Responding to the COP28 climate summit in Dubai and the so-called UAE Consensus, Bishop John Arnold, Lead Bishop for Environmental Issues, has stressed that he wants to see more than words on paper when it comes to addressing the climate crisis.
Expressing “guarded optimism” and welcoming the agreement to “transition away” from fossil fuels, Bishop Arnold sounded a note of caution:
“I see far too many references to targets needing to be agreed – things needing to be settled. The language is right, but there’s no real sign of measured commitments being met and sanctions for anyone who doesn’t meet the commitments.
“Is this greenwashing? I hope it’s not. I really do want to be optimistic about it and to think that nearly 200 nations have gathered and said very urgent things to one another and come up with what looks like an agreement is excellent. But how do we measure real progress? We’re going to have to wait and see. But even from COP27 and COP26, those commitments were not met. Is it more of the same language amounting to no real action? I hope not.”
Whilst it is a case of actions speaking louder than words for Bishop Arnold, he did offer a focus for prayer for Catholics in England and Wales:
“Prayer remains very important. We can’t take anything for granted. There seems to be a real welling up of strong opinion that decisions have to be made and put into practice – that must be the target of our prayer, that people will rise to the challenge and that those actual outcomes can be properly met and achievements measured.”
Read overseas aid and development agency CAFOD’s assessment of COP28.