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Climate change – where’s the justice in that?

Recently the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produced another report – queue groans, fingers in ears and “La, la, la, la”, or hand-wringing gloom. Climate change is a subject that divides like almost no other and yet the report revealed we are already starting to feels its effects.

Whatever the causes (and there remain different views), what is undeniable is evidence of the effects. Global warming is changing our weather, our environment and threatening our food security. Notable in the IPPC report was a shift in emphasis from mitigation (attempts to prevent climate change) to adaptation (coping with the changes that are going to happen).

Despite the recent devastating floods, in Great Britain this means investing a bit more in infrastructure and ensuring food and energy production are adequate to meet our needs. However, for poor and low-lying countries already struggling to feed their populations it means diverting money away from health or education to famine control.

Adaptation means accepting the fate of millions condemned to cling to life on unsustainable land. And don’t just think Africa here: the widening yellow band around the middle of the globe takes in mid America and Southern Europe too.

As Christians we are called on to seek justice, so what should our response be? There are four things we can do:

Pray: thank the God who created and sustains life for providing a planet which so well matches our needs. Pray too that He will guide world leaders to take decisions according to His will.

Shop: UK consumers are some of the biggest users of water when the water cost of our imports from poor countries are considered. Most imported food has a water cost but some has a great impact than others. Farmed prawns can devastate coastal regions and irrigated crops destined for export from Africa take water from local people (although they can boost the economy).This is a big subject but informed and considerate shopping has a direct impact on environments many miles away. More information about water footprints can be found at

Give: many of us already give to charities but can we respond to the burgeoning need for support among those helping poor countries to adapt? Some charities who work in this area and are good sources of information include:

Vote/lobby: using our vote wisely and making it clear to MPs and councilors that the impact of climate change matters to us will ensure it remains high on their agendas too. Christian Aid’s Climate Justice campaign is a good starting point for information on lobbying