(STAR) By Donnabelle L. Gatdula - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has underscored the need for the Philippines to adopt more measures to mitigate global climate change.

Juzhong Zhuang, ADB assistant chief economist, noted that the Philippine government has already taken steps towards climate change mitigation and adaptation with the signing of two significant laws – the Renewable Energy Law and the recent Climate Change Law creating a Climate Change Commission.

However, he said while “the region is already adapting, more needs to be done.”

Zhuang stressed the importance of climate-proofing societies through adaptation measures, including better water management and flood defenses, better health surveillance and disease prevention, and safeguarding forests.

He added that mitigation through the use of renewable energy sources and raising energy efficiency must also be implemented.

Zhuang said even in the face of uncertainties in the science of climate change, governments cannot take the risk of inaction.

“If action is not taken now, it would be too late,” Alan Silayan, managing director of Carbon Finance Solutions, added.

He said even if all the present assumptions are wrong, shifting to a low-carbon economy would still greatly benefit the environment and its contribution to sustainable development.

Zhuang pointed to an ADB report released earlier this year that showed the effects of global warming in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Temperatures in the four countries are projected to rise 4.8 degrees Celsius by 2100 and the global mean sea level is projected to rise by 70 centimeters during that same period.

The report warned that if the world continues its “business as usual” approach, the mean cost of climate change for the four countries could be equivalent to losing 6.7 percent of combined GDP each year by 2100 - more than twice the global average loss – if market and non-market impacts and catastrophic risks are considered.

US stores show signs of life as holiday shopping starts (The Philippine Star) Updated November 29, 2009 12:00 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s shoppers took advantage of deals on toys and TVs with some renewed vigor in stores and online on Black Friday after a year of concentrating their spending on basic necessities.

Though the actual numbers won’t be available until next week, early reports indicated bigger crowds than last year, with people buying more and even throwing in some items for themselves.

It was an encouraging sign for retailers, which have suffered through a year of sales declines, and perhaps also for the broader economy, which could use a kickstart from consumer spending.

In Chicago, Dan Montgomery and his wife carted bulging Macy’s bags, proclaiming the department stores had “killer deals.” Their favorite buy? A set of two skillets for $19.99, marked down from $100.

Still, mall operators said more shoppers were sticking to making purchases in cash and debit cards instead of credit. “I like cash because when you’re out of cash, you’re out of cash. And you don’t have the hangover in January,” Montgomery said.

Worries about jobs clearly were on shoppers’ minds. Most people buying for themselves were picking up practical things that were deeply discounted such as pillows, pajamas and coffee makers, according to stores and analysts.

“With the layoff there have been a few cutbacks, but with the great sales they’re offering this year, I think it’s, overall, going to be a great Christmas for my two granddaughters,” said Ernest Bell of Marietta, Georgia, who was laid off in April from his job as an information technology support representative and was at the local Walmart on Friday.

The nation’s retailers ushered in the traditional start of the holiday shopping season with expanded hours and deep discounts in hopes of getting people to spend.

Online,, and other online retailers also grabbed for a piece of the action, pushing deals on Thursday and even earlier in the week. Several large retailers, including Walmart and many Old Navy locations, even opened on Thanksgiving.

Those stores now have to figure out how to keep people coming back through Dec. 25.

Stores were encouraged that shoppers appeared to be a little freer with their spending. Best Buy, Sears Holdings Corp. and Mall of America, as well as mall operators Taubman Centers and Simon Property Group, offered signs people were buying more than last year.

Even luxury stores, which generally aren’t the big attractions for Black Friday, had brisk traffic, according to analysts.

More than 5,000 people were at Macy’s Herald Square store in New York early Friday, slightly more than last year, Macy’s CEO Terry J. Lundgren said. Among the most popular items were Tommy Hilfiger $99 bomber jackets, marked down from $450.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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