Reading List and Discussion Questions on Climate Change and The Philippines

February 23, 2018

With severe typhoons a regular occurrence, the Philippines has become the portrait of climate change victimhood. At COP21 in Paris, the country's representative told delegates: "For the Philippines, climate change means sorrowful catalogues of casualty and fatality; the countless voices of the homeless and the grieving, their very tears and screams carried to us by the winds and waves that blew their homes away."

Many island nations like the Philippines are already being affected by rising sea levels, a specter of what lies ahead for low-lying cities such as Miami, Florida. How is the encroaching threat of climate change reshaping culture, politics, and even faith in these communities? How can the claim of economic prosperity be reconciled with the equally valid claim of sustainability and conservation? How can the way Filipinos are coping with extreme climate change related weather and disasters inform the rest of the world about response and resilience?

Week 1: International Context and COP21

Carrington, D. (2014). "Geoengineering could bring severe drought to the tropics, research shows." The Guardian. Available at:

Davenport, C. (2014). "Philippines Pushes Developing Countries To Cut Their Emissions." The New York Times. Available at:

Morales, Y. (2017). "Philippines allowed access to climate fund after Duterte signs Paris Agreement" CNN Philippines. Available at: 

Roberto, R. (2017). "How climate change affects ASEAN affairs." Rappler. Available at:

Vidal, J. and Carrington, D. (2013). "Is Climate Change To Blame For Typhoon Haiyan?" The Guardian. Available at: (Please be sure to watch the embedded video of the speech.)

Other Sources:
"Extreme Carbon Inequality: Why The Paris Climate Deal Must Put The Poorest, Lowest Emitting And Most Vulnerable People First." (2015). Oxfam. Available at:

Grist. (2015). The Paris Climate Negotiations, Explained. Available at:

Mabey, N. (2015). "The Geopolitics Of The Paris Talks." Foreign Affairs. Available at:

Welch, C. 2015. "There's a Good and a Bad Way to 'Geoengineer' the Planet." National Geographic. Available at: (A more in-depth look at geoengineering)

Questions to Consider:

  • Climate change poses larger threats to countries like the Philippines, but countermeasures by all countries to abate climate change might mean slowed growth for developing countries who seek eventual "developed" status. After the Paris climate talks and election of President Duterte, what position does the Philippines have in its international commitments? Can it afford to bargain with developed countries on its abatement measures?

Week 2: Energy Policy (Domestic)

Fernandez, H. (2018). What will a coal tax hike mean for the Philippines?" Eco-Business. Available at:

"FULL TEXT: Duterte's 2017 State of the Nation Address" (2017). The Philippine Star. Available at:

"How Is Climate Change Affecting The Philippines?" (2016). The Climate Reality Project. Available at:

Serapio Jr., M. and Dela Cruz, E. (2016). "Philippines To Review All Mines As Environmentalist Takes The Helm." Thomas Reuters Foundation News. Available at:

Other Sources:
Yap, C., Calonzo, A., and Murtaugh, D. (2016). "It Just Got Harder To Build Coal Plants In The Philippines." Bloomberg. Available at:

Questions to Consider:

  • What domestic obstacles stand in the way of the Philippines achieving cleaner alternatives to the status quo? How will a shift to renewable alternatives affect the country?

Week 3: Human Rights and Displacement

Chandra, A. (2017). "In Philippines, Climate Change and Conflict Both Conspire Against Rural Women." Huffington Post. Available at: 

Dembicki, G. (2018). "The Woman Going After Big Energy for the Typhoon That Killed Her Family." Vice News. Available at: 

"Green Climate Fund Asked For Indigenous People's Rights Policy." (2016). Climate Home - Climate Change News. Available at:

Randall, A. (2013). "The Philippines: Stories Of Displacement And Resilience." Climate & Migration Coalition. Available at:

Robertson, J. (2014). "Typhoon Hagupit: Aid Effort Praised As One Million Flee To Safety In Philippines." The Guardian. Available at:

Other Sources:
"The Human Cost Of Weather Related Disasters 1995-2015." (2015). United Nations Office For Disaster Risk Reduction. Available at: (Pg 12-19)

Reuters. (2015). "Prepare For Rising Migration Driven By Climate Change, Governments Told." The Guardian. Available at:

Questions to Consider:

  • What are the long-term implications of weather-related disasters for the Philippines? At what point do disaster-related costs no longer remain a domestic issue? What has been the international community's position regarding the effects of weather-related disasters on the Filipino population?

