Paete, Laguna, Philippines – The Climate Change Commission (CCC) kicked off the 16th Annual Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week 2023 (CCC Week 2023) with the 'Net Zero Challenge' tree planting and growing activity at the Caliraya-Lumot Watershed in Paete, Laguna. This initiative aligns with the CCC's commitment to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions and fostering a sustainable environment.
According to Philippines News Agency, the Net Zero Challenge (NZC) is a crucial part of the CCC's Carbon Neutrality Program in the Caliraya-Lumot Watershed, designed to offset carbon emissions through nature-based solutions. The program is expected to sequester 75.5 tons of carbon dioxide from 2023 to 2027. Beyond its commitment to zero carbon emissions, the tree planting and growing activity also aims to reduce disaster risks like landslides and flash floods.
The event was attended by Paete Mayor Ronald Cosico, Vice Mayor Vergilio Madridejos Jr., representatives of Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez, Laguna 2nd District Rep. Ruth Hernandez, and Kalayaan town Mayor Sandy Laganapan. In his speech, Borje emphasized the importance of the 5Ps: planet, people, plant, partnership, and prosperity. He highlighted the role of trees as carbon sinks and their contribution to revitalizing watersheds, preventing floods, and soil erosion.
Cosico expressed support for the CCC's net zero initiative and stressed the importance of renewable resources. He acknowledged the significant impact of climate change on Paete and the necessity of planting more trees in the town.
In collaboration with various organizations, including the Philippine Red Cross and the Net Zero Carbon Alliance, the CCC led the planting of 625 seedlings over a one-hectare area within the watershed. The CCC, in partnership with the National Power Corporation (NPC) and the Paete Sagip Sigla Palay Farmers Association Inc, aims to plant 15,625 seedlings across a 25-hectare area in the watershed, covering the towns of Lumban, Kalayaan, and Cavinti, Laguna.
This initiative not only contributes to carbon sequestration but also offers disaster risk reduction, adaptation, and mitigation co-benefits. These efforts are expected to reduce damage from natural hazards to lives and livelihoods and bring positive effects on air quality, biodiversity, and greenhouse gas emission reduction.
Borje expressed the CCC's intention to replicate similar partnerships and resource arrangements with other national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units (LGUs). The cooperation agreement between the National Power Corporation and the Climate Change Commission is a model for partnerships with LGUs like Paete to achieve mitigation targets and build adaptive capacities.
The 16th Annual CCC Week, running from November 19 to 25, underscores the importance of community collaboration and collective action in addressing climate change. This year's theme is "Bayanihan Para sa Klima: Bagong Bansang Matatag."