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!