Responding to the Urgency of Climate Change

The most recent report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that made it clear that ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society’ is needed to address climate change was underlined by Brian in presentations to Edmund Rice Network gatherings in Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane during his Australian visit.

The scientific evidence is beyond dispute. Climate change is happening now and the effects will be severe, pervasive and irreversible with rising sea levels and food shortages caused by reduced harvests threatening to displace millions more people with a corresponding impact on global security, ocean acidification threatening ecosystems, a greater spread of tropical diseases, more deaths from extreme weather events and a greatly accelerated rate of species extinction.

The pledges made by all countries as part of the Paris (COP21) agreement to limit the global temp rise to 2C above pre-industrial levels (let alone the recommended 1.5C ) are now seen to be woefully inadequate, and in many cases are unlikely to be achieved anyway. The next two years are crucial. At the recent COP24 meeting in Poland, nations pledged to submit revised targets by 2020 and report on progress towards those targets every two years. It is time to urge our leaders to seriously address the issue and honour the commitments they have made with actions not just words.

Given that it is young people who will have to live with the consequences of inaction in facing up to climate change, it is not surprising that young people are becoming increasingly active around the issue, with the ‘strike’ action initiated by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg being taken up by students around the world.

Click here to view her address to the COP24 meeting in Poland.

Another day of global student strike action is planned for Friday March 15th.

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