Brian Webb to speak on panel at United Nations Climate Change Conference

Brian Webb, The College of Wooster’s director of campus sustainability

Brian Webb, The College of Wooster’s director of campus sustainability, will be a panelist at COP28, the 28th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Dec. 11. The Conferences of the Parties (COPs) are the annual summits where the world’s nations negotiate the Paris Agreement and work to solve the global climate crisis.

Webb will be speaking alongside Vanessa Nakate, a climate activist from Uganda, Yonatan Neril, the founder and director of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, and Archbishop Julio Murray from the Anglican Diocese of Panama on a panel called “Exploring Religious Resistance to Climate Action.” “I’ll be focusing on understanding the reasons why many Christians (particularly in the U.S.) have a difficult time engaging with climate action, plus some helpful strategies for overcoming this resistance,” Webb said. “In particular, I’ll address shared values, paying attention to language, and using trusted messengers as communicators.”

Webb said that the chance to speak at this summit is an honor. “While I have expertise engaging American Christians on this issue (which certainly represents a strategic demographic when it comes to climate action), I also recognize that it’s far more important to center the voices of leaders from the Global South at COP,” he said. “It’s an honor to share the stage with three such leaders.”

According to Webb, the topic of religious resistance to climate action is important because the world’s religions have the power to move people to fight injustice and stand up for moral principles. “The climate crisis represents one of the greatest injustices because while climate change impacts everyone, it hurts the poor, the marginalized, and people of color first and worst,” he said. “If we can harness the power of religious institutions to mobilize the public in support of climate action then we have a good chance of solving this crisis.”

Before coming to Wooster, Webb spent 10 years working with non-profits to engage American Christians on climate action. He has published research on religious resistance to climate action in peer-reviewed publications. He also co-directs a program that brings emerging religious leaders to the COP, which helped secure this opportunity to speak on a panel.

As the director of campus sustainability at Wooster, Webb directs the College’s efforts to promote sustainability in everything that it does. “This includes educating students about environmental issues, leading the college’s efforts to promote renewable energy and conservation, recommending policies that align with best practices in sustainability, and working with departments to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum and student experience,” he said.

He is working to get Wooster accredited with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which would enable the College to send students to future COPs. He hopes that participating in the conference this year will lay the groundwork for this. The panel can be viewed online at https://faithatcop28.com.

Posted in News on November 20, 2023.

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