COP28: The Urgency for Action and How to Get Involved

By Sharon Hall, Bright Now Campaign Officer

The UN Conference on Climate Change (COP28) will be held in the United Arab Emirates from 30th November to 12th December 2023.

The conference comes at a crucial moment as scientists say the world must nearly halve emissions by 2030 to avoid the most severe impacts of global heating. However, emissions are still going up, with fossil fuel companies planning to increase production. And according to a report out this month from the International Energy Agency, last year fossil fuel companies were responsible for a minuscule 1% of global investment in renewable energy.

As with previous summits in Egypt (COP27) and Glasgow (COP26), major steps to phase down fossil fuel usage are urgently needed, with other key areas of debate linked to the Loss and Damage Fund for developing countries and more of a focus on nature and people’s lives and livelihoods.

COP president Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, an oil executive, wrote to attendees in July setting out a vision and four main areas for action:

  • Fast-tracking the energy transition and slashing emissions before 2030
  • Delivering old promises and set the framework for a new deal on finance  
  • Putting nature, people, lives and livelihoods at the heart of climate action
  • Mobilising for the most inclusive COP

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) gives a helpful summary of what progress or success would look like in four key areas of mitigation, finance, adaptation and nature. On mitigation, they talk about how progress would include a decision on a date for fossil fuel phase down as well as firm commitments to new Nationally Determined Contributions. They also characterise success as getting parties to refer to a date for a phase out of fossil fuels without relying on abatement measures. 

Prior to the conference starting there has been some progress on agreeing a Loss and Damage fund, although disagreements fester about whether the World Bank is suitable to run the fund. Even larger questions remain about who will actually put the money in to get the fund off the ground, although the EU has pledged to announce a substantial contribution during the summit.

Later days in the conference are set aside to address themes of nature and land use, food and agriculture. Alongside fossil fuel reductions, these are massive areas where emissions and potential solutions need to be addressed.

Three ways you can get involved:

–Join Green Christian each morning at 8am to pray for each day’s theme at COP28. Starting on 30th November, there will be 10 minutes of daily prayer and reflection, focusing on the theme of the day. This will be on Zoom and led by Revd Andrew Norman. Register here

–Join Operation Noah and other Christian organisations in the Faith Bloc at the Day of Climate Action on 9th December. We will be joining the march in London which gathers at St James’s Square, London, SW1Y 4LE, at 12 noon. For more information, visit #NowWeRise – 9 Dec Day of Action – Climate Justice Coalition or email for details of where to meet. Other local events are also taking place in Edinburgh, Cardiff and other UK cities. 

–Check out the following resources and activities: 

  • The Church of England Environment Programme’s Guide to COP28 is here
  • CAFOD Prayer resources, including information about the Pope’s call to action, is here
  • Jesuit European Social Care’s Guide to COP28 with prayer activities is here.

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