Lots of us from Renew Our World were at COP28. Here's a round-up of all our reactions to the mix of inadequate agreements and answers to prayer we got in Dubai.
Dr Tiwonge Gawa from Malawi Creation Care Network reports
The Dubai COP didn't meet the Anglican Communion's three calls but it did offer some hope. 'For the first time the world’s nations have committed to a transition away from fossil fuels in a just, orderly and equitable manner. This is highly welcome. However, COP28 stops short of committing to phase fossil fuels out.' There was little progress on funding for adaptation so poor communities can cope with the changing climate, and little progress on reforming the world's financial systems, though we can celebrate the pledges to the new Loss and Damage Fund. Mandisa Gumada from South Africa shared a personal blog on her first COP, and spoke at our event - details below.
'What we got was a mixed bag. On the one hand, this is the first time that we have seen the key cause and driver of climate change – burning fossil fuels – acknowledged in the text,' said A Rocha. But 'the text simply calls on countries to transition away from fossil fuels,' when we need it to 'insist on a rapid end to fossil production and consumption.' Getting the Loss & Damage Fund up and running, with money pledged, was a welcome success, but overall we need much more money. There was a step forward on forests - 'This is the first time that the 2030 deforestation goal has been included in a UN agreement and so we have seen the voluntary language of the Glasgow Declaration on Forests by 130 countries strengthened into a commitment among 200 countries.'
There was some encouraging progress, the World Evangelical Alliance reported, but 'the agreement ultimately fell short of decisively delivering the necessary framework and actions required to phase out fossil fuels in a just and timely manner.' They commit to intensify work till we get there - so do we!
Jocabed Solano, Director of Indigenous Memory, shared a thoughtful theological and political blog post - sidelining indigenous people and refusing more than incremental change made COP disappointing, despite some good steps forward. The root cause is commodifying the sacred, and that's the spirit of COP because it's the spirit of our age. 'Transformational change only happens with paradigm shifts; it begins with the recognition of the importance of all relationships and our understanding of the sacredness of life' and we're not seeing that yet.
Tearfund wrote here and filmed here, also highlighting the success of getting the Loss & Damage Fund that was agreed last COP operational with money pledged at this COP, though of course it's not enough yet. 'Significantly, COP28 reached an agreement to transition away from fossil fuels but it also opened the door to dangerous distractions – falling short of its potential to deliver a landmark.' They also celebrated Norway and Australia signing the Clean Energy Transition Partnership, which Tearfund and others have been campaigning on for years, and which could shift more than US$28 billion a year out of fossil fuels and into clean energy.
COP28 'was more than a conference; it was a baptism by fire in the global fight against climate change,' said Eric Bagenzi from RDIS in Rwanda, and the Climate YES youth network - it was wonderful to hear from him in our Faith Pavilion event on intergenerational climate adaptation.
So there's much to give thanks for, more than we expected, but far more to do and very little time left to do it. If you want a full analysis with every detail, Carbon Brief do it well.