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A new dawn after COP26?

How, as Christians, we can continue to have hope as we move forward following the UN climate talks.

Written by Tearfund | 19 Nov 2021

Image credit: Tom Price/Tearfund

The climate crisis can feel like an overwhelming issue. One where it can be difficult to imagine that we can make a difference. Yet as we look back at COP26, we can see that – while it fell short of delivering all that we need – a difference has been made. The prayers and actions of ordinary people around the world have borne fruit.
And no matter the challenge ahead of us – we take heart from our belief in the God of justice. Alok Sharma, who led the talks, called them our ‘last, best hope’. Yet, as Christians, we know that this is not true. Hope is alive in Christ.

Reasons for praise

A key priority going into COP26 was for governments to take action that would limit global heating to 1.5°C. If the promises made during the conference are kept, then heating could be kept to below 2°C. While this is not enough, it is progress – previously, we were on track for a disastrous rise of closer to 3°C. 

Governments have been asked to make stronger plans to limit global heating further ahead of next year’s climate talks. Every fraction of a degree can make the difference between life and death for people living in poverty.

Furthermore, almost 40 nations and institutions have committed to end overseas public finance for coal, oil and gas by the end of 2022. This could shift at least $24 billion a year out of fossil fuels and into clean energy. This is a welcome signal that polluting, creation-harming fossil fuels are being consigned to the history books.

Again, there is far more to be done. But we believe – and we will keep believing – that if we continue to put pressure on governments to take action then it can, and will, be done.

Tearfund supporters march together in Glasgow on the COP26 Day of Action. |  Image credit: Kiran Rai/Tearfund

A growing movement

One of the most heartening things about COP26 and the lead up to it was to see the growing movement of Christians who are now praying, speaking up and taking action on the climate crisis. If we continue to raise our voices together, then the door of possibility will always be open.

‘Climate justice won't be achieved by a single person, decision or conference,’ says Dr Ruth Valerio, Tearfund’s Director of Global Advocacy and Influencing. ‘But millions of us will continue to play our part and demand that world leaders play theirs. 

‘We will continue to pray, to act, to hold leaders to account and to call for justice. And we will continue to walk by faith and keep our eyes fixed on God who can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.’

We won’t give up. Hope is not a feeling, it is a decision – a decision we can continue to make each day. We will continue to be God’s hands and feet as we strive to protect the world’s most vulnerable communities from the climate crisis. Please join us in prayer.

Pray with us

God of justice,

We pray that the progress made at COP26 will be a stepping stone to genuine change: that following these talks governments will put words into action, and the policies will be put in place that will avert disaster. Help us continue to hold on to hope – to never give up but keep praying, speaking out and taking action. And we lift up people around the world whose lives today are being turned upside down by the climate crisis. May the world hear their cries, and do something about it.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Written by  Tearfund

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