A new reports notes that the island nation is first in wind power among 10 Asian countries, but sea level is rising there faster than almost anyplace on Earth.
It's a success story tinged with melancholy. The Phillipines has rapidly adopted wind power, producing almost 400 megawatts of power. Local officials such as Juan Miguel Zubiri ssay they "expect this number to quadruple to 1,600 MWs in two to three years," according to thestandard.com. But despite this tale of success, all is not well with the islands. Climate Change is showing its ugly side there early, as sea levels rise at a record rate. It's not that the Phillipines are the only places affected by sea level rise. They just happen to be the first. And the current rise could be a mere shadow of what's to come. At the extreme end of the research spectrum, scientists foresee a 6 meter rise in sea levels by century's end.
But for purposes of this article, let's stick to what's actually happing now in the Phillipines:
According to InterAksyon.com:
In 2015, The Philippines posted the highest average increase in sea levels, at 60 cms, against the global average of 19 cms since the year 1901.
It is a "major force of nature" against which countries like the Philippines can do little, but, said Williams, "there's a lot to be done with disaster risk prevention, alert systems, and so forth. But you have to understand that there is that additional risk."
Williams elaborated: "The global average of sea level rise since the year 1900 or 1901 has been 19 cm for the last hundred and fifteen years. However that varies widely from region to region, because of wind, because of currents in the ocean, because of changes in the land which rises and falls. So it so happens that in the area of the Philippines, where the cyclone happened last year, probably because of the trade winds and the currents of the Pacific, you have a massive amount of water between the Philippines and where the winds are pushing the water. The sea level rise, according to several of the stations we have operational there, is much much more than the global average. It's more like 60cm, and it's the highest sea level rise in the world.
The biggest immediate threat from such sea level rise, which has submerged about .6% of the Phillipines land mass, is from monster storms. The islands are simply more vulnerable.
The Phillipine government has begun to educate residents about what sea level rise could mean. According homelandsecuritynewswire.com:
On average, sea levels around the world rise 3.1 centimeters every ten years. Water levels in the Philippines are projected to rise between 7.6 and 10.2 centimeters each decade.
IDRC reports that the Philippines government has been forced to take this into consideration. A number of governmental and nongovernmental organizations have sprung up in recent years to address the issue. The Department of Environment and National Resources has its own climate change office, which has set up various programs to educate communities in high-risk areas. One program, for example, teaches communities to adapt to rising sea levels by ensuring that public spaces, such as community halls and schools, are not built near the coast.
Soon, however, adaptation on a local level will not be enough. Policy makers need to convince governments to curb their emissions on a global level.
Some recent research predicts a sea level rise of 190 cm is possible by century's end.