NauMai September 2021
Scotland’s Catholic international development agency has launched a petition asking the UK government to pledge to do more to tackle climate change ahead of a major UN climate conference. The UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) will take place in Glasgow from October 31–November 12, 2021. The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) hosted a race between a person dressed as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a person wearing a clock costume to draw attention to the urgency of the climate crisis.
The Race Against Time took place along the River Clyde near where the COP26 conference will be held. Olivia McKibbin, a SCIAF supporter who participated in the Race Against Time, August 16, 2021, said there was no time to lose in tackling the environmental crisis.
‘If our leaders don’t take urgent action on climate change then nothing else matters. The things that our governments deem important now will be worthless when we cannot breathe the air that’s around us,’ she said.
COP26 was due to take place in 2020 but was postponed for a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It marks the first five-year update mandated by the 2015 Paris agreement, the first-ever legally binding global climate-change treaty, adopted at the COP21 UN climate conference in the French capital.
On August 9, 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report warning ‘strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide’ are needed to stem a climate crisis.
‘This report is a reality check,’ said the IPCC’s Valérie Masson-Delmotte. ‘We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare.’
Pope Francis published his landmark ecological encyclical Laudato Si’ in the build-up to the Paris meeting and is expected to make a short trip to the Glasgow during November’s climate conference.
During his time in Scotland, he will also meet with the Scottish bishops. However, officials say there will be no other public engagements.
‘Our understanding is that the window will be extremely tight and there will be enough time to meet the global leaders, and once the official part is over, to meet the bishops, and that is it. A public Mass is not something the Church is expecting, because of time constraints,’ a spokesperson for the Catholic Church told the BBC.
It will be the first visit by a pope to the UK since Pope Benedict XVI visited both Scotland and England in 2010.