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Week to go before UN climate talks start

Posted on: November 23, 2015 10:10 AM
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba on a climate change march.
Photo Credit: Paul Weinberg

[ACNS] The United Nations climate change conference – Cop21 – begins next week in Paris, and there will be a large Anglican and ecumenical presence at the two-week event to lobby for a fair deal for the world’s poorest people – those most affected by catastrophic changes in the world’s climate.

Security concerns following the terrorist attacks in the French capital earlier this month have meant that a planned march through the city by up to 200,000 people has been cancelled. But a number of events will still take place, including the handing over of a one-million-strong petition and an ecumenical service at Notre Dame Cathedral.

The Anglican presence will be headed by two primates: Archbishop Thabo Makgoba from the Anglican Church of Southern Africa; and Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Two of the “resident” Anglican bishops in Europe – the Church of England’s David Hamid and the Episcopal Church’s Pierre Whalon will also be there; as well as the C of E’s lead bishop for the environment, Bishop of Salisbury Nicholas Holtam; and the Bishop of Dudley, Graham Usher; as well as the Episcopal Church’s Bishop of California, Marc Andrus.

The Church of England, working with Cafod, Tearfund and Christian Aid, has organised a Pilgrimage to Paris walk from London. Pilgrims taking part are praying for the talks and drawing attention to the urgent need for an international agreement for tackling climate change. Similar pilgrimages are taking place throughout Europe. And the British and Irish churches’ aid agency Christian Aid is organising a cycle-ride to Paris.

Christians around the world are encouraged to play their part by praying for the talks and by or taking part in local marches for climate justice. The environmental co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Revd Dr Rachel Mash, has outlined some of the resources available in a comment piece published today by ACNS.

The Anglican Communion News Service will report on the talks and the Anglican participation in them over the next few weeks here at anglicannews.org.