The Christian Response to Climate Change http://www.catholicearthcareoz.net/updates.html Format: The Science (The Facts) The Theology Action for Change • Personal, • Community, • Beyond Community 4 Recent Events Premier Pete in the election campaign promises a Category 5 cyclone-proof building in every town in Qld north of Mackay due to Global warming predictions. South American Glaciers melting Hole in Ozone Closing El Nino Returns Part 1: The Science Australian Catholic Bishops 2005 Climate Change Our Responsibility to Sustain God's Earth Bishop Christopher Toohey Chair of Catholic Earthcare Australia Member Bishops Committee for Justice Development Ecology & Peace Member Bishops Committee for Family & Life ENDORSED BY THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS OF THE BCJDEP Archbishop John Bathersby Deputy President Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Chair Bishops Committee for Justice Development Ecology & Peace Deputy Chair Catholic Earthcare Australia Archbishop Adrian Doyle Chair Caritas Australia Chair Bishops Committee for Social Welfare Member Catholic Earthcare Australia Bishop Christopher Saunders Chair Australian Social Justice Council Member Bishops Committee for Evangelisation & Missions Bishop Eugene Hurley Chair Bishops Committee for Family & Life Deputy Chair of Caritas Australia Bishop Patrick Power Member Bishops Committee for Media Deputy Chair Australian Social Justice Council Australia's 5 million Catholics are as morally bound to combat the loss of biodiversity as they are to protect the rights of the unborn child. Rapid climate change as the result of human activity is now recognised by the global scientific community as a reality. People around the world are experiencing the impacts of increasing land temperatures, rising sea levels, and a change in the frequency of extreme climatic events. Australian Catholic Bishops 2005 The chemical composition of the atmosphere cloaking our Earth is being changed by pollution caused by human activity. The resultant chemical substances strengthen what is called the greenhouse effect. As a result, Earth's climatic patterns are being altered at a pace not experienced in at least 10,000 years. Atmospheric conditions are now outside the envelope they have occupied for the last 400,000 years. It is entirely feasible that in 100 years time Earth’s climate will be more like it was 20 million years ago. Fr Denis Edwards Fr.Denis Edwards MA Fordham, STD, CUA - is a senior lecturer in systematic theology in the School of Theology of Flinders University. He teaches for Catholic Theological College within the ecumenical consortium of the Adelaide College of Divinity. He is a priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide. Tim Flannery: The Australian: “Climate calamity forecast by end of century” By the end of the century, temperatures will have risen by 3 degrees The cause: our use of fossil fuels Australia burns more fossil fuel per capita and exports more coal than any other nation 50% of CO2 emissions come from cars. 3 degree rise: the loss of world heritage areas and coral reefs and our cities under increasing water stress. The Murray could dry up, and seas could rise by up to 6 metres 2 degree rise: loss of places like Kakadu and our mountain rain forests, with their fauna; the extinction of the polar ecosystems Humans as Agents of Climate Change 1992: Governments, including Australia, signed UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Under this convention, research of hundreds of scientists from many countries assembled in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Its 4th report is due in 2006. Its 3rd report (2001), states: “there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities” Human activities will continue to change atmospheric conditions during the 21st century Humans as Agents of Climate Change Global average temperatures and sea levels are projected to rise under all IPPC scenarios Increase in global average surface temperature of between 1.4--5.8 degrees C over the century Global average temperature: increased 0.75 of a degree C during the period of extensive measurement beginning in late 1800’s About 0.5 has occurred after 1950 Climate modeling by CSIRO’s Division of Atmospheric Research: average temperatures across Australia will increase 1-2 degrees by 2030 and 3-4 degrees by 2070 Air Temperature Dr Janette Lindesay School of Resources, Environment & Society http://sres.anu.edu.au Global air temperature: annual average www.cru.uea.ac.uk Temperature trends in global context www.ipcc.ch Air temperature over 1,000 years www.ipcc.ch Air temperature & CO2 over 400,000 years www.unep.org What suggests that it’s us? www.ipcc.ch Projected (2100) Current (2005) Years Before Present CO2 concentration For 420,000 years the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere remained within tight bounds Australia’s future climate? Annual 2030 2070 2030 Modelled ranges of average annual warming (°C) for ca 2030 and 2070, relative to 1990 www.dar.csiro.au Delayed responses in the system … www.ipcc.ch Australian air temperature: annual average www.bom.gov.au Sea Levels Dr Brendan Mackey, Reader School of Resources, Environment and Society/Faculty of Science Email: [email protected] Rapid Climate Change Impacts on Sea Level Human-forced rapid climate change is real and is happening. The planet is and will continue to get warmer and global climate systems will change rapidly over the coming years, decades and centuries. There is scientific uncertainty about whether the planet will overall get wetter or drier, which regions will get wetter or drier, and when these changes will occur. There is less scientific uncertainty about changes in sea level: Thermal expansion of water Ice melt Lag affect New research is emerging every week… The first image shows the minimum sea ice concentration for the year 1979, and the second image shows the minimum sea ice concentration in 2003. Images: NASA Source: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/10/24/1066631611744.html South America’s Glaciers Now