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Anglicans at COP28 “We come away disappointed that the final political outcomes of this COP lack ambition”

Anglicans at COP28 “We come away disappointed that the final political outcomes of this COP lack ambition”

Archbishop Julio Murray

12 December 2023 4:47PM

Archbishop Julio Murray, Archbishop of Panama and the Anglican Communion’s Lead on Climate Change writes: 

And so, another COP has come and gone! I am thankful to God for his presence with us, the doors that were opened and the opportunities we had to hear from and share with young people and those most vulnerable to climate change. We are reminded by them of the urgency of the climate crisis and our responsibility, before God, to do more to care for creation. And so we come away disappointed that the final political outcomes of this COP lack ambition. We affirm that some money is now committed to a Loss & Damage fund that will provide for those who suffer as a result of climate shocks, but much more is needed. Ensuring a just transition needs to take account of complex issues including the hopes of millions of people currently without access to power, workers in affected sectors, increased demand on mineral extraction and much more. We prioritise hearing from those most vulnerable and most affected in these complexities, acting on the basis that those who have done most to cause this crisis need to do most to understand and act to stop it. We continue to pray and to trust in God, honouring all that was good in this year's COP. 
One of my highlights was praying with government ministers from around the world as they wrestle with difficult policy choices. I shared the Anglican Communion's Call to Climate Action with each of them and I will remember them in prayer in the year ahead, hoping their efforts bear fruit.  

This year was also the first time that people of faith have had a dedicated space to gather, host events and be visible as a sign of God's concern for the issues discussed at the COP. This built upon the Global Faith Leaders Summit I attended last month in Abu Dhabi (link to film) and I am grateful to the Muslim Council of Elders, UNEP's Faith for Earth, the Interfaith Centre for Sustainability and many others for making that possible. The Faith Pavilion became a place we could be sent from, taking our faith with us into negotiation spaces and other meetings. I am always energised by the passion of our young people and this COP was no exception. In side events and informal conversations, including at a Youth Cafe in the Faith Pavilion, I heard again their cries for more action. I was also inspired by my brothers and sisters from the Pacific who are focussed and innovative in their advocacy for change. They face the immediate threat of losing their ancestral homes due to rising sea levels and I recommit myself to supporting their efforts to motivate policy changes in other governments, including through the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. Throughout these conversations and across this year's COP, it has been a joy to sit with and learn from indigenous peoples. We need to go beyond enjoying taking photos with them and act with integrity on the wisdom they share. I hope we continue to learn from their spirituality in years ahead. Finally, it has been insightful to discuss more with business and investment leaders about their roles and responsibilities. This will be an avenue we will engage with further as church, as we pursue dialogue, truth and justice with and for all people. 
It has been a joy to worship with fellow Anglicans from the Province of the Middle East. They were generous with their hospitality and showed us their commitments to care for creation, including renovations to church buildings and progress towards net zero. This is even amidst great tension in the region. We pray again for an end to the terrible suffering and grieving in the Holy Land. 
Finally, I want to thank you for following our time at the COP and for your prayers. This is not an easy space for the church to be present in, but through that presence many more people are hearing about our God - about hope, justice and the voice of the most vulnerable. We need metanoia - repentance - in order to change our ways. Then we can live as a resurrection people, even as we lament destruction, greed and suffering - a people who follow Jesus and see his kingdom come. Please pray with me and join our next webinar on January 18th to hear more from COP28 and look ahead to COP29.