Monday, December 28, 2015

Biological Weapons Convention

By Anton Antonio
December 29, 2015

Biological weapons (often termed “bioweapons”, “biological threat agents”, or “bio-agents”) are living organism or replicating entities (therefore, viruses, which are not universally considered “alive”) that reproduce or replicate within their host victims.

“The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (usually referred to as the Biological Weapons Convention, abbreviation: BWC, or Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, abbreviation: BTWC) was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the production of an entire category of weapons.  The Convention was the result of prolonged efforts by the international community to establish a new instrument that would supplement the 1925 Geneva Protocol.  The Geneva Protocol prohibits use but not possession or development of chemical and biological weapons.  A draft of the BWC, submitted by the British was opened for signature on 10 April 1972 and entered into force 26 March 1975 when 22 governments had deposited their instruments of ratification.  It commits the 173 states which are party to it as a December 2014 to prohibit the development, production, and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons.  However, the absence of any formal verification regime to monitor compliance has limited the effectiveness of the Convention.  An additional nine states have signed the BWC but have yet to ratify the treaty.  The scope of the BWC’s prohibition is defines in Article 1 (the so-called general purpose criterion).  This includes all microbial and other biological agents or toxins and their means of delivery (with exceptions for medical and defensive purposes in small quantities).  Subsequent Review Conferences have reaffirmed that the general purpose criterion encompasses all future scientific and technological developments relevant to the Convention.  It is not the objects themselves (biological agents or toxins), but rather certain purposes for which they may be employed which are prohibited.” (Wikipedia)

There are several international agreements --- that are aimed at mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change… and, in this case, an agreement that prohibits both the possession and development of chemical and biological weapons --- have already been passed and agreed upon by a majority of participating countries.  The next set of blogs/articles will be devoted to these international accords to increase the level of awareness on their history, aims and objectives.  One such international accord is the Biological Weapons Convention.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and


Wikipedia, (2015).  “Biological Weapons Convention”.  Retrieved on December 29, 2015 from

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Basel Convention

By Anton Antonio
December 28, 2015

In the dumping of Canadian trash in the Philippines case, an international agreement has been mentioned repeatedly.  Philippine-based environmentalist and activist groups have strongly echoed the fact that Canada has violated the Basel Convention.

“The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, usually known as the Basel Convention, is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous wastes between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs).  It does not, however, address the movement of radioactive waste.  The Convention is also intended to minimize the amount and toxicity of wastes generated, to ensure their environmentally sound management as closely as possible to the source of generation, and to assist LDCs in environmentally sound management of the hazardous and other wastes they generate.  The Convention was opened for signature on 22 March 1989, and entered into force on 5 May 1992.  As of January 2015, 182 states and the European Union are parties to the Convention.  Haiti and the United States have signed the Convention but not ratified it.”  (Wikipedia)

There are several international agreements --- that are aimed at mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change… and, in this case, the transboundary movement of toxic and hazardous waste --- have already been passed and agreed upon by a majority of participating countries.  The next set of blogs/articles will be devoted to these international accords to increase the level of awareness on their history, aims and objectives.  One such international accord is the Basel Convention.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and


Wikipedia, (2015).  “Basel Convention”.  Retrieved on December 28, 2015 from

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Asia-Pacific Partnership

By Anton Antonio
December 27, 2015

Not all international agreements and partnership are beneficial to the rest of the world nor to the environment in general.  Some, especially the Asia-Pacific Partnership was organized to protect fossil fuel consumption of member-nations.

“The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, also known as APP, was an international, voluntary, public-private partnership among Australia, Canada, India, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, South Korea, and the United States announced July 28, 2005 at an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum meeting and launched on January 12, 2006 at the Partnership’s inaugural Ministerial meeting in Sydney.  As of 5 April 2011, the Partnership formally concluded although a number of individual projects continue.  The conclusion of the APP and cancellation of many of its projects attracted almost no media comment.  Foreign, Environment and Energy Ministers from partner countries agreed to co-operate on the development and transfer of technology which enables reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that is consistent with and complementary to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and other relevant international instruments, and is intended to complement but not replace the Kyoto Protocol.  Ministers agreed to a Charter, Communique and Work Plan that “outlined a ground-breaking new model of private-public task forces to address climate change, energy security and sir pollution.  Member countries account for over 50% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, GDP and population.  Unlike the Kyoto Protocol (currently ungratified by the United States), which imposes mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, the Partnership engages member countries to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies, with no mandatory enforcement mechanism.  This has led to criticism that the Partnership is worthless, by other governments, climate scientists and environmental groups.  Proponent, on the other hand, argue that unrestricted economic growth and emission reductions can only be brought about through active engagement by all major polluters, which includes India and China, within the Kyoto Protocol framework neither India nor China are yet required to reduce emissions.  Canada became the 7th member of the APP at the Second Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi on October 15, 2007.  Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper earlier expressed his intention to join the Partnership in August 2007, despite some domestic opposition.” (Wikipedia)

There are several international agreements --- that are aimed at mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change… and, in this case, clean development and climate change --- have already been passed and agreed upon by a majority of participating countries.  The next set of blogs/articles will be devoted to these international accords to increase the level of awareness on their history, aims and objectives.  One such international accord is the Asia-Pacific Partnership.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and


Wikipedia, (2015).  “Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate Change”.  Retrieved on December 27, 2015 from

Friday, December 25, 2015

ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution

By Anton Antonio
December 26, 2015

Haze is traditionally an atmospheric phenomenon where dust, smoke and other dry particles obscure the clarity of the sky.  The Association of South East Asian Nations or ASEAN, even when their geographical locations are characterized by water body separation, are often affected by haze pollution from peat and forest fires from a neighbour nation.  Because of this, an agreement on haze pollution is in order.

