Merseyside church leaders make COP 28 appeal to Prime Minister

They ask for government support for local and regional initiatives as well as for poorer and more vulnerable communities worldwide.

Churches Together in the Merseyside Region have sent a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak offering their support and prayers ahead of the UN climate conference in the United Arab Emirates.

While praising work that has already been done, church leaders expressed their concern over the disproportionate effect climate change is having on the poorest people.

Dear Prime Minister…

As ministers for His Majesty’s Government gather for COP28, the Christian communities of Merseyside offer our support and prayers. We praise the positive work that has been done at a regional, national and international level. As part of the global Christian community, we are concerned about the effects of the ‘climate catastrophe’ (1) and the disproportionate effect this is having on the poorest people in the world.

On Merseyside, we applaud the local leadership. These are just 3 examples of many actions taking place:

  • Cool 2 – Wirral Council’s Climate Change Strategy: This recognises the unique and important role that faith communities play in taking action on climate change including carbon reduction, enhancing biodiversity and engaging worship communities.
  • Liverpool City Region (LCR) 5 Year Climate Action Plan: The Climate Partnership features the Climate Portfolio leads from all 6 Borough Councils and partners from health, business, education, energy, activist, local authority, faith and VCS sector, together they have created a 5-year action plan, signed off by the Metro Mayor with the agreement of all 6 Borough Councils.
  • Local Nature Partnership (Nature Connected): This is the advisory body in the LCR, with resident consultation undertaken and phase one mapping of the existing species and priorities underway.

However, at a national level, we acknowledge the challenges raised by a recent Environmental Audit Committee (2) In June 2023, an assessment by the Climate Change Committee stated that the prospects of the UK meeting its own Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) had “worsened since last year”. The Committee asked that further statement on NDCs is published in the lead up to COP28.

On an international level, funding from wealthy countries to developing countries has been insufficient.

Therefore, as you prepare for the forthcoming meeting, we ask that you:

  • Continue to support regional and local initiatives, allowing leadership to emerge at all levels, in line with the principles of subsidiarity.
  • Do all you can to meet the NDCs, both in the UK but also by leading partnerships with other nations to reduce emissions and keep within stated goals.
  • Support poorer and more vulnerable communities in the face of the devastating effects of climate change.

Pope Francis in Laudate Deum writes “the most effective solutions will not come from individual efforts alone, but above all from major political decisions on the national and international level.” (3) As a joint Christian community we continue to pray for you and His Majesty’s Government as you represent us, and provide leadership, at this significant COP28 meeting.

The Reverend Dr Sheryl Anderson, Chair of the Liverpool Methodist District
Right Reverend Julie Conalty, Suffragan Bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Chester
The Reverend Geoff Felton, Moderator of the Mersey Synod of the United Reformed Church
The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool
Right Reverend Thomas Neylon, Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Liverpool
The Reverend Phil Jump, Regional Minister, North Western Baptist Association
Major David Taylor, Divisional Commander, North West and Isle of Man Division, Salvation Army
Reverend Dr Tani Omideyi, Senior Pastor & Chair of Love and Joy Ministries UK
The Right Reverend Dr John Perumbalath, Anglican Bishop of Liverpool

1. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
2. 8 November 2023 – Prospects for UNFCCC COP28
3. Laudate Deum, paragraph 69

Liverpool event for Global Day of Climate Action – Saturday 9 December

Justice, faith and environmental groups from Merseyside will join campaigners around the world in calling for action to help those affected by the climate crisis. Local groups including Christian Climate Action, Christian Aid and CAFOD will be doing ‘disobedience dancing’ and a citizen survey in Liverpool city centre from 11am to 2.30pm.

One of the organisers, Anne Litherland, a parishioner of Holy Apostles and Martyrs’ parish, Wallasey said: “Whilst we are all, to some extent, weathering the storm of climate change, we are not all in the same boat. For example, parts of Kenya and Somalia have been experiencing drought and chronic water shortages linked to the climate crisis for years now. This is unfair; they don’t have the same resources to deal with the crisis and have done the least to contribute to it.

Graphic for Liverpool city centre event on 9 December 2023

“That responsibility lies with countries like the UK, which need to cut emissions and fund climate action at home and abroad, and the fossil fuel giants which make vast profits while causing untold damage.”

Learn more about Churches Together in the Merseyside Region.