Charities call on PM to ‘throw kitchen sink on climate change’ after latest report
CHRISTIAN groups called on the government to act urgently after the publication of a UN report described as a “red code” for humanity by UN Secretary General António Guterres.
The study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the largest climate science journal since 2013. It comes just months before the crucial COP26 world summit to be held in Glasgow in November.
The authors of the report took a harsher tone than in previous publications: the document opens with the words: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, the ocean and the land.
The report warns that without rapid and deep reductions in emissions, the world risks warming by more than 1.5 ° C – the target agreed in the Paris climate agreement – over the next ten to twenty years. The world is currently at 1.1 ° C of warming since the industrial revolution, which is the benchmark for these calculations.
The report, known as AR6, explains how extreme weather is becoming an ever-increasing threat. Heat waves that only happened once every 50 years now happen about once a decade. Tropical cyclones are getting stronger, while there is more precipitation or snowfall each year in most land areas. The report says severe droughts occur 1.7 times more often and fire seasons are getting longer and more intense.
The Roman Catholic development agency CAFOD urged the prime minister to “throw the kitchen sink on climate change”. The Right Reverend John Arnold, Bishop of Salford and Senior Bishop for the Environment of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England in Wales, which chairs CAFOD, said: “The grim and disturbing conclusions of the AR6 report do nothing but reinforce the message of Pope Francis. Laudato Si ‘ – we must do all we can, and now, to protect and defend Our Common Home. . . . Now is the time to act for the common good, not for self-interest or selfish politics. “
Tearfund’s Director of Advocacy and Influence, Ruth Valerio, said: “The IPCC report clearly shows that we are in a fight for survival and that we cannot afford far-reaching promises of action. The door is still open to limit warming to 1.5C, but only if world leaders quickly cut emissions and end further support for polluting fossil fuels. It is time for politicians to stop dragging their feet and do what needs to be done to ensure a safer world for all of us. Anything less is accepting a death sentence for those on the front lines of this crisis. “
The top UN diplomat, the Secretary General, often takes a measured tone in the face of such reports, but, on this occasion, Mr. Guterres did not play his game well: “This report must spell the end. coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet. No new coal-fired power plants are to be built after 2021. OECD countries are to phase out existing coal by 2030, with all others following suit by 2040. Countries are also expected to halt all further exploration and fossil fuel production and shifting subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables. energy.”
His comments were echoed by the Operation Noah charity, which posted on Twitter: “In light of today’s report, we again call our friends at the Pension Board and church commissioners from @ churchofengland to stop funding fossil fuels. The IPCC report was dedicated to a former Operation Noah boss, Sir John Houghton. A Christian and one of the founding scientists of the IPCC, the former Oxford professor died last year, aged 88 (Gazette, May 8, 2020).
Christian Aid global climate change chief Dr Kat Kramer said the findings must be a wake-up call to COP26 leaders: necessary. COP26 must make real progress in pledges to reduce emissions and provide funding to vulnerable countries that has been pledged but not yet delivered. These catastrophic impacts will increase exponentially in the future, unless we reach net zero. The package currently on the table is woefully inadequate.
Boris Johnson said: “Today’s report is sobering read, and it is clear that the next decade is going to be crucial in securing the future of our planet. We know what needs to be done to limit global warming: make coal history and switch to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance to countries on the front lines. “
One area on the front line is Africa, which has long faced a faster rise in temperatures than other parts of the world. Nairobi-based Power Shift Africa Think Tank Director Mohamed Adow said: “Those of us living in Africa have been aware of the urgency of the climate crisis for many years. It is not a simple question of success or failure, every fraction of a degree of warm-up is important; every decision, every coal plant shutdown or pipeline cancellation has a big impact on those of us who live on the front lines. This year at COP26, leaders have the opportunity to act on these scientific alerts. They have no excuse not to do it.
Joe Ware is Senior Climate Journalist at Christian Aid.