COP28 Blog: Building hope through action on the climate crisis

By Hanna Soldal and Sofie Ohlsson

A month ago, we sat in a room with Church of Sweden’s climate ambassadors. The group consisted of people of various ages, from different congregations and with diverse roles. But

Action: Faith groups marched to George Square in Glasgow on October 30, 2021, calling for climate justice on the eve of COP26. Photo: Simon Chambers/ACT

they all shared the will to be an active part of Church of Sweden’s roadmap for the climate.  

We talked about the urgent need for a change of values within our church, for us to be able to perform the activities needed to decrease our carbon footprint and to strengthen our voice for climate justice. Some suggested more church services focussed on the climate emergency. Others highlighted the role of the clergy to prioritise Creation in their sermons. Another idea was to arrange discussion groups on the topic.  

Then one of the climate ambassadors stood up and said: “You have gotten it completely wrong. We don’t change values through an engaged sermon or by a group talking about it once more. Values change through concrete actions! We gain hope, and influence the values of ourselves and others, by actually acting upon the climate crisis.”

With the words of this climate ambassador a fresh memory at COP28 it becomes very clear what is needed: ACTION. 

  • Fossil fuels must be phased out.  
  • Climate migrants and defenders need increased protection.  
  • The world’s rich countries must live up to their commitment of delivering USD 100 billion per year in climate finance.  
  • These countries must also contribute to the financing of a loss and damage fund to compensate those who have already been affected by the climate emergency.

All of this must happen in a just and inclusive way. High-emitting, rich countries must act upon their responsibility towards the most affected, least-emitting countries. Locally-led action for adaptation must be supported. Women, youth, Indigenous and local communities must have influence in both the decision-making and the implementation processes.    

If the parties at COP28 manage to agree upon these urgent needs, this could inspire climate action globally. In the same way, the actions of Church of Sweden’s climate ambassadors can spread like ripples on the water in their local contexts. By acting now we create hope and a change in values and behaviour long-term. Together we can create hope in action. 

Hanna Soldal is the Advocacy officer at Act Church of Sweden and Sofie Ohlsson is a Youth volunteer and climate ambassador, Act Church of Sweden and Church of Sweden Youth.

Sofie Ohlsson
Hanna Soldal. PHOTO: Gustaf Hellsing