On the Road to Paris

The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (COP21) will take place in Paris 30 November—11 December 2015. It will be a crucial conference as it will need to achieve agreement, applicable to all countries, to keep the level of global warming down to less than 2oC.

Pilgrimages ‘for climate justice’ are planning to make their way to Paris from around Europe and the world. One that will be going from the UK is a small cycling pilgrimage from London organised by Westminster Justice & Peace Commission.

In preparation for this, Barbara Kentish, J&P Fieldworker for Westminster, Francis McDonagh from Westminster and I visited Paris in March to check out some possibilities for accommodation, to meet with members of Pax Christi France who will be co-ordinating some of the activities of faith groups in Paris during the session, and to attend their day conference on climate change, which was very full with some excellent inputs.

We also took the opportunity to meet with the General Secretary of the French J&P Commission, Denis Vienot, and compare notes. It turns out to be a case of ‘chalk and cheese’ since they have a national commission but no diocesan structures, whereas in England & Wales there is no national J&P commission but our Network of diocesan commissions and other groups and individuals which focusses on grassroots organising.

Some Network members have also worked across borders in the past year, such as Christian CND joining protests at the French equivalent of Aldermaston, and groups in Kent giving support to migrants in Calais through Secours Catholiques.

For actions, events and resources to prepare for COP 21 see: www.greenchristian.org.uk/climate-action

Ann Kelly