Monday, January 18, 2010

Will the Philippines be there in 2500, given what global warming might do to the Earth?

Will the Philippines be there in 2500, given what global warming might do to the Earth?

Two recent newspaper articles about climate change in the far distant future, say 2500 or so, (titled, respectively, “How much more proof is needed for people to act?” and “Ignoring the future — the psychology of denial”) emphasized the importance of facing major issues that will have an impact on the future of the human species.

Climate change is indeed an issue that is on everyone’s mind, and while the Philippines seems to be far removed from the experts who recently made their way to Copenhagen to try to hammer out blueprints to prevent global warming from having a Doomsday impact on humankind, the Philippines will also be on the front lines of these issues. Why? Because the Philippines will very likely not exist as a country by the year 2500. Everyone there will have migrated north to Russia and Alaska.

Please bear with me as I explain. And read this all very slowly. The future is in your hands. Think about it.

Despite most observers’ belief that solutions lie in mitigation, there are a growing number of climatologists and scientists who believe that the A-word — adaptation — must be confronted head-on, too. The fact is — despite the head-in-the-sand protestations of climate denialists — that we cannot stop climate change or global warming. The Earth’s atmosphere has already passed the tipping point, and in the next 500 years, temperatures and sea levels will rise considerably and millions, even billions, of people from the tropical and temperate zones will be forced to migrate in search of food, fuel and shelter. This includes the people of the Philippines.

By the year 2500, the Philippines will be largely uninhabited, except for a few stragglers eking out a subsistence life on some islands. The rest of the population will have migrated north to Russia’s northern coast or northern parts of Alaska and Canada to find safe harbor from the devastating impact of global warming.

Okay, how do I know all this, you ask? I don’t know. I am just saying that we all must be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

By the year 2500, most likely, the people of the Philippines en masse will have left the country for faraway northern regions to find shelter in UN-funded climate refuges in places such as Russia, Canada and Alaska. Israeli climate refugees will join millions of others from India, Vietnam,Thailand, Japan and Taiwan. It won’t be a pretty picture.

When I asked a professor at National Taiwan University in Taipei if this was a possible future scenario for the Philippines some 500 years from now, he said it was very possible, and that these issues needed to be addressed now, if only as a thought exercise, and even if it all sounded like a science fiction movie script. When I asked acclaimed British scientist James Lovelock if such a scenario for the Philippines was likely, he said to me in an e-mail: “It may very well happen, yes.”

We humans cannot engineer our way out of global warming, although

scientists who believe in geo-engineering have offered theories on how

to do it. There are no easy fixes. Humankind has pumped too many

greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the result of the industrial

revolution that gave us trains, planes, automobiles and much more,

enabling us to live comfortable and trendy lives — and now there is so

much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that the Earth cannot recover.

The Philippines , like the rest of the world, is doomed to a bleak future filled with billions of climate refugees seeking shelter in the far north, and

in places like New Zealand, Tasmania and Antarctica in the far south.

Meetings in Copenhagen and Rio de Janeiro and at the UN in Manhattan

will not stop global warming.

What we need to focus on now is preparing future generations for what

our world will become in the next 500 years and how best to survive


For the next 100 to 200 years or so, life will go on as normal in

the Philippines in terms of climate change and global warming issues. There is

nothing to worry about now. For the next 100 years posh department

stores will hawk their trendy items, computer firms will launch their

latest gadgets and airline companies will continue to offer passengers

quick passage here and there, to Manhattan and London, for

business and for pleasure.

But in the next 500 years, according to Lovelock and other scientists

who are not afraid to think outside the box and push the envelope,

things are going to get bad. Unspeakably bad.

Those of us who are alive today won’t suffer, and the next few

generations will be fine, too. The big trouble will probably start

around 2200 — and last for some 300 years or so.

By 2500, the Philippines will be history, and so will be all the nations of Africa,

Asia, the Americas and Europe.

We are entering uncharted waters, and as the waters rise and the

temperatures go up, future generations will have some important

choices to make: where to live, how to live, how to grow food, how to

power their climate refugee settlements, how to plan and how to pray to God Almighty.


Danny Bloom is an American writer based in Taiwan where he blogs daily

about climate change and global warming at his “Northwardho” blog.




Anonymous said...

The Philipines are a vocanic chain of islands with about 90 million people on them. Volcanic islands experience earthquakes and they have active volcanoes. This means the islands are growing and rising up and down every day. Some islands will appear and thers will disapear over the cednturies no matter what sea level does. There are inhabited island around the world which have no volcanoes and experience little or no earthquakes and uplifting. These are the island which are in danger of being submerged in the next 500 years, why do you ignore these islands?


sir, this is a good point. are you in Manila? where? I am in Taiwan. i am open to all points of view. My ideas about the future of the Philippines in 500 years is mere speculation to get people to THINK about climate change and what we can do to stop it. What is your POV on how to stop it?