Monthly Archives: November 2017

To Whom Much is Given…

By | Climate Caretakers, Climate Change | No Comments

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“Much is required from the person to whom much is given; much more is required from the person to whom much more is given.” (Luke 12:48b GNTD)

The United Nations climate conference is a beautiful menagerie of people from literally every nation and culture on the planet.  Walking through the halls one hears dozens of different languages.  We are all here as a unified body of humanity to combat a truly global problem that requires us all to work together.   That’s the beauty of the Paris Agreement—it brings every nation into a collaborative framework characterized by a positive spirit of hopeful action.  Well… almost every nation.

While we are all united in our effort, we are not all equal in our culpability, nor in our capacity to solve the problem of climate change.  Those of us living in wealthy, industrialized nations have been blessed with much.  Unfortunately, it is our wealthy lifestyles that serve as the primary contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, and thus to global warming.  In contrast, impoverished nations—who do not contribute toward the problem—suffer the most from its impacts.

Tuvalu is one such nation.  Tonight I met up with an old friend, the Reverend Tafue Lusama, who is here in Bonn to represent the nation of Tuvalu at the global climate summit.  Rev. Lusama was speaking on a panel entitled “Pacific Night for Climate Justice,” which helped bring awareness to the plight of his people, who live only a couple feet above sea level.  In fact, according to current best estimates, the nation of Tuvalu will only be inhabitable for another generation or two before sea level rise submerges this low-lying island nation entirely.  At that point, his people will have no homeland.

This is what is meant by “loss and damage.”  Loss and damage refers to the reality that impoverished countries with fewer financial resources are suffering disproportionately from climate change.  Just as when a plaintiff in a court case seeks “damages” for unjust suffering, the people of Tuvalu rightfully deserve to be compensated for the losses that we have caused them.  Loss and damage is one of the stickier aspects of the Paris Agreement, but it’s also one of the most important when considering issues of justice.

“I would like to travel less frequently, but I must represent my people to the world,” the reverend emphasized to me after the panel.

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One thing that seems clear to me is that our efforts to solve climate change are not commensurate with our contribution to causing it.  And it is the most impoverished in the world—people like those living in Tuvalu—who suffer loss from this discrepancy.

Prayer:

  • As the second week of the COP begins, pray that progress will be made on identifying a mechanism that can account for loss and damage. Pray that wealthy countries will step up their efforts and make greater contributions for those who are most severely impacted. And pray for the people of Tuvalu and other low-lying island nations who are on the front lines of climate impacts.

Faith and Action at COP-23

By | Climate Caretakers, Climate Change | No Comments

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In 2015, the world gathered in Paris to form one of the most important diplomatic accords in human history.  The Paris Agreement, which was signed by 196 nations, relies on voluntary greenhouse gas reduction commitments in order to turn the tide on climate change and avoid the worst repercussions of this global problem.

The agreement admittedly falls short of limiting global warming to a “safe” operating temperature (a 1.5- to 2.0-degree Celsius temperature rise).  Nevertheless, it forms a critical starting point by setting a global standard of accountability, providing adaptation assistance for those who most need it, and using positive peer pressure to increase ambition over time.  More importantly, the Paris Agreement represents the first truly universal climate accord, with participation from nearly every nation on earth.

Next week the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP-23) is being presided over by the nation of Fiji and will be held in Bonn, Germany.  Fiji, like many other island nations, sits at the front line of climate impacts as their aquifers, shorelines, homes, and islands are threatened by sea level rise.  Yet despite their extreme vulnerability, Fiji (like other impoverished nations) has contributed very little to the problem.  Instead, greenhouse gas emissions from wealthy countries like the U.S., Canada, China, and the European Union serve as the primary cause behind human-caused global warming.  This discrepancy is the reason we’re traveling to Germany next week with a coalition of four North American Christian organizations.

Together for Faithful Climate Action at COP-23 will bring together Climate Caretakers, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, the Climate Witness Project, and Citizens for Public Justice as we aim to mobilize awareness about climate change as a Christian issue.  We believe that our Christian faith compels us to respond in compassion with those who are impacted by climate change, and particularly for those who are the most vulnerable.

This year’s conference will particularly focus on the issue of “loss and damage.”  This concept refers to the negative impacts caused by climate change to the most impoverished countries and seeks to identify just and equitable avenues for addressing this problem.  This discussion comes at a particularly sensitive time given the recent decision by the United States to abandon the Paris Agreement.  Now, more than ever, we need to see a strong and unified support for the Paris Agreement and for bold and just action on climate change.

We stand together for climate action because of love for our local and global neighbors, because of our desire to see God’s creation restored, and because of our love for the Creator and Sustainer of this beautiful world.

Will you join us?

Over the next two weeks we’ll send daily email updates, post actively on social media, participate in local events around Bonn, and host daily live broadcasts from Germany.

Sign up here to receive daily email updates during the COP-23 climate conference (November 5 – 17), and be sure to check us out regularly on social media!