Ecumenical Groups gather to prepare for UN Climate talks

Global Prayer and Action Chain for Climate Justice
On the road to the next UN Climate Conference (the 26th Conference of Parties, or COP 26), churches and groups from a range of Christian traditions organised a webinar titled, “Raise Your Voice in Faith for Climate Justice,” on 13 May as part of the Global Action and Prayer for Climate Justice. 

17 May 2021
The webinar shed light on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – national plans and targets for climate action, why they are important for combating climate change and how to influence them.

In an opening reflection, Archbishop Mark MacDonald from the Anglican Church of Canada reiterated that “there can be no climate justice without Indigenous Peoples.” Indigenous Peoples have a critical role to play in mitigating climate change and can contribute to strengthening nations’ NDCs. 

Land is key to this. Community lands and forests safeguarded by Indigenous Peoples are significant ‘carbon sinks.’ Therefore, protecting Indigenous Peoples’ rights to ancestral lands could boost nations’ bids to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement.   

NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and are scheduled to be reviewed at COP 26 to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021. Presenting the current status of NDCs, Athena Peralta, WCC progamme executive for economic and ecological justice, underlined that “there is still a huge gap between where we are at and where we should be.” 

According to estimates from the UN Environment Programme, countries would need to increase their NDC ambitions threefold to keep global warming at around 2°C and fivefold to achieve the relatively safer 1.5°C target.

“More has to be done on top of ramping up NDC ambition,” Peralta added. “Developed countries also need to radically scale up climate finance to help developing countries meet pathways compatible with the 1.5°C goal.” 

Further, Peralta cited the findings of the 2020 Emissions Gap report which found that the impacts of COVID-19 economic recovery measures could chop off up to a quarter of 2030 emissions and affect long-term trajectories to keep global warming to 1.5°C if these result in a structural shift in the economy. This figure is bigger than the emissions savings that would be delivered under current NDCs. 

In the second half of the webinar, breakout groups discussed how to involve local churches, engage politicians, use media (including social media), and organise a COVID-safe protest to influence countries’ commitments to tackle climate change.

The Global Prayer and Action Chain for Climate Justice invites all faiths and none to be prophetic, pray intensely, and act radically to reduce the negative effects of human activity on the planet. Read more here


Global Prayer and Action Chain for Climate Justice


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