The United Nations Climate Change Conference 2011

See the mid-conference report from Durban by Brian Konkol: "Youth for Eco-Justice."
See a Post-Conference Reflection by ELCA Young Adult in Global Mission Isaac Wittman:Reflection on COP17
For a copy of the religious declaration that was passed at Durban, go to
The United Nations Climate Change Conference 2011 in Durban, South Africa

The United Nations Climate Change Conferences is being held this year from November 28 to December 9 in Durban, South Africa. The conference brings together representatives of the world's governments, international organizations, and civil society to advance ways to cut global carbon emissions and pollution.

            The discussions will seek to advance the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, the legally binding treaty from a previous conference designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, whose first commitment period is due to expire in 2012.

            UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity Virginia Dandan said in a statement issued today that the Durban conference represents a “make or break moment for humanity,” and warned that failure to act would greatly damage future environmental negotiations.                                     
            To follow the events, reports, and decisions at the Durban conference, check out

            During her opening remarks to the conference, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres said that “We meet here at a time when greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have never been higher, when the number of livelihoods that have been dissolved by climate change impacts has never been greater and when the need for action has never been more compelling or more achievable.”

            Ms. Figueres said countries can take two major steps in Durban to address climate change. The first is completing a comprehensive package to help developing countries adapt to climate change and limit the growth of their GHG emissions, and the second relates to how governments can work together to limit the global temperature rise and thus prevent further natural disasters.

Lutherans at Durban

            Lutherans in South Africa are active in attending and reporting on the conference.  For day-to-day updates on the proceedings in Durban, the best option would be the blog that is being hosted by Kristen Opalinski, who is an ELCA missionary working with the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) as a communications specialist.  The site can be found at: 

            Lutherans are especially concerned about the impact of climate change on the poor and vulnerable communities. For an excellent article on this subject,  read "Climate Change and Poverty" by Brian Konkol, who currently serves in South Africa as ELCA Country Coordinator of the Young Adults in Global Mission program. Brian will be attending the Durban Conference and giving us updates to post on this site.

            To send a message to President Obama and urge him to support this conference, send an electronic postcard as part of the National Council of Churches/Eco-Justice campaign called "Do It in Durban: Christians for Climate Justice."

            The ELCA website also has resources on poverty and climate change. Check out articles and resources by Mary Minette, ELCA environment and hunger advocate in Washington, D. C. at

             Be sure to view the Lutheran video and study guide on the impact of climate change on poor, agricultural communities in Nicaragua at
           Click here for an article on “Religious voices advocate for climate justice at Durban” that tells about the rally at the opening of the conference held by the World Council of Churches. 
Here is a statement by the ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew, on the climate change conference in Durban.


LRC will continue to give updates on the conference.