Narrow window to protect God’s creation
The world must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050 if global warming is to be limited to 1.5ºC, a new report from the world’s leading scientists has said. The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) draws on more than 6000 studies across two years.
The IPCC says that to achieve this target would require “rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. It would, however, deliver “clear benefits to people and natural eco-systems”, as well as “ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society”.
They predict that anything over two degrees would spell the end of all coral reefs, seriously reduce polar ice and raise the sea level by an extra ten centimetres. The damage would be significantly less if the increase could be limited to 1.5ºC, reducing the risk to millions of coastal dwellers around the world. The IPCC believes that this is achievable.
But drastic action would be needed, they say. This would involve the rapid decarbonisation of energy use to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.
The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Rev’d Nick Holtam, who leads on environment issues for the Church of England, said action needed to be taken to care for God’s creation.
He said: “The evidence published by the IPCC shows that the risk level of climate change is now critical. Ours is the first generation to know and understand this, and probably the last to be able to do something meaningful towards climate justice.
“For Christians, striving to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustaining and renewing the life of the earth, is at the heart of what we believe. We have a narrow window now to act if we are to protect God’s creation for generations to come — as individuals, communities and as a global family.”
The Sydney Morning Herald on October 8 reported that Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the IPCC report did not "provide recommendations to Australia" and that his government's focus would be "to ensure that electricity prices are lower" for households and businesses alike.
Based on the advice from the world’s leading scientists it is my hope that our elected leaders will take affirmative action on climate change so that future generations will not look upon ours with puzzlement and anger if we fail to act.