Environment

PPUR text promo to give away more than P30million in cash prizes

Puerto Princesa Underground River

To quote what the Departmet of Tourism Secretary Mon Jimenez Jr. said, “Believe in the beauty of (the Philippines). Sell it at every turn. Sell it on Facebook. Sell it on Twitter. Sell it on Multiply. Talk about (the Philippines). We deserve a visit from the world.”

And putting our very own Puerto Princesa Underground River to the New Seven Wonders of Nature global competition is actually a big leap in our tourism sector.

The Philippines has been regarded as the texting capital of the world so there is no reason why we can’t bag the most coveted title for our very own country, right?

As of this writing, the Puerto Princesa Underground River is in the tenth spot so a little more texting and convincing of friends would definitely do wonders. And guess what, voting for the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park  via text can also give you a chance to win a million bucks.  Text PPUR to 2861 for more info. P2.50/text

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One lucky texter stands to win the biggest prize money in text messaging with the launching of the “Pera sa Kweba” text raffle promo for the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in Palawan.

The promo, which runs for 90 days from September 30 to December 28 of this year, will give away more than P30million worth of cash prizes, with the grand prize set at P25million and five consolation prizes of one million pesos each to be drawn on December 30, 2011.

Texters can also win P10,000 in daily draws, P100,000 in bi-weekly draws, and P250,000 in monthly draws throughout the promo period. All winning numbers will be drawn electronically.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said that the promo is an initiative of the private sector to promote Puerto Princesa City as an important ecotourism destination, particularly the PPUR which is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

He added that the promo would educate the public more on the PPUR and “show everyone why it is a deserving finalist in the New Seven Wonders of Nature global competition.”

The text raffle promo is open to all postpaid and prepaid subscribers of Globe, TM, Sun, Smart or Talk N’ Text at P2.50 per SMS. There is no need for registration.

Raffle entries are automatically earned each time a subscriber votes for the PPUR as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature by texting PPUR, or when downloading trivia by texting PPUR ON also to 2861. Winners will be notified via text, call or registered mail.

Each trivia downloaded or text sent will earn two raffle entries from October 1, 2010 to November 10, 2011, and one raffle entry for the period November 11-December 28, 2011.

The “Pera sa Kweba” promo is retroactive for all those who were able to register in the SMS voting for the PPUR since last year.

“Among others, this text promo will generate excitement and pride among Filipinos here and abroad in recognizing the PPUR as a true wonder of nature as proven by La Venta,” said Paje, referring to Italian geographical association La Venta Esplorazioni Gegrafiche, whose members had earlier unearthed mineral and fossil findings in the PPUR cave.

 

 

Photo Source:  Puerto Princesa Underground River website

 

 

50 by 30

The Philippines has committed to an ambitious renewable energy target of 50% by 2030, but is it up to the task?

I guess the question here is should the Philippines be doing this (setting up such an ambitious goal)?

To answer this question, we first need to look at the cost or potential adverse impact of maintaining higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere might have on us. If you accept the argument that man-made pollution is causing climate change, i.e. creating more severe weather disturbances, then the impact associated with these activities is very large indeed.

The Center for Global Development has tried to quantify the effects of severe weather events. In its report, the country ranks 4th most vulnerable country in the world to be directly impacted by extreme weather events. We are ranked below China (1st), India (2nd) and Bangladesh (3rd). If you consult their working paper on the effects of these events, you will find out what that means for the population.

Between 2008 and 2015, the likelihood of severe weather events is placed at 58%. While the impact of these disturbances can be mitigated through higher income and better regulations, about 5% of the total population could suffer. With our population expected to rise above 100 million in the next five years, that means about 5 million Filipinos will be in need of some form of assistance from natural disasters.

Using a small damage cost of 10 thousand pesos per individual, the total bill could be as much as 50 billion pesos. That excludes any damage suffered by the economy. In the first quarter of the year, the Australian economy contracted in part due to the floods that ravaged Queensland. The goal of reaching 7-8% might have to be scaled down by 1-2% points.

So if we are to take some responsibility for fixing the problem, should we not look at our contribution to it first?