“The ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution is a legally binding environmental agreement signed in 2002 by all ASEAN nations to reduce haze pollution in Southeast Asia.  The Agreement recognizes that transboundary haze pollution which results from land and/or forest fires should be mitigated through concerted national efforts and international co-operation.  As of September 2014, all ten ASEAN countries have ratified the haze agreement.  The Agreement is a reaction to an environmental crisis that hit Southeast Asia in the late 1990s.  The crisis was mainly caused by land clearing for agricultural uses via open burning on the Indonesian Island of Sumatra.  Satellite images confirmed the presence of hot spots throughout Kalimantan/Borneo, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula and several other places, with an estimated 45,000 square kilometers of forest and land burnt.  Malaysia, Singapore and to a certain extent, Thailand and Brunei were particularly badly affected.  The haze is nearly an annual occurrence in some ASEAN nations.  Dangerous levels of haze usually coincide with the dry season from June to September when the southwest monsoon is in progress.  Southwest monsoon winds shift the haze from Sumatra, Indonesia towards the Malay Peninsula and Singapore, sometimes creating a thick haze that can last for weeks.  The agreement was established in 2002, though has some foundation in a 1990 agreement made among ASEAN Ministers of Environment which called for efforts leading to the harmonisation of transboundary pollution prevention and abatement practices.  The treaty also builds on the 1995 ASEAN Cooperation Plan on Transboundary Pollution and the 1997 Regional Haze Action Plan.  This treaty is an attempt to bring the action plan into function.”  (Wikipedia)

There are several international agreements --- that are aimed at mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change… and, in this case, the transboundary haze pollution --- have already been passed and agreed upon by a majority of participating countries.  The next set of blogs/articles will be devoted to these international accords to increase the level of awareness on their history, aims and objectives.  One such international accord is the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and


Wikipedia, (2015).  “ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution”.  Retrieved on December 26, 2015 from

Thursday, December 24, 2015

This Little Christmas Story

by Anton Antonio
December 25, 2015

In this day and age of rapid development in tele-communications, we can only wonder how our forefathers utilized smoke signals and drums to convey messages across visual and earshot distances.  Today, aside from the regular mailing system, facsimile machines, electronic mail, etc., we also have the mighty cellular phone.  There are some mobile phones available in the market lately do not only have the SMS (short message service) but MMS (multi-media message service) and online virtual communications (such as Skype).  Using these lightweight gadgets, we could not only send alphabetical, graphic and picture messages but talk and see the person on the other end of the line as well.

Communication is so critically important in our lives that the absence or lack of it could possibly lead to certain disasters.  The following short story dwells, not only communications per se, but communicating with a purpose… communicating effectively… and, communicating intelligently.

It’s a Christmas eve dinner at the dela Cruz Family home.  Papa Pedro and Mama Nena, their sons Pedrito and Junior, and daughter Girlie were all animatedly exchanging notes about the new stuff they bought from the mall earlier that day.  Junior, the youngest dela Cruz, complained that his newly bought pair of blue jeans was a little long and needed to be trimmed by 2 inches.

After dinner, Junior left his denim pants on the sofa and went downstairs to see his playmates… Pedrito entered his room and continued doing school work on the computer… Girlie went to the family room to make telebabad… Papa Pedro went to the living room for his nightly coffee and newpaper… and, Mama Nena went on to clear the table and wash the dishes.

30 minutes passed and Papa Pedro, having finished his coffee and reading his newspaper, saw Junior’s pants, cut-off 2 inches and went to the master’s bedroom to sleep.  Pedrito got out of his room for a drink and, on his way to the fridge, saw Junior’s pants and remembering his younger brother’s request, cut 2 inches off the pants.  Girlie finally ran out of things to talk about on the phone, got out of the family room, saw Junior’s pants on the sofa… cut 2 inches more.  As if the irony wouldn’t end… when Mama Nena finished tidying-up the kitchen, she proceeded to the living room and did her youngest son a favour.  From a request of 2 inches to be cut, a total of 8 inches was actually taken off.  Needless to say, the story ended in a disaster… and Junior cried a bucket-full of tears that night.

Everyone would agree that all the dela Cruz family members meant well for little Junior.  However, their failure to communicate with each other in a seemingly simple undertaking proved to be a very painful experience, not only for Junior but for the rest of the family as well.  This sort of experience can also happen to us.  We belong and interact with other people at work, in school or other collegial organizations... environmental advocacy groups included.  There is no doubt that all of us mean well for whatever group we belong… And working together for the greater good of an organization entails communication… effective communications to foster efficiency and development.

Advances in communications technology are just tools for effective and convenient communications.  Communications is not only the mere motions of talking but the art of listening.  Listening, however, may not be enough... we must listen with our hearts.  Let us not be like the dela Cruz family in this little Christmas story.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Kyoto Protocol

By Anton Antonio
December 24, 2015

“The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty, which extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that commits State Parties to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, based on the premise that (a) global warming exists and (b) man-made carbon dioxide emissions have caused it.  The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005.  There are currently 192 Parties (Canada withdrew effective December 2012) to the Protocol.  The Kyoto Protocol implemented the objective of the UNFCCC to fight global warming by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to “a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.  The Protocol is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities: it puts the obligation to reduce current emissions on developed countries on the basis that they are historically responsible for the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012.  A second commitment period was agreed on in 2012, known as the Doha Amendment to the protocol, in which 37 countries have binding targets:  Australia, the European Union (and its 28 member states), Belarus, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and Ukraine.  Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have stated that they may withdraw from the Protocol or not put into legal force the Amendment with second round targets.  Japan, New Zealand and Russia have participated in Kyoto’s first-round but have not taken on new targets in the second commitment period.  Other developed countries without second-round targets are Canada (which withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2012) and the United States (which has not ratified the Protocol).  As of November 2015, 55 states have accepted the Doha Amendment, while entry into force requires the acceptances of 144 states.  Negotiations were held in Lima in 2014 to agree to agree on a post-Kyoto legal framework that would obligate all major polluters to pay for carbon dioxide emissions.  China, India and the United States have all signalled that they will not ratify any treaty that will commit them legally to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”  (Wikipedia)

There are several international agreements --- that are aimed at mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change --- have already been passed and agreed upon by a majority of participating countries.  The next set of blogs/articles will be devoted to these international accords to increase the level of awareness on their history, aims and objectives.  One such international accord is the Kyoto Protocol.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and


Wikipedia, (2015).  “Kyoto Protocol”.  Retrieved on December 24, 2015 from

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Different Perspective

By Anton Antonio
December 23, 2015

In 1988, James Hansen first warned about the dangers of climate change when he testified before (the US) Congress.  At the time he was NASA’s top climate scientist.  He would go on to become the nation’s most influential climate scientist.  This year he is making his first appearance at a U.N. climate change summit.  He has come to Paris to warn world leaders that they are on the wrong track to prevent dangerous global warming.

