Climate Change 2022: How to stop climate catastrophe

Our summary of the latest IPCC AR6 Working Group 3 report

“The jury has reached its verdict and it is damning.”

So starts the wonderful Antonio Guterres’ impassioned and inspiring speech at the launch of the latest climate report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group III – Mitigation of Climate Change on 4 April 2022.

He goes on to say:

“This report … is a litany of broken climate promises. It is a file of shame cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world. We are on a fast track to climate disaster.”

“Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals, but the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure is moral and economic madness.”

He ends with:

“It’s time to stop burning our planet and investing in the abundant renewable energy all around us.”

Also at the launch, Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Program, said:

“Half measures will not halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030… Increased action must begin this year, not next year, this month, not next month, and indeed today, not tomorrow. Otherwise we will…continue to sleepwalk into a climate catastrophe.”

“We now today find ourselves with an opportunity for some, as countries seek out alternative sources of energy….as we rethink hydrocarbon suppliers and our dependency on fossil fuels the solution has to be to kickstart the transition to renewable and cleaner sources of energy.”

Joy in Enough

For the first time, there is a chapter on the “demand, services and social aspects of mitigation”, which looks at how reducing the demand for energy and moving away from high-impact behaviours can help us. This is the area that our Joy in Enough project has been addressing for years and we are pleased that it is finally being considered.

The report says that these behavioural and cultural changes represent a “substantial overlooked strategy” that have been left out of many transition pathways and scenarios.

There is also a brief discussion of “degrowth” for developed countries and the acknowledgement that this “could result in a dramatic reduction of energy and resource consumption”.

Is it really this serious?

Yes, it is. In fact, to get the true picture of where we are (and as Christians, I think our faith gives us the strength to face the truth, however terrifying) we need to know that there are concerns that this report, that must be made acceptable to 195 governments, is based on optimistic assumptions. For example:

  • Real world temperatures may well be higher than the numbers quoted. This report uses a best-guess climate sensitivity of 3 degrees, when the latest models from the first report, on the science, shows that the sensitivity could be as much as 4 degrees.
  • Not all feedbacks (e.g. peat lands, permafrost, forest fires) are included in the models. As human-induced temperatures rise, feedbacks will become increasingly important and will raise temperatures still further.
  • Assumed CO2 removal. The two best case scenarios rely on massive direct air capture of CO2 – a technology that does not yet exist at any scale
  • Net Zero. Until we know that large scale direct air capture will work and we stop losing forests, we need to aim for zero carbon combustion.

In conclusion, mitigation needs to be much more immediate and rapid than proposed by the Working Group III report.

So what do we do? Please join us on our journey, grappling with what God might be calling us to at this time.


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Author: Ruth Jarman | Date: 13 April, 2022 | Category: Climate Emergency News | Comments: 0


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