Catherine Horton

COP 27 - Let’s pray! - 2

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. 
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.’ 
1 Chronicles 29:11

As the UN Climate Conference, aka COP 27, draws towards a close in Sharm El Sheikh, let us pray that the outcomes of this conference will pave the way for cooperation, realistic commitments and increased solidarity with those nations who are most vulnerable to climate change.

We can thank God ……
 for thousands of people who took part in peaceful demonstrations on Saturday 12th November, rising awareness of the need for climate action;

 for the many children who participated and who are growing up with an understanding of how to steward the earth well;

 for the creative witness at COP 27 of young adults, speaking of their own experience of drastic climate change.

What’s happening at COP this week?
Discussions and negotiations are taking place to establish the joint statement of commitments to action.  

Two young men travelled to the conference from Bangladesh to voice grave concerns about rising sea levels in their low lying nation. They were able to obtain grants for travel and accommodation, but they can’t afford to eat at the conference. Nonetheless, they told a BBC reporter of their pride that they have been invited onto the Bangladesh negotiating team, thus accessing discussions prior to final decisions at the end of the week.

A young mother from Kenya to represent her nomadic people, suffering from severe drought. She said, “My community are missing here, their voices are totally unheard, they live in areas with no internet… role is to have hope where there is none.”

A young woman from Pakistan, where this summer devastating floods killed 1,700 people, said "The world has come to an end for people… For me, the stakes are so high that I can't just give up hope for change," she says.

Who is listening to their voices?

In the words of the UN Secretary General last week, 
“Humanity has a choice: co-operate or perish."

What about the U.K?
U.K. targets are in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050 and for all U.K. electricity to come from clean sources by 2035. Let us pray that the government takes the necessary steps to achieve these goals.

The U.K. government has plans to issue new licences for oil and gas in the North Sea, despite UN warnings against new fossil fuel projects. Let’s pray for a rethink about these licences.    

Let’s pray the government will prioritise the measures needed in transport, agriculture and home insulation to make the targets achievable.

We can all make a difference….
….by making choices that promote climate justice, for example
Where possible, walk, cycle or get public transport instead of using a car.
Eat less meat or eat meat sourced locally.
Only drink Fairtrade tea or coffee.
Cut down on single use plastic; only use a refillable water bottle.

So what can we pray?
 that leaders will listen to the voices of those who are suffering most;
 that nations will co-operate and prioritise action to reduce global warming;
 that the people who know their God will stand firm and take action, Daniel 11.32

Stay hope filled
The enormity of climate change and the relentless daily news we receive of bitter conflicts and injustice can cause us to feel overwhelmed. To finish, I want to echo this prayer by Gideon Heugh from Tear Fund:

Lord Jesus,
We turn to you, and in these seemingly turbulent times
we ask for the peace that passes understanding.
We lift up the issues that are distressing us most,
and pray for your power and influence upon them.
We ask that you will help each of us to be peacemakers,
in whatever small or large ways are possible.
And we ask for an outbreak of faith, hope and love,
both in our own hearts and around the world.