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What on earth is COP23?

Something big is happening in Germany this November to do with global action on climate change. Here are 5 things you need to know about it.

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1. What’s the “big thing” happening in Germany this November?

It’s the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and it’s happening in Bonn, Germany from 6-17 November. It is also known by the catchy name COP23 (COP means Conference of the Parties, and 23 because it’s the 23rd of these annual conferences.)

2. Why is COP23 SO important?

It’s the crucial next step for governments to implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement and really begin deep and transformative change. It’s also crucial because this is the year when President Trump has announced he’s withdrawing the US.  

3. Hang on, can you remind me what the Paris Agreement is again?

Sure. In December 2015, at COP21 in Paris, 197 countries reached a landmark agreement on climate change. The central aim of the Paris Agreement is to accelerate and intensify the global response to climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius. (And if possible, pursue 1.5 degrees Celsius.)

The Paris Agreement entered into force last November. It’s super significant. It builds upon previous UN frameworks/agreements to – for the first time – unite 197 countries to tackle climate change in a large-scale and ambitious way. Also, it has enhanced support to help developing countries to get on board too. It really does chart a new course in the global climate effort.

(If you want to take a deep dive into Paris as well as other UN Frameworks and the whole big picture go here http://bigpicture.unfccc.int/ Be warned, you will need a fair chunk of time to read through!)

What on earth is COP23?

COP21 in Paris (Source: UN newsroom)

4. Who is going to be at COP23 in Bonn and what will they be talking about?  

Delegates from the countries involved in the Paris Agreement, civil society organisations and representatives from industry and the scientific community (More than 20k delegates are expected).

They’ll be exchanging approaches and project ideas on the practical implementation of the Paris Agreement.

(Fun fact: this year’s conference will be presided over by the Government of Fiji.)

TEAR will also be there! Our National Advocacy Coordinator Jo Knight will be in Bonn during COP23 as part of the global Renew Our World Campaign.

5. What is TEAR doing at COP23 and how can I take action?

Jo says:

TEAR has been at the forefront of forming the Renew Our World campaign, which is a global movement of Christians joining together to push and pray for a more just and sustainable planet for all. We know that a changing climate severely impacts people living in poverty, and it’s part of our Christian responsibility to speak up for vulnerable communities.

As global leaders are gathering to make decisions, the Renew Our World leaders (including from UK, Central America, Africa, US and India) will gather in Bonn to deliver a letter from global church leaders, host a worship service and 24-hour prayer vigil, and share the story of what is happening with a global Christian audience. There will be opportunities to take part in prayer actions - keep an eye out for details in the coming weeks”

“We call on all Christians to pray with purpose for governments to lead meaningful and urgent action to fulfill the Paris Agreement.”


How you can get involved:

  • Join the Renew Our World campaign and stay informed with updates
  • Spread the word – Share this blog with others who may not know about this issue!
  • Pray – Pray for Jo and the Renew Our World team as they plan their time in Bonn.
  • Join the live stream of the Renew Our World worship event in Bonn on Saturday 11 November (sign up to the campaign to get updates on this)

You can also share the following prayer in your small group, family or church.

God, today we lift up our vision of a world where extreme poverty, inequality and environmental exploitation are no longer.

We long for a world where people and our planet thrive, with systems that are restorative and just.

We pray for our leaders and for the delegates in Bonn as they meet in November to discuss the crucial next steps of how countries around the world can implement the Paris Agreement and take urgent action on climate change.

We ask that the discussions go well, that a clear path is forged, that there is unity between the countries, and that all delegates continue to commit to deep and transformative change on this issue.

What on earth is COP23?

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Caroline Illingworth is the Digital Communications Coordinator for TEAR Australia.



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