In September 2021 climate campaigners started walking from London to Glasgow for COP26. They aimed to influence the United Nations Conference on Climate Change – COP26 – to act urgently to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Columbans at COP26 met up with them in Glasgow.
This year, a virtual journey from Scotland to November’s COP27 in Egypt started last week in Glasgow, where a face-to-face meeting was held with an online presence. Hybrid or virtual events will be held in each of the countries on the way. Campaigners aim to link COP26 to COP27 and focus on local climate challenges and solutions with speakers and panellists.
The purpose is to bring together people to educate each other on climate challenges and action, forge a sense of solidarity, connect with like minds, and catalyse action.
The second ‘Townhall’ meeting was held in person at Kings College, London and online on Monday 26 September. Ellen Teague of Columban JPIC joined online. One speaker was Bishop John Arnold of Salford, Episcopal Liaison on Environment for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, who said, “we must get to grips with the climate crisis, set urgent targets for the future, and not be deflected.” He called for support for Walk to COP27, partly with following the route and partly with lobbying UK MPs. “There is common concern, but also common opportunities,” he said.
Columbans support the following goals:
- One outcome of COP26 was the request for governments to ‘revisit and strengthen’ their 2030 national emission reduction targets (NDCs) before the end of 2022. Most of the world’s biggest economies and biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, including the UK, have yet to fulfil the pledges they made in Glasgow last November to strengthen their targets.
- They must also accelerate energy transitions, phasing out fossil fuels. The UK must end fossil fuel production and create jobs in renewable energy rather than developing nuclear power further. The Churches are urging divestment from fossil fuels.
- Richer countries have failed to deliver on their promise of $100 billion in annual climate finance, and this is actually insufficient to meet the adaptation and other needs of developing countries. Compensating countries in the Global South for the loss and damage caused to them by climate change is vital. Rich countries also need to find ways to compensate poor countries for not extracting more oil and gas.
Any individuals and groups can support ‘walk2cop27’.