Two South Tyneside churches will ring their bells in support of a national campaign to raise awareness of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Parishioners at All Saints Church in Cleadon and at Whitburn Parish Church have decided to help highlight the aims and ambitions of COP26 by ringing their church bells on Saturday, October 30 at 6pm. This is just before the climate talks begin, running from 31 October – 12 November.

The Revd Vernon Cuthbert, Priest in Charge at All Saints and at Whitburn Parish Church, explained: “The Church of England is encouraging churches and cathedrals to ring out their bells on the eve of COP26 as a reminder of the real and present dangers of global warning.

“COP26 has been billed as the ‘make or break’ conference that will determine humanity’s survival so it is right that churches ring their bells – a traditional warning used for hundreds of years. The danger is very real and we want our bells to be part of a voice for climate justice.

“We had a discussion at both recent Parochial Church Councils, whose members voted unanimously to ring their church bells on October 30 and I would imagine other churches within the Durham Diocese will also be taking part.”

The Church of England is encouraging the ringing of bells as part of its Environment Programme. Other measures being made include a Net Zero Carbon declaration.

Despite the UN’s best efforts, global emissions have continued to rise – from five billion tonnes in 1950 to 33 billion tonnes in 2020.

At the Paris Agreement in 2015, countries agreed to try to keep global warming down to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels or lower. This target has not been achieved.

One of the aims of COP26 is to get countries to agree to keep temperature rises below 2 degrees – and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees – thus limiting further climate change.

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