We Have 9 Years Left—450 Sunday Sermons—to Save the Planet | Sojourners

We Have 9 Years Left—450 Sunday Sermons—to Save the Planet

Climate math turns to moral issues.
Graphic of the planet with numbers going across it.
Illustration by Matt Chase

TRUMP IS BEHIND us now—four years of constant provocation and useless cruelty are over, which means ... we have about nine years left for the most important task any civilization has ever taken on. I want to lay out the basic math of our situation, because if we are at all serious about taking care of the earth God gave us (and we should be, since that was literally our first instruction), that math rules the day.

1) We are currently on a path to raise the temperature of the planet 3 degrees Celsius or more by century’s end. If we do that, we can’t have civilizations like the ones we’re used to—already, at barely more than 1 degree, wildfires and hurricanes have begun to strain our ability to respond.

2) In 2015, the world’s governments pledged in Paris to try and hold the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The United States, shamefully, exited that agreement for a time, but now we’re back in.

3) To meet that target, scientists say we need to cut emissions in half by 2030 and then go on cutting until, by 2050, we’ve stopped burning fossil fuel altogether. But the crucial year is not 2050. It’s 2030—if we haven’t made huge cuts by then, we’ll miss the chance to stop short of utter catastrophe.

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