melting glaciers are of concern for millions of people in South America. If the Andean glaciers continue to melt at the current pace, it will have a severe impact on fresh water supplies. The expected water shortages are also threatening food supplies across Colombia, Peru, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina and Bolivia. The findings are contained in a report called Up in smoke, compiled by a coalition of 20 non-government organisations. Catherine Pearce is an international climate campaigner with Friends of the Earth. ABC radio national 30th August 1006 Greenland Ice Sheet: Increase in Area Melted in Summer, from 1992 to 2002. (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 2004) 2002 1992 Orange area = melt-zone Why will sea levels increase? Thermal expansion of ocean water due to: An increase in average global temperature, and the transferring of thermal energy from the atmosphere to the oceans thereby warming the ocean waters. As water warms, its volume expands. Changes in how energy is distributed between atmosphere and oceans and between oceans. Ice cap and glacier melt Melting ice will only cause a sea level rise when the ice melts from land. Thus,the arctic ice cap melting will not cause an increase in sea levels. But, Greenland melting will: Projected changes in global mean sea levels See: http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/~tk/climate_dynamics/fig4.gif What does this mean for people? Low lying coastal countries vulnerable Low-lying coastal countries are threatened by rising sea level. A one meter rise in sea level would: Inundate half of Bangladesh's rice land. Bangladeshis would be forced to migrate by the millions. Other rice growing lowlands which would be flooded include those of Viet Nam, China, India and Thailand. Millions of climate refugees could be created by sea level rise in the Philippines and Indonesia. In Egypt, a 1m sea level rise will affect 6 million people with 12-15% of agricultural land lost, Around 72 million in China are estimated to be affected by a 1m rise. We have an appropriate international policy instrument: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change “The ultimate objective of this convention and any related legal instruments …is to achieve…stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved with a timeframe sufficient to…ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.” “The developed country parties commit themselves specifically… [to] adopt national policies and take corresponding measures on the mitigation of climate change, by limiting its anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and protecting and enhancing its greenhouse gas sinks and reservoirs. These policies and measures will demonstrate that developed countries are taking the lead in modifying longer term-term trends in anthropogenic emissions with the objective of the Convention…” “… The Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Accordingly, the developed country parties should take the lead role in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof.” “The parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage. Lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing such measures…” A challenge for all Australians Ultimately we have no choice. The longer we wait to respond, the more the world’s vulnerable will suffer, and the more costly will be the solutions. Australia’s governments need to develop and promote policies and programmes that will dramatically reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. The Australian government and people should adopt a “good neighbour” approach and begin now to help our friends in the Oceania region who are suffering and will continue to suffer from sea level rises and other consequences of rapid global climate change. The Weather Tony McMichael National Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health The Australian National University Email: [email protected] Increasing power of tropical cyclones over past 30 years in Nth Atlantic – relationship to sea-surface temperature Power Dissipation Index, PDI = f (wind speed3) Change in cyclonic power (PDI), and Temp oC 0.8 oC rise 1975-2004 September sea-surface temperature, SST 1930 2010 Year Emanuel K. Nature 2005; 436: 686-8 Kerry Emanuel has recently reported a striking inter-annual correlation between the destructive power of storms and sea-surface temperatures, after calculating the total potential destructive power over the life of storms each year since about 1950. The annual total energy dissipated by tropical cyclones over the past 30 years in the North Atlantic has approximately doubled, and this has primarily reflected an increase in the intensity, not frequency, of cyclones. This accords with basic atmospheric physics: heat is energy, and as the sea surface warms, so the developing cyclones acquire more energy. Cyclone Larry (Category 5) largest cyclone in recorded history in North Queensland March 2006 Cyclone Monica (Category 5) a “perfect cyclone” larger and worse than cyclone Larry , North Queensland and Northern Territory April 2006. Health impacts in Australia heatwaves floods (deaths and injuries) diarrhoeal disease dengue fever Tony McMichael National Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health The Australian National University Email: [email protected] Modelled ranges of annual rainfall change Annual Drier 2030 Wetter -60 -40 -20 0 20 40 60 Rainfall Change (%) Drier 2070 Wetter Projected 20-40% decline by midcentury Drier 2030 Wetter CSIRO Atmospheric Research, 2002 -60 -40 -20 0 20 40 60 Rainfall Change (%) Estimates of the flood risk in 2020, relative to baseline, for the “mid” emission scenarios Scenario: A1B (mid), CSIROMK2 Legend: Rel Risk 0-1 1-2 2-3 3-4 4-5 5 - 18 Scenario: A1B (mid) CSIROMK2 Risk reduced below current level NCEPH/CSIRO/BoM, 2002 Risk increased by 510-fold above current level Heatwave: Maximum Temperature, August 10, 2003 Excess Mortality: France 14,800 Italy 10,000 Portugal & Spain 5,000 Climate Change and Infectious Disease Many infectious diseases are