What was COP26 all about and what comes next for Christians?
We recently had a virtual roundtable with Michigan’s CWP regional organizer, Steve Mulder, and COP26 observers Nate Rauh-Bieri and Richard Kilmer as they discussed what did and didn’t happen in these meetings and what comes next for Christians. Both Nate and Richard spent time in Glasgow at COP26 as observers with the Christian Climate Observers program. As observers, their attendance was privately funded and carbon offsets were purchased for travel.
While these international meetings can unfortunately be too much show and not enough substance, Richard Kilmer was encouraged by some of the successes at COP26, saying that some of the agreements reached were groundbreaking. “These are issues that hadn’t really been dealt with before,” he commented. With various countries signing pledges to reduce deforestation or end methane emissions, Richard felt like some significant progress was made to cut back global carbon emissions.
Nate Rauh-Bieri agreed that many of those successes didn’t really receive the attention they should have. But he also pointed out that while the whole goal of the COP meetings is to reduce emissions and stop global temperature from rising, “There’s been 26 of these and emissions have not been reduced in any meaningful way.”
Yet Nate also saw value in COP26 and those pledges that Richard Kilmer highlighted. These were successes to be celebrated, and yet the need to act is more important than ever.“Can we relax and let other people handle [the climate crisis]? No. Absolutely not,” Nate emphasized. “We are still very much in trouble and we very much need to act. We need to live out our faith and care for the most vulnerable.”
Nate and Richard’s experiences at COP26 are an important reminder of why faithful, consistent advocacy is important to bring about change, as governments are slow to move and act. Alongside advocacy, CWP’s work with climate change education and with churches and individuals to reduce carbon emissions are still vital as we press on towards the goal of climate justice.
Learn more about COP26 and what it means for people of faith in our roundtable discussion.