formed by United

Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization. It is
composed of members from different countries which assesses studies that would enable
better understanding of climate change. It has an authority in terms of climate change
studies because those studies have been agreed to by expert climate scientists and member
governments. Its main activity is preparing the Assessment Report which describes the
progress of climate change in the world.

2 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – an international

treaty which is mainly aimed at keeping the concentration of greenhouse gases at levels
that will not have dangerous effect to the climate system of the earth. This agreement was
formulated during the Earth Summit held at Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. Currently, 195
parties (countries) signed this treaty.

3 Conference of Parties (COP) – refer to the supreme decision-making body of the

UNFCCC. The parties which signed UNFCCC since 1995, have annual meetings to assess the
implementation of the Convention and the progress of their climate change actions.

Kyoto Protocol – a product of COP 3 held in Kyoto, Japan in 1997. It is an international

4 treaty that legally binds developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions for
a set period of time. It is worth-noting that the US, biggest CO2 emitter during that time,
did not ratify this agreement. Also, China and India, which have been experiencing rapid
economic growth (high emitters), were not required to reduce their emissions because they
were still classified as developing countries when the treaty was signed.

The Kyoto Protocol has three flexibility mechanisms that can be used to aid developed
countries which signed the agreement to meet their targets. These mechanisms are:
a. International Emissions Trading (“carbon market”) – developed countries
which were able to reduce their emissions lower than their target can gain “carbon credit”.
This credit can be sold to those countries which cannot meet their targets.
b. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – developed countries can invest in an
emission-reduction project in developing countries. By doing so, developed countries can
earn “certified emission reduction (CER) credit”, (1 credit = 1 tonne of CO2) which they can use
to meet their targets.
c. Joint Implementation – developed countries can invest in an emission-
reduction project in other developed countries (also a member of the protocol). By doing so,
developed countries can earn “emission reduction unit (ERU)”, (1 unit = 1 tonne of CO2) which
they can use to meet their targets.

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is a
mechanism that aims to put value on forests because they contain a lot of stored carbon.
Deforestation causes high emissions because it releases much of the stored carbon. A growing
forest (as opposed to a mature forest) has the ability to absorb CO2. REDD offers financial
incentives to people (especially in developing countries) to protect and keep the forest, giving
compensation for restricted economic activity.

Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) is a commitment by a country,
outlining climate actions it plans to implement under a new international climate agreement.
Signatories of the UNFCCC were asked to submit and publicly declare their INDCs before COP
21 in Paris, 2015. These will shape the new climate agreement that will be concluded.

Show “How does the emission trading Show “The history of climate change
scheme work?” negotiation in 83 seconds”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReOj12UAus4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B11kASPfYxY
This video This animated video
presents the demonstrates the
emission difficulty in forming a
trading scheme consensus for reducing
in an easy to emissions because several
understand countries refuse to reduce
animation. their emissions.


1) Inter-Agency Committee on Climate Change (IACCC) was established in 1991 - a year

before the establishment of UNFCCC.

2) The Philippines signed UNFCCC in 1992. As a signatory of the Convention, it is required

to submit its National Communication to the UNFCCC, specifying the country’s efforts to
address climate change. The Initial National Communication was submitted in 2000, while
the Second National Communication in 2014.

3) The Philippines ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2003. The country participates in the Clean
Development Mechanism. Some projects that were issued with CERs (total of 164,460)
• Northwind Bangui Bay Project (Ilocos Norte)
• QC Controlled Disposal Facility Biogas Emissions Reduction Project (Quezon City)
• Waste Heat Recovery Generation Project, Villanueva (Misamis Oriental)
• Superior Hog Farms Methane Recovery (Tarlac City)

4) Other policies related to CC:

• Executive Order 318 of 2004 – Promoting sustainable forest management
in the Philippines
• Republic Act 9867 – Biofuels Act of 2006
• Republic Act 9513 – Renewable Energy Act of 2008

5) Republic Act 9729: Climate Change Act of 2009 which main objective is to
mainstream climate change into government policies, strategies and programs and
to establish the framework strategy and program on climate change. It also created
the Climate Change Commission (CCC).

6) National Framework Strategy on Climate Change

Long-term objective: facilitate the transition towards low
GHGs for sustainable development
• energy efficiency and conservation
• renewable energy
• environmentally sustainable transport
• sustainable infrastructure
• national REDD+ strategy
• waste management

7) The Commission has developed the National Climate Change Action Plan
(NCCAP) for 2011 to 2028 which identifies the country’s seven priorities (left).

8) Republic Act 10174 - established the People’s Survival Fund, a fund allocated
from the national budget to finance climate change adaptation programs and projects.
Local governments and civil organizations accredited by the CCC, can access the fund.

