The international climate change conference termed COP26 took place from October 31st to November 12th in Glasgow. COP stands for Conference Of the Parties, and this is the 26th year for the meeting of the United Nations on climate change. The success of this meeting is vital due to the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – heal the earth. Pope Francis’s message to leaders worldwide is “to adopt without delay a course of action that would limit the average global temperature rise and to take courageous steps, including the strengthening of international cooperation.”
In 2015 (COP21), nations worldwide pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, known as the Paris Climate Agreement, to limit global warming to below 2 degrees C. Nations also agreed that they would evaluate the success of their intended goals every five years. COP26 was delayed a year due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, the plan to limit warming is not being achieved. According to the UN, “the commitments laid out in Paris did not come close to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, and the window for achieving this is closing.” Hence, the dire urgency for COP26 plans and actions.
Pope Francis has been nobly promoting changes in lifestyles (individuals, communities, nations) toward tremendous respect for the earth, the poor, and future generations (Our Common Home). Part of his recent statement is “Specifically; we appeal to leaders to promote a transition towards clean energy; to adopt sustainable land-use practices, preventing deforestation and restoring forests, conserving biodiversity, favoring food systems that are environmentally friendly and respectful of local cultures, working to end hunger and malnutrition, and to promote sustainable lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production.”
Too often expect others to solve serious problems, which takes us off the hook. We all have a role in making changes on behalf of the greater good. Tune into the meaningful COP26 discussions.
Julie Peller Ph.D. is an environmental chemist (Professor of Chemistry at Valparaiso University ) and she leads the Environmental Ministry at Nativity of Our Savior in Portage IN. Julie has been writing a weekly column for church bulletins for the past ~6 years called the Green Junction and is helping to move the call of Laudato Si to action forward. Her Research Interests are in Advanced oxidation for aqueous solutions, water quality analyses, emerging contaminants, air quality analyses, Lake Michigan shoreline challenges (Cladophora, water, and sediment contaminants), student and citizen participation in environmental work.