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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Presbyterians find encouragement in Bonn climate conference

Delegates pledge to continue working for environmental protection

January 29, 2018

Attendees at the Bonn climate conference. (Photo by Nora Leccese)

Delegates to a recent climate convention in Bonn, Germany, are prepared to continue their fight for environmental protection, says a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) delegate to that convention.

The delegate, Nora Leccese, was one of about 8,000 representatives of nongovernmental organizations attending the 23rd annual Conference of the Parties to the United Nations’ Convention on Climate Change. About 10,000 governmental representatives also attended. Leccese serves as associate for domestic poverty and environmental issues with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness.

Although President Donald Trump has announced plans to pull out of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, Leccese says the administration’s presence was there.

“The White House did not make an official appearance except for one panel discussion to promote coal as a climate solution,” she said. “The panel was not very welcome and it was actually disrupted by climate activists from the U.S. and around the world, who staged a walkout.”

Leccese says conference delegates have pledged to keep going.

“I heard from people in the global community. They know the U.S. is out and they are moving on without us,” she said. “China and India have positioned themselves to be climate leaders in lieu of our leadership, and many are discounting us and will take ambitious action without us.”

Despite frustration with the U.S. administration, Leccese says the conference announced several actions around energy, water, agriculture, transportation and forests, among others. Climate resilience and finance were also covered in discussions.

Climate activists stage a demonstration at COP23. (Photo by Nora Leccese)

Rebecca Barnes, coordinator for the Presbyterian Hunger Program, attended the convention in 2015.

“The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been a witness at nearly every one of the international climate change talks between the world’s governments since their inception. Gathering with our sisters and brothers in the World Council of Churches as well as other faith partners, we have been blessed to witness these Conference of the Parties, particularly the 2015 Paris Agreement,” said Barnes. “With multiple General Assembly policies affirming our moral responsibility to take individual, corporate and international cooperative action in the face of climate change, it is imperative that Christians continue to witness to and participate in these dialogues.”

Leccese agrees, saying Presbyterians can make their voices heard.

“Make sure your elected representatives understand that climate justice is a top priority,” she said. “Tell them at every press conference or public appearance. Our congressional representatives need to know that Presbyterians demand climate justice.”

Rick Jones, Mission Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus:  Bonn climate conference

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Amanda Craft, OGA
Octavia Craig, PMA

Let us pray:

Holy Spirit, by your light you guide this world toward the Father’s love and accompany creation as it groans in travail. You also dwell in our hearts and you inspire us to do what is good. Praise be to you! Amen.

Daily Readings

Morning Psalms 62; 145
First Reading Genesis 19:1-17 (18-23) 24-29
Second Reading Hebrews 11:1-12
Gospel Reading John 6:27-40
Evening Psalms 73; 9