This is an excerpt from "Mennonite Voices Respond to Recent Climate Change Reports" published in February by the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions, of which MCC is a core partner. The photo, above, was taken in Bangladesh by Dave Klassen after widespread flooding damaged these rice fields.
"Much of the climate discussion in recent months has been stimulated by the release of several key reports on the state of climate change (the IPCC special report, and the 4th National Climate Assessment), as well as the United Nations Climate Change Conference (“COP24”).
For those following these events, we’ve learned some important new things about climate change, and have a renewed sense of urgency for what needs to change. The increased attention to climate change has another effect – it brings a mix of emotions ranging from grief to hope.
How should we respond to these reports, and to the emotions they evoke? At CSCS, we’ve asked 10 people to reflect on what the recent climate reports mean from their professional and personal perspectives."
Durga Sunchiuri, MCC international development practitioner
I feel good that the countries agreed to put the 2015 Paris agreement into practice. It will bring some good results if it is followed, especially if the governments will measure, report on and verify their emissions-cutting efforts. However, I am sad that the issue of carbon credits, which are awarded to the countries for their emissions-cutting efforts , has been put off until next year. The developing countries and most vulnerable of climate change impacts would have benefited if there was an agreement to implement them this year. This also shows that the developed and rich countries are not very serious to be accountable for their contribution of carbon emission.
The current targets of the world set for 5.4 degrees F of warming from pre-industrial levels is very sad because the scientists say this would be disastrous. It should have been set at no more than 2.7 degrees F. If the developed and rich countries don’t want to change their actions of consuming too much and using the energy the way they are doing, it doesn’t make much sense for them to agree to implement the 2015 Paris agreement.
My hope is that many people in the U.S.who used to deny that the climate change was not real will believe the facts of these reports and start acting to reduce the carbon emission. I think this report needs to be disseminated widely and there should be an action plan in place to address the issues of the environment and climate change raised by this report.
Tammy Alexander, policy professional
MCC photo/Danielle Gonzales
In November 2018, the U.S. government released its Fourth National Climate Assessment, prepared with input from 13 federal agencies. The summary findings state that, “climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.” Even with these serious challenges identified, the U.S. government’s response to climate change in recent years has been to begin the process to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and to roll back regulations of greenhouse gas emissions.
The House of Representatives is reviving the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis but critics have raised concerns that its mandate will be narrow and its power limited. Some freshmen House members are pushing for a Green New Deal to take significant steps to address the various threats from our changing climate. But such ambitious policy changes will only be possible when members of Congress feel enough pressure from their constituents to make climate change a priority and to take bold action to address the suffering of current and future generations.
Learn more about MCC's response to climate change and find worship resources for Earth Day 2019.