Operation Noah

The churches climate change campaign

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Climate change - call to conversion

Resource sheet no 1 of Operation Noah, the community climate change campaign.

What the scientists are saying

  • Climate change is the most complex and serious environmental challenge of the 21st century (EA)

  • People in the UK are responsible for emitting as much as 50 times more CO2 than people in the poorest countries. With the USA, Japan, Germany and Canada we are one of the five largest per capita emitters of CO2. These are the countries most responsible for climate change.

  • But it will not be they who suffer most. Rather it will be those who are least to blame - and indeed they are already suffering. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, loss of life and adverse economic impacts from climate change are expected to be greatest in developing countries. The three countries most vulnerable to climate change during the 21st Century will be Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Afghanistan. According to the Red Cross, by 2022 the costs of climatic disasters are expected to rise to a figure 10 times predicted aid flows. The number of refugees will leap from 15 million today to 150 million or more by 2050. This country already argues about how to receive refugees; but the situation today is dwarfed by the likely situation in 2050.

  • Sea levels are expected to rise by up to a metre before 2100 (IFRC), and to go on rising. A half a metre rise could create 92 million refugees in from low-lying coastlands and deltas, such as in Bangladesh (IFRC). The Pacific nation of Tuvalu is already abandoning its homeland because of rising seas

  • But it will not just hurt people abroad. Over 1.8 million homes and potentially 5 million people in the UK are at risk from increased storm and flood damage (EST). The cost of damage from adverse weather is rising 10% each year, while the world's economic growth, measured in Gross Domestic Product, is growing at 2.5%. Damages caused by unstable weather could exceed worldwide Gross Domestic Product by 2065, reversing the gains of development (CGNU).

  • And it is not just the poor today who will suffer; the effects for our children and their children will be far worse. It takes 30 to 50 years for greenhouse gases to have their full effect on the climate. The damage already done to the climate by artificial greenhouse gas emissions will affect us for the next 1,000 years. (Met Office)

What the Bible says

Care for Creation:

For cattle you make the grass grow, and plants for people to use, so that they can grow their crops. (Ps 104.14) But climate change is upsetting the natural cycles upon which God's creation - animals, plants and humans - depends.

Responsibility for the vulnerable:

"You hear the cries of the oppressed and the orphan; you will judge in their favour." (Ps 10.17) The effects of climate change will be felt most harshly by those least responsible. The poor cannot afford to adapt or protect themselves from increasingly erratic weather.

Justice between generations:

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation (Luke 1.50). The full effects of today's greenhouse gas emissions will take decades, even centuries to become apparent. We owe to future generations the same love and care as God shows them.

Love for neighbour:

"Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, and do nothing?" (Mt 25.44) The whole world is our neighbour when we cause atmospheric pollution, because its effects reach across the globe.

Simple lifestyle:

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5.22) Fossil fuels have become a cause of conflict and oppression. By handling energy more carefully, and changing to benign fuels, Christians can show the fruits of the Spirit.


Noah is a prophet and a guide for our times. When life on Earth was under threat from violent weather, he used his skill to build an Ark, and so saved the whole of creation from the Flood. It is now time to protect the Rainbow Covenant, by which God promised Noah never to destroy the earth by flood again.

Sources:

CGNU - Reinsurance company, of which Norwich Union is a brand
EA - UK Environment Agency
EST - Energy Savings Trust (a body created and funded by Government to promote energy efficiency) IFRC - World Disasters Reports 2000 and 2001, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies)
UEA - Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia
UNEP - United Nations Environment Programme
WWF - World Wide Fund for Nature

This is a resource sheet for Operation Noah, the churches climate change campaign.
Further modules can be downloaded from www.christian-ecology.org.uk/noah (your local library will be able to help you if you do not have internet access at home), or by telephone from 01949 861516.
Operation Noah is a project of Christian Ecology Link, registered charity number 327844.


Copyright © 2004 Christian Ecology Link
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