But who exactly is Hansen?  “James Edward Hansen (born 29 March 1941) is an American adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.  He is best known for his research in climatology, his 1988 Congressional testimony on climate change that helped raise broad awareness of global warming, and his advocacy of action to avoid dangerous climate change in recent years he has become a climate activist to mitigate the effects of climate change, on a few occasions leading to his arrest.  In 2000, Hansen advanced an alternative view of global warming, arguing that the 0.74 degrees Celsius rise in average global temperatures over the previous 100 years had been driven by greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide, such as methane, but even then supported limiting CO2 emissions “because the future balance of forcings is likely to shift towards dominance of CO2 over aerosols” as it has.” (Wikipedia)

At the COP21 summit in Paris, France, Hansen was interviewed by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now.  In this interview, Dr. Hansen postulated an alternative measure to cut fossil fuel consumption and support countries with lesser fossil fuel consumption.  The following is just a part of the transcript of that interview…

“AMY GOODMAN:  We’re broadcasting from COP21, from the 21st Conference of Parties, that is the U.N. Climate Summit in Paris, France that is supposed to lead to the Paris Accord.  As we turn now to NASA’s former top climate scientist, James Hansen.  In 1988, Dr. Hansen first warned about the dangers of climate change when he testified before Congress.  He would go on to become the nation’s most influential climate scientist.  This year he is making his appearance at a U.N. climate summit.  He has come to Paris to warn world leaders that they’re on the wrong track to prevent dangerous global warming.  James Hansen joins us now, the Director of Climate Science at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.  Welcome back to Democracy Now!  It’s great to have you with us.
JAMES HANSEN:  Thanks for having me.
GOODMAN:  So, you wrote a piece in the Guardian saying, we’re at the point, now, where temperatures are hitting the one centigrade mark.  You said, the U.N. is on the wrong track with plans to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius.
HANSEN:  Yeah, absolutely.  This is really a total fraud.  You know, there’s no – we’re not going to reduce emissions as long as we let fossil fuels be the cheapest form of energy.  There are lots of countries that want to lift their people out of poverty.  And of course, they should do that.  But everybody would be better off if the price of fossil fuels was honest.  It should include its cost to society.
GOODMAN:  So what is the plan here?  And you’re coming in, interestingly, as an outsider.  You have never been here before.
HANSEN:  Yeah.
GOODMAN:  Which gives you an interesting perspective.
HANSEN:  Remarkable, it’s not much different than Kyoto except that, here, they’re not even requiring any connection among the different countries. They’re just saying, well, each country tells us what you’re going to do to reduce your emissions.  And at the same time, they allow fossil fuels to be the cheapest energy, and appear to be the cheapest energy.  Of course, they’re not, really, if you include their cost to society – and that’s what we should do; we should add a rising fee to the fossil fuel price.  It would be very easy to so at the domestic mine or port of entry, a very small number of places.  But we’re, instead, we’re just saying, well, let’s try harder.  We’ll, you know, we’ll give you a plan.  We’re going to reduce our emissions.  Although, some countries are not – don’t even saying that.
GOODMAN:  What did you make of President Obama’s speech on Monday here at the U.N. Climate Summit?
HANSEN:  Well, we have to decide, are these people stupid or are they just uninformed?  Are they badly advised?  I think that he really believes he’s doing something.  You know, he wants to have a legacy, a legacy having done something in the climate problem.  But what he is proposing is totally ineffectual.  I mean, there are some small things that are talked about here, the fact that they may have a fund for investment and invest more in clean energies, but these are minor things.  As long as also fuels are dirt cheap, people will keep burning them.
GOODMAN:  So, why don’t you talk, Dr. James Hansen, about what you are endorsing, a carbon tax.  What does it mean, what does it look like?
HANSEN:  Yeah.  It should be an across-the-board carbon fee and in a democracy, it’s going to – the money should be given to the public.  Just give an equal amount to every – you collect the money from the fossil fuel companies.  The rate would go up over time, but the money should be distributed 100 percent to the public; an equal amount to every legal resident.
GOODMAN:  Is Alaska an example of this?
HANSEN:  Well, Alaska is giving fossil fuel money to the public, and of course they like that.  So, it’s sort of – it shows how much the public does getting a monthly check.  But what this would do, those people who do better than average in limiting their fossil fuel use, would make money.  Wealthy people, people who fly around the world a lot and have big houses, they would pay more in increased process than they would get in their monthly dividend.
GOODMAN:  Explain what you mean.
HANSEN:  Well, because – we’re giving all of the money.  You collect money from fossil fuel companies and you distribute it equalled all residents.  So the one who does better than average and limiting his fossil fuel use will get more in the dividend than he pays in increased prices.
GOODMAN:  And how do you know what fossil fuel use is?
HANSEN:  Nobody has to think about this.  They know.  They will just look at prices.  Of course, the price at the pump is obvious and the electricity bill will be obvious.  This will move industry and businesses to develop no carbon and low carbon energies and products that use little fossil fuels.  In fact, the economic studies show that United States, after 10 years, emissions would be reduced 30 percent because you have the economy forcing you in the right direction.  But as long as you just leave it fossil fuels cheap, you’re not going to fundamentally change things.
GOODMAN:  It’s not only that fossil fuels are kept cheap, the – not only U.S. government, governments around the world subsidize -
GOODMAN: - the fossil fuel industry –
HANSEN:  Yeah.
GOODMAN:  - far more than any kind of renewable.
HANSEN:  Yeah, well, that’s right, on the total basis.  Per unit energy they’re subsidizing renewable more.  But that’s OK.  We should not be subsidizing any of them.  Let this carbon price ride.  That will favour renewable, it will favour energy efficiency, it will favour nuclear power.  It will favour anything that is carbon-free.  That’s the way we should do it.  And that’s the way conservatives would accept it.  This is a revenue neutral approach which does not make the government bigger.  And I’ve talked to some leading conservatives and – who understand that this is not a hoax, that climate change is not a hoax, and they are willing to accept this concept of revenue-neutral carbon fee.” --- Democracy Now

There is a present debate on how to pin a cost on the impact of climate change.  Included in these measures are: “carbon credits”, “carbon fee”, “climate financing”, “carbon tax”, “green bond”, “jet fuel tax”, etc.  All of these financial initiatives are aimed at penalizing the larger carbon emitting countries while using such funds to help developing and underdeveloped countries mitigate the effects of climate change and their efforts to convert and develop renewable energy alternatives.  Carbon fee, as James Hansen suggested, may just be another financial measure to curb global warming and climate change.  But if this (and other suggestions) falls on deaf ears, it will be nothing more than just an idea from a different perspective.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and


Democracy Now, (2015). “Climate Scientist James Hansen Warns World”.  Retrieved on December 23, 2015 from

Wikipedia, (2015). “James Hansen”.  Retrieved on December 23, 2015 from

Monday, December 21, 2015

Three Trillion Trees

By Anton Antonio
December 22, 2015

How many more trees do we really have?  This is quite a tough question to answer for there is a gamut (meaning: a complete range or scope of something) of confusing figures out there.  Here is one article from Agence France Presse and Rappler that seems to make sense.  Please read…

