Food shortage is one of the most serious consequences of climate change. And the poorest people are affected most. The Church of Sweden wants Sweden and the EU to take much greater responsibility.
Climate change involves ethics, fairness and justice, because the poorest people in the world risk being hit the hardest by the food shortage, although they have contributed the least to the carbon dioxide emissions that have led to global warming.
“The consequences of climate change are already evident today: drought and floods are wiping out people’s opportunities of providing for themselves,” says Jacob Risberg, the Church of Sweden’s climate advisor.
Farmers in Ethiopia, Malawi and India, for example, are reporting major changes to rainy seasons and monsoons, which make it more difficult to live off farming.
Flee when the sea level rises
The same applies to those affected by rising sea levels. Many people by the Bay of Bengal have already been forced to flee when their land was submerged by the sea – and many others are in the danger zone.
Emissions and pollutants do not stop at national borders. What happens in one part of the world has repercussions in totally different areas.
Risk of larger numbers of refugees
The food shortage and extreme weather risk leading to an increase in refugee numbers and more conflicts.
The Church of Sweden’s approach is that people in developing countries have the right to develop and to improve their living conditions. If, however, they are to be able to provide for themselves and if the world is to avoid an alarming increase in the lack of food, substantial support is required from the surrounding world so that the most vulnerable countries can adapt to a changed climate.
Developing countries must receive help to avoid becoming fossil fuel dependent. To enable us to stop climate change, developing countries must also receive help to avoid becoming dependent on fossil fuels, so large sums of money are required.
“The richest countries in the world must take much more responsibility for the costs of climate change,” says Jacob Risberg.
The lifestyle of the industrialised world is untenable. We can influence the development to a certain extent through individual choices, but we must also react as a church in a global society.
Harvests can increase despite a poorer climate
The Church of Sweden has a close relationship with people and churches in economically impoverished areas. The challenge is to create commitment to climate issues. The work consists of both mitigating the consequences of and influencing the basic causes of our altered climate.
The Church of Sweden’s international mission and diaconia supports sustainable rural development that boosts harvests, despite the changing climate.
The Church of Sweden wants Sweden to shoulder its responsibility
We are also encouraging Sweden and the EU to shoulder their responsibilities, for example by substantially reducing their emissions and assisting adaptation to climate change in developing countries.
The Church of Sweden’s work continues. Our goal is a fair and just climate agreement that both stops global warming and gives financially disadvantaged people the right to development.
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