Week 4: Mitigation vs. Adaptation

"Capacity-Building Program On Climate Change To Be Held In Bohol." (2016). Sun Star. Available at:

Fisher, M. (2013). "Why The Philippines Wasn't Ready For Typhoon Haiyan." The Washington Post. Available at:

"Mitigation, a priority for Philippines in climate talks." (2017). Sun Star Manila. Available at:

"The Philippines confronts climate change." Oxford Business Group. Available at: 

Plumer, B. (2013). "What A Deadly Typhoon In The Philippines Can Tell Us About Climate Adaptation." The Washington Post. Available at:

Questions to Consider:

  • In terms of responses to climate change, what is the difference between mitigation and adaptation? Has the Philippines pursued one over the other, both, or neither? What have been the results so far?

Week 5: Economic Development (Rural vs. Urban

"Extreme Poverty In The Philippines." (2016). United States Agency for International Development. Available at:

"Philippines Economic Update April 2017." (2017). World Bank. Available at:

"Vice President Robredo Attends U.S. Government International Conference On Urban Development." (2016). Philippine Information Agency. Available at:

Other Sources:
Bollard, A. (2016). "The Invisible Hand's Green Thumb In The Asia-Pacific." Foreign Affairs. Available at:

Questions to Consider:

  • What is the state of the Philippines' economic health? What characterizes the country's platform for economic growth? What are the social aspects? Have the country's poor experienced any upward mobility?

Week 6: Civil Society

"ExxonMobil, Shell among companies told to attend human rights investigation over climate change." (2017). Greenpeace. Available at:

Howard, E. (2016). "Philippines Investigates Shell And Exxon Over Climate Change". The Guardian. Available at:

Leavenworth, S. (2016). "In South China Sea Case, Ruling On Environment Hailed As Precedent." The Christian Science Monitor. Available at:

"The Role Of Civil Society In A Sustainable Future." (2016). Voices Of Youth. Available at:

Other Sources:
Palana, V. 2016. "Climate Group Alarmed By Call For Coal In Duterte SONA." The Manila Times. Available at:

Questions to Consider:

  • What are the legal circumstances in the fight against climate change? What are some of the largest legal hurdles the Philippines faces in achieving a sustainable future? How is the country tackling these obstacles?

Week 7: Grassroots / Public Opinion


Page, D. (2015). "The Philippines Fights Climate Change With Rice And Religion." Take Part. Available at:

Torralba, A. (2017). "Asean plan on climate change is weak, Southeast Asian envi groups say." Inquirer. Available at:

"Philippines And Australia: Our Governments Won't Lead On Climate Change. So We Will." (2015). The Story Of Stuff Project. Available at:

Other Sources:
Paris, J. (2016). "Kerry To Filipino Youth: Lead Ocean Conservation Efforts". Rappler. Available at:

Questions to Consider:

  • This week's readings focus on the grassroots campaigns fighting against climate change. How widespread are these sentiments across the general public? Have they led to change in higher levels of power? What are some of the socioeconomic impacts of these grassroots campaigns?

