An Episcopal Church delegation representing Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is virtually attending the 26th Conference of Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (known as “COP26”).

Melissa McCarthy, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Los Angeles, is a member of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s delegation to COP26. Photo: John Taylor

The Rev. Canon Melissa McCarthy, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Los Angeles, is among the delegates.

The 24-member delegation of bishops, priests, deacons and laypersons is split into two groups, one attending the first week of sessions (beginning Oct. 31), and the other taking part in the second week. McCarthy is a member of the first group. An introduction to members of the delegation is here.  Comments and reports from McCarthy are being posted daily on the diocese’s Facebook page here.

An Episcopal News Service story about Episcopal Church representation at the conference is here.

Concerning the delegation, the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations wrote in a statement to interested church members:

“The delegation, comprised of a diverse, international body of representatives from across the Church, will bring the Church’s values into the room at COP. They will support the priorities of The Episcopal Church in matters of the environment, standing in solidarity with people within the U.S. and around the world who are already feeling the leading-edge effects of climate change from rising sea levels impacting low-lying nations to the impacts of more severe fire seasons in western North America.

“This year more than ever, we are coordinating again with the Anglican Communion delegation to the COP to improve our effectiveness in raising the voice of the Church in this space. As in our advocacy to the U.S. government on matters of foreign policy, we are grateful to the worldwide relationships we have through the Anglican Communion, the third largest Christian group in the world.

“World religions, including the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, hold the Earth to be sacred; we respect the rights of vulnerable populations; we have sacred paths for people to travel that lead us from disintegration to wholeness.

“The delegation will also bring what they have learned during the COP back home, to the Church. The Presiding Bishop’s delegation carefully monitors the major workstreams of the COP, such as mitigation, raising ambition, finance, adaptation, and loss and damage. Our local communities can learn from what others are doing in these important themes of climate change action around the world.

The Office of Government Relations has issued several suggestions of ways Episcopalians can take part in the conference.”

Worship and delegation reports

Liturgy for Planetary Crisis: Episcopal Worship Service during COP26
Online: register here
Join Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in prayer and worship with our Episcopal delegation – including the Rev. Canon Melissa McCarthy of the Diocese of Los Angeles – and all who have been present in witness and advocacy at this global climate conference. This service is open to all and will focus on the need for swift, just action to bring us back into right relationships across the human family and with all of God’s creation. The liturgy will draw on our Episcopal tradition and beyond and will offer strength to the community at COP26.

COP26 Closing Event: Report from the Presiding Bishop’s Delegation
Online: register here
As the 26th Conference of Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change draws to an end, gather with Episcopal advocates and ecumenical partners for this closing event. Presiding Bishop Michael Curryt’s delegation will offer reports from their witness at the conference, as well as top line summaries from the negotiations. We will finish with a faith-led vision of the future for Episcopal advocacy around climate change.

Episcopalians are joining together for “Climate Compline” each evening during COP26. All are welcome to join this Zoom offering in English and Spanish each day at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m.: click here.

“Even if you can’t tune in or keep up with everything happening at COP26, there are some wonderful ways to connect with the movement for creation care and confronting climate catastrophe,” says OGR. “One easy option is to watch Netflix’s documentary series, Our Planet, [hosted by Sir David Attenborough]. The stunning imagery and powerful story-telling in this documentary remind us of what’s at stake and help us to see that, while the challenge is great, there are so many reasons to be hopeful.” Learn more about the series here.

The United Nations website has extensive resources on the conference, found here.

Goals for COP26, as defined by the United Nations, are:

“1. Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach. Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century. To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to:

  • accelerate the phase-out of coal
  • curtail deforestation
  • speed up the switch to electric vehicles
  • encourage investment in renewables.

“2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats. The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects. At COP26 we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to:

  • protect and restore ecosystems.
  • build defenses, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives.

“3. Mobilize finance. To deliver on our first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilize at least $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020. International financial institutions must play their part and we need work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.

“4. Work together to deliver. We can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis by working together. At COP26 we must:

  • finalize the Paris Rulebook (the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational)
  • accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.”