The moral catastrophe of climate change

Dear Editor, This week’s assessment by the United Nations that the impacts of global warming are likely to be “severe, pervasive and irreversible” is a major worry for all people who are concerned with the future of our world.

Some impacts of climate change include a higher risk of flooding and changes to crop yields and water availability. Experts warn that humans may be able to adapt to some of these changes, but only within limits.

An example of an adaptation strategy would be the construction of sea walls and levees to protect against flooding. Another might be introducing more efficient irrigation for farmers in areas where water is scarce.

Natural systems are currently bearing the brunt of climatic changes, but a growing impact on humans is inevitable.

This the moral catastrophe facing our generation. Our planet now faces an existential crisis and nobody is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change. Our health, homes, food and safety are all likely to be threatened by rising temperatures.

We are already witnessing catastrophic weather events on an increasingly frequent basis and one thing is clear: climate change will have a
devastating on the world’s poorest people who are already struggling for basic survival.

It is time that the Church started to take a lead on this issue. Many missionaries – some of them Irish – are working in the developing world and seeing the effects of climate change up close. We need to hear more from them: our parishes should become centres of activity where we work to alert our friends and neighbours on the need for a change in behaviour if our planet is to be saved.

Church leaders, from the Pope down, should also let their voices be heard. Make no mistake, this is a moral catastrophe.

Yours etc.,

Margaret Walsh