Ariel Dominguez has been fishing for 16 years in waters considered to have the most diverse marine life on the planet. But because of climate change and its threat of rising sea levels and lower fish yields, the 42 years old fisherman from Nasugbo town of Batangas is thinking that he may eventually abandon his job, pack up his belongings and move to higher ground.

The ice (caps) in the North Pole are melting. He plies the waters of the Verde Island Passage, which has been called the "center of the center" of the world's marine biodiversity by the US Smithsonian Institute. But even there, the effects of global warming are starting to be felt.

According to a recent international study of seven countries in Southeast Asia, the entire Philippines ins considered to be among the "most vulnerable" areas to climate change in the region. "Based on this mapping assessment, all the regions of the Philippines... are among the most vulnerable region in Southeast Asia, "said the study "Climate Change Vulnerability Mapping for Southeast Asia," conducted by Arief Yusuf and Merminia Francisco.

Yusuf and Francisco are with the Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (Eepsea), an organization that supports research and training in environmental and resource economics and funded by the International Development Research Center (IDRC) based in Canada. The study which covered the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam arrived at its conclusions after looking at the "exposure" and "sensitivity" to climate change of areas in these countries and their "adaptability" to these changes.

The Philippines unlike other countries in Southeast Asia, is exposed not only to tropical cyclones, especially in the northern and eastern parts of the country, but also to many other climate related hazards especially floods, landslides, and droughts. It said the areas with the "highest vulnerability" are Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Cordillera Administrative Region and Bicol.

A shift of in the typhoon belt for the country with stronger off-season typhoons, there would also be shorter El Niño and La Niña cycles with an increase in "vector and water borne disease. Climate Change is happening right now....


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