Climate change is a major focus of the Massachusetts Conference and also of many of our churches. This page and the links included herein are intended to provide you with what you need to know about climate change and direct you to trustworthy places where you can find out more.
"The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.
The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.
The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century. Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many instruments flown by NASA. There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response."
350 is the most important number in the world - it's what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Three years ago, after leading climatologists observed rapid ice melt in the Arctic and frightening signs of climate change, they issued a series of studies showing that the planet faced both human and natural disaster if atmospheric concentrations of CO2 remained above 350 parts per million.
Everyone from Al Gore to the U.N.’s top climate scientist has now embraced this goal as necessary for stabilizing the planet and preventing complete disaster. Now the trick is getting our leaders to pay attention and craft policies that will put the world on track to get to 350.
Subscribe to a weekly email from UCC eco-theologian Peter Sawtell, the best regular theological reflection on climate and the environment.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse addresses the Senate on climate change and Congress' denial of science. Whitehouse is one of the US Senate's strongest supporters of climate change action and a member of Central Congregational Church, UCC, Providence, RI.