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Mother Nature’s Plea: Let’s Save the Earth. ft. "Salaulang Basura", a poem from award-winning poet Dorie Reyes Polo

This is not a threat. This is just a warning for environmental blasphemers. Liquefaction may devour some parts of Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces. No one knows when to happen. Even the scientists could not predict its exact date and time. But this catastrophe will surely happen.

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), liquefaction is a phenomenon in which the strength and stiffness of a soil is reduced by earthquake shaking or other rapid loading.

Liquefaction takes place when loosely packed, water-logged sediments at or near the ground surface lose their strength in response to strong ground shaking. Occurring beneath buildings and other structures, liquefaction can cause major damage during earthquakes.

The 1964 Niigata earthquake in 1964 caused widespread liquefaction in Niigata, Japan which destroyed many buildings. During the 1989 Loma Prieta, California earthquake, liquefaction of the soils and debris used to fill in a lagoon caused major subsidence, fracturing, and horizontal sliding of the ground surface in the Marina district in San Francisco.

Liquefaction is a process by which water-saturated sediment temporarily loses strength and acts as a fluid, like when you wiggle your toes in the wet sand near the water at the beach.

While some parts of Metro Manila are being threatened by liquefaction, let’s take a closer look into the unstoppable destruction of our environment.

More than 100 million people will die and global economic growth will be cut by 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change, a report commissioned by 20 governments reveals.

As global average temperatures rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, the effects on the planet, such as melting ice caps, extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels, will threaten populations and livelihoods, said the report conducted by humanitarian organization DARA.

It calculated that five million deaths occur each year from air pollution, hunger and disease as a result of climate change and carbon-intensive economies, and that toll would likely rise to six million a year by 2030 if current patterns of fossil fuel use continue.

More than 90 percent of those deaths will occur in developing countries, said the report that calculated the human and economic impact of climate change on 184 countries in 2010 and 2030. It was commissioned by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a partnership of 20 developing countries threatened by climate change.

"A combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade," the report said.

It said the effects of climate change had lowered global output by 1.6% of world GDP, or by about $1.2 trillion a year and losses could double to 3.2% of global GDP by 2030 if global temperatures are allowed to rise, surpassing 10% before 2100.

It estimated the cost of moving to a low-carbon global economy at about 0.5% of GDP this decade.

Responding to the report, Oxfam International said the costs of political inaction on climate were staggering.

"The losses to agriculture and fisheries alone could amount to more than $500bn per year by 2030, heavily focused in the poorest countries where millions depend on these sectors to make a living," said executive director Jeremy Hobbs.

British economist Nicholas Stern said earlier that investment equivalent to 2% of global GDP was needed to limit and adapt to climate change.

His report on the economics of climate change in 2006 said that without any action to tackle climate change, the overall costs and risks of climate change would be equivalent to a cut in per-capita consumption of perhaps up to 20%.

Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Almost 200 nations agreed in 2010 to limit the global average temperature rise to below 2C (3.6 Fahrenheit) to avoid dangerous impacts from climate change.

But climate scientists have warned that the chance of limiting the rise to below 2C is getting smaller as global greenhouse gas emissions rise due to burning fossil fuels.

The world’s poorest nations are the most vulnerable as they face increased risk of drought, water shortages, crop failure, poverty and disease. On average, they could see an 11% loss in GDP by 2030 due to climate change, DARA said.

"One degree Celsius rise in temperature is associated with 10% productivity loss in farming. For us, it means losing about four million metric tons of food grain, amountin to about $2.5 billion. That is about 2% of our GDP," Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in response to the report.

"Adding up the damages to property and other losses, we are faced with a total loss of about 3-4% of GDP."

Even the biggest and most rapidly developing economies will not escape unscathed. The United States and China could see a 2.1% reduction in their respective GDPs by 2030, while India could experience a more than 5% loss.

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