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at this moment in earth’s history
when humanity must take account of earth’s destiny,
give to those leaders who gather in Dubai
a sense of urgency,
a perception of necessity
and the wisdom and willto secure the health and well-being of the world
at whatever the cost to wealth,
political advantage or prestige. Amen.
John Bell, copyright © Wild Goose Resource Group, Iona Community, Suite 9 Fairfield, 1048 Govan Road, Glasgow, G51 4XS, Scotland. T: 0141 429 7281; www.wildgoose.scot
Join us each morning at 8am until 12th December for prayer and reflection for COP28
Wednesday 29th November
On the eve of COP28, pray for all those involved in the practical running of the 13 day event. Pray for the negotiators, the media, the politicians, the analysts and the campaigners. Pray that all involved can work together to get the best and firmest outcome for the planet and for humanity.
Thursday 30th November
Today, the first day of COP28, sees the first online early morning prayer meeting at 8 am. Let us prayerfully hold our breath as we think of all who gather for the Opening Day of the 28th session of the Conference of Parties (COP28) at Expo City in Dubai.
Friday 1st December
Heads of state and governments meet for the two-day World Climate Action Summit, listening to global business leaders and philanthropists, and considering how technological developments might advance net zero and nature-positive goals.
Today’s Finance Event will bring together countries and financial leaders with the intention of outlining proposals for a more equitable, scalable, and inclusive climate finance system of the future. That is the intention. The reality to date of obtaining climate finance paints a different and worrying picture, particularly for small island developing states. Government officials from those states have said they find it difficult to get money from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for projects to help them adapt to climate change.
Another leaders’ event happening today is Transforming Food Systems in the Face of Climate Change. Recent IPCC assessments have identified action on agriculture and food systems as being key to an effective global climate change response. This event intends to bring the global food community together in a unified expression of collective action.
Saturday 2nd December
May the World Climate Action Summit provide momentum and guidance for the rest of the COP.
Today will see the appearance of Pope Francis, making him the first pontiff to attend the annual UN climate conference. who will give a presentation to world leaders. Pope Francis has made climate and the environment a central focus of his papacy.
Another leaders’ event today is ‘Fast-Tracking the Just, Equitable and Orderly Energy Transition’, with the intention of committing to renewables, energy efficiency and the phasing down of demand for fossil fuels. And today, world leaders will be invited to summarize the critical discussions and announcements of COP28, and drive ambitious outcomes for the remainder of the COP.
Sunday 3rd December
May today’s two themes of health and recovery & peace build consensus and sharpen the focus on adaptation and loss & damage.
As an anchor for Health Day, it is hoped that the opening session will see announcements of significant new health-climate finance and programmes in response to country priorities and needs. In October of this year, the World Health Organisation stated that climate change is impacting health in a myriad of ways, including by leading to death and illness from increasingly frequent extreme weather events, the disruption of food systems, increases in zoonoses (a disease which can be transmitted to humans from animals) and food-, water- and vector-borne diseases, and mental health issues.
Monday 4th December
If money is at the heart of these talks, may those talking today open their hearts! Outstanding commitments will be addressed – together with the need to scale up climate finance. But may the financial needs of women, girls and marginalized groups not be allowed to remain in the background.
A good number of today’s sessions are on finance – how to finance mitigation and adaptation, how to empower women in business in the developing world, how to make finance or money fairer, when it comes to climate and the environmental challenges faced by all, especially those in the global south. Historically, those in poorer countries have been disadvantaged by unfavourable financial agreements with world banks or richer nations.
Tuesday 5th December
This is Indigenous Peoples Day, a day to value both the wisdom they bring to climate care and the need for mechanisms to improve those people’s direct access to finance. May that not be overshadowed by today’s necessarily heavy emphasis on the provision and use of energy across the industrial value chains.
Today many of the sessions at the conference are concentrating on energy and a just transition to low-carbon. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are prioritising a just and equitable energy transition as a vital element of climate action and sustainable development. These states’ survival is hinged on international support to scale up renewable energy and energy efficiency, including tailor-made financing, technical assistance, capacity building and technology transfer, as well as holistic decarbonisation, financing, and regulatory frameworks.
