IPCC: So Last Week

forehead-nose-a-common-technique-130925Did you hear what happened last week? The BBM launch on iOS and Android was delayed at the last minute; animal print clothes were banned from Chessington World of Adventures; a man had a nose grown on the top of his head, and Sir Bradley Wiggins won the 2013 Tour of Britain.

Oh, and a landmark report from the IPCC on the current state of knowledge on global warming was released. The IPCC said it is 95% certain that warming is occurring and that the dominant force behind it is human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels. The report, the first from the UN-convened body since 2007, and only the fifth since 1988, is the starkest warning yet of the dangers of climate change.

Sea levels are rising; extreme weather events are increasing; food growing is becoming harder and more unpredictable; increasing numbers of species are threatened with extinction; the ice is melting, and untold numbers of people are suffering.

So there we go. That’s last week’s news out of the way. Time to move on.

But let’s stop a moment to think this through, because 95% is a pretty big percentage of certainty. As Ben Niblett from Tearfund says, ‘I wouldn’t get in a car with a 95 per cent chance of crashing. I wouldn’t light a match with a 95 per cent chance of burning my hand. I wouldn’t even eat a sandwich with a 95 per cent chance of it containing sand.’

So we can’t move on and forget this particular item of news. This one we have to stand and face squarely and decide what we’re going to do about it. I would like to suggest four actions that we can all make to respond to what 600 authors, 1000 reviewers and 9,000 peer-reviewed studies have told us:

i_love_campaigning_round_sticker-rf4b219e968494bd4b5b3f3ff3fd4d412_v9waf_8byvr_3241. Tell our Government to act

Apparently Cameron wants this to be ‘the greenest government ever’, so let’s show him that we want him to deliver on his ambition. Friends of the Earth have some great ways for you to do this. Take a look and do some of their actions.

Eco Tree with environment symbols2. Be the change you wish to see in the world

We need to move away from our high carbon lifestyles towards a way of living that is much more sustainable. A Rocha UK’s Living Lightly initiative has loads of suggestions for different changes you can make. Why not have a look and choose three things that you could do today?

green church3. If you’re the churchy sort, get this onto your church’s agenda

If the Church can get its act together and demonstrate what it really means to believe in ‘God the creator of heaven and earth’ then there is huge potential for it to make a massive difference on these issues. A Rocha UK’s Eco-Congregation programme is the best possible resource for helping you do that. Take a look and ask your church minister to sign up.

praying hands4. If you’re the praying type, get on your knees

None of us fully understands prayer, but I tend to agree with Archbishop William Temple (one of the great Christian leaders of the twentieth century) who said that, whatever else one might say about whether prayer worked, he had noticed that when he prayed, ‘coincidences’ happened, and when he stopped praying, the ‘coincidences’ stopped happening.[1] Both Christian Aid and Tearfund provide really helpful monthly prayer diaries, so sign up to either or both of them now and get praying.

Let’s take these four steps together and make sure that the IPCC report doesn’t stay last week’s news.

[1] Tom Wright, New Testament Prayer for Everyone (SPCK: 2012), 19.