Climate Change News


(Image: Rendering of New Clark City. Credit: New Clark City on Facebook)

The Philippines has been called one of the most disaster-prone places on Earth. Typhoons sweep through regularly each year causing landslides and flooding. The country is in an earthquake zone and home to numerous volcanoes that could erupt at any time. Densely populated Manila, the capital, has notorious gridlock.

In a race against climate change, the Philippines is developing a $14 billion metropolis larger than Manhattan called New Clark City designed to be resilient — and sustainable.

The 23,350-acre city on the site of Clark Air Base is expected to take 25 to 30 years to complete through several phases, ultimately housing 1.2 million people. The lowest point will be more than 177 feet above sea level.

“There’s no such thing as being too ambitious,” Vivencio Dizon, president of government-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) that is leading the New Clark City project told CNN this summer. “When we build this city, we are building for people, we’re not building for cars. It’s a big difference.”

Read more: The Philippines Is Building a Climate Change-Resilient City



The village of Gowa in the South Sulawesi province of Indonesia has an agrarian history that dates back to the fourteenth century – an agricultural prominence it still maintains, in part due to the top-grade fertile soil in the region. In fact, the area is now serving as a center for the introduction of new mutant rice varieties that owe their existence to nuclear technology. Through the combined expertise of the National Nuclear Energy Agency of Indonesia (BATAN), the Joint FAO/IAEA Division and PB Salewangang, a certified seed breeding company, 18 Gowa farmers have planted their land exclusively with six new mutant rice varieties. But these farmers aren’t growing the new varieties as a food crop. They are using BATAN’s breeder seed material in their fields for seed multiplication. Once multiplied, PB Salewangang distributes seeds to other farmers interested in planting the new varieties to take advantage of their improved yield and quality.

Read more: Mutant Rice Varieties Help Indonesia Reduce Rice Imports


When it comes to limiting CO2 emissions, the results are not always what you’d expect.

Debates about climate change often draw zealots on both sides. The common accusatory opener, “Do you believe in global warming?” betrays the binary, almost religious argument between those who think we’re wrecking the planet and those who don’t. Pragmatism is rare on either side.

The science of climate change is complex, and we won’t attempt to assess man’s contribution to global warming. For a thought-provoking view of the issue, read Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels”. In one section, Epstein comments on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2014 plea for Indonesia to cut carbon emissions to fight global warming. From 2006-16 Indonesia’s CO2 emissions grew by 3.1% annually, the Asian average. It’s no coincidence that in 2016 Indonesian life expectancy reached 69, up by 17 years over the previous half-century.

As in much of the developing world, Indonesians are living longer. This is because increased energy use supports cleaner water and food, improved hygiene and better medical care, staples of developed country life. Because fossil-free energy is not yet price-competitive, its adoption implies using less energy. This, in turn, means shorter life expectancy for Indonesians and citizens of other developing countries. If the science around man-made climate change was unequivocal, it would imply acceptance of briefer lives today so that subsequent generations may live longer. But the science isn’t clear, and a warmer planet may be manageable. Moreover, climate prediction models have consistently overestimated actual warming. Epstein’s book offers a rare, stimulating perspective and seizes the moral high ground assumed by the anti-fossil fuel crowd. He defines improving human life as the standard against which to test climate change policies. By this measure, greater energy use has been a success.

The BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018 reports on emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. It has some surprising facts.

Over the past decade, China has led the way in global CO2 emissions. BP STATISTICAL REVIEW OF WORLD ENERGY

Read more: Guess Who's Most Effective At Combating Global Warming


STUNG TRENG, CAMBODIA- July night had just fallen over the tiny fishing village of Sdao, on the Sekong River in northern Cambodia, when a man on a motorcycle appeared with an urgent message, delivered by loudspeaker: “Evacuate now,” he called out to the few hundred families living here. “A flood is coming.”

