Count down to Copenhagen
Copenhagen is where crucial climate change talks take place this December. The Copenhagen meeting is critical. It could be the world’s last chance to stop runaway climate change.
This United Nations Summit is the latest in a series of efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. This began with the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, where the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was agreed, and continued with the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Now, governments are coming together to negotiate global action to cut emissions from 2012.
For 200 years the wealthy industrialized countries have pumped greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere causing global warming. Regretfully most of these wealthy countries are far from meeting the commitments they made under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce their emissions.
Large developing nations like India and China now emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases, but still have large populations living in poverty.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt, mainly by people who have done the least to cause the problem, such as those in the Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa. These people lack the resources to adapt to the changes in climate.
Currently three species are lost every hour. This number will increase dramatically as climate change begins to destroy whole eco-systems. The global economic crisis is making the affects of global warming even worse on survival issues such as water and food security.
Delegates from 183 countries met in Bonn in June 2009 to discus the text which will be the basis for an international climate change deal to be finalized at Copenhagen in December. Further meetings will take place in Bonn in August, in Bangkok in September and in Barcelona in November.
So far progress is slow. Still lacking is:
* national policies NOW that will mean each country plays its part in peaking global emissions in 2010 and will allow each country to negotiate in Copenhagen in good faith
* robust commitments from developed countries to cut emissions by 100% by 2050 (as part of a global 80% reduction)
* money from the industrialized world to help developing countries to switch to clean energy, keep tropical rainforests intact and adapt to unavoidable climate impacts
Churches in the UK, in Europe and around the world are taking action on climate change.
For instance: On 5 December, the weekend before the Copenhagen meeting, CEL (Christian Ecology Link) is helping other Christian environmental and development agencies to hold a service of worship at 11:00am, in Westminster Central Hall, just before the “Stop Climate Chaos march and rally” in Westminster, London.
On Sunday 13 December the Archbishop of Canterbury is to preach at Copenhagen at a major church service. The Danish churches are asking churches throughout the world to ring their bells 350 times on that day to symbolise the 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide we need to return to for a stable climate.
Day of Prayer
The imminent threat of catastrophic climate change means this is a key time to call all Christians to a united time of prayer for God’s world in the run up to the key talks in Copenhagen in December.
Sunday 4 October from 12:00 noon to 6:00pm has been agreed as the Day of Prayer (though individual churches will be fee to make their own arrangements, times and dates). This date is St Francis Day and the final Sunday of Creation Time (1 September to 4 October).
John Sayers October 2009
The above article has been adapted from Christian Ecology Link web site.