MANILA–Authorities are looking into greening measures that will make the Philippine health sector climate-smart.
There is urgency for such measures as the sector is both driver of and threatened by climate change, noted Climate Change Commission (CCC) Vice-Chairperson Emmanuel de Guzman.
“Climate change is a health concern,” he said Monday (November 20) in Metro Manila at a forum during CCC’s 2017 obser-vation of the annual Climate Change Consciousness Week (CCCW).
He noted the health sector’s energy use and other activities, including those in hospitals, are con-tributing to climate change-driving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions so there must be interventions to mitigate these discharges while adapting to the changing climate.
Climate change can negate and derail health development advances the sector made over the years, he continued.
“The health sector should really go green,” he said.
Experts warned GHG emissions accumulate in the atmosphere so global temperature rises, resulting in climate change.
Climate change’s impacts on the Philippines are increasing onslaught of extreme weather events as well as sea level and tem-perature rise, they said.
Paris Agreement aims strengthening worldwide response to climate change by keeping global tempe-rature rise this century well below 2°C above pre-in-dustrial levels and pursuing efforts for limiting tem-perature increase even further to 1.5°C.
In a 2015 report on the Philippines, however, WHO and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said mean annual temperature can rise by about 3.7°C on average from 1990 to 2100 under a high GHG emis-sions scenario.
Without significant climate change adaptation investments and under a high emissions scenario, WHO and UNFCCC warned an average 983,700 people may be affected annually by flooding due to sea level rise between 2070 and 2100.
WHO and UNFCCC noted such number may be limited to about 800 per-sons if emissions decrease rapidly and protection measures are scaled up.
Under a high emis-sions scenario, WHO and UNFCCC also warned heat-related deaths in persons aged 65 years and over may increase to about 31 deaths per 100,000 population by 2080.
The estimated baseline is one death per 100,000 population annually between 1961 and 1990, WHO and UNFCCC noted.
“Rapid reduction in emissions could limit heat-related deaths in the elderly to about five deaths per 100,000 in 2080,” both clarified, however.
CCC green hospital project consultant Linda Milan acknowledged need for a climate-smart Philip-pine health sector.
“A ruined planet can’t sustain life so the health sector must change pers-pective and not remain stagnant,” she said at the forum.
She noted since tech-nical experts and funds for such purpose are available, the sector must look into what adaptation and miti-gation measures to priori-tize for its bid to be climate-smart.
Philippine Hospital Association (PHA) presi-dent Huberto Lapuz assured his group’s support for such bid.
“PHA is committed to proactively search for climate-smart solutions within its network,” he said at the forum. PNA