There is compelling scientific evidence that recent changes in the global climate are due to human activity and that catastrophic consequences will ensue if atmospheric carbon levels continue to rise. The burning of fossil fuels and deforestation are the main causes of this. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are often used as an indicator because they have been tracking with the mean average temperature of the earth for thousands of years, as demonstrated by climate paleontologists, and recent levels are unprecedented in human history as shown in this Carbon Tracker video published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), USA. More infographics and videos for explaining the processes of global warming can be found at The Hadley Centre (UK Met Office) and The Environmental Protection Agency (USA).
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) present the current state of knowledge on Climate change and its potential impacts. You can watch the video above or go to the website for the Physical Science Basis part of the latest IPCC report (IR5). The Synthesis Report is a summary of all the current findings, written for governments and policymakers. It is the final part of the IR5 assessment process and is due to be adopted and released on 31st October 2014. See the FAQ section for more about how the IPCC work.
Climate Change Effects
It is recognised that the effects of climate change will be disproportionally felt by the poor and vulnerable of the world. See what this interactive map presents about who is producing the carbon emissions and who is the most vulnerable to climate change. The United Nations reports on the hottest decade on record, Tikanga Pasefika and others speak out about what is at stake for our Pacific neighbours . . . continue reading
Living Within Ecological Bounds
The Oxfam Paper “A Safe and Just Space for Humanity” sets out a visual framework for sustainable development – shaped like a doughnut – by combining the concept of planetary boundaries with the complementary concept of social boundaries.
“Achieving sustainable development means ensuring that all people have the resources needed – such as food, water, health care, and energy – to fulfil their human rights. . . continue reading
New Technologies and the Green Economy
Leading New Zealand business jounrnalist, Rod Oram, recently stated that, “we can have a better economy and a better climate, thanks to dramatic shifts in the world economy that began some five years ago” (Sunday Star Times article, “Missing the big picture”). Rod comments that, “it is already cheaper to build and run high quality, compact urban environments… than it is to build and run sprawling, inefficient cities dependent on fossil fuels”.
The Anglican Diocese of Auckland’s Rev’d Jim Hunt, supported by the Rev’d Vivienne Hill and Dr Nicola Hoggard Creegan, publishes a regular Care of Creation bulletin in which he highlights new developments occurring around the world. You can read past bulletins or go the Education section of this website for more.
Practical Actions for Churches
Energy use is one of the main contributors to the Church’s carbon footprint, along with the individual transport component for parishioners coming to church. The worldwide Anglican Consultative Council has urged all churches to, “assist transition to a carbon-neutral world by accepting, year on year, a five percent reduction in the carbon footprint of the churches.” As there is no specific calculator for churches in New Zealand, an estimate can be found by using the Household calculator on the carboNZero website. The carboNZero certification programme is an internationally recognised greenhouse gas footprint measurement and reduction scheme. This free Household calculator is intended for individuals to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions. It is important to note that it provides an estimate only and is not intended for organisations or businesses or to provide a certified carbon footprint. To use the calculator you will need to know your church’s total energy consumption for one year. You can find more information about analysing and managing your electricity consumption in the Resources section.
The Sustainability Newsbites page shares stories from churches around the Diocese who have analysed their electricity bills as part of a sustainability assessment of their church.
Small Actions Count
We live in an interconnected world in which the small actions of many people combined, have huge impacts. Our everyday purchasing decisions, from coffee through to our mode of transport, can all have an impact on climate change. Rainforest Alliance, Forest Stewardship Council, Fairtrade and other similar certification schemes, despite their limitations, work to promote sustainable practices in environmental as well as economic terms and help to inform purchasing decisions.
Members of the DCCAG share some practical actions they have taken in their own lives.
“To reduce our carbon footprint from travel, we’ve converted our Prius to a plug-in hybrid. The extra batteries, charged by the photovoltaic panels on our roof, give the car an 80 km range on electric power, after which it reverts to its existing petrol-electric hybrid mode. This has halved the car’s fuel consumption from 5 litres per 100 km to 2.5 litres. Rod is a relatively frequent flyer for work purposes so he contributes to Air New Zealand’s Environment Trust with each ticket he buys.”
“We have taken action to reduce our car travel by carpooling, using buses when possible, using Skype for teleconferencing and retaining one instead of two cars when we were able.”
“Relocating our family closer to work and school was expensive, but much less stressful and lower emissions too.”
Source for NASA photo of sea ice patterns
On July 12, 2011, crew from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy retrieved a canister dropped by parachute from a C-130, which brought supplies for some mid-mission fixes. The ICESCAPE mission, or “Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment,” is NASA’s two-year shipborne investigation to study how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the ocean’s chemistry and ecosystems. The bulk of the research took place in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in summer 2010 and 2011. Credit: NASA/Kathryn Hansen