Presidency reacts to COP26 agreement

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Following the announcement that a final deal has been reached in Glasgow at COP26 the Revd Sonia Hicks, President of the Methodist Conference and Barbara Easton, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, have released the following statements:

The Revd Sonia Hicks said:

"Even after 200 marches in cities across the globe over the past two weeks, COP26 has not met expectations. The Methodist Church along with it partners have called on COP26 to achieve the long-awaited promise of a $100bn per year to support mitigation and adaptation for developing nations. This promise has yet to be realised. In addition, communities devastated by hurricanes and other climate related disasters are still waiting for the finance needed to repair loss and damage. There was much resistance at COP26 to the establishment of such a fund.

"On a more positive note, the Glasgow COP summit will be marked as the summit at which the end to public funding of oil, gas and coal gained traction with governments although there is still much work to do here. The Methodist Church has for many years engaged with oil and gas companies over their future investment plans. The sector has been too slow to take action and, on the urging of Methodist Conference, Methodist Church funds are now disinvested from all oil and gas.

"In the UK, we must deepen the dialogue across the whole of society and the Methodist Church will contribute in this, along with other faith partners. Recognising that we face a climate emergency the Methodist Conference has endorsed a commitment to achieve net zero by 2030. More Methodist churches are becoming Eco Churches yet we recognise that our churches also have difficult decisions ahead as we look at how we use and heat our buildings and how we travel.

"There is no easy path to achieving economies that provide sustainable livelihoods for all. Our world is riven with inequality, yet God gives us a vision of a different future. It is a future in which justice, including climate justice, is at the heart of our economic systems; a future which belongs to all and in which all are consulted, heard and therefore flourish."

Barbara Easton said:

"Over the last 18 months the global Methodist family have been brought together by young people across 5 continents. The Climate Justice 4 All campaign, supported by the Methodist Church in Britain and the World Methodist Council, has ensured that Methodist partners could have a physical presence in the COP26 summit.

"Being in Glasgow alongside our sisters and brothers from the Pacific rim enabled us to sit with people whose very existence is threatened by the climate crisis. They spoke not just to summon us to urgent action but also to move on in our thinking about this planet that God has made for us. As a church, we need a theology and a spirituality that recalibrates traditional ideas of 'dominion', moving us to a closer relationship of partnership with the planet and its people.

"It is tremendously important that when political leaders meet to negotiate climate action, they meet in the presence of those for whom climate change has already been devastating. At COP26, governments have not responded sufficiently to the urgent crisis that we face, but thankfully the pace of action has been stepped up.

"The presence of different faith communities in Glasgow was evident. The richness of being part of a global church is the opportunity it provides to appreciate our diversity. It is only through dialogue with others that possibilities for action become clear. United in Christ's love and saving grace we must continue to work together to realise justice for creation and all God's people."

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