CCOP25 Newsletter – Day 1

Here is the official newsletter put out by the participants of the Christian Observer program on Day 1 of COP 25 in Madrid. I didn’t write it but thought it gave some good information and other perspectives on activities happening and progress being made at the COP. Enjoy! Cara

Before COP25 Even Begins

The best work done for a COP climate summit is invariably the work done BEFORE a climate summit.    This was a lesson hard-learned back in 2009 at COP15 in Copenhagen when US President Barack Obama flew in on the last day and was immediately ushered into high level meetings with China, France, India, and several other major economies.  The Copenhagen Accord suffered from these last-minute attempts at salvage. We don’t whether the Spanish language has an idiom for “having one’s ducks (patos) in a row beforehand” but the UNFCCC works hard at preparation in the previous 11 months before a COP.

COP25 is no exception.  Costa Rica hosted a whole “Pre-COP25 Conference” in October.  Even yesterday, a Sunday when most people were flying into Madrid for today’s open sessions, the COP site was open for a special all-day meeting of the “Review of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss & Damage.”   The concept of “Loss and Damage” refers to how the nations of the world want to respond to other nations (and peoples) who suffer devastation from climate change impacts beyond any possible way of adapting.  Particularly when a nation, e.g. the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, is not greatly responsible for the carbon emissions which result in ocean warming and glacial melt and thus sea-level rise, should they be compensated for the loss of their homeland?  You can imagine how fraught such discussions are between developed and developing nations.

You will definitely hear more in this newsletter about loss and damage, since it is a featured discussion at COP25 and since it impinges directly on the topic of “environmental justice.”

Economic losses of income and physical assets is complex enough, but look at all the possible “non-economic losses” to individuals, societies, and local environments.
CCOP Team Week One is here– wet and exhausted but here!

(Lowell Bliss writes:)
Sunday was a travel day, including for the man showing me his cellphone.  “Can you tell me where this hostel is?”   His name, I came to find out, was Tony and he was with two other delegates from the African nation of Benin.  Why he thought to stop and ask me, I don’t know; I was clueless new arrival myself.  Maybe he saw my light blue lanyard around my neck, a sign that I too was here for COP25.

It rained all day yesterday in Madrid and many of us were cold and wet, and exhausted not only from jet-lag but also from schlepping our luggage up multiple flights of subway stairs between three Metro stops to bring us to the beautiful but confusing city centre.  I had already broken down and used international data on my phone to find our hostel on Google maps, so Tony and his colleagues got an easy assist from me.  The “Far Home Atocha Hostel” was a scant 40 metres away.  I love the camaraderie of a COP.  Sure, among the national negotiating teams, there may be some intransigence, hidden motives, and even double-dealing, but it’s rare among us observers. “Come visit us at the Benin pavilion,” Tony requested.  I can hardly wait.

Four of our CCOPers–Shana, Rich, Lindsay L. and Camille–fought off their fatigue enough to participate in a pre-COP25 event yesterday: “Interfaith Dialogue on Hope and Action” held at Iglesia Evangelica Española.  In this photo, the break-out groups report on their brainstorming.  Our folks reported on “How faith-based groups can promote systemic change.”
Thank you for praying 

This section will include specific opportunities for you to join our CCOP team in prayer:

  • Praise God that another COP has convened, and a spirit of hope is always palpable on Day One. 
  • Please pray as numerous heads-of-state are gathering today for the opening sessions; they set the tone for their negotiating teams and their delegations.
  • Please pray that discussions of Loss & Damage will be fruitful and be part of the “arc of the universe which bends toward justice.”
  • Please pray for some practical concerns: faulty wifi at our base camp makes communication back home to you difficult; a city-wide transit strike has been announced for tomorrow.
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