Our first speaker was Paul Chitnis, Director of Jesuit Missions
- Jesuit Missions is the Mission and Development Office of the Jesuits in Britain.
- Based in Wimbledon.
- Work in countries in Southern Africa, parts of India and Guyana.
- Paul was previously Director of SCIAF, the development agency in Scotland, sister agency to CAFOD.
- He was present at COP26, along with his colleague Colm Fahey.
- He is not attending this year.
- COP27 (6-18 November 2022) is taking place on the African continent for the first time.
- One of the main drivers of hunger in Africa is climate change.
- Seeing the impact of climate change everywhere, floods in Pakistan, droughts in Africa, fires in Australia.
- The political context this year is significant. Attention of the world has been diverted by the war in Ukraine. The bandwidth of our political leaders for climate change has been reduced.
- On the agenda for COP27 – as usual ‘adaptation’ and ‘mitigation’ measures.
- There will also be an emphasis this year on’ loss and damage’ – compensation for losses due to climate change for which adaption is not possible.
- World leaders were in attendance at COP26 which had an impact on the country negotiators and the civic society activists present. There are likely to be fewer world leaders present this time.
- Finance will be key. The conference will succeed or fail depending on funding. ‘Follow the money’ – that is where the answer will be.
- Has to work quite hard personally to remain optimistic after many years working for climate change. Only have to watch ‘Frozen Planet’ on a Sunday night to see the impacts. Faith communities have a role to play because they offer hope and he is hopeful.
- Final question: What happens if we do not meet these targets from the Paris Agreement?
Paul’s presentation was complemented by a presentation from Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford
- Diocese of Salford Website
- Evidence is overwhelming in terms of the climate damage that is happening.
- Great damage being reported today from storms in Venezuela.
- In September a climate disaster seemed to be reported every day.
- Good news from some governments speaking up in the last few months Australia, New Zealand, US (although not consistently), Denmark, Singapore.
- Encouraging because governments have to take the lead, industry has a part to play, and each of us individually must do our part.
- Pope Francis is consistently encouraging.
- Our government has not been helpful. During process of whittling down candidates for conservative party leader from 11 to 2 there was one mention of the environment by one candidate. Obsession with growth for the economy is misplaced. Helps neither the poor nor the environment. Hopefully restarting fracking will not happen. Local resistance in Lancashire.
- First activity in Glasgow last year was a multi-faith prayer service in George Square. Each of 9 major faiths, including Pagans, led a prayer and he couldn’t disagree with any of it. All major faiths have a concern for the world in which we live.
- 85% of the world population adhere to one of those faiths. Presents a real opportunity for faith leaders to conjure more enthusiasm.
- Young people are so much more enthusiastic and learned. Schools love visiting the Laudato Si’ Centre in Salford. Over 100,000 turned up for the young people’s rally in Glasgow.
- Deforestation Agreement was good but even as Brazil was signing the promise it was increasing deforestation of the Amazon by 15%.
- Loss and Damage – $100 million sounds a lot but it is not. It is vital life-saving money. Up to 1 billion people might migrate by 2050 because of the loss of agricultural land and heading to the places that are able to produce food. Very short-sighted not to care for people already affected by climate change.
- Disappointed that the Prime Minister has told King Charles not to go to COP-27. His long-standing commitment and experience would be helpful.
- Haven’t seen much evidence that best intentions have been implemented. IPCC say at the moment we are heading for 3.2 degrees increase.
- Good things – increasing understanding of the environment. More and more groups are aligning. Pope Francis film ‘The Letter’ gives a very clear appeal and should be recommended far and wide.
- ‘We are jogging along but we need to be sprinting.’
Small Group Discussions…
We considered the question:
Sam Baker’s Walk2COP27 has started. It is a journey to gather people for a common cause. What would you talk about with a stranger to bring people together?
The Letter: Laudato Si’ Film Released 4th October 2022
We watched the trailer together on YouTube:
The full movie can be watched for free online: https://theletterfilm.org/watch/
Resources: Shared by John Paul de Quay
‘Call of Creation’ (October 2022 Update) from the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/the-call-of-creation
World Wildlife Fund Expectations for COP27:
‘The Letter’ Movie: https://theletterfilm.org/watch/
Bishop John Arnold calls for rethink on reversing fracking ban: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-63062304
https://journeyto2030.org/let-us-dream/ Order ‘Let Us Dream’ activity packs from Journey to 2030 to use with your church group / parish.
Southern Diocese Environment Network Future Meetings
Monday 14th November, 12.45-2.00pm, Prayer and Reflection for COP-27
Monday 12th December, 12.45-2.00pm, Feedback on COP-27, Advent, 2023
Website & Recordings from Previous Meetings
Southern Dioceses Environment Network