Attending COP26 – report by Steph Bevan (CiS Development Officer)

Attending COP26 – report by Steph Bevan (CiS Development Officer)

Official Video by COP26 – Voices from the COP26 Green Zone: Faith, Religion and Beliefs.

It has now been several weeks since the final conversations were had at COP26. Since returning from our exhibit on the 9th November, we have had a number of questions about the event. Was it worthwhile? Was it a success? Here are a few of our thoughts on how it went……….

Christians in Science, The Faraday Institute and the John Ray Initiative were present in the Green Zone of the COP26 conference. This space was made available for charities, businesses and community groups to exhibit and showcase their role in tackling the climate crisis. Being a part of this space was a real encouragement to delegates from around the world to hear what people are already practically and physically doing to make a difference. On our stand, we were able to direct attendees to valuable resources on how the church can and should respond to the climate crisis. We had some encouraging conversations with attendees, including those from different faiths and no faith at all.

Many of our conversations turned to the fear and distrust that some religious groups can have with scientists over climate change and more recently, vaccine uptake. We found that there was a particular interest in some religious groups who are sceptical that there even is a climate crisis, and if there is, that the problem can simply be resolved with prayer. Delegates were glad to hear of our presence in this conversation and our resources to equip others to broach these topics with their own communities.

We were delighted that over the course of the 2-week conference, there were representatives from many other science and faith organisations, including A Rocha, Eco Church, Eco Synagogue, Faith for the Climate and Climate Sunday. Highlights of these groups and their involvement at COP26 can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p69DPNJB54Y This joined up approach and recognition of faith communities’ involvement in the solution was very welcome and worthwhile.

The other parts of COP26 were the policies and promises put in place at an international level. There were certainly mixed emotions regarding how successful and meaningful these commitments were. The Glasgow Climate Pact focusses on reducing emissions, helping those already impacted by climate change, enabling countries to deliver on their climate goals and working together to deliver even greater action. The full pact can be found here: https://ukcop26.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/COP26-Presidency-Outcomes-The-Climate-Pact.pdf

Overall, we found the entire event rewarding and encouraging but have left still reflective on the need for more action from all walks of life. Finally, we must extend a HUGE thank you to Murdo McDonald who was also present on our exhibition stand for the entire day.