MANILA, Philippines – Just days before Christmas, millions of Filipinos found themselves reeling from the massive damage caused by Typhoon Odette (Rai), the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines in 2021. Philippine scientists have said the increasing frequency and severity of tropical cyclones are among the top climate-induced risks that the country now faces with an increasingly warmer planet.
Odette made landfall a month after world leaders in November clinched the Glasgow Climate Pact, which keeps alive the hope of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius. Vulnerable nations like the Philippines were disappointed that the deal offered no funding for climate-linked losses and damages, but agreed it was still better than nothing.
While 2021 was an important year for the climate, the Philippines this year also had to contend with other environmental issues, such as illegal fishing, reclamation projects, threats to environmental defenders, and pollution. But there were moments of hope, too, like when a Filipino scientist made history by being one of the first humans to reach the Emden Deep, the third deepest spot on Earth.
Here are some of the biggest environment stories in the Philippines in 2021:
- Airport City displaces Bulacan fisherfolk
- Aerotropolis heightens disaster risks for Bulacan communities
- Environmental scientists, groups oppose Dumaguete ‘smart city’ reclamation project
- Dumaguete mayor, council halt contract signing with Smart City developer
- Filipino scientist among first humans to reach 3rd deepest spot on Earth
- Amid shrinking catch, hope keeps fisherfolk afloat in West Philippine Sea
- Tagbanua women transform pandemic woes to marine protection work in Palawan
- Fighting for food, security, and the depths of the West Philippine Sea
- How women fishers in Surigao del Sur started reclaiming their labor on the coast
- Only 3 firms responsible for nearly half of PH’s plastic waste – report
- Groups sue PH gov’t for inaction on plastic pollution
- Waste dumping? 44M kilos of fertilizer from South Korea shipped to PH landfill
- Unsafe levels of hexavalent chromium found in Rio Tuba waterways
- UN sounds clarion call over ‘irreversible’ climate impacts by humans
- What the Philippine delegation did at COP26 climate summit
- UN climate agreement clinched after late drama over coal
- Meet the Filipino lawyer standing up for 134 developing countries at COP26
- 2 Filipinos key to COP26 progress on platform linking vulnerable countries to climate finance
- Are PH consumer goods companies doing enough to tackle plastic waste?
- Funds to help PH survive warmer planet depend on Glasgow UN climate summit
- ‘Icon of hope’: Philippine eagle Pag-asa dies at 28
- How a Philippine eagle became a symbol of hope
- DENR, lawmakers want to arm forest guards, put up environment protection academy
- Palawan authorities rezone forest to allow mining