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Thirty CAFOD campaigners head to Poland to call for action on climate change

Thirty CAFOD campaigners from around England and Wales will be embarking on a trip to Poland in December to represent the Catholic community at a major UN conference.

The 30 campaigners - who are aged from 18 to 75 - will travel to Katowice, Poland, from the 5-11 December for the 24th Conference of the Parties - known as COP24.

Passionate about tackling climate change, the group are making the trip to call on UN member states to ensure the full implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Campaigners are hoping that member governments will show greater ambition in restricting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees and act to ensure they have net zero emissions by 2050.

The CAFOD delegation will be joined by campaigners from across Europe to share ideas for bringing about action back home in England and Wales on how to live more simply and sustainably.

Harriet Rees, from North Wales is a masters student focusing on the environment and climate change attending the conference. She said: "The environment and climate change has always been of interest to me to academically but has always seemed like a scientific phenomenon that isn't really happening in my world.

"But since I became a CAFOD Climate Champion in 2016 and was able to learn about sustainable living, I've realised that actually we all have a really important role to play in protecting our planet and that it really is easy to play your part.

"I want to be able to share that message with people, leading by example of how we can help tackle climate change, at a local and personal level but also at an international policy level."

CAFOD's Head of Advocacy, Neil Thorns, said: "It is great that our CAFOD delegation are able to travel to COP24 in Katowice to represent Catholics in England and Wales. COP24 represents an opportunity for CAFOD alongside its partners and sister organisations to ramp up the pressure on national governments to follow through on the commitments they made as part of Paris Agreement in 2015.

"The historic agreement that so many of CAFOD's supporters pressed to be signed has now been ratified by 183 of the 197 Parties to the Convention. However, as the recent IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels so clearly illustrates, the current global ambitions are not going to prevent this global temperature rise.

"This is why CAFOD will push for greater ambitions to be set and an agreed framework that ensures immediate and effective action on climate change at the national level at the upcoming COP, highlighting the need to keep to 1.5, particularly for the poorest and most marginalised."

Catholics in England and Wales have shown a widespread response to Pope Francis' letter, Laudato Si', which calls on us to care for our common home by pledging to live more simply, sustainably and in solidarity with poor communities.

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