CAPTION: COP28 - what is it and how you can add your voice to speak up for Climate Justice

How can individuals and churches shape global climate decisions, and why we should try.

Posted: 21st November, 2023

COP28 is the annual Conference of the Parties where world leaders meet to discuss, report and decide on global progress to reduce carbon emissions. This year it will take place in the United Arab Emirates from 30th November to 12th December.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken publicly about how, as a nation, we’re not living up to the call to take action on the crisis of injustice which comes from changes in the stability of the creation. And that as people of faith, we can demonstrate that we want to see change, and are willing to support it. As individual Christians, we can lead by example. We can let world leaders know they have a mandate for bold, ambitious decisive, decision making at COP28.

Why it’s important

In 2015, at COP21, governments signed the Paris Agreement to commit to taking action to reduce carbon emissions and keep global temperature increases to below 1.5C. At the time, the UK was leading the way in setting annual carbon budgets and developing policies to enable the UK to meet those targets.

However, the UK has recently rolled back on some of those commitments and has also not delivered on the promise to pay into the Loss and Damage Fund. The Committee on Climate Change have repeatedly warned that UK policies are not sufficient to enable us to meet our legally binding carbon reduction targets. The recent policy U-turn has reduced confidence even further.

At COP28, world leaders will be discussing the Loss and Damage fund. Industrialised countries have a climate debt to pay to developed countries as we have benefitted from burning fossil fuels. Those who have contributed the least to climate change are feeling the impacts of climate change the most. The UK must pay into the Loss and Damage Fund. Christian Aid have presented some options for redirecting finance to enable to UK to deliver on this promise, including Make the Polluters Pay proposals.

We are running out of time to still be able to limit warming to below 1.5C. At COP28, scientists, including those from Exeter University will present the most recent climate science to decision makers.

What individuals and churches can do

COP28 might be where world leaders make decisions, but we can help shape those decisions by taking our own action. We can all pray, act and write, calling for the UK government to do four things:

  1. Deliver the UK’s existing pledges on international climate finance, predominantly through grants and without further depleting the aid budget.
  2. Pay into the new Loss and Damage Fund agreed at COP27.
  3. Make the UK’s big polluting companies, including fossil fuel companies, pay in order to fund the UK’s Loss and Damage contributions.
  4. End all new UK fossil fuel projects and invest in renewable, efficient energy instead.

Christian Aid has prepared a brilliant resource pack to help you with this, click here for the Prayers and Placards resources. You can also find events, and list yours, on the Climate Justice Coalition website

Please tag us in any social media activity, we’d love to see what you get up to.

What we’re doing as a Diocese

We’re working hard to reduce our own carbon emissions and to help churches and schools do the same. We have a Net Zero Action Plan and are committed to working towards a 90% reduction in our carbon emissions by 2030. We’re also offering subsidised energy audits to churches to help PCCs figure out how to reach net zero in their church buildings.

Find out more about our Net Zero Action Plan here