Progressio has been watching the Lima Conference with a keen eye and excited anticipation. This conference marks the very last chance for delegates from all over the world to gather together and put some solid commitments on the table before any final deal is agreed at Paris next year. Right now any such deal hangs in the balance. That is why this event has been so important.

Commitments need to be made and they need to be bold. 

The conference is made up of delegates, activists, religious leaders and parties of those affected by the devastating consequences of climate change. They have come together to negotiate a secure foundation on top of which a deal can be struck at Paris next year. Unsurprisingly many interests are at stake and many voices will be heard. 

One encouraging moment was the statement made by Bishops which was read at the conference this week. The statement called for those in power to prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalised people, whose situations are being worsened by the threat and reality of climate change. It made a direct link between climate change and poverty, “climate change, with its devastating impact on Nature itself, on food security, health and migration, [has] led to a great number of suffering people worldwide.”

Drawing on the experience many Bishops have of lifetimes spent walking alongside people in poverty, the statement highlighted that it is imperative the voices of those people are brought to the table, they are listened to and their needs are addressed. It is particularly pertinent that they marry the issues of adapting to and mitigating the impact of climate change, noting that both are vital if destruction is to be avoided.

In the statement, Bishops from every continent pressed for commitments to curb the rise in global temperatures to no higher than 1.5 Degrees Celsius. They demanded a complete overhaul of our energy reliance, moving us away from fossil fuels. They indicated that our global economic system is not fit for purpose, and, if left to its own devices, will likely exacerbate the issue further, increasing the number of those impacted and affected by climate change. 

These are courageous demands and difficult observations, but their bold sentiment is refreshing

Oil prices continue to fall as the Lima talks come to end and no one quite knows when they will stabilise again. The uncertainty highlights that the system we’ve built is volatile and corrosive, and demonstrates that we need to take action now to iron out the harsh inequalities it creates. The Bishops’ statement draws out key steps that need to be taken if we are to change our ways, read it here.

Progressio campaigns to raise the voices of everyone in the UK who believes that climate change needs to be curbed and provisions need to be made for those affected. You can contact Jenny Vaughan to ask for a Climate Action Pack to spread the word in your community, or you can let your MP know directly that something you love is threatened by climate change here.