Mary Minette, Director of Environmental Policy

November, 2015

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

                                                                                                               Hebrews 10:23-25

In less than two weeks, world leaders will gather in Paris to negotiate a new global agreement to address climate change at the annual meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Despite the tragic events of this past weekend, the French government has announced that the core meeting will continue as planned, given the importance and urgency of the topic under discussion, although security will be paramount and non-essential events may be cancelled.

The national leaders meeting in Paris will bear not only the hopes and needs of their own people, but also those of the entire creation, suffering from the growing impacts of climate change. Representatives from businesses, environmental groups, relief and development organizations and labor unions will also be in Paris to support the negotiations in various ways. But there will also be hundreds of people of faith attending the meeting who will work and pray for an outcome that protects God’s creation from future harm and helps our global neighbors, particularly those made vulnerable by poverty, to manage the very real impacts of climate change that are already profoundly affecting their homes and livelihoods.

In his recent encyclical on care of creation, Pope Francis called on all of humanity to concern ourselves with the fate of our common home and to “cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.”

People of many faiths are embracing this common responsibility and calling on our leaders to negotiate an ambitious agreement in Paris that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, encourages development of low carbon technologies, and assists populations most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate.

Specifically, we seek an outcome in Paris that:

  • requires all nations to work to phase out energy sources that contribute to climate change and phase in more sustainable, renewable sources of energy;
  • requires all nations to improve their nationally determined goals for emissions reductions at frequent intervals, in order to account publicly for their progress and to increase ambition as needed;
  • includes a strong commitment to help the most vulnerable countries adapt to climate change and support for mechanisms that help build resilience and minimize and manage risks and losses; and
  • includes concrete pledges from the wealthiest countries to increase necessary financial support, technology transfer and capacity building for the most vulnerable countries– such as small island states and Least Developed Nations.

You can help support those who are traveling to Paris by:

  • Sending a message to our leaders that you support a strong agreement in Paris.
  • Pledging to reduce your own carbon footprint.
  • Praying for a peaceful meeting, particularly in light of the tragic events of this past weekend in Paris, and for a strong outcome for the meeting.