Davao joins campaign vs. global warming

Leonardo Avila III, chair of the city council's environment committee, said the city will soon experience the effects of global warming, noting that in a decade, portions of Davao City would be underwater if conditions causing global warming will continue.

Avila raised the alarm on the effects of global warming in his privilege speech during Tuesday's regular session.

He said Davao is prone to be underwater as sea level would rise with the melting of icebergs as featured in the documentary.

He exhorted all sectors to "be concerned and be alarmed" with the condition of climatic changes.

Avila said they are securing an original DVD copy of the film for initial screening at the City Council and eventually in public fora like in schools and universities.

He said something has to be done from the local end to reverse the problem.

Avila said in the personal level, people can help by lessening dependence on vehicles that use fossil fuel. He said people from time to time have to walk or ride bicycles to minimize use of fuels which could destroy the atmosphere and raise sea levels.

Avila said the city government is also promoting the use of bio-fuels and has launched the anti-smoke belching ordinance to cut excessive emission of toxic fumes.

He also cited an effort to convert methane gas emitted from agricultural farms such as poultries to bio-gas.

Avila said they are increasing efforts to plant more trees. He said the city's Trees for Children Management Council has targeted a million trees planted in 2008.

Gore's documentary said it is the people who cause global warming.

The documentary explained that carbon dioxide and other gases warm the surface of the planet naturally by trapping solar heat in the atmosphere. This is a good thing because it keeps the earth habitable. However, by burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil and clearing forests, people have dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere and temperatures are rising.

The vast majority of scientists agree, the documentary said, that global warming is real, it is already happening and that it is the result of people's activities and not a natural occurrence. "The evidence is overwhelming and undeniable," the documentary said.

The documentary warned that changes have already occurred. "Glaciers are melting, plants and animals are being forced from their habitat, and the number of severe storms and droughts is increasing."

Among the facts presented in the film included: "The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years. Malaria has spread to higher altitudes in places like the Colombian Andes, 7,000 feet above sea level. The flow of ice from glaciers in Greenland has more than doubled over the past decade. At least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, moving closer to the poles.

If the warming continues, we can expect catastrophic consequences, the documentary said. Deaths from global warming will double in 25 years — to 300,000 people a year. Global sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide.

The film further claimed that heat waves will be more frequent and more intense. Droughts and wildfires will occur more often. The Arctic Ocean could be ice free in summer by 2050 and more than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050.