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Churches Called to Act After Dire Climate Warning

Wednesday October 10 2018

Churches in Scotland and around Europe have been called upon to respond urgently to the latest findings on climate change.

A report, released by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Monday, warns that we need to keep the global temperature increase down to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

However, it warns that meeting that target will require ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society’, with global carbon dioxide emissions falling by about 45% by 2030 and reaching ‘net zero’ by 2050.

The Church of Scotland’s climate change officer, Adrian Shaw, was at a meeting of the European Christian Environment Network in Katowice, Poland, when the report was released.

Adrian said: “The report makes clear that if we are to limit global warming then we will need to make profound changes in our lives to reduce our use of fossil fuels; in our homes, in our travel, in our consumption of ‘stuff’.

“It also makes clear that if we do not take rapid action then the risks of serious and possibly irreversible change in different places around the world including more droughts, floods, and heart waves. The indirect risks include the loss of most coral reefs, a melting Arctic ice cap and rising sea levels.

“Delegates were shocked by the report as it was presented to us, with its careful and measured scientific prose painting a picture of increasing risk of loss and damage. They agreed to send a message to churches around Europe calling on all churches to take renewed action to respond to this challenge; in prayer, in action and in advocacy.

“In particular they called on churches to promote a spirit of more just sharing of the earth’s resources to counter the selfishness of greed and excessive consumption that causes so much of the damage we see.”

The report warns that a global increase of 2°C will lead to devastating consequences including the loss of almost all the planet's coral reefs, the Arctic Ocean frequently melting entirely in the summer, the sea level rising by 10cm more than at 1.5°C and greater risk to human and ecological systems by flooding and extreme weather.

The organisation Green Christian said that climate change was already affecting human lives, particularly those in poorer countries.

Louise Cook of Green Christian said: “It can appear that we have failed in one of the first of God’s commandments, to be stewards of the earth. However, as Christians we should never lose hope, and our hope now is for conversion. Not just converting our industries and transport systems away from fossil fuels, but each and every one of us needs to play our part to reduce our impact on the planet.”


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Comments

Rev Dr John Cameron - Saturday, October 20th, 2018

“Media coverage of the IPPC report focused more on climate change apocalypse than what is required to contain warming below 1.5℃. Yet the IPCC was specifically asked the different ways in which such a temperature rise could be limited rather than guess what such it might look like.

The overview says it will need “rapid, far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban infrastructure, and industrial systems with deep emissions reductions in all sectors.......a synchronised transformation of technology, economy, and society of a scale and character never seen in human history".

The crucial consideration is whether the cost of that reduction is proportional to the benefit and its hard to believe the policy options available to stop "global warming" won't be more harmful than the climate change they set out to mitigate. The conclusion: It’s possible but it won’t happen. ”


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