Tag Archives: Climate Change

UN climate talks: Putting faith into action

Faith communities come together to tackle climate change (Photo: CIDSE)

Faith communities come together to tackle climate change (Photo: CIDSE)

SCIAF (Caritas Scotland) Policy Officer Jo O’Neill reflects on a unique conference on faith communities attempts to tackle climate change and Poland’s first ever Climate Mass.

The world of climate talks is a new one to me. It is a process perhaps best known for its complexity and breath-taking use of acronyms (there are talks on the ADP, NAMAS, SBSTA, BINGOs and BAP and the list goes on).

But outside of the conference centre, our Catholic network CIDSE was holding a conference exploring the reality of climate change for people living in poverty and how faith communities are challenging it.

Delegates from Africa, Asia and Latin America explained the devastating impacts of changes on communities in their countries. In Niger, rising temperatures are causing real problems for small-scale famers, already living in poverty. “We have the right to be heard at these talks” said Sabine Attama from Caritas Niger, “climate change is destroying the dignity of people”.

As Yeb Sano, the Filipino representative at the talks, continued his fast, super-typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has reminded us of the horrific human cost of extreme weather and on Tuesday the World Bank reported on the enormous economic costs.

In Poland’s first ever Climate Mass on Sunday evening, Cardinal Nycz reflected on the damage being caused to the planet and prayed for creation. But there was a clear message from the Mass; we are not just stewards of creation, we are part of creation.

“We have built a plastic world around ourselves” said Reverend Lukas at the CIDSE conference. “We live as if we are the last generation to inhabit the earth”. The spiritual connection to creation he argued, was being lost in many richer nations. Rebuilding this connection is urgently needed if we are to stop damage to the planet.

The responsibility of richer nations to lead on climate action is at the heart of the climate talks themselves. If we are to address the devastating changes being experienced by people living in poverty rich countries must commit to reducing their damage to the planet.

Faith communities were a key part of the movement that pushed for strong Scottish Government action on climate change. The result was not just a world-leading Climate Change Act but a Climate Justice Fund, which is helping communities adapt to the challenges of climate change.

In Warsaw, faith communities are working together to remind politicians of the human cost of the climate change. It is crucial that they listen.

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Filed under Africa, Climate Change, Europe, Food, High-Level Meetings and Events, Niger, Poland

Climate change talks in Warsaw

Stewardship of creation prayer space.  Care of CAFOD

Stewardship of creation prayer space. Care of CAFOD

SCIAF (Caritas Scotland) Policy Officer Jo O’Neill is in Warsaw with SCIAF partners CIDSE and Caritas India to take part in this year’s UN climate talks.

It is a tragic irony that as a super-typhoon devastated the Philippines last week, officials from around the world gathered at the annual UN climate talks in Poland to discuss action on climate change.

While we can never say definitively that one single weather event is caused by climate change we do know that changes to our climate could make weather events – like typhoons – stronger and more intense.

Yesterday, I arrived in Poland (which is hosting this year’s talks) along with our partners Caritas India and CIDSE to talk to politicians about how climate change is placing a heavy burden on the planet and some of the world’s poorest people.

Last week’s super-typhoon may be an ‘extreme weather event’ but all over the world communities are struggling every day to cope with the consequences of climate change.

Father D’Souza, Director of Caritas India, has told me about the impact of climate change on some of the communities in his country.

In the Sundarban region of India, changes in temperature and rainfall are affecting crops like watermelon and chilli and farming is becoming much more difficult due to changes to the land. Warming oceans also means that catching fish – which are sensitive to such changes – is becoming harder too.

So what do we want from these climate talks?

SCIAF believes that we have a duty to care for creation and that we should all have the opportunity to live life in dignity and to the full.

The poor and vulnerable have done least to cause climate change but are suffering the most from its impacts. There is a moral and historical responsibility, therefore, for richer countries – which have done most to cause the problem – to lead the fight against climate change.

The world is due to make a global deal on climate change in 2015. But it is important that this deal is fair and just and is ambitious enough to protect the dignity and rights of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Yeb Sano, representing the Philippines at the climate talks, said last week “the climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness”. And he is right. But to do this leaders must show real courage and take bold action.

I’ll be sharing our experiences of the talks here in Warsaw over the next few days. Look out for us on Twitter using #COP19 #UNFCCC and #IamSCIAF to follow the action and share your views.