“BONN, Germany – There are about 3 trillion trees on Earth, roughly 422 for every person and 8 times more than previously estimated, researchers said Wednesday, September 2, admitting surprise.  A 15-nation team led by Yale University experts used a combination of old-fashioned headcounts and state-of-the-art satellite and supercomputer technology to produce what they claim is the most comprehensive tree census ever.  “I don’t know what I would have guessed, but I was certainly surprised to find that we were talking about trillions,” said the study’s lead author Thomas Crowther of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in Connecticut in the United States.  But there was bad news, the researchers reported in the journal Nature.  The calculation revealed that tree cover had nearly halved since the start of human civilization.  And the pace of deforestation has not abated: our species is currently felling some 15 billion trees every year, the study found.  The team based their research on verified tree counts from some 400,000 forest plots.  They then used satellite imagery to determine how factors like climate, topography, vegetation, soil conditions and human impact affected tree density.  Developing models to estimate tree numbers at regional levels, they then drew a global map of Earth’s estimated 3.04 trillion trees.  “The highest densities of trees were found in the boreal forest in the sub-arctic regions of Russia, Scandinavia and North America.” A Yale University statement said.  “But the largest forest areas, by far, are in the tropics, which are home to about 43% of the world’s trees.”  The team’s calculations revealed that of all the factors impacting tree numbers, human activity had by far the biggest effect, largely through deforestation and land-use change.  There has been in total a 46% drop in tree numbers since human began to clear land to plant seeds, the study found.  “In short, tree densities usually plummet as the human population increases,” said the statement.  “We’ve nearly halved the number of trees on the planet, and we’ve seen the impacts on climate and human health as a result.” said Crowther.  “The study highlights how much more effort is needed if we are to restore healthy forests worldwide.”  Apart from offering oxygen, fuel and shelter, trees store important quantities of carbon, which, if released, contribute to global warming.  Simon Lewis of University College London, who was not involved in the study, said this was the first robust, global tree estimate.  “Care is required when talking about numbers of trees as they are usually not the most important attribute of an ecosystem,” he said in comments to the London-based Climate Media Centre.  “A plantation forest of many small trees all of the same type isn’t better than a patch of pristine Amazon rainforest with fewer very large trees of all different species.”  Measuring a forest’s carbon storage capacity also requires more than counting trees, he added, as most carbon is held in large trees.  A study by the World Resources Institute earlier Wednesday said the world last year lost some 18 million hectares (45 million acres) of tree cover – equivalent to two Portugals – more than half of it in the tropics.  Halting deforestation is a key focus of UN negotiations, underway in Bonn, for a global pact to limit disastrous climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions.” --- Mariette Le Roux, Agence France Presse /

There is a sad and worrisome note in this article though… it said that “the world last year lost some 18 million hectares (45 million acres) of tree cover – equivalent to two Portugals – more than half of it in the tropics”.  If this trend is not curbed, decades down the road, what will remained of our 3 trillion trees.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and


Steve Harvey

By Anton Antonio
December 21, 2015

Miss Universe 2015 pageant host Steve Harvey crowned the wrong winner… initially, that is.  Miss Colombia, who was the runner-up, stood at center stage wearing the crown for a few minutes before it was taken away and given to the winner, Miss Philippines.  This is perhaps the most bizarre ending to a Miss Universe contest ever.

But who is Steve Harvey?  “Broderick Stephen “Steve” Harvey (born January 17, 1957) is an American comedian, television host, radio personality, actor, and author.  He hosts the Steve Harvey Morning Show, Steve Harvey (the talk show), and Family Feud.  He is the author of “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man” which was published in March 2009, and the book “Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find and Keep a Man”.  Harvey previously hosted Showtime at the Apollo, starred in The Steve Harvey Show, and was featured in The Original Kings of Comedy.  He is a three-time Daytime Emmy Award winner, and an 11-time NAACP Image Award winner in various categories.”  (Wikipedia)

Right after realizing his mistake, Harvey went back on stage, corrected his earlier announcement and declared Miss Philippines as the winner, and apologized for the mess.  It was an embarrassing moment but the Miss Philippines win was made more memorable because of the host’s mistake.  But was it really a mistake?  Someone (on social media) made a comment that it (the mistake) was done on purpose.  After all, pageant hosts are forgotten after the contest… and, in the long history of the Miss Universe pageant, how many hosts were talked about in the same light as the pageant’s winner?  Harvey just made Miss Universe 2015 something to talk about for a longer time.

Steve Harvey, if he was a Filipino politician, would probably make it as president in May 2016.  Traditionally, Pinoy politicians will simply find justifications for even the most obvious mistakes than apologize for them.  His sincere apology to Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines/Universe and everyone concerned is a sign of a great human being.  Owning up to the error only proved he had balls.  Afterall, we all make mistakes, don’t we?  Cheers, Mr. Steve Harvey!

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and

Sunday, December 20, 2015


By Anton Antonio
December 21, 2015

There is an old adage (meaning: a proverb or short statement expressing a general truth) that says: “Birds of the same feather flock together.”  This is perhaps the reason why groups like the G20 and V20 were conceived and actually organized.

In the international brotherhood of nations, there is a group that call themselves the “Group of Twenty” (also known as G-20 or G20) which is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies.  These countries are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States together with the European Union.  Founded in 1999, the objective of the G20 is to study, review and promote high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.  The G20 controls and account for 85% of the gross world product (GWP).

On the other hand, the V20 is composed of the finance ministers from countries most vulnerable to climate change.  “V” actually stands for “vulnerable”.  Organized in October 2015, the group includes some of the world’s smallest and poorest countries aims to marshal resources their nations’ resources in the fights against the impact of global warming and climate change.  As opposed to the G20 which are developed and advance economies, the V20 are underdeveloped and developing economies.  The V20 member-nations are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan. Costa Rica, East Timor, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, the Maldives, Nepal, the Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

The purpose and objectives of the V20 are: (1) the organization of the V20 to enable vulnerable countries to steer a high-level policy dialogue pertaining to action on climate change and the promotion of climate resilient and low emission development with full competence for addressing economic and financial issues among nations around the world, rich or poor; (2) promote alternative economic and financial visions to shape global debate and policy development in response to climate change and seek to drive global economic prosperity in harmony with the Earth’s climate and its most vulnerable communities; and, (3) the platform to achieve these objectives through: (a) acting collectively to promote the mobilization of public and private climate finance and other resources of climate finance; (b) sharing and exchanging best practices on economic and financial aspects of climate action; (c) developing improved and innovative approaches to climate finance; and (d) engaging in joint advocacy and other collective actions.