Wednesday 6th December
More local mayors and leaders have been encouraged to attend this COP. The hope is that today they will together be able to build solidarity in ways to transition to low-carbon and resilient built environments and infrastructure , sustainable and circular waste systems, with sustainable mobility and freight.
Published in September, the Global Stocktake (GST) synthesis report from the United Nations acknowledges that the world is not on track to meet the Paris Agreement of 2015. Today at COP, the emphasis is on cities and the built environment, with urban leaders coming together to discuss the issues – ranging from transport, freight, food, and water, to pollution, education and many others. Cities consume 70% of the world’s food, but produce very little. Universal education is a great gift, not available to all. We know that those who are educated are able to better understand the world around them, and that the education of women and girls is crucial to bringing people out of poverty. Project Drawdown lists this as one of the most important interventions of all when it comes to mitigating and adapting to climate change, and reducing carbon emissions.
Thursday 7th December
COPs traditionally incorporate a ‘day of rest’ for participants in the middle of the programme. As we hold them in our prayer may they each find the inner space to reflect and recharge.
Lord God, Creator of the Universe, Creator of the Earth and all that is within it, thank you for seed time and harvest, for night and day, for rhythms of sleep and rest, work and recreation, in our own lives and in all life on our planet.
We pray that while enjoying a day set aside for rest, policymakers will remember that while humans are animals, embedded within creation like all other creatures, we have special gifts from God, to be used in wise and just leadership.
We ask for today genuine rest, refreshment, and a chance to reflect, for all taking part in COP28, the understanding that what is decided during this conference will impact life on earth for centuries to come, and the willingness to work hard for the good of all.
Friday 8th December
The hope is that today’s proceedings will point to how young people could be empowered so as to help shape the outcomes of COP28 and beyond. May there a realistic awareness in today’s talks of the risks and likely impacts of climate change for our children and grandchildren – and look realistically to a greater inclusion of young people in policy making and innovation.
We give thanks for the Young Christian Climate Network who are asking Christians to go vegetarian for a week. They say they want to be people who challenge every injustice. Climate change is one of the great injustices of our time: if reducing our meat and dairy intake is one way we can challenge this injustice – they want to do it. A COP28 session today will be calling for a commitment to climate education in schools and universities. We pray for the students and teachers within the UK campaigning group Teach the Future who are calling for sustainability and climate change to be taught across the curriculum in our schools. We give thanks for the campaigning work of Greta Thunberg (and many others) challenging national governments to act decisively to reduce emissions. Pray for young people you know who are active in climate campaigning and awareness raising.
Saturday 9th December
The aim of the Paris Agreement made in 2015 was to keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C. May COP participants today get deeply into how the conservation, restoration and sustainable management of nature, land use and ocean systems is integral to this aim.
We hold in our prayers campaigners out on the streets today who are calling for global temperatures to be kept well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and for all nations to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C. Aware that the Paris Agreement is not being kept, and that global temperatures rose in 2022, we pray that a sense of urgency will energise decision makers at COP28. May they realise the problem is not simply fuel emissions. It’s fossil fuels. May they listen to the wisdom of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who says: “The solution is clear: The world must phase out fossil fuels in a just and equitable way — moving to leave oil, coal and gas in the ground where they belong – and massively boosting renewable investment in a just transition”
Sunday 10th December
Food, agriculture and water are the last themes to be considered, but will be the most important for us all in our daily lives. Today may COP show to the world the regenerative agricultural and national transformation pathways we must now adopt for the wellbeing of human life and of all life on God’s beautiful Earth.
Food systems account for a third of global emissions. Small holder farmers in low and middle income countries are at increased risk from climate disruption. With this in mind delegates at COP28 today are considering investment and support in practical innovations such as
- Improved weather forecasts
- Cheap digital information services for farmers
- Help in building resilience to inevitable weather shocks
- Training in rainwater harvesting techniques
- Alternatives to synthetic fertilizer production
- Innovations to reduce livestock methane
- Alternative proteins to reduce meat eating.
Monday 11th December
These days for the final negotiations may in various ways be very sobering, but with a deep trust in our all-loving Creator God may our prayer keep open the way of Active Hope.
This year’s conference planned to focus on 4 ‘paradigm shifts’:
- Fast tracking the energy transition and slashing emissions before 2030.
