The recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that the planet would reach the crucial 1.5°C warming as early as 2030 under current greenhouse gas emission levels, risking wildfires, extreme droughts, floods, and serious famine. There is nothing new in this, but it’s a sobering call for more radical and urgent action to be taken.
The report was prepared under the scientific leadership of all three IPCC working groups: Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change. The Paris Agreement adopted by 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015 included the aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.
In the Anglican Communion, the 5th Mark of Mission calls us to ‘strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the use of the earth’. The 4th Mark of Mission is to ‘transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation’, which is equally relevant to those already affected by global warming and climate uncertainties.
EcoChurch Southwest is working with the seven Dioceses to encourage cooperation and action to cut excessive energy use and consumption, and to promote less-damaging sources of power, heat and food. We also work with our Link Dioceses across the Anglican Communion to address climate injustice in their countries as well as in the UK.
Read the summary of the IPCC report here.