Climate Change in the Philippines
The Philippines has long been prone to extreme weather events, an unavoidable consequence of our geographic location.
It’s become clear, however, that our vulnerability to climate hazards is now being driven by factors other than just our place on the map.
Over roughly the last half century, human-induced climate change has grown into a prominent threat, putting our ecosystems, livelihoods, and development prospects in jeopardy.
In this time, we have observed a warming trend in mean annual temperature and sea surface temperature. Our sea level is also estimated to be rising at about twice the rate of the global average, putting at risk the lives of millions of Filipinos—some 60% of our population—who live in coastal communities. With the warming and acidification of our oceans, our rich marine biodiversity and the livelihoods that depend on it will become more susceptible to stress, from coral bleaching to declines in fish catch, tourism, and food security.
Conclusive trends in the number and intensity of our tropical cyclones has yet to materialize, but the need to prepare for them has already snapped into sharp focus. No event served to teach us this lesson better than Super Typhoon Haiyan, which in 2013 claimed the lives of over six thousand people and ran up an estimated P89 billion in damages.
It’s well understood that the world must mitigate its emissions to protect our planet and the lives of future generations. The impacts, however, are already making themselves felt today, regardless of each nation’s stake in the global emissions pot. Though we contribute less than one percent to overall greenhouse gas emissions, the Philippines consistently ranks among the countries most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change—an all-encompassing predicament in which no sector, industry, or socioeconomic group will go unaffected.
Faced with this reality, we believe it’s critical that we train our attention to the science-based adaptation and resilience efforts we must already be making today.
Why We Exist
Climate science in the Philippines is still in its infancy. Though we have a well-trained cadre of researchers, we also have one of the lowest investments in research on a per capita basis when compared to the region’s other fast-developing nations.
That’s not to say that there aren’t efforts underway to address climate risks on the ground. In fact, billions of pesos have been allocated over the years by private groups, foreign donors, and the government to build the resilience of our communities. Yet there’s much less attention directed at the generation of scientific information—the knowledge that we require first to fully comprehend the climate problem, and then to bring about the innovative, sustainable, and evidence-based solutions we need.
Recognizing this gap, our founder and chairman emeritus Oscar M. Lopez established the Center in 2012. It was envisioned as an institution that would support the generation of the science and technology needed for building resilient communities.
Today, we strive to realize this goal by by making sure relevant climate science cuts across sectors, rather than sitting unused on a bookshelf. We aim to work closely with the decision-makers of business and policy, the groups with the greatest capacity for sustained climate action. We give them the information and the tools they need to make climate-smart risk management decisions.
The Center is built on the belief that no Filipino should face climate challenges unprepared. In arming them with up-to-date science and technology, we believe climate crises can be averted.
To become a leading catalyst for generating science-based solutions to climate-related risks and disasters in the developing world
A resilient Filipino society, able to cope and prosper in the midst of climate-related risks and disasters
Who We Are
Get to know the people behind the Oscar M. Lopez Center: our namesake and founder, our current staff members, our board of trustees, and our officers.
We’re passionate about finding solutions to the climate-related risks and disasters that our country faces. Here’s the progress we’ve made since we started working in 2012.
“It is our responsibility, each and every one of us, to protect our environment from further harm—and also to protect ourselves from the harm that we have already wrought upon our environment. For in abusing our environment, we have made ourselves vulnerable to the undesirable effects of that abuse.”
– Oscar M. Lopez
The Oscar M. Lopez Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation, Inc. is the result of the Lopez family’s twin advocacy of environmental protection and public service.
The Lopez Group of Companies provided the seed fund for its establishment, and named it in honor of its Chairman Emeritus, Mr. Oscar M. Lopez, to extend his commitment to the environment and nation building.
Initial funds were released through First Philippine Holdings Corporation while the Energy Development Corporation generously provided the space and equipment for our initial office setup. The Lopez Group of Companies continues to provide funding for our operations through EDC.
We also recognize the support and in-kind contributions from the officers and staff of the Lopez Group of Companies such as EDC, FPH, First Gen and First Gas Corporations, and some scientists in the operational and administrative activities of the Center.
We are Department of Science and Technology-accredited science foundation and, as of 2016, an accredited donee institution of the Philippine Council for NGO Certification-Bureau of Internal Revenue.