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World News

Outcome of COP27 is 'bizarre' says Columbian missionary

by Donna Birrell

A Catholic journalist and environmental campaigner says the COP27 climate conference should have done more to curb the use of fossil fuels.

The summit in Egypt concluded at the weekend with a deal for richer nations to pay poorer countries for the damage caused by climate change.

However, there was little progress on meeting targets to limit the use of fossil fuels.

Ellen Teague who's a member of the Columban Missionaries tells Premier that the deal doesn't go far enough: "The outcome of this COP is a little bit bizarre.

"The parties agreed to loss and damage, to a special fund, which we've been calling for for years, but they didn't agree to take genuine action to keep below the 1.5 degree limit on temperature rise. We could reach that by phasing out or reducing fossil fuels but they didn't have a clear commitment. 

"If fossil fuels aren't phased out the problem is only going to get worse and the costs are going to get worse. So there was a bit of a plus there with the loss and damage agreement. There was also a plus that Brazil is back on the climate stage, promising to end deforestation. But here was no clear commitment to phase out fossil fuels.

"But it's important not to be negative. The process has been going on for 27 years and at least we have an international process to try and deal with these problems. More than 200 countries were there. Unfortunately, there was a huge lobby from the fossil industry, they had about 800 people there as well. 

"But we have to stay with the process, because this problem is only going to get worse and worse, unless we phase out fossil fuels.

"The world is changing. There are all the signs that climate change is reaching a tipping point.

"We have Colombian missionaries in Pakistan that was just a few months ago two thirds underwater. It's just almost unbelievable that that can happen. Whole villages were washed away. 

"All the church leaders can do more, but let's look at the grassroots as well. Green Christian, Christian climate action, CAFOD, Tearfund, Christian Aid, are all working on this issue, all trying to motivate the grassroots. Just in this last week, I visited two Catholic parishes that are involved in the Catholic Church. We have the Live Simply project, trying to reduce the carbon emissions of the parish, building up green spaces in the parish and reaching out to the poor because, you know, being in solidarity with the poor is part of what this is all about as well."

The Society of St Columban is an international Catholic missionary organisation centred on the Eucharist which works to establish a world of peace with justice and care for the integrity of creation in solidarity with poor, exploited and marginalised communities.


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