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COP 26: UK church bells ring out the climate emergency

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COP 26: UK church bells ring out the climate emergency

On the eve of COP 26 hundreds of bells will be rung across the UK to call for urgent action on climate change.

On Saturday 30th October at 6pm, you will have heard the bells ringing for 30 minutes. The idea was the brainchild of environmentalist and adventurer Edward Gildea, who issued a call on Twitter to every church, chapel and cathedral in the country to warn people of the climate emergency on the eve of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. Churches have responded en masse to the call by joining together in the national Ring Out For Climate Change campaign.

Other faiths are of course called to join the movement, the idea is for all faiths to unite to issue a warning to humanity as the Facebook group "Ring out for climate!" writes "the idea of ringing out our own 'Code Red for Humanity'".

Remembering the use of bells in history

Tomorrow sees the start of COP 26, where 196 world leaders and over 20,000 delegates will gather to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"It's an historic function [of church bells] to send a warning, because they used to be the best form of communication we had[...]. They were the loudest noise that might reach a few miles to warn of floods, fire or a shipwreck.[...] With Ring Out For Climate Change, bellringers are able to express themselves, so it's giving people a voice as well as giving the church a voice." Edward Gildea

Mr Gildea said he was "thrilled and humbled" that his idea had taken off in this way.

What are the challenges for the COP 26?

"We have immense power. We can either save our world or condemn humanity to a hellish future." UN Secretary General António Guterres

The signatory countries of the Paris agreements will meet to negotiate and find common ground on certain points blocking the implementation of these agreements signed in 2015. COP 26 had to be postponed for a year because of the COVID crisis.

The alarming IPCC report predicts global warming of +2.7°C by 2030. The Paris Agreement called for limiting global warming to 1.5°C by 2030, which requires a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by then. The ultimate goal of the Paris agreements is carbon neutrality by 2050. The COP 26 will have to face the climate emergency shown by the IPCC report. This COP 26 is an opportunity to take stock of the progress made since COP 21 on limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Alok Sharma, the President of this COP, reminded world leaders that they "must honour the promise made here in Paris" during a speech at UNESCO on 12th October.

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