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Agenda 2010

Now that the New Year is well underway, it is best we also start defining our action agenda. Our over-arching concern this year, of course, is environment. Hence, we may consider our own muddy experience with Ondoy and other climate change catastrophes across our land vis-à-vis the annual World Development Report 2010 of the World Bank.

In the main, the WB reaffirms that poverty reduction and sustainable development remain core global priorities as these staggering figures show: "A quarter of humanity still lives on less than $1.25 a day. One billion people lack clean drinking water; 1.6 billion, electricity; and 3 billion, adequate sanitation. A quarter of all developing country children are malnourished."

"Yet climate change must urgently be addressed. Climate change threatens all countries, with developing countries the most vulnerable. Estimates are that they would bear some 75 to 80 percent of the costs of damages caused by the changing climate. Even 2°C warming above preindustrial temperatures-the minimum the world is likely to experience-could result in permanent reductions in GDP of 4 to 5 percent for Africa and South Asia. Most developing countries lack sufficient financial and technical capacities to manage increasing climate risk. They also depend more directly on climate-sensitive natural resources for income and well-being. And most are in tropical and subtropical regions already subject to highly variable climate.

"Economic growth alone is unlikely to be fast or equitable enough to counter threats from climate change, particularly if it remains carbon intensive and accelerates global warming. So climate policy cannot be framed as a choice between growth and climate change. In fact, climate-smart policies are those that enhance development, reduce vulnerability, and finance the transition to low-carbon growth paths."

Thus, the WB is pushing for a "Climate-Smart" world. It's within reach if we "ACT NOW," "ACT TOGETHER", and "ACT DIFFERENTLY."

"Acting now is essential, or else options disappear and costs increase as the world commits itself to high-carbon pathways and largely irreversible warming trajectories. Climate change is already compromising efforts to improve standards of living and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Staying close to 2°C above preindustrial levels-likely the best that can be done-requires a veritable energy revolution."