Filed under Advocacy, Climate Change, Development, Europe, Food, High-Level Meetings and Events, Poland, United Kingdom

Deadline in Doha

Emilie Johann being interviewed in Doha. Credit: CIDSE

Emilie Johann being interviewed in Doha. Credit: CIDSE

By Emilie Johann, guest blogger in Doha for CIDSE

Overall, discussions have been difficult and ministerial roundtables have taken several thorny issues from the technical to the political level. Will Ministers be up for the challenge to inject some political will and move beyond national interests to respond to the urgent needs of the poorest and for the sake of our common future?

Concerning the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) there is no sign of progress on ambition. The EU will not move beyond its current -20% target unless other parties move, and it is unwilling to consider the cancellation of carbon credits in KP2. So far none of the parties present have announced urgently needed more ambitious emission cuts.

A weak KP2 is a bad sign in terms of the trust and ambition needed to build a new global climate deal which includes all parties, not only the current group of developed countries which amount to only 15% of total global emissions. All should think of the common good and move from their current positions and as a climate champion the EU should lead the way towards more ambition. Discussions on the second period should conclude today, which leaves observers wondering about the form and ambition of what is in fact a new treaty. We need KP2 and we need it to be strong, because this is not only about keeping the international climate regime alive, it is also about paving the way towards an ambitious and equitable global deal in 2015.

It is not given that discussions on Long Term Cooperative Action (LCA) can be closed. There is still consensus missing on crucial issues, especially on finance and it looks difficult to get that sorted. The Ministers of Switzerland and The Maldives now have the task to work out a satisfactory outcome on this track, which will be a hard nut to crack if finance is not part of it. Climate finance is of fundamental importance to developing countries for their efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Finance can turn out to be a deal-breaker or a deal-maker here in Doha. Pledges from the UK, Germany, Denmark, Finland and Sweden are a first step and welcome move after too long silence on this issue. Hopefully it will trigger other countries into action and we will see more money on the table, or even better – into the Green Climate Fund, by the end of the week. In fact, what has been pledged so far is far from what is needed to fulfill existing needs and to deliver on commitments that were made.

We need concrete commitments in a text that can be agreed here in Doha, commitments that will result in predictable climate finance which can be monitored, reported and verified. Also, as not all the issues related to scaling up climate finance will be resolved here, a high level political space should be created to sort out how developed countries will reach the promised $100 billion per year by 2020.

Doha : Parties, retroussez vos manches ! Continue reading

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Filed under Advocacy, Climate Change, Development, Food, Français, High-Level Meetings and Events

Caritas dialogues with FAO and the EU about agroecology at COP18

By Adriana Opromolla

On Wednesday, November 27th, a coalition made of CIDSE, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA), Misereor and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) held a public seminar (“side event”) at the Qatar National Convention Centre. The event was aimed at discussing the current proposals, within the UNFCCC, to adopt policy decisions addressing the relation between agriculture and climate change, and to promote small-scale agroecology as a viable response . A number of representatives of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the EU were present and engaged in an interesting dialogue with the speakers. Continue reading

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Wake up call for the Doha climate talks

The Doha 2012 march Photo: CAN Europe

The Doha 2012 march Photo: CAN Europe

By guest blogger Roeland Scholtalbers, CIDSE Media & Communication Officer in Doha

After a week of negotiations with little to no progress, Ministers arrive in Doha among increasing uncertainty about a positive outcome of the climate talks.

Once a modest fishing village, Doha rapidly transformed into a busy capital of a rich nation when enormous gas reserves were discovered. The plane that took me to Qatar circulated for nearly an hour in the dark above the luminous city. It felt like hanging over a giant pinball machine and I couldn’t help wondering whether planet earth was going to finish beyond the flippers of the climate change negotiations.

Organised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), this year’s climate talks entered their second and final week yesterday (Monday, December 3rd). Today, Government Ministers make their appearance in Doha to firm up agreements their climate negotiators prepared during 2012 based on the outcomes of  last year’s climate summit in Durban, South Africa, which started preparations for a new global climate deal by 2015. Continue reading

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Caritas exhibit in Doha attracts many guests

by Zar Gomez, Caritas Asia coordinator

The team in Doha

Now on its third day since the start of the UNFCCC meeting in Doha, Qatar, the exhibit booth of the 4-member delegation of Caritas Internationalis proves to be among the largest crowd-drawers at the Exhibit Hall 4 of the Qatar National Convention Centre. Continue reading

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Caritas discusses the politics of agriculture in Doha

By Adriana Opromolla

The delegations to COP18 of Caritas Internationalis, Misereor and CIDSE discussed yesterday, Nov. 27th, the role of agriculture in climate change and the ways agriculture has been addressed up to now by climate change policies. Participants also included partner organisations from India, Bangladesh, Chad and Kenya. Continue reading

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Filed under Advocacy, Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Food, High-Level Meetings and Events