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Catholic agencies call for immediate climate action and a post-growth economy

IPCC’s landmark report says we have 12 years to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C. Beyond which hundreds of millions face worse risks of extreme drought, heat and floods. Cordaid and other Catholic development agencies respond to this clarion bell. They call for immediate climate action and a post-growth economy.

(Ethiopia, Afar Regional State, December 2015. Live stock killed by extreme drought. © Petterik Wiggers)

Catholic development agencies from CIDSE work together in more than 120 countries to promote social justice. After the release of the latest Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) they send an urgent call for climate action.

‘We should shift to organic agriculture, redesign agro-ecosystems, change diets, reduce meat and dairy production and consumption.’

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C is a matter of survival for all and now more than ever we need leaders to take actions to curb our current emissions trajectory”, the agencies say.

Climate change demands paradigm shift

The agencies are calling for a complete paradigm shift. “Our recent report The Climate Urgency: Setting Sail for a New Paradigm, explores how a deep and rapid shift in our food and energy systems, supported by structural lifestyle and societal changes, could greatly contribute to limiting the rise in average global temperatures to 1.5°C.”

“We must phase out fossil fuels and switch towards renewable energy systems. Finance flows should shift towards such viable alternatives. Current levels of energy consumption must be reconsidered to respect the understanding that we are living on a finite planet. We should shift to organic agriculture, redesign agro-ecosystems to diversify and integrate them, change diets, reduce meat and dairy production and consumption.

Needed: an economy beyond growth

“An economy beyond growth that would cease to deplete the earth’s natural assets can address the multiple environmental, social, economic, and political crises. Wealthier countries should switch from a growth imperative to degrowth, building flourishing communities based on the principles of sufficiency”, the Catholic agencies conclude.

This is an abridged version of the CIDSE statement.