While we were all totally focused on Covid, Europe experienced its hottest year on record in 2020.
The five warmest years have all occurred during the last decade according to the European State of the Climate 20202 Report. The winter of December 2019 to February 2020 was the warmest winter ever, at more than 3.4 degrees above average.
Last year was the second warmest ever in the Arctic, and sea ice shrank to its second lowest summer minimum on record – 35% below the 1981-2020 average.
Looking at temperatures on a global scale the last 10 -15 years have shown an alarming acceleration.
We need to pray for our leaders as they face this easily– forgotten crisis. President Biden’s decision to re-join the Paris agreement is good news for the world. Justin Trudeau, President of Canada, commented: “There is no vaccine against a polluted planet.” The UK is aiming at a target of 78% cuts by 2035.
The Diocese of Bristol is committed to addressing the environmental challenges and aims to achieve a net zero carbon position by 2030. The General Synod of the Church of England committed itself to the same target a few months later. Bishop Viv takes the view that “climate change may be the most serious issue ever faced by human communities.” All forms of life across the planet are threatened and the poorest nations are set to suffer most. That’s why this is a justice issue as well as an environmental one.
Coronavirus has shown how quickly nations can act when the sense of urgency is there. We should not fail to thank God for the various vaccines that have been produced. A year ago, no one even knew if it was possible to produce one at all. And now we have several.
As for what we can do for our environment, David will be pleased to hear from anyone who would like to help St John’s—the building and the wider congregation—to reduce our own carbon footprint. We all need to change.