The key to understanding and addressing these existential threats lies in both the practical and the profound: in science and engineering, but also the idea, found in the Christian faith, that each person is precious, worth caring for and has potential.
For a long time, scientific truths about climate change were treated as opinion, something which you might or might not believe depending on your personal point of view. We have come a long way since then. But resolving the crisis still requires commitment to the truth – we owe that to those who will suffer the most if we fail to act.
This journey from opinion to truth is a crucial first step, but the journey that really matters is from truth to sustainable action.
That will require every one of us to play our part. It cannot just be done by governments or companies, by NGOs or faith groups, and it cannot be done in isolation. We will have to work with people with whom we disagree, sometimes profoundly. Indeed, the two of us writing do not agree on everything, but we recognise that we are united by a common cause: that in facing the threat of climate change, there is more that unites us than divides us.
Individual responses need to be guided by hope rather than fear, and the certainty that huge change is made up of small things. We are both realists when it comes to human behaviour: sustainable change rarely comes from asking people to make unrealistically ambitious sacrifice. Instead, we must give people the engineered tools and the economic incentives to make choices that work for them and for the planet. The combined power of engineering, economics and leadership through example makes a profound difference.
This will be a vital year for tackling climate change. Every one of us has to be part of the solution. @LordJohnBrowne and I have written for The Times on the urgency of facing the climate crisis together: https://t.co/bycxxfiO4Q
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) May 1, 2021