Keeping faith in the climate talks

As the international climate negotiations re-open in Doha, should we keep faith in the possibility of a successful outcome despite the difficulties of brokering a deal among 194 countries?

By guest blogger Roeland Scholtalbers of sister network CIDSE

The buzz around the Copenhagen climate summit is a distant memory. Since December 2009, climate change has quickly moved down the priority list of many. In the midst of a deep global financial and economic crisis, tackling climate change unfortunately isn’t part of most governments’ efforts to fix their faltering economies.

A new World Bank report shows we are on our way to a +4 degree Celsius warmer world. Today, with a rise of less than 1 degree in global temperatures, increasingly extreme weather is already exacting its toll on those most vulnerable to climate change. The President of the World Bank Yong Kim says a +4 degree world “is so different from the current one that it comes with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our ability to anticipate and plan for future adaptation needs.”

Yet, following round after round of stalling negotiations, with ongoing battles over each and every paragraph, even insiders of the climate talks will from time to time doubt whether it is actually possible to broker a deal between 194 countries with diverging interests and viewpoints.

Developed countries refuse to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and developing countries won’t act unless advanced economies lead efforts as their historical responsibility in causing climate change requires. The fact that developed countries were quick to promise developing countries financial support for climate adaptation – but less so in actually putting money on the table – doesn’t help to create an atmosphere conducive to constructive climate action.

So, now that the negotiations re-open in Doha, Qatar (26 November – 7 December), why should we keep faith in a successful outcome? Why is it so important to reach a global climate deal?

Writing in the Guardian, former Secretary of the UNFCCC Yvo de Boer indicates that a global deal would, among others, have the benefit of making national climate policies more robust and consistent, while ensuring that the same rules would apply to all countries.

Bishop Theotonius Gomes from Bangladesh, a country hugely affected by rising sea levels and erratic rain, points to a different reason to keep faith in the climate talks.

In an article in the Huffington Post he writes that even though efforts have been made already, countries like Bangladesh will never be sufficiently prepared to adapt to increasingly extreme weather unless the support pledged by developed countries materialises. Bishop Gomes has been advocating with CIDSE for climate talks for a long time already.

During the ‘COP18’ summit in Doha, we will ask members, partners and other stakeholders to tell us why they think we must keep faith in the climate talks. There are plenty of reasons to keep fighting for a fair, ambitious and binding  climate deal, which can range from local to global, from private to public and from political to technical.

In this video, our Climate Justice Officer Emilie Johann shares why CIDSE believes we must keep faith in the international climate talks, and faith in climate justice.

Together, we need to remind world leaders that we must make the climate talks a success if we are to live in harmony with creation, and in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world, without compromising the future of generations to come.

Let us know why you think we must keep faith in climate justice on Facebook and using #faithcop18 on Twitter.


Please give to Caritas generously. Your support makes our work possible.


Caritas brought together a collection of prayers and reflections for you to use.


Volunteers make a crucial contribution. Find out how you can be one.