Aside from the obvious economic statures, the stark difference between G20 and V20 nations is their ability to cushion the effect of climate change which has definite monetary cost.  And financial resource is one thing the G20 has in abundance while the V20 has less of.  Having stated this, the G20 could be “birds of the same feather” when it comes to domestic resources management and international trade.  However, in the realm of environmental management (particularly global warming and climate change), both G20 and V20 now become “birds of the same feather”… nations that share and have the same problem.  It is therefore important for both the G20 and V20 to also share resources in fighting the effects of global warming.  Again, climate change do not recognize between G20 and V20.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Terrorism is Hardly a Solution to Climate Change

By Anton Antonio
December 20, 2015

Widespread drought, leading to desertification, is just one of the serious results of global warming and climate change.  In the years between 2006 and 2010, Syria experienced a monumental drought, primarily attributed to climate change, that drove some 1.5 million crops and livestock farmers into cities and towns such as Homs, Palmyra and Damascus.  Over populated, these urban centers began experiencing economic problems, food shortages and social discontent… a perfect recipe for civil unrest and an ideal breeding ground for armed insurgency and separatist movements.  This is how ISIL and ISIS managed to spread its influence in that area.

So what is ISIL or ISIS all about?  “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) alternately translated the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is a Salafi jihadist militant group that adheres to an Islamic fundamentalist, Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam.  The group has referred to itself as the Islamic State or IS since it proclaimed a worldwide caliphate in June 2014 and named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its caliph.  As a caliphate, it claims religious, political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide.  As of December 2015, the group has control over vast territories in Iraq and Syria with population estimates ranging between 2.8 million and 8 million people where it enforces Sharia law.”  “In March 2011, protest began in Syria against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.  In the following months, violence between demonstrators and security forces led to a gradual militarization of the conflict.  In August, al-Baghdadi began sending Syrian and Iraqi ISI members experienced in guerrilla warfare across the border into Syria to establish an organization there.  Led by a Syrian known as Abu Muhammad al-Julani, this group began to recruit fighters and established cell throughout the country.” (Wikipedia)

The ISIL and ISIS fundamentalist, however, engaged in terrorism as a means to pursue their cause not only in Iraq and Syria but in other parts of the world… the latest and most despicable happened on November 13 in Paris, France; barely two weeks before the Paris Climate Talks.  If these attacks in Paris are intended to highlight the fact that the drought in Syria is a direct cause of climate change (as some people say), ISIL and ISIS are dead wrong!  Terrorism is hardly a solution to climate change.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Wikipedia, (2015).  “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”. Retrieved on December 20, 2015 from

Friday, December 18, 2015

Dark Bedrooms

By Anton Antonio
December 19, 2015

On November 16, 2015, popular movie actress-turned-politician Alma Moreno (who is running for a seat in the Philippine Senate in 2016) was interviewed by an equally popular television talk show host Karen Davila.  The venue was Ms. Davila’s show, Headstart, on ANC.  A day after the encounter, the interview was uploaded on social media and became viral in the next few days.  Unfortunately, both ladies were criticized for either being too dumb and/or being too intelligent at the same breath.

I will no longer dwell on the quality of questions asked or the quality of answers given… except for one particular answer senatorial candidate Moreno gave.  The question was about Ms. Moreno’s recommended solution to the population problem… to which she answered “Huwag papatayin ang ilaw” (“don’t turn the lights off” or “keep the lights on”).  Looks like candidate Moreno has a point afterall… people do have a tendency to be “shy”, aloof and less sexually aggressive when the lights are on… therefore, lesser sexual encounters equate to less pregnancies.  And lesser pregnancies have less population impact.  Makes sense, hindi ba?

This brings us to the sad fact that population increases are largely prevalent in remote communities that do not have electricity.  These off-grid areas, because of over population, more often have health, security and economic issues.  Over population is a core environmental problem as it puts pressure on food supply and security and land use conversion.  Having said this, it is therefore a must for these remote communities to be energized ASAP.

The next question, perhaps, is how…  How can electric posts and lines be extended to these remote communities when putting up the necessary infrastructure is way too expensive?  Utilities providers, from the purely business viewpoint, find it not too encouraging considering the “cost-benefit” ratio.  The total energy consumption of these communities simply does not justify the high cost of electricity infrastructure.  So what can be done for these remote communities?

Solar power could be answer as this initiative does not need costly posts and lines.  Stand-alone solar lighting post can be installed in these communities if individual household solar installations cannot be feasible yet.  Brightly-lit streets could prompt more social events and activities for the residents as opposed to staying home in their dark bedrooms.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Perfect Combination

By Anton Antonio
December 18, 2015

Zamboanga City was chosen as the site of the largest solar power plant in Southeast Asia.  The solar power plant being planned will be set up at the Zamboanga Economic Zone in Barangay Talisayan.  Barring any major problem, the plant is expected to be operational by March 2016.  The proponent of the project is Ecoglobal, Inc. which is a partnership between Filipino and French investors.  The solar farm is projected to provide a maximum level of 100 megawatts of electric energy.

The more encouraging prospect is the wind-powered energy that is also being planned to augment the solar farm.  The solar and wind power that is expected to be harnessed from this twin initiative will max-out to around 300 megawatts when both power components are fully operational.  Let’s just hope that the wind mapping, presently being conducted in the area, proves to be sufficient.

