Weapons for the Weak in the Climate Struggle

From Foreign Policy in Focus: http://www.fpif.org/articles/weapons_for_the_weak_in_the_climate_struggle

By Walden Bello
August 16, 2012

This past month was the hottest July in the United States ever recorded. In India, the monsoon rains are long delayed, resulting in the country’s second drought in four years. Triple-digit temperatures in New Delhi and other cities have already provoked the worst power outages in the country’s history and the expected bad harvest is likely to slice at least 5 percent from GDP growth.

In Beijing, which usually suffers from a shortage of water, a storm on July 21 resulted in the worst flooding since recordkeeping began in 1951, according to the Economist. Meanwhile, here in the Philippines, a protracted, weeklong rainstorm plunged Metropolitan Manila into a watery disaster that is probably the worst in recent history.

If there is any doubt that the abnormal is now the norm, remember that this is shaping up to be the second straight year that nonstop rains have wreaked havoc in Southeast Asia. Last year, the monsoon season brought about the worst flooding in Thailand’s history, with waters engulfing Bangkok and affecting over 14 million people, damaging nearly 7,000 square miles of agricultural land, disrupting global supply chains, and bringing about what the World Bank estimated to be the world’s fourth costliest disaster ever.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the unceasing rainstorms is that we Filipinos could do little to prevent them. We could have made them less calamitous by resettling informal settlers away from the floodways to Manila Bay and reforesting the hills and mountains that border the metropolitan area. We could have passed the Reproductive Health Bill much earlier and propagated family planning to reduce the human impact on the upland, rural, and urban environments. We could have, in short, taken measures to adapt to changing climate patterns. But to prevent the fundamental shifts in regional and global climate was something we could not do. This is the dilemma of most countries in the South: we are victims and our weapons are few and limited.

Continue reading at:  http://www.fpif.org/articles/weapons_for_the_weak_in_the_climate_struggle

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