What on Earth is COP23?

After 197 countries signed the historic Paris Agreement to tackle climate change, world leaders will reunite this November in Bonn, Germany, at the United Nations climate talks (COP23).
We're praying and petitioning world leaders ahead of and during COP23 to keep their promises under the Paris Agreement, and everyone is invited to make that happen.
But what is COP23 anyway?

Five things you need to know about COP23

1. What’s the “big thing” happening in Germany this November?

It’s the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and it’s happening in Bonn, Germany from 6-17 November. It is also known by the catchy name COP23! COP means Conference of the Parties, meaning the countries who are parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). With 197 Parties, almost every country in the world is a member party! This year's conference is called COP23 because it’s the 23rd of these annual conferences. Fiji holds the Presidency for COP23.

2. Why is COP23 SO important?

This is the crucial next step for our world to take urgent action on climate solutions, before it's too late. We already won the commitment of almost every country in the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. But now it is time to hold our governments accountable to those commitments, and make sure we turn the Paris Agreement into reality. We must make sure our leaders keep their promises. This year is critically important, especially since President Trump indicated he wants to withdraw the US from the agreement. Now is the crucial time for our world to band together, focus, and rise to meet our commitments to protect people and planet.

3. Hang on, can you remind me what the Paris Agreement is again?

Sure. In December 2015, at COP21 in Paris, 197 countries reached a landmark agreement on climate change. The core aim of the Paris Agreement is to accelerate global solutions to climate change by keeping global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius. (And if possible, pursue 1.5 degrees Celsius.) The Paris Agreement entered into force last November. It’s super significant. It unites 197 countries – for the first time – to tackle climate change in a large-scale and ambitious way. Also, it has enhanced support to help developing countries too. It really does chart a new course in the global climate effort. (If you want to take a deep dive into Paris as well as other UN Frameworks and the whole big picture go here: http://bigpicture.unfccc.int/. Be warned, you will need a fair chunk of time to read through!)

4. Who will be at COP23 in Bonn and what will they talk about? 

Government delegates from almost every country in the world will meet in Bonn, as well as civil society organisations, scientists, businesses, faith leaders and communities. Together, they will plan practical solutions to transition to clean energy, reduce pollution, and implement the Paris Agreement. We will also be there, as part of the Renew Our World campaign! 

5. What is Renew Our World doing at COP23 and how can I take action?

The Renew Our World campaign is a global movement of Christians joining together to push and pray for a more just and sustainable planet for all. We know that a changing climate severely impacts people living in poverty, and it’s part of our Christian responsibility to protect the most vulnerable. As world leaders gather in Bonn, we too will gather -- including the leaders of the national Renew Our World campaigns from Australia, Europe, India, Peru, UK, US, and Zambia.

Here are three ways to take action:

We will bring your voice to the UN climate conference and share live videos and updates of what is happening on the ground -- stay connected and ready for action! Follow on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Please pray with us:

God of all creation,

Today we pray for a world where extreme poverty, inequality and environmental exploitation are no more.

We pray for a world where people and our planet thrive. 

God, we pray you would send us out as your global church to love our neighbours and protect the most vulnerable people from climate change. Help us be bold and courageous in speaking up for justice.

We pray for our leaders and government delegates as they meet in Bonn in November, that they will take crucial next steps to fulfill the Paris Agreement and take urgent action on climate change.

We pray for sustainable solutions, for a clear path to be forged, for unity between the countries, and for all nations to keep their commitments to deep and transformative change on this issue. 

We pray for justice and renewal in all the earth.

In Jesus name,


  This blog was inspired by and adapted from this article by Caroline Illingworth, TEAR Australia.

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