Yes of course, and to answer that question, take a look at this map that was posted originally on The Cusp. It shows that the Philippines has a relatively small footprint compared to the likes of China, India and the West. The Philippines accounts for only 67.5 71 thousand kilo tons of green house gases or CO-2 equivalents, while China’s footprint is a hundred times larger 6.5 million in 2007; India’s is 1.7 million 25 times larger. By the way, in 2006, China’s footprint exceeded the US for the first time (6.1 M kt Co-2-e that’s million kilo tons of CO-2 equivalent, compared to 5.7 M kt for the US).

In per capita terms, the Philippines is also a minor contributor with only 0.8 0.78 metric tons of CO-2 equivalent emissions per person compared to twice that amount for nearby Indonesia (1.8 t) which had a comparable per capita income of 3,300 thousand dollars in 2007 2006 (in purchasing parity terms). That means the Philippines uses less than half the emissions to produce one dollar of GDP compared to Indonesia. China on the other hand saw its per capita footprint rise to 4.7 mt per person as its per capita incomes rose to $4,790. India is still way behind with per capita incomes of $2,540 and 1.5 mt of emissions per person.

What all of this means is that the energy mix of the country which has hydro and geothermal assets is much more eco-friendly compared to our close neighbors in the region. This means that each Filipino has contributed much less to the overall problem and yet will suffer an inordinately higher cost. This ought to be an argument for us gaining more grants to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Which brings us back to the question posed at the start, is the use of a 50% renewable target appropriate?

The answer I suppose is yes if you consider the potential of using solar, wave and wind energy. The Philippines being a tropical country on the typhoon belt should find a way to harness these abundant sources of renewable energy.

Compared with other countries, the Philippine target seems to be well placed. China is eyeing a 40-45% reduction from its 2005 levels by 2020. India is looking at a 20-25% reduction under the same timetable. Most of the rich nations are looking at 20-30% reductions as well.

It then becomes a question of affordability on the part of the consuming public. Since the country already has one of the highest costs of electricity in the ASEAN region, what set of policies would help?

Coal which is the dirtiest but cheapest source of energy and therefore most attractive for a middle income country has to be the first on the hit list, if we are to reduce our carbon footprint. A representative of Greenpeace noted that while the long term goal was ambitious, the government failed to demonstrate its commitment to it by lining up new coal-fired power plants in the near term to address the bulk of increased demand.

As a Productivity Commission report in Australia last month pointed out, to move from less costly but dirty coal to more costly and less polluting power sources such as oil and gas and non-renewable sources requires large interventions on the part of the government. The most efficient way to make the transition is through an emissions trading scheme rather than regulation or direct action policies (like Renewable Energy Certificates, Feed-In Tariffs or capital subsidies), the Commission concluded.

Australia which is eyeing a $15-20 dollar per ton carbon tax as a starting point of an emissions trading scheme to achieve a 5-25% reduction of 2000 based emissions by 2020 is also looking at amending its tax and compensation systems to compensate households for higher energy costs. Treasurer Wayne Swan announced that this would reduce gross national income by 0.1 per cent per capita, making it very affordable.

In order to address the question of affordability, the country will have to look at the question of whether or not to impose either a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme down the track. China is already considering piloting it in a few of its provinces. Japan and South Korea have plans of introducing an ETS although they have been put on hold. The Western Climate Initiative seeks to adopt an ETS in seven western states of the US and four provinces in Canada. Thirty countries in the EU have already adopted an ETS and so has New Zealand.

If the Philippines goes down the same road, it will have a lot of catching up to do. The goal would be to make the transition less costly to the economy and the populace. That’s as far as mitigation goes. In terms of adaptation, it will have to secure as big a share as it can from the global fund set up to help developing nations. As a middle income country, the Philippines will find it hard to justify more being spent here compared to much poorer nations. Let’s hope that our government is up to the task.

800 tons of fish die in Philippine lake

The environmental disaster comes after a massive temperature drop was recorded in the Philippine lake of Taal. The Huffington Post writes:

More than 800 tons of fish have died and rotted on fish farms in a lake near Taal volcano south of Manila, with authorities blaming it on a sudden temperature drop.

The massive fish deaths started late last week but have eased. Officials have banned the sale of the rotting fish, which are being buried by the truckload in Talisay and three other towns in Batangas province, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources official Rose del Mundo said Sunday.