Week 8: Micro-innovations

Calica, A. (2016). "Breaking Barriers: Asean Youths Turn Water Lilies Into Cooking Fuel". The Philippine Star. Available at:

Cather, A. (2016). "How The Philippines Is Using A Robot To Plan For Natural Disasters." Food Tank. Available at:

Froese, M. (2016). "Small-Scale Wind Farms To Future-Proof Economy Of The Philippines." Windpower Engineering & Development. Available at:

"The Philippines pursues renewable energy expansion." (2017). Climate Action Programme. Available at:

Reyes, R. (2018). "Eco-friendly vehicles roll out in Haiyan's ground zero." UCA News. Available at: 

Other Sources:
Ranada, P. (2016). "5 'Green' Filipino-Made Innovations To Watch Out For." Rappler. Available at:

Ann, C.T.H. (2016). "The Philippines' renewable energy sector is booming (and it could get bigger)." CNBC. Available at:

Questions to Consider:

  • Domestic innovation has taken off in response to climate change. What is the likely outcome of this movement? Will these innovations boost the Philippines' economic status in the international community? How do these innovations fit into the country's mitigation and adaptation measures?

Week 9: Agriculture

Bermejo, K. (2017). "Climate change will impact Philippines ability to feed its people." Eco-Business. Available at:

Galvez, J. K. (2016). "Piñol To Department Of Agriculture: Rice Self-Sufficiency 'A Must, Not A Choice'." The Manila Times. Available at:

Gepuela, L. (2017). "How to protect farmers from disasters, climate risk." Rappler. Available at:

Ofreneo, R.P. and Hega, M.D. (2016). "Women's solidarity economy initiatives to strengthen food security in response to disasters: Insights from two Philippine case studies." Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 25 No. 2. Available at:

Other Sources:
Pasion, P. (2016). "Agriculture Chief: Organic Farming Not For Everyone." Rappler. Available at:

Questions to Consider:

  • Climate change poses threats to the Philippines' food security. So far, how has the agriculture industry worked to prevent shortages or improve productivity? What impact can these agricultural changes have on the domestic and international markets? The readings mention how crucial self-sufficiency in rice cultivation is to the Philippines. Are there other crops which will suffer in the agriculture industry? Are there any that may flourish?

Week 10: Water

Algo, J. (2017). "How climate change impacts health in the Philippines." Huffington Post. Available at: 

De Souza, R. (2017). "Building Resilence for Peace: Water, Security, and Strategic Interests in Mindanao, Philippines." New Security Beat. Available at:

Lowe, A. (2016). "Filipino Fishermen Caught In The Middle Of China-Philippines Territorial Dispute." Channel Newsasia. Available at:

Tolentino Jr., A. (2016). "Seeking fresh water in times of climate change crisis." The Manila Times. Available at:

USAID Water Team. (2016). "Changing Climate, Changing Minds: How One Philippine City Is Preparing For A Water-Scarce Future - Global Waters." Medium. Available at:

"Water Security Under Climate Risks: A Philippine Climate Change Adaptation Strategy For The Agriculture Sector." (2016). United States Agency for International Development. Available at:

Other Sources:
"Acciona Enters The Philippines With €90M Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Plant." (2016). Water and Wastewater International. Available at:

Questions to Consider:

  • Last week's readings covered the threats to the Philippines' agriculture industry. What sort of threats does climate change pose to water in the Philippines? How have the country and the international community acknowledged and prepared for this probable water-scarce future?

Further Reading on Philippine History

Bonner, R (1988). Waltzing with a Dictator: The Marcoses and the Making of American Policy

Jones, G (2013). Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines, and the Rise and Fall of America's Imperial Dream

Curato, N ed. (2017). A Duterte Reader: Critical Essays On Rodrigo Duterte's Early Presidency

Abinales, P.N. and Amoroso, D. J. (2005) State and Society in the Philippines

Takagi, Y (2016). Central Banking as State Building: Policymakers and Their Nationalism in the Philippines, 1933-1964

Bello, W.F., de Guzman, M., Malig, M.L., Docena, H. (2005) The Anti-Development State: The Political Economy of Permanent Crisis in the Philippines

Haydarian, Richard Javad. (2018) The Rise of Duterte: A Populist Revolt against Elite Democracy