This renewable energy combination initiative is said to be the biggest and most ambitious so far in the Southeast Asian region.  Aside from this, the project could also be the most ideal combination of renewable energy… solar and wind.  It’s truly a perfect combination.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Climate Warrior is Coming

By Anton Antonio
December 17, 2015

“Albert Arnold “Al” Gore, Jr. (born March 31, 1948) is an American politician and environmentalist who served as the 45th Vice President of the United States from 1993 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton.  Chosen as Clinton’s running mate in the successful 1992 campaign, he was re-elected in 1996.  At the end of Clinton’s second term, Gore was the Democratic Party’s nominee for President in 2000.  In what was one of the closest presidential races in history, Gore won the national popular vote, but lost the electoral vote, and thus the Presidency, to George W. Bush.  After leaving office, Gore remained prominent as an author and environmental activist, whose work in climate change activism earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.  Gore was an elected official for 24 years.  He was a Congressman from Tennessee (1977-85) and from 1985 to 1993 served as one of the state’s Senators.  He served as Vice President during the Clinton Administration from 1993 to 2001.  In the 2000 presidential election, Gore won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College to Republican George W. Bush.  A controversial election dispute over a vote recount in Florida was settled by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 in favor of Bush.  Gore is the founder and current chair of the Alliance for Climate Protection, the co-founder and chair of Generation Investment Management and the now-defunct Current TV network, a member of the Board of Directors of Apple, Inc., and a senior advicer to Google.  Gore is also a partner in the venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, heading its climate change solutions group.  He has served as a visiting professor at Middle Tennessee State University, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Fisk University, and the University of California, Los Angeles.  He served on the Board of Directors of World Resources Institute.  Gore has received a number of awards including the Nobel Peace Prize (joint award with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007), a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album (2009) for his book An Inconvenient Truth, a Primetime Emmy Award for Current TV (2007), and a Webby Award (2005).  Gore was also the subject of the Academy Award-winning (2007) documentary An Inconvenient Truth in 2006.  In 2007 he was named a runner-up for Time’s 2007 Person of the Year.” (Wikipedia)

Al Gore has been touring the world for over a decade now evangelizing on the evil of climate change and proposing measures to mitigate its effects.  In March 2016, he will be in the Philippines to train volunteer climate warriors.  Choosing the Philippines was easy since the country is one of the most vulnerable to climate change impacts.  This is a piece of good news as the Philippines needs all the information and education on the subjects of greenhouse effect,  global warming and climate change.  We should all be glad Al Gore will be coming… the climate warrior is coming.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Wikipedia, (2015). “Al Gore”. Retrieved on December 17, 2015 from

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement

By Anton Antonio
December 16, 2015

The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement at the COP21 (the 21st meeting of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties) has already been published.  It’s quite a long document but for those who are interested to read it, please click on the following link:  I tried researching for a summary of the Paris Climate Agreement and came up with a news item from


U.N. climate talks reached a milestone Saturday when more than 190 countries adopted the first accord asking all countries to join the fight against global warming.  Here are some of the key elements of the deal:

LONG-TERM GOAL:  The long-term objective of the agreement is to make sure global warming stays “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and to “pursue efforts” to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).  Temperatures have already increased by about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.  To achieve that goal, governments pledged to stop the rise in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions “as soon as possible.”  By some point after 2050, the agreement says, man-made emissions should be reduced to a level that forests and oceans can absorb.

EMISSIONS TARGETS:  In order to reach the long-term goal, countries agreed to set national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions every five years.  More than 180 countries have already submitted targets for the first cycle beginning in 2020.  Only developed countries are expected to slash their emissions in absolute terms; developing nations are “encouraged” to do so as their capabilities evolve over time.  Until then, they are expected only to rein in growth of emissions as their economies develop.

REVIEWING TARGETS:  The initial targets won’t be enough to put the world on a path to meet the long-term temperature goal.  So the agreement asks governments to review their targets in the next four years and see if they can “update” them.  That doesn’t require governments to deepen their cuts.  But the hope is that it will be possible for them to do so if renewable energy sources become more affordable and effective.

TRNSPARENCY:  There is no penalty for countries that miss their emissions targets.  But the agreement has transparency rules to help encourage countries to actually do what they say they will do.  That was one of the most difficult pieces to agree on, with China asking for softer requirements for developing countries.  The agreement says all countries must report on their emissions and their efforts to reduce them.  But it allows for some “flexibility” for developing countries that “need it.”

MONEY:  The agreement says wealthy countries should continue to offer financial support to help poor countries reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change.  It also encourages other countries to pitch in on a voluntary basis.  That paves the way for emerging economies such as China to contribute, even though it doesn’t require them to do so.  Actual dollar amounts were kept out of the agreement itself, but wealthy nations had previously pledged to provide $100 billion annually in climate finance by 2020.

LOSS AND DAMAGE:  In a victory for small island nations threatened by rising seas, the agreement includes a section recognizing “loss and damage” associated with climate-related disasters.  The U.S. long objection to addressing the issue in the agreement worries that it would lead to claims of compensation for damage caused by extreme weather events.  In the end, the issue was included, but a footnote specifically stated that loss and damage does not involve liability or compensation.”

Considering that this agreement is among and between some 200 countries (with their own interests to protect), it will be very ambitious to draw a perfect one.  The more controversial issues are: (1) equitable target setting; (2) reportorial transparency; (3) financial support for climate change impacts especially to poor and small island nations; and, (4) liability and compensation for affected countries.  This agreement, however, is a fair start and adjustments can be made as we all move forward.  In the meantime, everyone should buckle down to work and fulfil each and every nation’s commitment to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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CNBC, (2015).  “Paris Climate Agreement: All You Need to Know”.  Retrieved on December 16, 2015 from

The Origin of Simbang Gabi

By Anton Antonio
December 15, 2015

Simbang Gabi is a truly unique Filipino religious tradition.  But is this an original Filipino tradition?   Here is a researched material on the origin of this tradition.

