People from a variety of faith traditions gather at the United Nations climate summit COP28

8 December 2023, Dubai, United Arab Emirates: People from a variety of faith traditions gather at the United Nations climate summit COP28 for an interfaith walk through the venue, calling together from their respective perspectives for climate justice. Behind them, the words 'Unite. Act. Deliver.' sit on the wall. 


Though the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund was secured early on at the start of the global climate conference, the financial pledges currently on the table can only be described as measly, falling far short of what is needed to respond to the devastating impacts of climate change in poor, climate-vulnerable nations,” said Pillay. These let-downs demonstrate a dearth of solidarity that, ultimately, harms us all, both poor and wealthy nations.”

He reflected that, at COP28, we saw the interests of the billion-dollar fossil fuel industry prevail over scientific findings and ethical appeals. "The science bears repeating: In order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and prevent the most catastrophic climactic effects, greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and fall sharply thereafter; and this means absolutely no new fossil fuel extraction,” Pillay said. By blocking an agreement to forge a timely global transition away from fossil fuels to economies founded on already available and increasingly affordable renewable sources of energy, a handful of governments have held hostage the health, wellbeing, and future of entire communities and the planet. This is morally reprehensible.”

With COP28, there is much to lament, Pillay acknowledged. And yet, somehow, despite the grim science and frustrating political realities, there is also much from which to draw hope,” he said. COP28 saw developing countries like Colombia leading the way in endorsing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

Other countries such as the Netherlands agreed to cut subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. 

These are successes to be celebrated and followed through,” he said. Notably, faith voices have strongly campaigned for these critical initiatives.”

Pillay also spoke of how COP28 united scientists, labour unionists, organisations representing farmers, women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples, and communities of faith. 

Reaping the fruits of intentional dialogue and trust-building over the years, ecumenical, interfaith, and civil society cooperation was significantly strengthened at COP28,” he said. With the conclusion of COP28, we, as people of faith, must continue to nurture a hope that demands us to choose life over death.”

WCC special page on COP28

Ellyanne Chlystun-Githae Wanjiku to COP28: “listen more to children” (13 December 2023)

Food, water, climate justice a moral imperative, shows COP28 side event (12 December 2023)

At COP28 side event, 12-year-old Faith Sebwa urges including children with disabilities in climate discussions (12 December 2023)

WCC joins Blue Communities in urging “Water for Life—Not for Profit” (11 December 2023)

Faith communities release "Talanoa statement” calling for phasing out fossil fuels (11 December 2023)

Faith communities advocate for a just transition at COP28 side event(09 December 2023)

"We are going to keep struggling, advocating, and fighting for climate justice” (06 December 2023)

Bedi Racule at COP28: “One thing that really unites us together is our faith” (06 December 2023)

WCC urges faith leaders to advocate against fossil fuels at COP28 side event (05 December 2023)

WCC joins global faith efforts for women's health amid climate crisis (05 December 2023)

Global Climate Action spotlight: Faith actors' crucial role echoes at COP28 (03 December 2023)

Indigenous youth advocate Julia Rensberg paves the way for climate resilience at COP28 Faith Pavilion (03 December 2023)

WCC general secretary: “At COP 28 we have to speak up for justice” (03 December 2023)

At COP28, WCC general secretary hopes for “less talk and more walk” (01 December 2023)

Interfaith talanoa dialogue brings “ethical, moral, and spiritual voice” to COP28 (30 November 2023)

As COP28 begins, faith communities stand ready to push for climate justice (30 November 2023)

Faith and Climate event in the Ecumenical Centre will unveil insights from IPCC's latest report(16 November 2023)

WCC calls on COP28 to “rise above,” act collectively in addressing climate change (13 November 2023)

WCC stands with “Confluence of Conscience: Uniting for Planetary Resurgence” interfaith statement (09 November 2023)

WCC will bring message to pre-COP28 Faith Leaders Summit (06 November 2023)

Participants at the Emerging Peacemakers Forum send a message of hope to COP28 (09 July 2023)