Korina’s ‘The inconvenient truth’
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-01-14
Despite once finding ourselves on opposite sides of an issue, I do hold ABS-CBN public affairs show host Korina Sanchez in good esteem. I consider her to be one of the finest public affairs hosts on Philippine television, notwithstanding her recent suspension.

Korina is one of the few who can maintain finesse and class typical of upscale broadcast hosting and yet continue to appeal to broad audiences. In most cases, quality hosting would have entailed a trade-off for a much narrower audience.

Much like our typical political candidate buffoons singing and dancing and doing whatever else will excite a crowd of potential voters, our TV hosts would resort to similar antics to win over masa attention. Who ever gave them the idea that you need to be pedestrian in order to connect to the broader masses in the first place?

While president and CEO of the RPN-9 between 1989 and 1992 (I had succeeded in turning around the network’s losing streak of P90 million a year recorded in 1989 to a profit of P100 on the year that I left.), I chose not to program a lot of public affairs shows. My reason for that is simple – I did not have talents like Korina Sanchez to put on camera, talents who can deliver the shows that match our superior primetime entertainment programs.

Hosting a public affairs show or a talk show is tricky business. A female host has to exude personality and charm that would blend well even with high powered guests. At the same time she has to bring out the best out of her guest without overpowering them with her own personality and agenda.

Many talk shows are insufferable simply because the people hosting the shows are boring and unable to bring out the best from their guests. The female host is the spice of the show but she must always bear in mind that she is not the main dish – the featured guest is.

Like ANC colleagues Che Che Lazaro and Ricky Carandang, Korina Sanchez can pursue the toughest issues without becoming obnoxious or without badgering or harassing the guest. Given some of the sleazy politicians who she has had to interview, Korina is not easily thrown off the trail. Like a pedigreed hound of a journalist, she manages to press the question and solicit the answer with the detachment of a pro.

On the January 2 episode of her Korina Today daily show over ANC – "The inconvenient truth" – Korina drove home a point that few people had hardly touched on. This was on the topic of global warming. It is widely presumed that audiences are not interested in this topic. Some perhaps think that the effects may not even happen at all or that technological developments will prevent the effects from happening. For most folks, they do not even have the faintest idea of what global warming is and how it will affect them.

Using footages from the Al Gore documentary ("An inconvenient truth" is actually the title of the Al Gore documentary) – Korina’s delivery of the topic successfully communicated the seriousness of the problem and how this doom is already upon us. I am sure the program was an eye opener for those who have viewed it.

Until I saw that episode of Korina Today on global warming, I had regarded the problem to be the stuff of futuristic sci-fi movies such as "The day after tomorrow." While we Filipinos bury ourselves neck deep in counter-productive politics, we are not aware of the fact that all of mankind is threatened with an environmental nightmare not even a dozen clones of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo would be able to match in ferocity and devastation.

Among the spine chilling little known facts that I learned from that episode of Korina’s show were the following:

1. Ten of the hottest years have occurred in the last 14 years. The hottest year ever was in 2005. Just this week, British scientists predicted that 2007 will be the hottest year on record. That clearly drives home the message that global warming is not just developing – it is upon us already. Must we smugly wait until it is too late?

2. It was graphically shown that famous snow-capped peaks like those of the Swiss and Italian Alps, Himalayas and Kilimanjaro have lost anywhere from 25 to 40% of their snow cover. The extent of thawing in these frigid regions is an indicator of how serious the problem is.

3. In the last decade, the world has seen the worst cases of natural calamities, the worst tornadoes, the worst hurricanes and typhoons and the worst flooding. We certainly know that in the Philippines killer typhoons had come upon us over the last five years in record sequence, one disaster coming after another, like we’ve never encountered before.

4. In Chad, Africa – the biggest lake dried up! Just imagine the ecological impact of that. Just think of just how hot it has become for a big lake to dry up.

All these are the effects of the polluting emissions from man-made activities – from industries to the way we choose to spend our leisure, in the kind of cars we buy, the appliances we use and the many other things we do that serve to drive a wedge between nature and man’s wanton ways, described in the program as the "collision between our civilization and the earth." As a result, infrared rays can no longer pass through the thick atmospheric layer. Trapped, it now replicates a greenhouse effect, or what we also know as global warming.

How far off are we from the doomsday scenario depicted in The day after tomorrow film? Filipinos scientists in Korina’s panel believe it can all start unraveling in the lifetime of the next generation.

Believe it or not – we are not talking here of a jump from simply warm to boiling level. We are, for all intents and purposes, near that point already when we can no longer reverse the backlash of nature.

By next generation, we are talking about a time frame of roughly 20 to 30 years. For those of us who are under 40 years of age, this is something they may yet see.

What are we to expect? Think about these:

1. More floods and worse floods. If you think you’ve seen the worst, well you have not seen anything yet. Floods in the near future will rise to water levels that were never reached before. Areas that were never affected before by floods will suffer severe inundation.

2. Great losses of land will occur in several countries. Rising water levels will eat up into countries and continents. San Francisco, for instance, may end up losing 25% of its land to the rising sea. Holland, already below sea level, will be an unthinkable national disaster. Manila may end up like Venice, though that may not be a bad idea for tourism!

All these are leading to a world event that will match the planet-redefining incidence of the ice age that wiped out the dinosaurs. Is mankind now headed towards extinction just like the dinosaur?

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