By Kathleen de Villa, Inquirer Research

Do you know when “Simbang Gabi” (dawn Mass) started in the Philippines?  One December dawn in the 1700s, a Spanish friar gathered his farmers and taught them to say a prayer of thanks to God for their generous harvest that year and, hopefully, in the years to come.  Historical records showed that this was the birth of Simbang Gabi, the Filipino Christmas tradition that the young and the old celebrate first thing in the morning for nine straight days in the run-up to Christmas Day.  Simbang Gabi traces its roots to Catholic-dominated countries like Spain and Mexico.  According to the book, “Pasko!: The Philippine Christmas,” by Reynaldo Alejandrino and Marla Chorengel, the farmers followed the friar since they were used to early morning sacrifices and rituals to their pagan gods before they did their fieldwork.  The farmers were asked to sing during Mass, which would be followed by a simple breakfast offered by the friar.  Celebrating the dawn Mass every morning was a mixture of pagan custom and Catholic rites.  This, the missionaries felt it would be a practical and effective means of spreading Catholicism among the natives.  But there are other versions in historical records of the beginning of Simbang Gabi, also known as “Misa de Gallo” or Mass of the Rooster.  Historical researcher Jesson Gonzales Allerite, in an online article of the Catholics Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said that based on historical accounts, Mass was forbidden to be said during nighttime.  Thus, “these Masses were offered in the darkness of dawn amid the blaze of many lighted candles, especially for farmers and workmen who had to labor afterwards,” according to the account.  These Masses, lit only by candlelight, are also called “Misa Aurea” or golden Mass, believed to be a precursor of the “Misa de Aguinaldo” in Spain, the Americas and the Philippines.  Another story, told in 2012 by Fr. Gennie Diwa, head of the office of liturgy of the Archdiocese of Manila, was that Simbang Gabi was brought by Catholic missionaries from Mexico.  He said Mexican Catholics at that time began holding early dawn Masses in honor of the Virgin Mary before going to till their fields at Christmasstime.  Missionaries brought the practice to the Philippines and Filipinos “enthusiastically adopted it,” adding their own flavor.  “From my research, it was typically Mexican.  They held it at dawn because people wake up early in the morning before they do their farming.  It was a way to start the day for nine days in honor of the Blessed Mother and Christmas,” Diwa said.  “I don’t think the Mexicans still celebrate it… but it became more popular in the Philippines.  It was easily accepted here because although Easter is supposed to be the greatest feast day of the Church, for Filipinos, Christmas in its form and preparation is more popular than Easter,” Diwa said.  These Masses were usually held in a solemn manner but the Filipinos secured a permission from the Vatican to allow Simbang Gabi in the Philippines t be festive.  In his manuscript titled “The History of the Misa de Aguinaldo: From Spain to the Philippine Islands,” Allerite said that Masses had to be stopped due to an order from the Sacred Congregation of Rites, a regulator of liturgical celebrations of the Roman Church, because of the Filipinos’ habit of singing Christmas carols in the vernacular.  Such singing was then prohibited, except for the entrance and recessional songs.  “The wording of the order was very severe.  (The practice was described as) along the lines of “perversion of doctrine,” said Allerite in his research.  Filipinos added “local flavour” through practices like panunuluyan (dramatization of the Holy Family’s search for an inn), singing villancinco (Spanish upbeat Church songs) and the cooking of Christmas delicacies like puto bumbong and bibingka.  IN the Philippines, the festive atmosphere of the after-prayer gatherings varies in different provinces, with Muslim, Chinese, Mexican, European or American influences.  In Bicol, carollers dressed as shepherds appear as soon as the Simbang Gabi starts.  They sing villacincos to the beat of Muslim gongs, Spanish guitars and other string instruments.  In Bohol, the carollers, as Joseph, Mary and innkeepers, participate in a nine-day pageant called “ige-ige” --- derived from the word “igehan” --- meaning to drive somebody out from one’s house.  This begins simultaneously with the first dawn Mass.  In Cebu, the dawn Mass starts with carollers dressed up like jungle warriors or city clowns performing acrobatic stunts in the streets.  Their faces are smudged with black dye.  IN Mindanao and some remote areas, however, dawn Masses are celebrated without a priest.  Introduced by the CBCP five years ago, it was the prelates’ way of reaching out to Catholics who could hardly be accommodated for lack of clerics.  The practice of Simbang Gabi, as well as decorating lanterns, has been brought overseas to non-Catholic nations, such as the United States and Singapore, where a high number of Filipino migrants live.  In Seattle, Simbang Gabi is considered a sacred ritual of lights symbolized by the “parol” (lantern).  In December 1997, the archbishop of Seattle celebrated the first Simbang Gabi and was so moved by the experience that he has since encouraged the entire archdiocese to participate.  But the Masses are held at night, due to busy mornings and cold December nights, followed by the reception, ranging from a simple merienda to an extravagant fiesta, with cultural entertainment.  Two years later, the first novena Mass was celebrated in Singapore, which was also held at night.  The Filipino language was then used since only Filipinos were in attendance.  English was later used after more foreigners began participating.”

Growing up in a Catholic family and community, I obediently followed the tradition without question.  Perhaps this typifies my present day obedience to the laws of nature as I move forward in my environmental advocacy and activism.  But if I could find time to understand environmental science, it should make perfect sense, as a devout Catholic, to also look into the origin of Simbang Gabi.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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REFERENCE:, (2015).  “Looking Back at the First Simbang Gabi”.  Retrieved on December 15, 2015 from

Monday, December 14, 2015

Challenges of the COP21

By Anton Antonio
December 15, 2015

Conference of Parties or COP21 or the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Climate Talks is over but the harder part of summarizing and processing the results (suggestions, proposals, commitments, etc.) has just begun.

The objective of the COP21 is to get everyone to agree to bring down average global temperature to 1.5 degrees centigrade… which is the average temperature before the dawn of the industrial revolution sometime in the 1850s.  This will spell success or failure for the COP21.  Success or failure also anchors largely on the ability of the UNFCCC to address the following issues:
  1. How to help underdeveloped and developing countries cope with the costs of global warming and climate change;
  2. How to set the limit for planetary overheating; is 1.5 degrees Centigrade enough;
  3. How to share the burden between rich and poor countries;
  4. How to determine if the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (or INDCs) are enough or too much for individual countries; and,
  5. How to monitor and review progress of a particular country’s INDCs.

Ultimately, the goal of the Paris climate talks is to find a comprehensive, ambitious, legally binding agreement with no country left behind.  While there are a lot of peripheral problems, addressing these issues and concerns are the real challenges of the COP21.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

The COP21 Timeline

By Anton Antonio
December 14, 2015

A lot of people are wondering what “COP21” means and what were the past events leading to “COP21”.  COP stands for “Conference of the Parties” who had been meeting to discuss and process environmental concerns… particularly climate change.  COP21 is the 21st meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  There have been 20 other meetings under the guidance of the UNFCCC leading to the 21st meeting in Paris, France this year.  I’ve organized a limited timeline to somewhat detail previous COP events:

1987 – Countries agree to the Montreal Protocol to quickly phase out the chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) creating a hole in the ozone layer.  The Montreal Protocol is worldwide initiative aimed at establishing a global working model of a framework agreement where countries agree to a set of environmental goals and then separately implement measures to achieve them.

1989 – The Montreal Protocol goes into effect.

1992 – 154 countries sign the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which binds the parties to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the planet’s climate system.  All countries, classified as either “developed, developing or under-developed”, were assigned responsibilities which match their capabilities.  At present, there are 195 countries, together with the European Union, which have signed the agreement.

1997 – The UNFCCC goals were included in another document called the Kyoto Protocol.  The Kyoto Protocol committed the parties to work towards targets set as the international level for reducing emissions, beginning in 2005.

2009 – The UNFCCC holds its 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) in Copenhagen with the goal of finding new and more inclusive initiatives for international efforts to be united against climate change.  COP15, however, failed to come up with a unified accord.  But more importantly, all parties agreed to come up with their own nationally determined targets also called INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions).

