Faith Meets COP28
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, left, addresses the Global Faith Leaders Summit, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in Abu Dhabi. (Photo courtesy Muslim Council of Elders)

The 28th annual meeting of COP is underway in Dubai these two weeks. COP is short for “Conference of the Parties,” meaning those countries who joined—are “party to,” in legal terms—the international treaty called the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC ). A central purpose of each COP since 2015 has been to track the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which laid out the initial approach to limit warming, which has now reached 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Besides delegates from the Parties, there are oil companies, environmental organizations, and…faith groups. Here are some of the faith groups hoping to influence the outcome of this year’s talks.

The goals of the faith leaders at the conference are explored in an article from
“Faith-based Engagement at COP 28” explains how the United Nations Environmental Program has organized faith groups lobbying.
Evangelical Focus tells how for the first time, a Conference of the Parties (COP) on climate change will have a Faith Pavilion where representatives of religions will explain what their beliefs have to say about planet care.
There will be an Episcopalian presence at the conference. Presiding Bishop Curry has appointed 21 delegates. Nine will be there in person, the remaining twelve will participate virtually.

There have already been some successes.
The opening session on Thursday launched the loss and damage fund with countries then stepping up with financial pledges.
“Over 97% of farmers in Africa do not have agricultural insurance. Their only insurance is to pray”- Adesina. In response, the African Development Bank Group has presented its planned $1 billion facility to provide insurance to more than 40 million farmers across the continent against severe impacts of climate change.
50 oil companies have pledged to end methane emissions by 2030. That helps, but of course the big problem with oil and gas is the CO2 emissions from their use and the environmental damage from their extraction, as Al Gore pointed out in reaction.

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