Rev. Henrik Grape

Rev. Henrik Grape.


Can you comment on the significance of this particular report?

Rev. Grape: The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a group of scientists whose findings are endorsed by the world's governments. The panels latest report is the first major review of the science of climate change since 2013. Its release comes less than three months before a key climate summit in Glasgow known as COP26.

The report finds that human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways.

A previous report found that beyond the 1.5°C threshold, tipping points triggering and accelerating irreversible changes in earth systems become more likely. And this newest report provides further evidence of the imminence of such tipping points including the melting of polar ice sheets causing sea-level rise and warning signs of the collapse of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic that regulates rain patterns especially in India, South America and West Africa.

When we see record-breaking heatwaves, massive flooding, and widespread forest fires in different parts of the world that have claimed thousands of lives and homes in recent months, we are seeing the effects of climate change.

Is it too late to do anything about it?

Rev. Grape: It is not too late, and it is important to realize that our actions make a difference. We no longer have room for doubt that we are facing an emergency. We have no more time for delay or excuses.

The 2015 Paris Agreement—ratified by almost every nation in the world—was in essence an urgent commitment to hold global warming to 1.5°C. Science shows that in order to meet this ambitious, yet achievable goal, the world must achieve carbon neutrality before 2050 and cut dangerous greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030 from 2010 levels. This means every fraction of a degree matters.

What should we expect from COP26? And from ourselves?

Rev. Grape: COP26—which will occur in Glasgow, Scotland in November—is the most important global climate gathering since COP21 in 2015, which produced the landmark Paris Agreement. We must ask all nations—particularly the wealthiest countries who are the biggest contributors to global warming—to commit to net-zero by mid-century, present more ambitious 2030 national climate plans and deliver on concrete policies and actions aligned with a net-zero future.

WCC delegations have attended all previous UN climate talks and we will also be in Glasgow, advocating for climate justice and the care for God's creation. As for us as individuals and churches, this also means ending our societal addiction to fossil fuels and rapidly transforming production and consumption systems. Now is the time to rally together for climate justice in a spirit of global solidarity.