The 27th Conference of Parties (COP) (https://cop27.eg/#/), attended by over 35, 000 people, took place November 6 – 20th in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. These global gatherings on climate were established at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Annual COP meetings are held in various locations around the globe most years and are attended by environmental experts, ministers, heads of state and non-governmental and faith organizations.
The first COP was held in 1995 in Berlin, Germany. COP2, in Geneva (Switzerland), resulted in binding quantitative targets limiting GreenHouse Gas (GHA) emissions by industrialized countries. In Kyoto, Japan, (COP3), binding targets were set for 37 countries, establishing what would come to be known as the Kyoto Protocol. However, China and the United States refused to ratify the agreement. Finally at COP20, in Lima (Peru) in 2014, the United States and China committed to reduce GHG emissions. That agreement set the path to COP21, where the Paris Agreement was signed by 197 countries to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.
There has rightfully been a lot of criticism about the COP gatherings, however climate change is a global issue that needs a global response. People of faith are called to have special concern
and provide special care to marginalized communities. Since the climate crisis impacts the most vulnerable people in the most vulnerable nations the greatest, even though their contributions to the crisis is negligible, it is important that their voices are heard by the rest of the world.
While the ambitious and just goals for COP 27 were not fully achieved, the wins include:
- Indigenous peoples were represented by over 300 delegates at COP27, the largest
- A loss and damage fund, which will provide financial assistance to poor nations
experiencing the effects of climate disasters, was agreed upon by wealthy nations.
I had the pleasure of talking with Jessica Maudlin who represented the Presbyterian Church (USA) at COP27. She said that if we want to impact the next COP, we need to get started now by letting our representatives know that we want the United States to lead with ambitious and just climate solutions globally. Listen to this short episode of Let’s Talk Climate now.
- https://actalliance.org/act-news/the-ups-and-downs-of-cop27/ (PCUSA is a member of ACT Alliance)
About the Author:
Rev. Carol Devine, Blessed Tomorrow Director, ecoAmerica
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