A dam under construction some 155 miles (250 kilometers) upstream, in neighboring Laos, had collapsed the day before after heavy monsoon rains, sending a deluge of water down the already swollen, swirling Sekong. The floodwaters, villagers were told, could reach as far as Stung Treng, the provincial capital in northern Cambodia where the Sekong joins the even larger Mekong River.

Ey Bun Thea, a 24-year-old fisherman and farmer, had no idea that a dam was being built farther up the same river where he fishes every day. But he knew he had to get out quickly. He pulled together some valuables—rice, blankets, mosquito nets, some cash—and after releasing his animals he escaped with his wife and young child into the dark, in search of higher ground. “It was very scary,” he said. “We didn’t know what was going to happen.”

In 2012, when this photo was taken, construction of the Miaowei Dam was already underway. When finished next year, it will be the eighth dam on the Lancang River, China's name for its 1,300-mile stretch of the Mekong. PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID GUTTENFELDER, AP/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Read more: Southeast Asia May Be Building Too Many Dams Too Fast


The Church is uniquely positioned to influence global leadership on climate change. Flickr/Catholic Church England

Earlier this month, Pope Francis invited to Rome a diverse group of scientists, economists, activists, diplomats, youth and indigenous representatives for a conference celebrating the third anniversary of his landmark encyclical letter Laudato Si. In the encyclical, the Pope urged the world to protect global ecosystems while uplifting the poor and vulnerable, sending a wake-up call to the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide—and many others—to rally for a global movement for climate action.

Read more: With 1.2 Billion Members, the Catholic Church Can Lead on Climate Action. Here Are 3 Ways How.


One of the workshop participants tests the ease of use of the multi-blocks vibrating machine developed by BISCAST to create their own hollow blocks.

Naga City– A technology transfer and dissemination training-workshop on the Climate Change Resilient Pilot Housing (CCRPH), led by the Bicol State College of Applied Sciences and Technology (BISCAST) in partnership with the City Government of Naga, was held last 10-11 May 2018.

TheCCRPHis one of the outcomes of the Urban Nexus Project implemented by the GIZ in partnership with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI SEAS). The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The two-day training was attended by 34 representatives from four private local developers and nine local governments in the Bicol Region namely the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco, Naga, and Masbate; municipalities of Daet, Pili, Sorsogon, and Virac; and Camarines Norte Province. The activity provided practical training on the design and construction of BISCAST’s low-cost housing building system. The BISCAST Nexus team also provided lectures on the integrated resource management, green building and climate resilient features of the CCRPH, as well as hands-on training on the operation of the different machines and processes used to construct the pilot house, including the multi-blocks vibrating machine, vibrating table, and beam fabrication.

In attendance during the opening program was Naga City Mayor John Bongat who delivered his inspirational remarks. He also expressed his gratitude to the GIZ Urban Nexus Team who have made the CCRPH a reality through the provision of technical advisory and to ICLEI SEAS for their unwavering support to both BISCAST and Naga City. BISCAST President, Dr. Richard Cordial, welcomed the participants of the training and shared their goal to provide an overview of the technologies and methodologies used to construct the CCRPH, a low-cost housing design targeting low-income urban dwellers. He explained that if there is interest from the participating local governments and private companies to adopt the CCRPH technologies, BISCAST will provide a more in-depth and a more hands-on technology transfer training.

The participants also had the opportunity to observe and test the strength of the assembled beam of slab blocks.

Following its inauguration in 2016, the CCRPH has secured certification from the Accreditation of Innovative Technologies for Housing (AITECH) of the Philippine National Housing Authority (NHA) in December 2017. It also obtained a Kamagong (highest) rating from the Philippine Green Building Initiative (PGBI) which recognized the CCRPH as the second greenest building in the country. Currently, the intellectual property rights for the vibrating machine, precast vibrating table, and four different molders used for the construction of the hollow concrete blocks (HCB) are pending. Despite this, BISCAST President Dr. Cordial assured the participants that the technology transfer will be provided for free to interested parties through a memorandum of agreement.