- Delivering old promises and setting the framework for a new loss and damage finance deal.
- Putting nature, people, lives, and livelihoods at the heart of climate action.
- Mobilising for the most inclusive COP.
The current reality is that 96% of the 700 oil and gas companies are still exploring or developing new oil and gas fields. Our prayer is that on these last two days COP28 will decide to phase out not just phase down the production of fossil fuels. The stakes are high. Very high. As Pope Francis wrote in Laudate Deum, COP28 “can either represent a change of direction, showing that everything done since 1992 was in fact serious and worth the effort, or else it will be a great disappointment and jeopardize whatever good has been achieved thus far”.
Tuesday 12th December
As we reach the final day of negotiations we prepare for disappointment. We may not feel like ‘rising up on wings like eagles’ but we pray for strength to continue ‘running and not growing weary, walking and not growing faint.’ We pray for guidance for the leaders of the nations on this last day that they may walk in the ways of peace and justice. Bless those who seek against the odds for a transformation of hearts and minds so that the right decisions will be made. We pray especially for a substantial loss and damage fund to be set up, and that it be adequately financed and implemented. And that all may agree that fossil fuels will be phased out , not just phased down.
Wednesday 13th December
God our Creator,
maker of colour, sound, texture, movement,
and the ceaseless beauty in living things,
we bless you.
God our Creator,
maker of granite and mustard seed,
of grey cloud and starlight,
of earthquake and heartbeat,
we bless you.
God our Creator,
maker of all that is unseen,
of all that has been,
of all that words could never capture,
we bless you.
God our Creator,
we, the children of your love,
the beneficiaries of your kindness,
the guardians of your creation,
we bless you.
We bless you for your making,
your never-ending goodness.
John Bell, copyright © Wild Goose Resource Group, Iona Community, Suite 9 Fairfield, 1048 Govan Road, Glasgow, G51 4XS, Scotland. T: 0141 429 7281; www.wildgoose.scot
Thursday 14th December
Renewable energy is one of the fastest-growing technology sectors in the world. Here’s a peek at some of the coolest new uses for renewables.
- Solar Roof Tiles
Tiny solar panels that look and function like shingles are now a reality. Solar manufacturer Dyaqua creates tiles that imitate concrete, stone, ceramic, wood and brick.
- Electric Thermal Energy Storage
One challenge of making renewable energy widespread is you almost always have to pair it with a storage system of some kind. When wind turbines or solar panels generate excess electricity, an electric thermal energy storage (TES) system stores it in the form of ice, hot bricks, heated sand or some other medium.
- Pairing Solar and Wind Power
French energy company Unéole has devised a way to combine wind and solar energy in one spot. It created units composed of solar panels with tiny wind turbines positioned underneath them, with the turbines forming a layer between the solar panels and the roof.
Friday 15th December
WWF has warned that time is rapidly diminishing to reduce the environmental footprint of shopping baskets by 50% before 2030, and is pressing for more concerted efforts to overhaul the UK’s food system, writes Sidhi Mittal. [In late November the NGO] launched a new report, ‘What’s in Store for the Planet 2023’, which acknowledges strides in environmental progress yet highlights substantial gaps that supermarkets must address. The report highlights gaps across seven critical areas including climate emissions, agriculture, diets, deforestation, marine impact, food waste and packaging. WWF’s chief executive Tanya Steele said: “Time is running out to fix our fragile food system, which is already creaking under the strain of climate change and nature loss, yet we remain a long way from key 2030 targets that are critical to delivering affordable, healthy, sustainably produced food into every UK shopping basket.
Saturday 16th December
The National Trust is calling on all political parties to ramp up progress on adaptation by introducing new legislation that recognises the importance of adapting buildings, coastlines and countryside to cope with the impacts of climate change. It comes as the Trust launches a landmark report – A Climate for Change – which outlines for the first time the charity’s approach to climate adaptation and details how technology is helping detect future threats to its places, ahead of COP28. The charity says parties should commit to legislating in the first session of the next parliament by writing into law a Climate Resilience Act with clear legal duties and targets for adaptation.
Sunday 17th December
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other mightily, and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.