2011 – At the COP17 held in Durban, South Africa, the parties agreed to set COP21 in Paris in 2015 as the time and place for a new global climate agreement.  It was further agreed that whatever COP21 agreement is made, this will be applicable to all.

2013 – COP19, held in Warsaw, Poland, established the INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) as tools for countries to propose and submit their commitments to climate action as part of the Paris agreement.  The INDCs will have the following characteristics: (a) Allow countries to set their own targets under a common framework, instead of having them set by the international community; (b) The INDCs are to be submitted in advance prior to the Paris talks to enable other countries to see each country’s commitments; (c) The policies each country would use to make good on their commitments should be stated in detail; and, (d) Not only underdeveloped and developing countries are expected to submit INDCs but all countries.

As of today, the submissions (INDC) and discussions at the COP21 are still being processed and summarized.  Let’s hope for the best moving forward from COP21.  I also hope that COP21 and the entire COP concept is now clear with this material on the COP timeline.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Climate Change Guide, (2015). “What You Should Know About Paris COP21”.  Retrieved on December 14, 2015 from

Saturday, December 12, 2015


By Anton Antonio
December 13, 2015

Most people, unfortunately, are not aware that there was a very important event that happened in Paris, France.  Perhaps, people are more interested to find out more details on the terrorist attacks that happened in Paris earlier.  Although the fight against terrorism should be everyone’s concern, the Paris Climate Talks should be of equal importance. 

The following are the important information about the Conference of Parties or COP21 or the United Nations’ Paris Climate Talks:
  • The COP21 has been described as humanity’s last chance for tackling climate change;
  • The COP21 is the most critical of all previous Conference of Parties meetings;
  • Over 100 world leaders together with around 40,000 delegates will be attending this meeting in Paris, France starting November 30 to the first week of December 2015; and,
  • The aim of the COP21 is to reach a globally binding agreement on emissions.

The objective of the COP21 is to get everyone to agree to bring down average global temperature to 1.5 degrees centigrade… which is the average temperature before the dawn of the industrial revolution sometime in the 1850s.  This will spell success or failure for the COP21.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and


Climate Change Guide, (2015). “What You Should Know About Paris COP21”.  Retrieved on December 13, 2015 from

Friday, December 11, 2015

National Greening Program

By Anton Antonio
December 12, 2015

One of the flagship programs of the Aquino Administration is the National Greening Program.  This is arguably one of the best pro-environment programs any political administration and national leadership could implement that has widespread benefits that would extend to even the future generations of Filipinos.  The Commission on Audit (COA), the government watchdog for public programs, however, has worrisome news for everyone.  Please read the following researched news item…

By Marlon Ramos and Dona Z. Pazzibugan
April 24, 2015

MANILA, Philippines – The P7.2-billion National Greening Project (NGP) and the land survey project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) were “unsuccessful,” according to the Commission on Audit (COA).  In its 2013 DENR audit report, the COA said the agency undertook the tree-planting program and the cadastral survey project covering 10 regions of the country without an efficient and effective system of implementing and monitoring projects.  The COA said the DENR identified “nonplantable areas” as tree-planting sites because it did not conduct mapping and planning.  It said the delay in the delivery of seedlings resulted in the “untimely planting,” which happened at the end of the rainy season, “thus giving the planted seedlings a very short period to recover and withstand the onset of the dry season.”  In some planting sites, the COA said the DENR had no partner organization to help monitor the plantations.  The COA report on the DENR’s finances is part of the latest incriminating financial audit of major state agencies that receive the biggest appropriation from the national government and are headed by President Aquino’s close political allies.  In separate audit reports, the state auditors disclosed damning evidence of apparent misuse of billions of pesos in public funds in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of National Defense (DND), the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).  In its scrutiny of the agency’s projects, the COA said the DENR did not put up measures to ensure the viability of the NGP, the centrepiece of the Aquino administration’s effort to achieve food sustainability and save the environment from further degradation.  “In the overall analysis, the unsuccessful DENR program/project delayed the benefits that could have been derived from the completion of the NGP and the cadastral survey project as envisioned by the program/projects,” COA said.  Environment Secretary Ramon Paje did not respond to the Inquirer’s request for comment on Thursday.  The NGP aimed at planting 1.5 billion trees on 1.5 million hectares of public land within a four-year period with the help from local governments and other partner agencies.  The government appropriated P5.9 billion for the tree-planting program, which was also designed to help reduce poverty in the countryside and to mitigate the effects of climate change.  The land surveys, on the other hand, had a budget of P1.3 billion also for the same number of years.  Upon verification, the COA found various deficiencies in the two projects that contributed to the DENR’s failure to satisfy their goals.  “The objectives of the NGP and (the cadastral surveys) of the DENR regional offices were not fully attained… due to lack of an efficient/effective implementation and monitoring mechanisms for the program/project,” the COA said.  It said the deficiencies led to low accomplishments and survival rates of tree saplings, noncompliance with the work and financial plan, delay in the delivery of seedlings and failure to finish the projects.  The COA said these “(delayed) the benefits that could have been derived from the completion of the NGP and the cadastral surveys contrary to NGP implementation manual, applicable DENR circulars… and other regulations.”  The state auditors also noted the lack of a “clear-cut policy” in the custody of seized forest products, tools and equipment, which led to “undetermined losses to the government due to unaccounted assets and exposure of the same to risks while awaiting final disposition.”  The COA likewise assailed the DENR for spending 31.6 million in the purchase of goods and services through deficient public biddings, which violated the provisions of Republic Act No. 9184, also known as the Government Procurement Reform Act.  It said this “(defeated) the purpose of transparency, competitiveness and accountability in the procurement process.”  According to the COA, the NGP has four major components – survey, mapping and planning, plantation establishment, seedling production/procurement, and protection and maintenance of established plantations.  From 2011 to 2013, it said, only 20 percent of the 17,697 hectares of land were planted with tree seedlings in provinces in Central Luzon.  In the Ilocos region, only 53 percent of the 14,954 hectares had been covered by the project.  In the Calabarzon region, environment officials failed to coordinate with the local offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the proper identification of plantation areas.  Because of this, seedlings were planted in areas of Cavite province that were later cleared by the DPWH for road-widening projects.  “This, therefore, resulted in wasted, damaged and increase mortalities of seedlings or trees planted in most municipalities in the province of Cavite,” the COA said.”

This news report is quite discouraging.  What now, National Greening Program?

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and

REFERENCE:, (2015). “Tree Planting Project of DENR a Failure?”.  Retrieved on December 12, 2015 from