Hope and devastation – a response to COP28

Group of people with banners at a climate justice protest

A CCN Environment response to the Climate Change talks in Dubai.

The commitment of the Iona Community Common Concern Network on the Environment is threefold:

(i) to live in solidarity with, as allies and advocates for, the victims of environmental injustice,

(ii) to reduce our consumption and decarbonize our daily lives, and

(iii) to rekindle community with the whole earth.

In a post-COP28 world, we affirm that hope is a verb, and that there are many positive synergies around which we cohere:

  • Despite the fact that 2023 was the hottest ever, there is growing awareness and climate solutions are gaining traction. 
  • While both freshwater and marine systems upon which humankind relies are dangerously threatened, there are new global agreements in place to protect the sanctity of all life-giving water. 
  • While tropical forests like those in Amazonia, peatlands and wetlands can no longer sequester carbon, deforestation is lessening in many hotspots of biodiversity and trending downwards elsewhere and wetlands are being restored to functionality. 

However, for the Iona Community, COP28 was a devastating failure.

A post-COP28 assessment shows that:

(1) the results of the negotiation are insufficient and inadequate, based on voluntary targets, pledges and funding commitments;

(2) the key actors are not trustworthy as climate finance and “loss and damage” provisions to assist developing countries are woefully underfunded and as an Oxfam study showed, less than a third of that pledged actually materialized;

(3) carbon emissions and loss of biodiversity requires immediate action rather than aspirational lip service.

This year in 2023, we are living in a +1.3C world which is fast becoming unlivable for the Majority world, and projections suggest that 2024 will almost assuredly be a +1.5C world, with aggravated drought, weather instability, flooding, wildfires, biodiversity loss, imperilled freshwater, collapsing pollinator systems and cryosphere, and teetering marine and ocean-current systems.

While some have proclaimed that COP28 marked “the end of the fossil fuel era,” we believe that transitioning to a just, sustainable world requires not merely the orderly phaseout of fossil fuels but reorienting the global economy and food production towards de-growth and post-materialist foundations.

Reducing or eliminating our reliance on fossil fuels is only one of the actions needed to bring humanity back into a sacred relationship with the earth.  

We encourage our Members, Associate Members, Friends and Supporters to redouble our actions for justice, equity and sanctity

How can you respond to COP28?

Here are some suggestions of how to learn more, pray faithfully and act wisely in response to COP28.


Stay informed about the Climate Crisis through the following resources:

Join the Iona Community Environment Common Concern Network to learn more about the threefold commitment on the Environment.

The Climate Coalition, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland  and Stop Climate Chaos Cymru member organisations will provide up to date information on the climate crisis.

The Laudato Si’ Movement provides life-changing resources, including daily tips for sustainable living, on a weekly basis.

Our friends at the Joint Public Issues Team have also provided a roundup of the outcomes of COP28 here.

Read Field with a view by Katherine Preston: Science and faith in a time of climate change


Living Faithfully in the time of Creation – provides essays, reflections, hymns, songs and liturgical resources from more than twenty writers around the world.

Many of the Faith Members of The Climate Coalition will provide prayers specific to the climate crisis.


Join the Iona Community Environment Common Concern Network to collaborate and take local action to fulfil the threefold commitment on the environment.

Attend one of the Climate Change and Environment related weeks on Iona next year:

Signup to The Climate Coalition mailing list to stay informed of opportunities to get involved in action in the UK in 2024. Get involved with a climate activism organisation, such as  Christian Climate Action, Catholic Climate Covenant or Green Faith. If gentle protest is more appealing to you than taking to the streets then take a look at The Craftivist Collective 

Image: The Iona Community participate in The Big One climate justice protests in London, April 2023. Credit: N. Austin

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