Monday 18th December
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
[Amazon Frontline reports] that [they] call for immediate and holistic action from Colombia’s government to address the grave human rights situation currently facing Indigenous, Afrodescendant and campesino communities in the municipality of Puerto Asís in the Putumayo region after the most recent escalation of the armed conflict between the Frente Carolina Ramírez (dissidents of the FARC-EP) and the Comandos de Frontera Segunda Marquetalia fighting over control of the territory and emerging drug trafficking routes. Over 1,100 families are currently affected according to official figures.
Tuesday 19th December
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you the nations will make their prayer: Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
Afghanistan is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, with worsening droughts and flash flooding destroying livelihoods and fuelling hunger, writes Emma Batha. However, the Taliban’s seizure of the country in 2021 means it [was] excluded from global climate change talks and [was] not be represented at the COP28 summit… Afghanistan is one of the lowest producers of planet-heating fossil fuel emissions, accounting for less than 1% of the global total… Aid agencies say climate change is exacerbating a major humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, with 29 million people in need of aid and more than 3 million uprooted from their homes.
Wednesday 20th December
O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel; you open and no one can shut; you shut and no one can open: Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
At present, most old [wind turbine] blades are either dumped in landfill or incinerated, writes Pete Deeney et al. There had been capacity at a German plant to process them into cement, but this was limited and placed a very low value on the blades…Whereas most of a wind turbine can be recycled, blades cannot. They are mostly made from glass fibre or carbon-fibre reinforced plastic. Designed to be highly durable and hard, this material is very difficult to cut or grind… Repurposing is a growth area. This means cutting up blades and using the pieces to make new products. Blades have been used to replace the steel girders in bridges, for instance… There is also research into how to make used blades into electricity poles. This takes advantage of the fact that the material doesn’t impede phone or wifi signals.
Thursday 21st December
O Morning Star, splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
Some renewable energy predictions for 2024:
- New solar canals in California
The premise behind a solar canal is simple — install solar panels above irrigation canals. The panels prevent algae growth in the water and reduce evaporation, which is critical as the climate heats up. They’re also situated above a space that can’t otherwise be used for urban development or growing crops, making it a truly win-win situation.
2 Renewables supply over a third of global energy
The world’s energy needs are surging as the population grows. In 2024, renewable energy will make up more than one-third of the global energy supply for the first time.
3 China’s Rise as an Energy Leader
By next year, China will be responsible for building almost 70% of new offshore wind farms globally. It will also make 50% of the world’s new solar projects and 60% of onshore wind projects, positioning itself as a global leader in renewable energy.
Friday 22nd December
O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone making both one: Come and save the human race, which you fashioned from clay.
The third round of UN global plastic pollution treaty talks ended [in mid-ovember] with no plan for how to move the negotiations forward, despite a majority of countries supporting a robust treaty grounded in global rules. The deadlock was caused by a week full of delaying tactics from a handful of low-ambition countries calling for a loose voluntary agreement… Despite an overwhelming majority of countries ready to move forward on a robust and ambitious treaty, countries with deep petrochemical interests delayed progress throughout the week and blocked the final decision on how to advance work leading into the fourth round of UN talks [in April 2024].
Saturday 23rd December
O Emmanuel, our King and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Saviour: Come and save us, O Lord our God.
Virunga National Park has lost 964 hectares (2,382 acres) of forest over the last four months, according to forest monitoring platfrom Global Forest Watch, writes Elodie Toto. Twenty percent of these losses have been around informal refugee camps located near the Nyiragongo volcano. Fresh fighting between the government and an armed group called the March 23 Movement (M23) has driven nearly a million people from their homes. Now living in precarious camps in the park, these displaced people cut down trees for fuel to cook, boil water and make charcoal, NGO workers in the area say.
Sunday 24th December
Dear Heavenly Father, as the dawn of Christmas Eve breaks, we come before you with hearts full of gratitude and anticipation. We thank you for the precious gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate today.
On this special morning, we ask for your presence to be with us throughout the day. Help us to keep our hearts open to your love and our minds centered on the true meaning of Christmas. Let the joy and hope of this season fill our souls as we prepare to commemorate the birth of our Savior.
Lord, bless our families and loved ones with your peace and unity. May our gatherings be filled with laughter, warmth, and the sharing of your love.