The deaths are unrelated to recent signs of restiveness in Taal volcano, which is surrounded by the lake where many villagers have grown milkfish and tilapia – staple foods for many Filipinos, officials said. The volcano and lake are a popular tourist draw.

Join the Blog Action Day on June 8 to Save our Coral Reefs and Seas!

Join the Blog Action Day on June 8 to Save our Coral Reefs and Seas!

Our beautiful and diverse marine resources and wealth need your attention and your help. They are under attack.

Exploitative foreign firms, in tandem with local partners and left unchecked by irresponsible government officials, are illegally harvesting and peddling our precious coral reefs. In one case, coral reefs twice the size of Manila was destroyed, and the plunder continues.

We cannot accept this. We must act now to save what’s left of our coral reefs and to protect our seas so those beautiful and important natural resources are preserved for our and the next generations to enjoy.

We call on all Filipino bloggers, Tumblr and Posterous users, Tweeps, Plurkers and all netizens to join the June 8 International Blog Action Day to save our seas and coral reefs. Your voices, our actions are that important.

What can we do?

  • Tweet, Plurk, or post to spread the word about this event: Share or repost this announcement.
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #reefwatchPH.
  • Spread the savephilippineseas.com URL.
  • Repost and share our official campaign badge (to be posted soon so please come back!).
  • Most importantly, on June 8, join the Blog Action Day from your favorite social media channels (blog, Tumblr, Posterous, Twitter, Plurk, Facebook, etc.

Some ideas and suggestions

While the issue is serious, there are a lot of creative ways to send our message across on or before June 8:

  • An open letter to officials and companies.
  • A photo essay about your favorite beaches or dive spots.
  • Design and share mini-posters, posters and drawings.
  • If you grew up near a beach, tell us about your fond memories.
  • Post about why your (future) kids and future grandkids ought to have the chance to see and enjoy our coral reefs and seas.
  • Why harvesting and peddling corals is bad for the environment and is bad business.
  • Proposals on how to protect or clean up our seas.
  • If you belong to a clan, group, or organization, invite them to join the event.

Taking an extra step or two won’t harm too. You may email your senator, congressman, the Environment secretary, and even the President to demand action.

NOW is the time to act.

We can do this. Let’s make our social media work for something good. Let’s make Philippine coral reefs, seas and the need to save them the trend – to raise awareness, to inspire action, to grow our communities, and to compel government action.

by Tonyo Cruz
First posted at: http://wp.me/p1AHbC-f

Photo credit: Richard Ling, some rights reserved.

Only 5% of PHL coral reefs remain

Read this and weep: A marine scientist from the University of the Philippines has revealed that only 5 percent —equivalent to  just around 1,000 square kilometers—of the country’s total reef area remain in good condition in the face of the wanton destruction of our coral reefs by poachers.

The estimated reef area of the Philippines ranges from 19,000 to 27,000 square kilometers, depending on the territorial boundaries and depth ranges. This makes the Philippines’s reef areas one of the biggest in Southeast Asia, more so if those in the disputed Kalayaan Islands were included.

The revelation of Dr. Porfirio Alino of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) comes on the heels of published reports about the destruction of a reef area in Southern Mindanao that is five times bigger than Metro Manila.

The Philippines is the center of marine biodiversity in the world, Alino said, but this distinction may not stand for long as coral reefs in the country are deteriorating very rapidly.

Read more at ABS-CBN News

 

Greenpeace’s Donate A Tweet A Day to help spread environmental awareness

With just a tweet a day, you can somehow help spread the word on environmental issues. Greenpeace teamed up with JustCoz.org for the awareness campaign. JustCoz is a platform which enables charities and non-profit organizations increase their social media reach by way of tweet or status donations.

If you want to donate a tweet a day, go to http://justcoz.org/Greenpeace

Mt. Makiling guard killed

He spent 25 years patrolling and protecting the enchanted Mt. Makiling but in the end, this forest guard was unable to protect himself from an assassin’s bullet.

Elpidio “Jojo” Malinao, 49, was shot dead by a man on a motorcycle on Monday afternoon in the town of Bay in Laguna province shortly after a court hearing on a case he had lodged against illegal settlers on the fabled mountain.

News of his death shocked and angered his colleagues at the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems (MCME), a unit of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB), which has jurisdiction over Mt. Makiling.

Read the rest at Philippine Daily Inquirer.