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IPCC Report: Earth on “Red alert”

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The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) has released their global and much anticipated 6th report, finding that “unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5’C or even 2’C will be beyond reach.” 

This translates into increasing heat waves, intensifying the water cycle leading to more intense rainfall and flooding as well as more intense drought. 

The report demonstrates that human activities are the cause for 1.1’C of warming since 1850-1900 and that on average over the next 20 years, global temperatures will reach or exceed 1.5C of warming. This level will change dependent on location, for example, in the Arctic, warming over the land is twice as high. 

“This report is a reality check,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte. “We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare.”

Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system. Many of these observations are unprecedented for thousands of years and some – like continual sea level rise – are irreversible in the short term. 

Reducing carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases in a “strong and sustained” is the key to limiting climate change. 

The report is endorsed and approved by 195 member governments of the IPCC and is based on the work of tens of thousands of scientists. 

The Australian Bishops’ Social Justice Statement for this year focuses on the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor. In this statement they said, “We stand with Pope Francis in acknowledging that “a very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system” and that “humanity is called to recognise the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. (44)” 

It continues, “While there are also other factors contributing to climate change, we have a particular responsibility to address those related to human activity. A key reason why Australia has fared so well in responding to COVID-19 is that Australian governments have based their responses on scientific advice. We also need to trust the science to respond successfully to the ecological crisis.” 

The Bishops go on to invite all Catholics, organisations and businesses to join them in pursuing the Laudato Si’ Goals which will create a totally sustainable church. 

For more information on the IPCC report:

To read the Social Justice Statement 2021-22 go here:

Please note: Image Changing by Alisa Singer 2021.  International Panel on Climate Change