Developing countries such as the Philippines are bearing the brunt of the cost of climate change, with huge economic losses from extreme weather like cyclones and droughts, activists said yesterday.
"The impacts of climate change will be most catastrophic to countries who are the least able to cope," Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Abigail Jabines said.
Jabines said four successive cyclones toward the end of 2004 alone cost the Philippines 7.61 billion pesos (U.S$152.3 million), while a 1998 drought in the south damaged 828 million pesos worth of crops.
In a media briefing ahead of this week's climate change conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Greenpeace urged the Philippine government to invest heavily in renewable energy sources, citing studies suggesting that unchecked climate change will have disastrous economic impact, especially on developing countries.
Jabines said developed countries are not solely to blame for dumping billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Instead of avoiding industrialized nations' mistakes, the Philippines still relies for energy on coal, she said.
"It is imperative for the Philippines to switch to renewable and sustainable energy sources," Jabines said, noting that the country has harnessed less than 1 percent of its energy needs from renewable resources such as solar and wind power.
Studies have shown that carbon dioxide emissions heat the Earth's surface, leading to more water vapor in the air and contributing to higher temperatures.