CCOP Group newsletter – Day 1

Hi everyone – here is the newsletter that my group puts out to give you other perspectives on the activities at COP25. I didn’t write it but think it is worthwhile, especially the prayer requests. Thanks, Cara

 

Day 1 Updates
Today was the opening plenary session of COP25. There were speeches by Hoesung Lee, the Chair of the IPCC; Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General; as well as the President of Chile (via a recorded video) and the Prime Minister of Spain. We were able to watch all these opening speeches on big screens in a neighboring room (this one was a ticketed event, with advanced booking only).

Then there was a closed session with many heads of states, where Presidents and Prime Ministers from Bangladesh to Honduras to Malawi to Slovakia each gave 4-5 minute speeches to their fellow world leaders, which could also be watched on the big screens. There was complete agreement that all countries need to increase their ambition (National Determined Commitments – NDCs), urgency, and implementation to address climate change with a transformational, rather than incremental, approach.

Many of us also went to a Capacity Building workshop meant for first-time observers to the COP put on by the Climate Action Network, one of the largest civil society observer groups at COP25. The three major issues to be addressed during this COP were addressed and explained: Loss and Damage, Ambition / push for higher (NDCs), and climate finance. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Loss and Damage: While the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) process is the primary means of driving this work forward, there are still major gaps to be addressed. Most notably, there remains a critical lack of actual financial resources moving from wealthy, developed countries to those experiencing irreparable climate harms. Meanwhile, it was the less developed nations pushing the process, while major emitters like the U.S., Canada, and the EU are still unwilling to commit concrete actions.
  • Ambition / NDCs: it’s not on the official “agenda” as a particular item to discuss, but the Chilean presidency championed this by asking the parties to contribute new/higher Nationally Determined Commitments next year (these are the plans for the emissions reductions that each country pledges to achieve). As of now, only a few smaller nations, particularly the low-layering island states, have more ambitious NDCs submitted, while all major emitting nations continue to lead from behind with insufficient reduction pledges.
  • Climate finance: while the commitment and resources to make this possible are essential, transparency is another key for this topic. Beside the 100 billion USD per year that is needed from world governments to fully finance the several funds under the UNFCCC framework, the private sector must play an increasingly important part. They are not yet being recognized by major players in the negotiations.
The tension of global climate action

(-Lindsay Mouw)

Today was my first day ever at a COP. The whole experience is a bit overwhelming to take in at first—the venue is massive, bustling with activity everywhere you look. I spent much of my day observing the flow of the conference, checking out informational kiosks and touring the pavilions of various countries represented at the COP. There are a plethora of discussions, negotiations, trainings, and workshops to attend at any given time, which can make the reality of being only in one place at one time challenging. However, today I was led in the right direction and sat in on a very compelling roundtable of the Heads of State and Government Summit, where each country shared their respective national climate work and plans to increase ambition by 2020. I heard from the leaders of Norway, Uganda, Andorra, Nauru, Slovakia, Montenegro, Belgium, and the Czech Republic, among many others, on their goals towards carbon neutrality and ecological conservation. However, the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, shared a statistic that especially struck me: “75% of global emissions are shared by twelve countries, none of which are represented at this roundtable today.” I cannot help but feel incredibly guilty coming from one of those twelve countries after witnessing the testimony of numerous countries’ tremendous efforts to combat the climate crisis. The reality is that all of the countries present at the roundtable today could become 100% carbon neutral, but it will not be enough unless the biggest players in the carbon economy step up. As a person of faith, I feel deeply compelled to respond, to seek justice and show love to our Creator and brothers and sisters in these countries that are depending on the U.S. to take action.

(-Cara Fleischer): Praise God! After a press conference hosting by a U.S. Congressional delegation, the delegation came out the door I was standing at and I met Nancy Pelosi! She introduced me to FL. Rep Kathy Castor and we spoke for 30 minutes! She is the chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and invited me to meet with her and other faith leaders on December 3. What a mustard seed.
Thank you for praying 

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

  • Pray for everyone in the CCOP team in Madrid now, for their energy and wellness. The first full day with so many things to catch up and pay attention to was overwhelming even for veterans, not to mention many of us have been deprived of sleep, fighting jet lag.
  • Pray for the change of hearts of the major emitting nations as we heard from the pleas of those from the less developed nations severely impacted by the climate crisis.
  • Pray for the church back home, that we hear these pleads loud and clear.
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