‘Reducing emission to 50% by 2030’
‘Net-zero by 2050’
‘Leaders’ Summit on Climate’
In the last several months, the Canadian federal government has announced major legislative proposals on emission control and climate accountability, with new policies such as the increase of carbon tax and an unprecedented amount in the budget for climate-related infrastructure, among many other things.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden gathered leaders from 40 major countries for a two day summit, to discuss climate change and emission reduction targets.
What might all these targets and policies and ambitions imply? What are the meanings of ‘net-zero?’ What would be the implications for nations and the world?
I have to admit that while I have been caring about the issue of climate change for many years, paying attention to related news reports, I found myself barely scratching the surface of what was really going on in the larger global discussion, let alone the real meaning and significance of those terms and policy options.
But this has changed since the end of 2015, after returning from a work trip in which I joined my colleagues from A Rocha International and other partnering ministry organizations for COP21 – the 21st Conference of Parties, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, aka the Paris Climate Summit, in Paris, France.
For the first time, I got a chance to immerse myself in the thick of the deliberation and forming of a major global climate change agreement, closely following the debates on various contentious issues and observing the tension amongst delegates from various nations.
While we did not have access to the official venue, we listened to the daily briefings from a handful of ministry partners who were able to obtain the Observer passes issued by the UN. In the conference zones dedicated to civil society, we bumped into delegates from nations heavily impacted by sea level rise or continuous climate disasters, having the chance to converse with them for deeper understanding, even at times praying with some of them.
Transformed by my immersion experience at COP21, I gained a much better understanding about the global efforts, successes and pitfalls in ‘combating’ the climate change crisis.
That experience propelled me to join a few of those same ministry partners in organizing the Christian Climate Observers Program (CCOP) for COP25 in Madrid in 2019.
That time we were able to secure a dozen official Observer-NGO passes; thus access to the official sessions of the conference as well as those equally important thematic and regional forums. Because of this accessibility, I was on the update list from the Canadian official delegation, being able to attend their daily briefings and witness some of the ‘interesting’ dynamics throughout the course of the conference.
I even had a chance to converse again with a delegate from one of the Pacific Island nations whom I had bumped into four years prior in Paris, and listened to his lament about the increasingly dire situation of his homeland.
Since the upcoming COP26 (Glasgow, November 1 – 12) is to be a crucial milestone for the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, which I witnessed being adopted back in 2015, the growing international partnership – including A Rocha Canada this time – will organize the CCOP once again.
As in the past, we are looking forward to using this immersive learning platform to equip and empower a newer generation of Christian leaders in climate actions, meanwhile preparing the ground for a meaningful and faithful presence for Christ in that important event.
Application for CCOP2021 will begin June 1 (until August 1).
Samuel Chiu is Multicultural Program Director for A Rocha Canada, which is based in south Surrey.
He sent this email May 25, to accompany his comment:
I just finished a day of online prayer events I helped organize in anticipation of the COP26. The initiative is called Climate Intercessors, with Christian ministry partners in Canada, US, UK and South America.
We are hosting monthly intercessory prayer events in three different time zones trying to accommodate participants from around the world, praying for the climate crisis.
The Event page will give you the links to all of our previous prayer events (with the written prayers and prayer focuses of the month), while there are resource links to other climate-related prayer initiatives and guides and materials from around the world.
The CCOP and Climate Intercessors are connected, organized by a similar group of partners.
The Christian Climate Observers Program (CCOP) is supported by these groups:
- A Rocha Canada
- Care of Creation
- Climate Caretakers
- Climate Witness Project
- Frontier Ventures
- Eden Vigil
- Lausanne/WEA Creation Care Network
- Young Evangelicals for Climate Change
- YWAM England