Do you have children? Grandchildren? Then yesterday’s IPCC report should interest you–a lot. But even if you don’t have descendants, it’s also a relevant message for you and your loved ones.
The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is the United Nations’ Scientific body that evaluates all things related to climate change.
Since its creation in 1988, it has published 5 reports (and won a Nobel Peace Prize!), and yesterday it published its sixth.
This panel is made up of 278 scientists from 195 countries. It isn’t something minor, to be taken lightly. It is, in fact, something that should be seriously taken into consideration, as are the results of the panel’s Sixth Report.
What’s new in the Sixth IPCC Report?
Unfortunately, not much. The trend of the previous reports is confirmed: time is running out.
“It’s now or never if we want to limit global warming to 1.5° Celsius,” Priyadarshi Skea, the researcher who coordinated the third and final part of the report, warned at the press conference presenting the report.
But what can be done?
There is nothing new here either; as we already know: carbon dioxide emissions must be “reduced by 48% by 2030” (the famous C02) and, “at the same time, methane would also have to be reduced by approximately one third.”
The problem is that we have been talking about the same thing for years and proposing solutions, but now time is running out. When the Seventh Report is presented, in 2029, there will no longer be any room for improvement.
For this reason, the required measures must be taken now, and they must be “immediate and profound in all sectors of the economy.”
This means drastically reducing the use of fossil fuels, such as oil (60% reduction by 2050), gas (70% reduction) and coal (100% reduction), because, as the IPCC report also denounces, during the last decade (2010 -2019) the global annual average of greenhouse gas emissions was at “its highest levels in the history of mankind.”
The good news.
The good news is that the IPCC report also notes that, since 2010, there have been sustained declines of up to 85% in the cost of solar and wind power, two of the major alternatives to fossil fuels.
“We are at a crossroads, because the decisions we make now can ensure a livable future. We have the tools,” IPCC Chairman Hoesung Lee told a press conference.
As Pope Francis tells us in Laudato Si’, we know that things can change (LS#13) and this is cause for hope.
It’s true that we often find it hard to recognize the urgency of the moment. We find it hard to decide which habits we must change and to accept that these changes require sacrifices and, often, an economic cost. But we are at a crossroads.
We must act now. As Catholics we must act now. It is a moral imperative.
Protecting God’s Creation, safeguarding the most vulnerable, and ensuring the survival of our species (the privileged children of the Father) are part of being Catholic.
If you haven’t done so already, take the plunge. Reduce your car use by 60% and you will be reducing your oil use by 60%. Stop using gas to heat the house all the time, turn down the thermostat, and limit your hot showers (and you’ll save water too). Look for a renewable energy supplier for your home (and you can even save on your bills) and a long “etcetera” of small changes that can make the difference between a livable world for our children and grandchildren and one that is not.
Here are 52 other ways to Care for Creation.
Start by changing your way of life and then lead the change in your community. (Have you heard about our Laudato Si’ Animators program?)
It is in your hands but, whatever you are going to do, do it quickly (John 13:27).