9) The Philippines’ Intended Nationally Determined Contribution states the

Mitigation: ‘The PH intends to undertake GHG reduction of about 70% by 2030
relative to its business as usual scenario of 2000-2030...The mtigation contribution is
conditioned to the extent of financial resources, including tehcnology development
and transfer, and capacity building, that will be made available to the PH’
Adaptation: The Philippines ‘prioritizes adaptation and adopts it as the anchor
strategy’ as indicated in the NFSCC and NCCAP

Show “Earthbook” video clip
This video presents the
history of the earth in a
very youth-oriented way.
It summarizes the role
of humans in changing
the earth and how they
are responding to the
challenges of climate

There has been increasing recognition of the youth’s role in addressing climate
change. Governments, international agencies, and various organizations are
involving the youth in climate change mitigation and adaption initiatives and they
are also given a voice in international negotiations. A look at existing youth-driven
climate change initiatives from around the world and in the Philippines would give
an idea on how the youth can take part the climate change challenge. They may also
draw inspiration in order to develop innovative measures.

youth initiatives from around the world

Youth-led climate change initiatives – both mitigation and adaptation – have been
increasing. Young people are actively engaged promoting cleaner energy alternatives,
adopting energy saving practices, increasing disaster-preparedness, and encouraging
sustainable use of natural resources. It is worth noting that many of these initiatives
have been supported by different organizations and agencies (Table 12).

Table 12: Some youth-led climate change initiatives from around the world

Source: UNJFICYCC (2013)

youth initiatives IN THE PHILIPPINES

The Climate Change Commission (CCC) has

been leading an initiative called ‘Greeneration’
that aims to empower the youth and encourage
them to take part in the climate change
challenge. Greeneration is an awareness-
raising campaign that has been organized in
Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao since 2012. It
educates the youth on climate change and its
impacts and other issues. It tries to mobilize
and unify the Filipino youth for a low-carbon and climate-resilient Philippines. Why
the Filipino youth? It is because the Philippines has a young population – around
60% of Filipinos is within 15 to 30 years old. It is in this age range wherein ideologies
and energies are high, thus it is recognized that the youth can be key agents of

Source: CCC

There are many youth-led climate change initiatives in the Philippines. Some of the
existing initiatives are:

• essay writing and poster making contests

• educational programmes and awareness campaigns
• proper waste management
• signature campaigns
• coastal and barangay clean up
• tree planting projects


The Philippine NCCAP 2011-2028 prioritizes climate change adaptation in its seven
thematic areas. Climate change mitigation actions are performed as a function of ad-
aptation. It is important for the youth to identify the differences between the types
of activities undertaken for CCA and CCM.

For climate change mitigation, the two main strategies are to cut emissions and to
capture carbon from the atmosphere. A list of possible mitigation actions were pro-
vided in that section. In order to yield significant CO2 emission reduction, there is first
a need to identify major sources of GHG emissions in the community, which can be
obtained from the local government, or at least an estimate. Once identified, they
can now formulate activities that are aimed at reducing emissions from those sec-
tors or at offsetting those GHG emissions by doing something that would capture
GHGs being released in the atmosphere.

For climate change adaptation, there is a wide range of strategies available depending
on the vulnerabilities being faced. It would be very useful to identify vulnerabilities
in the community beforehand. What climate impacts are expected to affect the
community? Note that vulnerabilities refer to places or a group of people. Information
or estimates on this can also be obtained from the local government. After deciding
which sector to focus on, the youth can look back at Table 11 and choose activities
they think would be appropriate for their project (main objective).

Table 13 shows a possible template for preparing climate change action plans. The
target sector and the main objective should be identified first. For mitigation, it is
suggested to target major GHG emitters. For adaptation, it is suggested to target
identified vulnerabilities.

Advocacy, participative involvement, and education programmes (IEC activities) are

cross-cutting initiatives, which means that these activities both fall under mitigation
and adaptation strategies. They are equally important as other initiatives and plays
a very important role because the issue of climate change is still not well known or
understood by others. By spreading the information to their classmates and friends,
they can have a stronger and unified voice (they can do more!). The challenge is for
the youth to let their voices be heard. After all, they represent the future and they
are the ones at risk of facing and experiencing the worse impacts of climate change.

Table 13: Sample format of a climate change action plan

Be aware of existing initiatives in the community for complementation.

Seek support from the barangay and school officials. Ask advice
from a local government staff. For example, one cannot simply plant
mangroves anywhere along the coast. Experts would know the type of
trees that would grow in specific areas, the planting season, and the
proper way to plant seedlings.

Be realistic with goals and objectives.

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ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is the world’s leading network of over
1,000 cities, towns, and metropolises committed to building a sustainable future.
By helping our Members to become sustainable cities, we impact over 20% of the
global population.


Recognizing the crucial role of the youth and women as key players for community
development, ICLEI Japan Office in partnership with ICLEI Southeast Asia Secretariat
implemented the three-year project “Community Actions and City-to-City Exchange
Cooperation on CLimate Change” project in Tubigon, Bohol with funding from the
Japan Fund for Global Environment (JFGE). Its main objective is to catalyze climate
action and resilience among two important sectors - youth and women.

The production of this manual was funded
by the Japan Fund for Global
Environment (JFGE).