Asia Cafe on climate change, Conference 2015

I forgot to post this earlier, my talking points when I hosted one of the “Asian Café” on climate change, EFN Asia Conference 2015 in Bhutan.

MaharI don’t have any picture during the small group discussion, here with FNF Regional Director for E and SE Asia, Siggi Herzog, and SWS’ Mahar Mangahas.

Asian Cafe, Questions to be tackled:

  1. How does climate change (CC) manifest itself affecting people, economies and happiness?
  2. What does current evidence and projections say about the future?
  3. What are some existing successful responses to ensure resilience and adapt to changes, particularly from economic development point of view?

Introduction: the Philippines

(a) The Philippines is the 12th biggest country in the world in terms of population size, 101 million people, July 2015.

(b) Archipelago, 7,100+ islands and islets.
Lots of active and inactive volcanoes. And earthquakes too, average of around 3 EQs a day, though mostly too mild to be felt only by seismographs, or they happen under the sea.

(c) Capital is Metro Manila, composed of 17 cities, with estimated population of almost 13 million. During weekdays, this bloats to around 16 million as students and workers from neighboring provinces and cities flock to the big city.

  1. How does CC manifest itself affecting people and economies and happiness?

After experiencing some huge storms and very wet conditions in recent years due to the last La Nina, we currently experience a big El Nino that affects the Philippines and other countries in the tropics. So we expect drought conditions in the dry months of December-May. But it is not the “Godzilla” of El Nino as reported in many papers, rather comparable to the other big El Nino in 1997-98.

In a global survey on the Question,


Percent selecting and rank of environment (2010).


Source: TOM W. SMITH, NORC/University of Chicago. “Global Environmental Change across Countries and Time, 1993-2010”, Presented at the 2013 Research Session of the ISSP Meeting, Santiago, Chile, April 28 to May 1, 2013. Published by the Social Weather Station (SWS), Manila.

So public awareness of climate change is low compared to “gut issues” like healthcare, economy.

  1. What does current evidence and projections say about the future?

Current evidence and projections say that we are entering the global cooling phase, after the global warming phase of the last century. CC is natural (nature-made, not man-made), it is cyclical (warming-cooling-warming-cooling).

cc2Source: Dr. Roy Spencer, Senate EPW Hearing: “Climate Change: It’s Happened Before, July 19th 2013.

  1. What are some existing successful responses to ensure resilience and adapt to changes?

Focus on energy, the Philippines is putting up more coal power plants as we have the 2nd highest electricity prices in Asia next to Japan, because of insufficient power supply and various taxes and charges imposed on electricity. These new coal plants will help expand electricity supply and help reduce electricity prices.

Many big Asian economies rely heavily on coal and natural gas for their electricity needs. In particular, these countries have more than 90% of their total electricity coming from  fossil fuel sources: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and Bangladesh.

Electricity production and sources in selected Asian economies, 2012

Electr. Prodn.

(Bill. kWh)

Sources of electricity (% of total) Fossil fuel % (1+2+3)
Coal (1) Nat. gas (2) Oil  (3) Hydro (4) Others (5)
Indonesia 195.9 48.7 23.2 16.7 6.5 4.9 88.6
Thailand 166.6 20.0 70.3 1.5 5.3 3.0 91.8
Malaysia 134.4 41.5 46.6 4.5 6.7 0.7 92.6
Philippines 72.9 38.8 26.9 5.8 14.1 14.4 71.5
Singapore 46.9 84.3 13.0 3.0 97.3
China 4,994.1 75.8 1.7 0.1 17.5 4.9 77.6
Japan 1,034.3 29.3 38.4 17.5 8.1 6.7 85.2
S. Korea 534.6 44.8 20.9 4.0 1.4 28.9 69.7
Taiwan 250.3 49.9 25.4 3.1 3.4 18.2 78.4
Hong Kong 38.8 70.3 27.3 2.1 0.2 99.7
India 1,127.6 71.1 8.3 2.0 11.2 7.4 81.4
Pakistan 96.1 0.1 28.2 35.9 31.1 4.7 64.2
Kazakhstan 91.2 76.1 14.7 0.8 8.4 91.6
Bangladesh 49.0 1.8 85.1 11.5 1.6 98.4
Bhutan 6.8

Source: International Energy Agency; ADB, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2015.