Open letter of Gratitude to all from Paris Climate Summit

Christiana Figueres in Paris

Christiana Figueres (Executive Secretary UNFCCC) on the podium in Paris.

History was made last month when 196 countries came together to agree the first ever global deal to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change. A big thank you is owed to all those who lobbied leaders in the run-up to the talks. Your prayers, emails, personal witness and parish petitions made an enormous difference.

In the UK and Ireland alone CAFOD helped collect over 40,000 signatures, all thanks to you! These 40,000 signatures formed part of a much larger petition handed over to Christiana Figueres (Executive Secretary UNFCCC – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) by Faith Community leaders. This larger petition of 1.78 million faith signatures in Paris (840,000 of those Catholic including 40,000 from the UK and Ireland – see Ann Wilson and Ged Edwards below).

Ged and Ann in Paris

Ann Wilson and Ged Edwards who cycled to Paris for the Climate Summit showing the 40,000 signatures from UK & Ireland.

Christiana was very moved by the occasion.  She addressed the leaders telling them that without the petition she doubted that the figure of 1.5°C needed by the poorer communities of the world would have been agreed.

She was on the podium when the agreement was signed (see the picture at the start of this blog entry).  Christiana wrote an open letter of gratitude to all who helped lobby their leaders prior to the Paris Summit. Have a look at her letter by clicking on the following link, it can be downloaded and displayed in your local communities or parishes:




The Paris deal achieved the following:

  • The first ever global agreement to transition to a low-carbon future.
  • A commitment for warming to be kept below 2 degrees Celsius, and ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • A plan to review each country’s carbon reduction targets every five years, with the intention of increasing ambition. The first review is set for 2018.
  • A reaffirmation of the commitment made by developed nations towards developing ones, particularly around finance to help poorer countries cope with the impacts of climate change.

At the start of this new year it’s crucial that we keep the momentum going for the good of our common home. The success of the Paris deal is music to our ears, but the reality is that even with the positive steps taken,  the world is still set to warm over the coming decades, which will leave many millions of people struggling to feed themselves, to access water or to provide a secure future for their families. To find out what steps CAFOD will be taking in 2016 with your help to make our voices heard and encourage those in power to protect the poorest people overseas, visit the CAFOD website:

Campaigning with CAFOD in 2016

The only way the Paris climate deal means anything is if we bring it home – and make sure that the climate pledges made in our name are honoured. So this February, as part of the Climate Coalition, you are invited to make and share green hearts at home, in schools and with parish groups, and to spread the word about the importance of clean energy and a just world. To find out more about making green hearts and get free resources for your parish then visit the CAFOD website:

Show the Love – Show your Green Heart


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