Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

Archbishop Julio evaluates COP28

Archbishop Julio Murray –the Anglican Communion’s lead on Climate Change – has shared his reflections on the challenges and successes of COP28 in Dubai this week.

Taonga News  |  13 Dec 2023  |

Archbishop Julio Murray, who led the Anglican Communion delegation to COP28, has spoken out on both the value and the limitations of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference, which ran from 30 November up to yesterday 12 December.

According to Archbishop Julio, national and organisational pledges made to the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund, Least Developed Countries Fund and Special Climate Change Fund are a positive step, but fall short of meaningful support for the countries most effected by climate change. 

“We come away disappointed that the final political outcomes of this COP lack ambition. We affirm that some money is now committed to a Loss & Damage fund that will provide for those who suffer as a result of climate shocks, but much more is needed.” 

Archbishop Julio said that while the COP28 outcomes were lean, there were other positives for the Anglican delegation this year.

“I am thankful to God for his presence with us, the doors that were opened and the opportunities we had to hear from and share with young people and those most vulnerable to climate change.” 

“We are reminded by them of the urgency of the climate crisis and our responsibility, before God, to do more to care for creation.”

Archbishop Julio was also inspired by his brothers and sisters from the Pacific who he said were focused and innovative in their advocacy for change.

He expressed his ongoing solidarity with Pacific people who live with immediate threat of losing their ancestral homes due to rising sea levels.

“I recommit myself to supporting their efforts to motivate policy changes in other governments, including through the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.” 

Archbishop Julio said that Indigenous people had played a strong part in conversations across this year's COP and it had been a joy for him to sit with and learn from them. He observed that Indigenous people shouldn't only feature strongly in the visual story of COP.

“We need to go beyond enjoying taking photos with them and act with integrity on the wisdom they share.”

Archbishop Julio also hopes Anglicans can continue to learn from the insights of indigenous spirituality in responding to climate change in the years ahead.

Going back to the outcomes of COP28, Archbishop Julio said that while the climate fund pledges are a step in the right direction, ensuring a just transition needs to take account of complex issues, including the hopes of millions of people currently without access to power, workers in affected sectors, increased demand on mineral extraction and much more. 

“We prioritise hearing from those most vulnerable and most affected in these complexities, acting on the basis that those who have done most to cause this crisis need to do most to understand and act to stop it. We continue to pray and to trust in God, honouring all that was good in this year's COP.”
Archbishop Julio reported that one of his highlights was praying with government ministers from around the world as they wrestled with difficult policy choices.

“I shared the Anglican Communion's Call to Climate Action with each of them and I will remember them in prayer in the year ahead, hoping their efforts bear fruit.”  

This year was also the first time that people of faith have had a dedicated space to gather, host events and be visible together as a sign of God's concern for the issues discussed at the COP. 

This built upon the Global Faith Leaders Summit Archbishop Julio attended last month in Abu Dhabi supported by the Muslim Council of Elders, UNEP's Faith for Earth, the Interfaith Centre for Sustainability. 

This year, the Anglican delegation reported that the Faith Pavilion became a place that they and people of many other faiths could be sent from, taking their faith with them into negotiation spaces and other meetings.

Archbishop Julio and the Anglican Communion delegation also thanked people around the Communion for following their time at COP28 and for their prayers.

“This is not an easy space for the church to be present in, but through that presence many more people are hearing about our God - about hope, justice and the voice of the most vulnerable. We need metanoia - repentance - in order to change our ways.”

 “Then we can live as a resurrection people, even as we lament destruction, greed and suffering - a people who follow Jesus and see his kingdom come.”

For more information on the Anglican Communion’s engagement with Governments, faith groups, NGOs, and business and investment leaders at COP28, you can keep checking the Anglican Communion Environmental Network or attend the next webinar on 18 January to hear more from COP28 and look ahead to COP29.