How Christians can get involved with UN climate conference – COP28


A new guide explaining how Christians can get involved in COP28 has been published by the Church of England.

COP28 is the United Nations climate change conference – being held this year in the United Arab Emirates, from 30 November to 12 December.

The online guide includes information on what will happen at COP28, how the Church of England is getting involved and what you can do from home to support.

Jo Chamberlain, National Environment Officer at the Church of England, said: “Climate change and big international conferences like this can be hard for any of us to get our heads round. People can also feel slightly helpless and unsure of how they can contribute from home but there are many ways we can all do our bit.

“As Christians we can pray and we can share our concerns with our local MP and also raise awareness through our churches. This handy guide offers lots of useful tips on the best ways to ensure your voice is heard at this international climate event.”

Read the Short Guide to COP28 here.

What will happen at COP28?

There will be discussions, presentations and negotiations across a wide range of topics involving people from governments, businesses, communities and faith-based organisations. Climate change affects many areas of our lives, such as health, trade, energy, transport, buildings, food, education, young people, land, and nature, and these themes will be discussed throughout the fortnight.

But cutting across all these themes, and the ultimate purpose of discussing these issues are four important outcomes which we need to see:

  • cutting emissions in order to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5oC
  • making sure there is the money available to make the changes needed and to support countries already facing irreversible loss and damage
  • putting nature, people, lives and livelihoods at the heart of climate action
  • making sure everyone’s voices are included, especially those who are not usually heard

How is the Church of England getting involved?

As this is a global conference dealing with a global problem, we will have a global representation at COP28. There will be a delegation which represents the whole Anglican Communion from around the world, led by Archbishop Julio Murray, from Panama.

Archbishop Julio especially wants to be able to share stories from around the Anglican Communion from communities who are already suffering from the impacts of climate change and have been for a long time.

What do we want to happen?

We need the conference to talk about fossil fuels. The most recent report from international climate scientists is clear that we need rapid, deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions in every area of life . We cannot cut emissions rapidly and deeply unless we cut the use of coal, oil and gas. Very surprisingly, last year was the first time that fossil fuels got a specific mention in the final text, and at the last minute the wording was changed from ‘phase out’ to ‘phase down’ fossil fuels. So we need the conference to be willing to talk about cutting the use of fossil fuels. This is a challenge for the countries where the economy is based on oil production – but perhaps it will take an oil nation to lead in order for others to follow.

How can I get involved?

Climate change and big international conferences like this can be hard for any of us to get our heads round. Talking with your friends, colleagues and neighbours to raise awareness about climate change is really important.

Try to find a way to talk about this big issue in a way that makes it relatable for the person you are speaking to. For example, if they love beach holidays you could explain about how sea level rise will impact our coasts or if they care about their food, maybe discuss how food production and supply chains are being disrupted by unreliable and more extreme weather.

You could:

  • Use your social media presence to share items about COP28, explain why you care about them or share prayers.
  • Provide a short explanation of what COP28 is at a church service or write an item for your parish magazine.
  • Include the climate negotiations in your church’s intercessions.

Read the full Guide to COP28 here.

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