Let’s think back on this year’s developments in caring for God’s Creation. 2022 brought some good news about climate restoration—three highlights: 1) recent scientific studies suggest that climate action—countries’ reducing use of chlorofluorocarbons in manufacturing has resulted in beginning to heal the ozone layer–a layer in the earth’s stratosphere that absorbs most of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation on earth—after years of concern about the layer’s hole enlarging; 2) increased renewable energy construction has significantly reduced coal and fossil fuel burning and has cost less (almost two-thirds of newly installed renewable power in 2021 had lower costs than the world’s cheapest coal-fired option); and 3) production of sustainable energy products, such as electric vehicles, have increased dramatically (some vehicle manufacturers have announced goals for fully electrified lineups within five years). Read more here.
We also had some significant bad news about the climate in 2022: In April, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its annual climate report, which paints a dire picture: harmful carbon emissions from 2010-2019 have never been higher in human history, and that “it’s now or never for global nations to limit earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees” Celsius, or many cities will be underwater; heatwaves, polar vortices, dangerous storms, and extensive fires will increase; there will be widespread droughts and floods, and extensive animal and plant extinctions. To make the climate situation worse, four-fifths of the electric vehicles produced and heavily marketed in the US are actually trucks and SUV’s, many of them much larger and heavier than the earlier non-electric varieties, resulting in higher energy use and greater threat to smaller, energy-saving vehicles on the road, and much greater danger to pedestrians and bikers.
What can we as Christians do to help repair God’s creation? The Creation Care Team invites you to use January as a time for all of us to take stock of our last year’s climate work and look ahead to ways to increase our creation care in the coming year. In the next Green Tip installments, we will revisit some of our earlier tips as well as present new ones.