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Tearfund at COP28: what, why, where, when and who?

Tearfund is at COP28 in Dubai with climate activists Jessica Bwali and Laura Young. But why? What do we hope to achieve?

Written by Tearfund | 30 Nov 2023

Climate activists Laura Young and Jessica Bwali at COP28 in Dubai outside where the conference is taking place. A row of flags of different countries is in the background. Text on the wall reads 'Let's fix climate'.

Climate activists Laura Young (@lesswastelaura) and Jessica Bwali are at COP28 in Dubai with Tearfund.

The 2023 Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) – more commonly (and conveniently!) referred to as COP28 is happening between 30 November until 12 December at the Expo City in Dubai.

World leaders from almost every country will be at the conference. This will include government officials, business leaders, faith leaders and His Majesty, King Charles III.

And Tearfund staff, including our very own award winning Climate Activist/Journalist from Zambia, Jessica Bwali, along with much-loved Scottish climate activist, environmental scientist, sustainability communicator, ethical influencer and Tearfund ambassador, Laura Young, will be there too!

Why is Tearfund at COP28?

We care about seeing an end to extreme poverty and all people having the opportunity to thrive. But communities in some of the poorest parts of the world are already suffering the most because of the unpredictable climate and having to find ways to adapt. The solutions do exist, but we need collaboration on a global scale to innovate and hold governments to account to make vital changes.

Words and good intentions are not enough if the repeated promises made by those in power are not kept.

The road to the flourishing world we all want to see is paved with hard work, accountability and justice and it’s time for wealthy nations to keep their word – including about the money that is owed.

What is Climate Finance for?

Communities who have contributed the least to causing the climate crisis are, in many cases, bearing the brunt of it. And they have the fewest resources to respond to it. The most climate-vulnerable nations are being forced to divert money away from crucial public services, such as healthcare and schooling, to protect themselves against climate impacts.

Climate finance is vital to prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis and to help communities that are the most vulnerable to climate change to adapt. Ultimately, this will save lives.

Wealthy nations have a responsibility to help communities adapt to a crisis they didn’t cause. It’s time to foot the bill, starting with delivering the promised doubling of finance for adaptation.

But, right now, wealthy nations are delaying the delivery of funds. The longer money is held back, the more costs will rise and the more lives will be lost.

What is the Loss & Damage Fund?

Many people’s lives and livelihoods are already being destroyed by the climate crisis. Wealthy nations with a history of high emissions have a responsibility to support countries suffering the worst impacts to rebuild.

Agreement was reached at COP27 to set up a fund for ‘loss and damage’ from climate impacts that now can’t be avoided. The first day of COP28 marked an important step in turning this fund into reality, with key arrangements agreed and initial pledges from a few countries, including the UK.

These are important steps forward - but the fund needs to deliver new and additional finance at scale to the communities that need it. We need to see wealthy nations fill the fund with billions, not just millions, to meet the scale of damage from the climate crisis.

What do we need from COP28 in discussions about energy?

The world can and will flourish when world leaders come together and collectively turn their backs on fossil fuels.

We’ve already seen how people living at the sharp end of the climate crisis are coming up with incredible innovations and world leaders now need to match their ambition and triple renewable energy capacity globally by 2030.

The world needs commitment to a fair and funded phase out of ALL fossil fuels at COP28.

‘The solutions do exist, but we need collaboration on a global scale.’

What does faith have to do with climate change and COP28?

This year at COP, there will be a dedicated Faith Pavilion

Christians care about the climate emergency because we follow a God of justice, and those who have done the least to cause this crisis are suffering the most. We’re calling on world leaders to deliver climate justice for the most vulnerable communities around the world.

The world has changed over the past few decades with more frequent storms, tropical cyclones, floods, droughts, earthquakes, wildfires and pandemics. Sadly, those living in poverty are being impacted the most by these events. Church and faith-based organisations globally are stepping in to champion their cause and help to ensure that the most vulnerable have a voice.

In the most practical terms, in many places churches are present in communities before, during and after disasters. Often, in times when disasters strike, they are among the first to respond. Faith leaders have a significant role to play in building community resilience, helping strengthen social connections and resolving conflicts, raising awareness of risks and advocating for change, and bringing hope and help in times of crisis.

Seven facts for COP28

  • Without action, climate change could push 132 million people into poverty by 2030.
  • World hunger has increased every year since 2016 because of climate change and conflict. In 2020, close to 1 in 10 people around the world were undernourished.
  • Every fraction of a degree matters; rising temperatures can mean the difference between life and death for many people and cultures, living creatures and ecosystems.
  • The top ten highest emitting countries collectively emit nearly 70 per cent of global emissions and only one of them has extremely high climate risk (India).
  • 2023 saw the worst hunger crisis in decades, with 46.3 million people across seven countries in East Africa experiencing severe hunger following repeated climate shocks, including drought and flooding.
  • Those of us in the world’s top one per cent of emitters produce more than 1,000 times more carbon dioxide than the bottom one per cent – and show little sign of slowing down.
  • The climate crisis is expected to increase inequality within every single country around the world.

Is there hope in the face of the climate crisis?

Since the Paris Agreement in 2015, positive changes have been made. This shows that we can make changes! We’ve seen that it’s possible to turn this titanic challenge around.

World leaders must now go further and faster to avoid catastrophe and set us on a course for a fair and funded transition away from fossil fuels without delay.

Please pray with us for COP28. Many people will be taking part in the Global Day of Action for COP28 on 9 December. Check here to see what’s happening in your area. There’s also a prayer resource for you to use – either as you take part in the march or to pray along at home or in your church on Sunday 10 December.

Pray for COP28

    • Pray that wealthy nations would step up to their responsibilities to help communities adapt to a crisis they didn’t cause.
    • Pray that COP28 would result in a commitment to a fair and funded phase out of ALL fossil fuels.
    • Pray for churches and faith leaders around the world to be bold in advocating for a world that is just and where those who are most vulnerable are protected – particularly in terms of the climate crisis.

Written by

Written by  Tearfund

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