Countries must take ‘unprecedented’ action to slash carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and limit dangerous global warming, a key report has warned.
Impacts of climate change, from droughts to rising seas, will be less extreme if temperature rises are curbed at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels than if they climb to 2C, the UN-backed study said.
Limiting warming to 1.5C is possible but will require fast and far-reaching changes to power generation, industry, transport, buildings and potential shifts in lifestyle such as eating less meat.
It will also require action to take excess carbon emissions out of the atmosphere, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report said.
The review of thousands of scientific papers sets out the impacts of temperature rises of 1.5C compared to 2C, and what is needed to curb temperatures at that level.
Impacts ranging from increased droughts and water scarcity to extreme weather, spread of diseases such as malaria, economic damage, and harm to yields of maize, rice and wheat will be less severe at 1.5C than 2C.
Responding to the report CAFOD’s Director of Advocacy, Neil Thorns said: “This report proves that keeping global temperatures to 1.5C is a necessity not an ambition. Faced with such information we cannot leave poor communities standing on the frontline of this potential storm, we must act urgently.
“Pope Francis has challenged politicians to ensure that their actions leave a legacy that does ‘care for our common home’ in the long-term and this report is yet another wake up call for them.“
Catholic communities are regularly engaging their politicians at national and local levels to remind that they must keep up the pressure for the UK to meet its climate change commitments. The UK must align its climate targets with the 1.5C goal of the Paris Agreement by setting a net zero carbon emissions target of before 2050, and these needs implementing now.
Many ordinary Catholics have answered ‘How should we live?’ question with the straightforward answer of simply. Simply here means seeking to reduce our own consumption, waste and live more sustainably.
Fr Joe Ryan, parish priest of St John Vianney, West Green, said: “We need to continue to take seriously the challenge of Pope Francis in his letter, Laudato Si’.
“The desire of every human being should be to try to ‘live simply’ and each play our part in the care of God’s creation. We are all in this together – individuals, families, and nations. Our leaders need to inspire, but we all need to take responsibility for the energy, the food and the water we waste. We have to continue the challenge and recognise the implications of being responsible stewards of God’s creation.”
Picture: 2017 archive photo of Isiah Courtney carrying his dog through floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Beaumont Place, Texas. (CNS photo/Jonathan Bachman, Reuters).