Currently, BISCAST is organizing a Forum on the Adoption of the Urban Nexus Approach wherein the CCRPHtechnology will be presented at Masbate State College. To further strengthen the promotion of the CCRPH, BISCAST will also present to the Regional Development Council of the National Economic Development Authority (RDC-NEDA) meeting this coming June.

Source: ICLEI | 28 May 2018



Acknowledging the importance of ramping up actions towards achieving Indonesia’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), the Association of Indonesian Municipalities (APEKSI) and Yayasan ICLEI Indonesia organized a Knowledge Management Forum held at Grand Savero Hotel, Bogor City on 3-5 July 2018. The forum highlighted the importance of multi-level governance in developing plans and strategies towards climate change mitigation and adaptation.

At the event, participants discussed opportunities and challenges on vertical and horizontal integration; citing technical issues concerning planning and implementation. In terms of vertical integration, cities reiterated the need for them to be included in national and provincial processes concerning climate change; especially in formulating the GHG inventory.

Read more: Indonesian cities call for multi-level governance in addressing climate change


Hanoi Reuters1

HANOI – Famed for ancient pagodas, colonial architecture and delicious pho noodle soup, Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi has another, albeit dubious, distinction: air pollution.

The city of 7.7 million, where pollution last year was four times higher than the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers acceptable, is one of several Asian cities battling emissions from vehicles and industrial activity.

 About 7 million people die globally each year from exposure to pollution that brings diseases such as stroke and heart diseases, the WHO said in May.

Pollution is a political risk for Communist-ruled Vietnam, which has witnessed environmental protests to save trees or demonstrate against a steel firm accused of polluting the sea.

Concern about air quality can even be a lucrative business opportunity.

Read more: Bikes out, trees in: Hanoi tackles air pollution woes



PHNOM PENH: The Cambodian capital Phnom Penh was once fondly known as the “Pearl of Asia”, with pretty post-colonial Khmer architecture, immaculate parks, and tree-lined avenues. Today, it is a city of garbage, where mountains of rubbish engulf acres of landfills and grimy streets reek of waste and decay.

But one day, it could see new roads built with trash if the Ministry of Public Works and Transport takes up the suggestion of two Cambodian female students – Sokanha Ly and Bunhourng Tan – whose green creation could turn plastic waste into cheaper and better roadways.

The pair are graduates from Harpswell, a Phnom Penh-based foundation that teaches young Cambodian women to be leaders through debates and civic engagement in English and French. In 2016, they co-founded a start-up called Eco-Plastic to transform trash into roads.

“We want to see Eco-Plastic as an eco-friendly mechanism to solve plastic hell in Cambodia, Southeast Asia, and the world,” said 21-year-old Bunhourng Tan, who is studying business administration at AmericanUniversity of Phnom Penh.

Read more: Young Cambodian women on green mission to build roads with plastic waste


Coffee lovers beware. Climate change is threatening supplies of high-quality beans with one Japanese coffee house hunting for the perfect bean to withstand the warmer conditions.

Tokyo’s Key Coffee Inc. is testing 35 varieties of Arabica trees in Indonesia in collaboration with World Coffee Research of Oregon and the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute. About half of the varieties planted two years ago may be suitable to grow in the highlands of Sulawesi where the company runs its own farm.

“The threat from climate change is real on our farm,” Masataka Nakano, deputy general manager of the roaster’s marketing division, said in an interview in Tokyo. “As the difference between the rainy and dry seasons is becoming unclear, and the amount of rain is getting unstable, our crops are vulnerable to damage.”

Global coffee consumption is forecast to expand 2 percent a year through to 2050 and production needs to double to keep pace, according to World Coffee Research. Yet areas fit for Arabica production may halve by 2050, according to the research body. Arabica beans are favored for their better aroma and flavor, while beans from higher-yielding and more disease-resistant robusta trees are mainly used for instant coffee.

Arabica is forecast to account for almost 60 percent of global coffee production in the current marketing year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read more: Climate Change Threat Sends Coffee Roaster on Bean Hunt


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