OSJ Creation Care Update | November 15, 2019
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The Climate Witness Project is excited to announce that we will once again be sending a delegation as Christian climate observers to the twenty-fifth annual Conference of the Parties (COP) on climate change.This year’s summit will be hosted in Madrid, Spain from December 2 -13. Made possible by the Christian Climate Observers Program (CCOP), our delegation will be a part of the evangelical Christian presence advocating for God’s creation at the summit. In light of this, we are dedicating this newsletter issue to explaining our history with COP, our participation in the Christian Climate Observers Program, and the significance of this year’s summit.

Our CWP delegation, together with the Christian Climate Observers Program, will be publishing daily newsletter updates during the course of the summit. Subscribe to receive daily updates from the climate negotiations, hear some of the stories happening in and around the COP, and join in prayer for the success of global climate action.

What is COP 25?

COP 25 is the twenty-fifth annual Conference of the Parties convened by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to discuss the implementation of different climate treaties, such as the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, and most recently, the Paris Agreement. The UNFCCC was first put into effect in 1994, and has since been ratified by 197 countries, known as the Parties to the Convention. These countries have recognized the impacts of human activity on the climate and have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a stable level, with developed countries, as the primary emitters, leading the way and providing funding to help developing countries mitigate climate change and adapt to the new realities created by climate change. With an average attendance of 25,000 participants, COP is the largest annual United Nations conference.

CRC/CWP History and Involvement with COP

Even before the beginnings of the Climate Witness Project the CRCNA was paying attention to our call as God’s people to care for creation—including concerns about climate change. In 2008 the CRC Synod called for more robust online resources to support churches in their work to care for creation and in 2010 they received a report from the Micah Network, with leadership from faith leaders in developing countries, on climate change and the church’s responsibility to care for creation.

As churches saw the impacts on the most vulnerable and grew in their interest to speak into this global issue, the CWP was formed and we sent our first delegation to the international Conference of Parties on climate change in Paris. Since then, through our four pillars (education, worship, energy stewardship and advocacy), the CWP has continued to vigorously work towards the goals of Paris and through the Christian Climate Observers Program (CCOP), has positioned itself as a key Christian climate observer organization at COP meetings.

What is the Christian Climate Observers Program (CCOP)?

The Christian Climate Observers Program (CCOP) is a Christian NGO observer organization which provides first-hand immersive training to UN climate observers from a Christian and missional perspective. Officially recognized by the UNFCCC as one of the key evangelical Christian presence at the COP 25 summit, Christian climate observers are given credentials for entry to the COP 25 conference grounds which grants access to meetings, briefings, workshops, and exhibits open to all observers. The program additionally provides the opportunity to shadow seasoned professionals, experiencing firsthand the work of a climate summit, and equips participants with the skills for building organizational and individualized plans for future climate action. Our CWP delegation has been participating in these trainings and are set to live out their Christian witness at the summit. Learn more about CCOP here

Why COP 25 Matters Now: Gender Equity & Climate Action

Among the important agenda items scheduled for discussion at COP 25 this year is the paramount issue of Gender Equity and climate action. COP 25 is set to evaluate and report on the progress of the implementation of the Gender Action Plan. The Gender Action Plan, created under the Lima work Programme on gender, seeks to advance women’s full, equal and meaningful participation and promote gender-responsive climate policy and the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the implementation of the Convention. Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change in situations of poverty, and the majority of the world’s poor are women.

Read more about the Gender Action Plan here

Canada Action Alert: Urge Your MP to Support Climate Accountability and Clean Energy and Transportation Policies

In November 2016, the Paris Agreement became law, and Canada joined the global community’s commitment to combat the climate crisis. As the 43rd Parliament prepares to take session, you have the opportunity to remind your Member of Parliament of that commitment. We want to take positive steps towards reducing our greenhouse gas emissions while also ensuring nobody gets left behind. The first step towards meaningful climate action includes asking the government to eliminate federal fossil fuel subsidies. However, we can also reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by building new efficient infrastructure for clean energy and sustainable transportation.

As Christians, we are called to care for and advocate on behalf of God’s precious creation. Ask your Member of Parliament to support the Paris Agreement and end federal subsidies and tax breaks to the oil and gas sector!

In Case You Missed It

  • Special Statement: U.S. Officially Pulls Out of the Paris Agreement - On Monday, November 4, President Trump began the formal process of withdrawing the U.S from the Paris Climate Agreement. This action by the president deepens the climate crisis as it reverses the United States’ initial commitment to reduce greenhouse gases up to 28% by 2025...We lament that the U.S. will no longer be a part of this global agreement. We also lament the impacts this decision will have on the world’s most vulnerable people and future generations...Despite this setback, we will continue “to be voices for justice and public examples in the effort to live sustainably within our God-given resources… and to seek justice for the poor and vulnerable among us and for future generations” (2012 Synodical Statement on Climate Change). Read our full statement here.
  • “How to Talk About Climate Change at Thanksgiving Dinner: A Webinar with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe” Recording - Have you ever wondered about how you can be an effective witness for climate action this holiday season? If so, you are in luck. This webinar explores the latest social science and psychological research, reviews communications best practices, and identifies concrete strategies for having productive climate conversations with friends and family. Listen to a recording of the webinar here.
  • Call for Papers - Yale Graduate Conference in Religion & Ecology - The schools of Divinity and Forestry at Yale University are accepting applications from graduate students and other rising voices in the fields of Religious Studies, Law & Policy, Philosophy, History, Environmental Studies, Gender and Race Studies, Art History and from other fields whose work orbits this year’s conference topic: Reimagining Ways of Being: Religion and Spirituality in Ecological Activism. Deadline for submission is December 7, 2019 at 5:00pm EST. Learn more here

Thinking about Year-End Giving?
Is the Climate Witness Project Important to You?
Help us continue this important work.

This year, when you donate to the Climate Witness Project for your year-end giving, your gift will go to supporting youth efforts to advocate and work towards just policies and practices that mitigate the moral crisis of climate change. You will be receiving an email with more details, but you can donate today!