Which bishop will speak up for climate justice?
This week a major report into the ‘State of the climate’ for 2015 was published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It was sober reading.
2015 saw many climate records broken. It was the warmest on record globally, with surface temperatures now +1C above pre-industrial levels, the oceans reached new record temperatures, and sea level rise is at historic levels with oceans now 70mm higher than the 1993 average. Furthermore, atmospheric CO2 crossed the 400ppm threshold and is more than 43% above pre-industrial levels. Each of the last 14 months has broken previous temperature records.
A leading climate scientist, Michael Mann, said “The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle. They are playing out before us, in real time. The 2015 numbers drive that home.”
The impacts of these changes play out before us every day. Record heatwaves in India and Pakistan, devastating droughts in eastern and southern Africa meaning 36 million people need food aid, Floods in China leaving hundreds dead and half a million people displaced.
Meanwhile, as reported in the Church of Ireland Gazette (5 August 2016), Anglicans from around the world met in Fiji and made “a new commitment to fight for climate justice.” Rachael Parry, from the United Society organisers said that Anglicans around the world, “need to redouble their efforts”, and the church is “ideally placed to raise awareness because it is engaged in education and community at all levels.”
Which of our bishops will take a lead to call the Church of Ireland to redouble its efforts, to fight for climate justice, and to raise awareness in society?
The Church of Ireland needs to speak up, and bishops need to take the lead.