What can we do? Looking ahead to COP26

In the wake of the recent IPCC climate report, Rosie Venner, our Money Makes Change Programme Manager, shares four steps we can all take in the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference in November.

It’s time to act. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, is a call to action for all of us. It confirms again what communities in the Global South have known for years, that extreme weather conditions – heatwaves, droughts and flooding – are on the increase. Scientists agree that we need huge cuts in carbon emissions to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C.

With the UN Climate Conference (COP26) just a few months away, the world has an opportunity to heed the warnings in the IPCC report and take the action that is needed. While we can’t all be in the room where the key discussions are happening, we can make our voices heard and join with others to build a movement for urgent action and climate justice. Here are four ways you can respond:  

Keep talking, engaging and campaigning

To get to where we need to be will require more than just behaviour change from individuals – like switching to a green energy supplier or stopping flying. We also need governments to put the right policies and finance in place to ensure a just transition to net-zero. Businesses have a critical role to play too, with just 20 companies behind a third of all carbon emissions.  

Campaigning works. Pressure is mounting on fossil fuel companies to dramatically cut their carbon emissions. Campaigners successfully took Shell to court in the Netherlands. It was the first time a company has been legally obliged to align its policies with the Paris climate agreement.

Building public support for a greener economy is something we can all do – whether that’s talking with others at your church, writing to a company or speaking to your MP.

The organisation Climate Outreach has some excellent resources to help you talk about climate change with others, and Hope for the Future can equip you to engage with your MP.

Take a step to Green Your Money

Could you ‘green’ your money in the run up to COP26? Our latest Money Makes Change campaign – Green Your Money – focuses on the practical actions we can all take with our finances to shape a more sustainable future.

You could take a closer look at your pension, switch to a greener bank, invest in funds that put the planet first or get your church to connect its financial decisions with its climate action – there are steps for everyone to take. Find out more and sign up for the campaign emails here.

Together we can ensure that the money we steward is working for a greener, safer future.

Support the YCCN relay

As I write, the Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN) relay is passing through the West Midlands on route to Glasgow for the COP26 UN Climate Conference in November.

YCCN are calling on the UK government to meet its climate finance commitments, reinstate the foreign aid budget and push for the cancellation of debts for countries most affected by climate change. Find out more about the YCCN relay and how you can get involved here.

We are planning to join them in Newcastle in October for an event to coincide with Good Money Week – let us know if you are in the North East and interested in joining us. More details will be available soon.

Pray

Our actions can be accompanied by, and rooted in, prayer. Perhaps you could join with others in praying this prayer, shared by Tearfund in an article on the climate emergency:

God of creation,
At this time of great need and urgency,
we pray for your kingdom to come.
We pray for world leaders to wake up
and see the need for immediate action.
We pray that industries that are polluting the world
will start to put people before profits.
And we pray for all those who are suffering now
because of the climate emergency –
bring comfort, bring protection, bring relief.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

There’s a wealth of other resources for prayer on the Climate Sunday website.

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