Thursday, December 17, 2015

Recommended readings: United Methodists and #COP21

One of the major international news stories from the past month has been the climate change talks held in Paris, referred to by the abbreviation COP21. While the negotiators at these talks represented governments, there was active participation in the talks by a range of people and organizations, including The United Methodist Church.

For a sense of what United Methodists were doing at the talk, you can watch this series of videos from the General Board of Church and Society, showing a day-by-day recounting of UM activities at the summit. This article from UMNS also gives a sense of the religious dimension to the summit.

The agreement that came out of COP21 has been widely hailed, including by United Methodists and other religious leaders. This UMNS article and this press release from the World Council of Churches give a sense of that range of positive responses.

Among the reasons the COP21 summit is of particular interest to this blog is that not only is the Earth's climate by definition a global matter, much of the United Methodist interest and advocacy around climate change has come from beyond the United States. The UMC in the Philippines has been especially active around climate change, as evidenced by this recent story. European United Methodists participated in a pilgrimage to COP21 and were then among the participants there, as were United Methodists from Africa and the Philippines. The UMC in Liberia has set up a Climate Change Task Force following the conclusion of the summit. As I have suggested before, the Central Conferences may prove to be the most important impetus for the UMC to remain engaged with issues surrounding climate change.

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