Will COP 21 be any different from COP 15?

Posted in: Comment
Date posted: 17 November 2015

Chris Halliwell, Operation Noah co-vice-chair, contemplates the outcomes of the 2015 Paris climate talks.

As a proud half-Dane, I was convinced that the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009 would give rise to lots of “Wonderful, wonderful COPenhagen”- type media headlines. Like many, I suspect I was probably more than a little naïve in my expectations that strong, genuine commitments to setting binding targets on global carbon emissions would be hammered out by the international community.

Six  years on, I suppose I am far more aware of the huge political, economic and corporate challenges that lie ahead of the up-coming UN climate talks (also known as COP – Conference of Parties – 21) which will be happening in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015.

At the same time, however, I am also aware that climate change is no longer an issue of peripheral significance. A succession of increasingly severe climate-related disasters have made the headlines; economic commentators and decision-makers are publicly factoring into their long-term planning the need to adapt to the prospect of a warming plant alongside a radical diminution in the use of fossil fuels to generate energy; scientists are finding increasingly creative and transparent ways of disseminating their research results to a wider audience than previously; and faith communities are discovering that, as considerations of justice and ethics within the climate change debate take a more prominent significance  within multi-disciplinary conversations, their  perspectives are increasingly being sought, and indeed valued.

So are there grounds for hope? I have a hunch that whilst many will only wish, or feel able, to assess the success or otherwise of the COP21 Paris Conference on the basis of numbers, degrees, tonnes, costs etc, I do think there can be no denying there is a genuine conviction that positive things are happening, and that COP21 will come to be seen as an important waypoint on the journey towards a more rapid and global uptake in planetary environmental responsibility.

We encourage all Operation Noah supporters to continue to pray for outcomes of hope at the Paris COP21.

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