What is Climate Sunday?
The Climate Sunday initiative calls on all local churches across Ireland and the UK to hold a climate-focused service on any Sunday before COP26 (November 2021). Thousands of churches have joined in, and today our parish adds its voice.
The vision of this Climate initiative is to leave a lasting legacy of thousands of churches who will be better equipped to address this critical issue as part of their discipleship and mission and to make a significant contribution to civil society efforts to secure adequate national and international action at COP26 in Glasgow. (and you can read more about COP at the back of the Pew Sheet)
?The collective action and commitments from all these local churches across the whole of Ireland and the UK will then be presented to the UK Government (who are the COP Hosts this year) at a Nations Climate Sunday Service in Glasgow on Sunday 5th September. In our liturgy today , we explore some of the theology around care of creation and we pray together for action on Climate issues. Hopefully our prayer will inspire us to commit ourselves to actions to help alleviate our current climate crisis.
26 YEARS OF COP: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE UN CLIMATE CONFERENCE
Postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) will take place on November 1st to 12th, in Glasgow, Scotland. The message that the largest climate meeting of the United Nations is sending to the world leaders this year is there is no more time to waste!
The urgency is understandable. Since the first measurements of carbon in Earth’s atmosphere, climate scientists have warned of the progressive warming of the planet’s temperature. A reality that crosses continental boundaries and is felt to a greater or lesser degree throughout the world.
Mobilizing collectively has never been more challenging for the “Parties”, (Parties are the UN signatory nations committed to the climate). After all, given the imminent risks of climate change, taking action is no longer a choice: it is a priority.
What is expected from COP26 in November is the joining of even more efforts through the leadership of the Parties.
A brief history of COP (Conference of the Parties)
In June 1992, the world was watching with an attentive eye as a climate conference , the ‘Earth Summit’ (also called Eco-92), was held in Rio de Janeiro. At the centre of the debate was the planet and the importance of protecting it from socioeconomic advances.
A month earlier, in New York, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was approved, this UN alliance hoped to revolutionise actions and strategies at a global level in favour of the Earth.
According to the UNFCCC timeline, Eco-92 was the kick-off for several nations to come together in common agreement on the climate. At the Rio Summit, several (under) developed countries became signatories to the UN Framework Convention, committing themselves to reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs), among other responsibilities.
Two years later, in 1994, the UNFCCC took effect and the 196 nations that signed that Framework Convention were renamed “Parties” and started meeting annually at the “Conference of the Parties” (COP).
The COP is defined by the UNFCCC as the “supreme decision-making body of the Convention” and brings together the signatory nations in the figures of government, business and third sector representatives to debate and follow up on the established goals, guide new treaties and propose new solutions for the future of the planet.
Since the first Conference, in 1995, the Parties have aspired to preserve the planet and all species, in a healthy and harmonious balance. Over time, agreements and priorities have been adapted based on the challenges that climate change is causing in the world.
In November , in Glasgow, the 26th Conference of the Parties will bring the world together in the largest UN climate forum, and it already looks like it will be one of the most decisive events for the future of the planet.
The Indian parliamentarian Alok Sharma is the elected president to represent COP26.
Discussions about climate change and the immediate actions to be taken after COP26 have already intensified expectations on the national and international scene. That’s due to this year’s COP focus on four key topics that, if fulfilled, are considered to be the best chance of a turning point for a more resilient and Net Zero world.
According to the official publication “COP26 Explained”, the four key topics are:
· Mitigation: ensure a Net Zero world by 2050 and maintain the temperature of 1.5ºC achievable;
· Adaptation: adapt to protect communities and natural habitats;
· Resources: mobilize resources;
· Collaboration: working collectively to deliver results.
As in every COP, the Parties must debate these key points and establish the best path for them to be met at a global level, based on the particularities and challenges of each nation.
In addition to discussions on the environment, COP26 should also bring to the heart of the Conference the concern to protect vulnerable groups to climate change
Global campaigns such as Race to Zero and Race to Resilience, linked to the UN Framework Convention, will also be called for debate as a way to engage institutions and society in the race towards Net Zero.
Other important events related to COP26 take place before November. These include Pre-COP and Youth4Climate, based in Italy in September, and the G20 Leaders Summit in October.
Since 1995, the Conference of the Parties takes place annually in different regions of the world on a rotating basis. Bonn, the German city where the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention is located, has been the stage of the COP three times, followed by Marrakesh and Buenos Aires (twice each).
COP1 – Berlin (Germany), 1995
COP2 – Geneva (Switzerland), 1996
COP3 – Kyoto (Japan), 1997
COP4 – Buenos Aires (Argentina), 1998
COP5 – Bonn (Germany), 1999
COP6 – The Hague (Netherlands), 2000
COP6-2 – Bonn (Germany), 2001
COP7 – Marrakesh (Morocco), 2001
COP8 – New Delhi (India), 2002
COP9 – Milan (Italy), 2003
COP10 – Buenos Aires (Argentina), 2004
COP11 – Montreal (Canada), 2005
COP12 – Nairobi (Kenya), 2006
COP13 – Bali (Indonesia), 2007
COP14 – Poznan (Poland), 2008
COP15 – Copenhagen (Denmark), 2009
COP16 – Cancun (Mexico), 2010
COP17 – Durban (South Africa), 2011
COP18 – Doha (Qatar), 2012
COP19 – Warsaw (Poland), 2013
COP20 – Lima (Peru), 2014
COP21 – Paris (France), 2015
COP22 – Marrakesh (Morocco), 2016
COP23 – Bonn (Germany), 2017
COP24 – Katowice (Poland), 2018
COP25 – Madrid (Spain), 2019
COP26 – Glasgow (UK), scheduled for November 2021.
Paris Agreement: A COP milestone
Over 25 editions, the Conference of the Parties was permeated by historic international agreements. One of the best known is the Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997 during COP3 in Japan. The proposed goal was to limit and reduce harmful gases emitted into the atmosphere, especially from developed countries, responsible for releasing large portions.
The Protocol, recognized by the UNFCCC as the “first global treaty to reduce GHG emissions”, went through a long and troubled process of adhesion by the Parties, taking effect only in 2005 without full approval. Eighteen years after its adoption at COP3, the Kyoto Protocol was replaced by the Paris Agreement. Signed at COP21, hosted in France in 2015, its main goal is international cooperative work to prevent the Earth’s average temperature from rising above 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels. “ The Paris Agreement is a milestone because, for the first time, it brings together all nations in a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change,” clarifies the UN Framework Convention. To achieve the defined goal, Parties must invest in reducing GHG emissions, adopting resilient actions and managing financial and technological resources.
This Guide to COP was written largely based on information provided on the internet by Klabin and the UN Global Compact Network Brazil.