climatesensitive – especially vector-borne diseases Some recent changes in ID patterns may reflect influence of climate change: Tick-borne encephalitis (Sweden) Cholera in Bangladesh Malaria in east African highlands Time-trends in food-borne (infectious) disease Climate Change and the Global Burden of Disease WHO World Health Report 2002 estimated that, in 2000, global climate change was already responsible, in developing countries, for: 2.4% of diarrhoeal disease Up to 6-7% of malaria and dengue in specified groups of high-risk countries Substantial declines in regional food yields (and, therefore, levels of malnutrition) The Health of the Planet The Gaia hypothesis, scientifically referred to as earth system science, is a class of scientific models of the geobiosphere in which life as a whole fosters and maintains suitable conditions for itself by helping to create an environment on Earth suitable for its continuity. The Gaia hypothesis, scientifically referred to as earth system science, is a class of scientific models of the geobiosphere in which life as a whole fosters and maintains suitable conditions for itself by helping to create an environment on Earth suitable for its continuity New book The Revenge of Gaia Extinction · 137 species are estimated to go extinct each day · 50,000 species are estimated to go extinct each year · 78 species were on the original U.S. endangered species list · 1,201 species were on the U.S. endangered species list as of October 1999 · 43 percent of endangered and threatened animals in the U.S. depend on wetlands · 40 percent of all modern medicines are either modelled on or synthesized from natural compounds derived from various species · 95 percent of known plant species have yet to be screened for their medicinal values · 30 million species of plants and animals -- more than half of all life forms on our planet -- live in rainforests Conclusion Climate change is not just one more environmental problem and incidental health hazard. CC will disrupt various natural systems that affect human health: regional food production, constraints on infectious agents, patterns of heat stress, exposure to extreme weather events (cyclones, floods, fires, etc.). Primary reason for concern is that, increasingly, CC will endanger healthy life and, for many, survival. Awareness of risks to health should galvanise our commitment to seeking sustainability. Five Issues in Climate Change for Christians Presentation by Dr. David G. Hallman, Climate Change Programme Coordinator, World Council of Churches Web-site: www.wcc-coe.org/wcc/what/jpc/ecology.html Spiritual Foundations We are to respond to God’s love by caring for that which is loved by God. Working for the common good God loves Creation. Theological & Ethical Perspectives Prudence Solidarity Justice Sufficiency Sustainability Climate Change – science, impacts and policy Joint science academies statement: Global response to climate changeIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Impacts on the most vulnerable Pacific Small Island StatesDeveloping country impacts Faith Communities – responses and challenges Witnessing to climate change as a spiritual issue Education within faith communities Faith-based relief and development agencies Collaboration in ecumenical advocacy initiatives Australian Catholic Bishops 2005 It raises serious moral and spiritual questions, not just for Catholics but for all Australian citizens and leaders, and calls for change in our way of life.6 Several times we have addressed environmental issues and recently called for ecological conversion.8 We now urge Catholics as an essential part of their faith commitment to respond with sound judgements and resolute action to the reality of climate change. We are intimately interconnected with the whole lifesystem of the planet and the complex interaction between living creatures and the atmosphere, the land and the water systems. We need to keep in mind the Precautionary Principle: Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing remedial measures. Its application in science, law and politics is a minimal requirement if wisdom and prudence are our values.17 We now face an unavoidable rapid change in global climate and all the consequences that will bring. If we act now the changes can be slowed and ultimately halted and harm can still be minimised. Restraint, penance and self-imposed limitations are part of authentic human living and are in the tradition of choosing sacrifice for the greater good. Consumers send powerful signals to the market by their greenhouse-friendly choice of goods and services. We dream of a fuller view of humanity, greater than a mere owning of more material goods. As one of the world’s biggest emitters, per capita, of greenhouse gases, Australians have a particular duty to recognise the fact that they are directly implicated in the causes of atmospheric pollution which is harming the many innocent peoples of the Pacific region. Ironically, the ecological footprint of the victims is considerably lighter than our own. That’s all, folks Norman Lindsay’s “Albert, the Magic Pudding”: never depleted; endless slices available – i.e., the way that too many of us still view the world. A SPIRITUAL DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE Made by Faith Community Participants during the Montreal Climate Conference December 4, 2005 We hear the call of the Earth. We believe that caring for life on Earth is a spiritual commitment. People and other species have the right to life unthreatened by human greed and destructiveness. Pollution, particularly from the energy-intensive wealthy industrialised countries, is warming the atmosphere. A warmer atmosphere is leading to major climate changes. The poor and vulnerable in the world and future generations will suffer the most. We commit ourselves to help reduce the threat of climate change through actions in our own lives, pressure on governments and industries and standing in solidarity with those most affected by climate change. We pray for spiritual support in responding to the call of the Earth.