COP 23: Day 9

From the desk of Kris Van Engen at CRC Climate Witness Project.

Conference of Parties Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

With the focus of COP 23 being more technical in nature, we aren’t hearing as many high and lofty messages from national leaders as in years past. However, we are seeing the potential emerging for all countries to move together towards a sustainable energy future.

On Monday, Brian shared a story to highlight the greater level of attention being given at COP 23 to do justice for those countries that are experiencing loss and damage because of the emissions of other countries. On Tuesday, Karri shared new developments on measuring for gender justice in adaptation and mitigation efforts along with new findings in the connection between agriculture and climate change. We are seeing promising advances in both justice and technology coming out of COP 23 and we, along with most of the people watching with us, are nodding our heads in agreement.

Those who have lived to see the long arc of history bend towards justice recognize moments like this. It’s the time when resources, ability, knowledge and consensus around “the right thing to do” are strong but the political will to act is weak (and sometimes, is actively fighting against it).

I’ve been at home in Holland, MI throughout COP 23, but being on group texts with our delegation make me feel like I’ve been there. In some of the exchanges, Kyle expressed his encouragement to Stephan and Karri for statements he heard from Germany and Canada. Their responses both basically said that the statements are great but behind the scenes the actions are still falling short. The ideas are there but the political winds have not yet shifted towards the urgent action we need.

Our voices are not small. As people of faith, we have a history of exerting influence that actually changes history. The next Conference of Parties in Poland will return to a more political focus and leaders will challenge each other again to commit to results. Our work as Christian from now until then is critical if we are going to see real change. In this moment, when we know we will have a lot of work to do between COP 23 and COP 24. Galatians 6:9 encourages us: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Take Action

If you’ve already done one of our COP 23 action alerts, see if you can find some friends to do it too by posting it on Facebook, sending an email right now, or mentioning the initiative in person to someone you think would join you.

If you haven’t had time yet, check them out and send a message to your MP or your member of Congress.


COP 23 is almost over, but there is much work still to be done if the Paris Agreement wit to be implemented effectively. Pray with us that as country delegations leave Bonn, they will continue to work to ensure that future negotiations will succeed and that the world will continue to move forward with courage and action.

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