Guide us in our interactions with others today, that we may be instruments of your grace and kindness in the lives of those we meet.
Lord, as we approach this holy night, grant us the serenity to reflect on the miracle of Christ’s birth and the hope it brings to the world. May our hearts be a manger where your love is born anew.
In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Monday 25th December
Holy Jesus, by being born one of us, and lying humbly in a manger, you show how much God loves the world.
Let the light of your love always shine in our hearts, until we reach our home in heaven, and see you on your throne of glory.
Tuesday 26th December
An advanced geothermal project has begun pumping carbon-free electricity onto the Nevada grid to power Google data centers there, Google announced [late November]. Write Jennifer McDermott continues: getting electrons onto the grid for the first time is a milestone many new energy companies never reach, said Tim Latimer, CEO and co-founder of Google’s geothermal partner in the project, Houston-based Fervo Energy. “I think it will be big and it will continue to vault geothermal into a lot more prominence than it has been,” Latimer said in an interview… The United States leads the world in using the Earth’s heat energy for electricity generation, but geothermal still accounts for less than half a percent of the nation’s total utility-scale electricity generation
Wednesday 27th December
Ireland’s economy remains linear with waste generation continuing to rise. Recycling rates are not keeping pace with increasing levels of waste generation. Ireland is off track to meet mandatory EU recycling targets set to apply from 2025 for municipal waste, packaging waste and plastic packaging waste. These targets are set to progress the circular economy by prioritising recycling over energy recovery and landfill. Ireland remains overly reliant on unpredictable export markets with almost 382,000 tonnes of residual waste sent for incineration abroad.
Thursday 28th December
The total asset value of ecosystem services in the UK stands at £1.5trn, with nature contributing more than £45bn to the economy each year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed. Sarah George continues: the body has calculated the value of ecosystems and their contribution to the economy in terms of factors including public health benefits, food and water production and pollution removal. Calculations also include the benefits of nature to culture and recreation, which accounts for the majority (£0.9trn) of the total asset value.
Friday 29th December
It’s time for governments to invest in Indigenous communities as effective partners in countering climate change and biodiversity loss. Levi Sucre Romero is a member of the Bribri Indigenous peoples of Costa Rica and the coordinator of the Mesoamerican Alliance of People and Forests, as well as a member of the advisory council of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities (GATC), representing elected leaders of forest communities in Africa, Latin America and Asia. He says “For years the world has failed to act on the evidence that my Indigenous brothers and sisters are the best guardians of the forests that represent the only existing, cost-effective, large-scale system for absorbing and storing carbon. From Rio to Kyoto, from Aichi to Paris, global climate agreements have focused on government-led technical solutions, sidelining the communities shown by a growing body of research to be the most effective stewards of nature on the planet. Recently, this has started to change.”
Saturday 30th December
Reducing the amount of cement, steel, and other industrial products needed to build cars and homes could cut greenhouse gas emissions from these parts of the economy by up to two-thirds, according to a new analysis. Write Sarah DeWeerdt continues: production of materials used to build other things accounts for one-quarter of greenhouse gas emissions… This industry is hard to decarbonize, requiring the development of new technologies and big investments in factories and other infrastructure… Researchers conducted a life-cycle analysis of residential buildings and vehicles (two of the largest consumers of industrial products), modeling their production, use, and disposal worldwide until 2050… The researchers considered ten different strategies to reduce materials and emissions … They calculated how these material efficiency strategies would affect use of aluminum, cement, copper, plastics, steel, and wood over the coming decades. If all ten of the strategies were implemented by 2040, then annual emissions related to homes and cars could be cut by one-third to two-thirds, depending on the scenario, the researchers report in Nature Communications.
Sunday 31st December
Approximately 13.2% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions can be directly attributed to agricultural activity, with estimates climbing even higher when emissions from on-farm energy use are included, writes Robin van Dijk et al. It is therefore necessary to significantly reduce agricultural emissions in order to reach climate neutrality in 2050. Applying the polluter pays principle to this sector offers a valuable policy approach to drive the transition towards a sustainable agri-food system.
Text and links compiled by Emma King. Links accessed November 29th 2023.
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