The Blog

Live from COP22! (ISNA and Morocco pledge to go green)

Below is a guest blog post from Imaad Khan, a fellow teammate in the field of community engagement and climate, who attended the Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Marrakesh, Morocco (November 7- 18, 2016). He is a policy analyst at the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy; his work focuses on health care, climate, and community engagement. Imaad is a guest blogger for Green Muslims, all views are his own and do not represent Green Muslims. If you missed Imaad’s first post, check it out here!

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Photo: Nana Firman, Saffet Catovic, Imaad Khan, and Hareem Ahmed at COP22

Asalaamu  Alaikum everyone!

The last few days have been very energetic and productive and I’m glad for the opportunity to share these updates . First, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) announced on Thursday that it, along with five of its affiliated organizations, will be the first Muslim institution to officially join the Divest-Invest climate movement. ISNA has pledged to divest from fossil fuels based on the harm that the fossil fuel industry has caused to this planet coupled with Islam’s teachings that humans are the guardians and caretakers of the earth. I was in the room during Imam Saffet Catovic’s announcement, and he was received with a standing ovation.

You can watch a video of the statement here.

The Moroccan government made headlines before the beginning of the conference for announcing that 600 mosques would be “going green.” I had the opportunity to pray salaat al jumu’ah in Masjid Koutoubia, a mosque that was built in the 12th century, and see that announcement in action. As part of the conference, imams around the country gave khutbahs on the climate and Masjid Koutoubia was no different. The imam mentioned the strong relationship between Islam and the natural world, as well as the religious injunctions to care for the planet. After the khutbah, I met with Imam Saffet Catovic and co-director of the Global Muslim Climate Action Network, Nana Firman…we took a selfie.

I also got to interview Imam Saffet, so if you’d like an insider’s perspective on ISNA’s announcement as well as some ways you can get involved in climate action click here!

As part of the green initiative, the mosque now has a display set up outside that shows carbon emissions as well as solar power produced. Here’s what it looks like:

mosque

On Sunday I joined the climate march in Marrakech and was emboldened and encouraged by the outpour of excitement, love, and activism from the many different groups that were represented at the march. The march came a day before high level negotiations are to take place in Morocco, and I’m looking forward to updating you all on the outcomes from the COP as well as ways communities back home get take climate action.

Live from COP22! (and what the US election means for global action against climate change)

We are excited to introduce Imaad Khan, a fellow teammate in the field of community engagement and climate. Imaad agreed to share his insight with us while he attends the Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Marrakesh, Morocco (November 7- 18, 2016). He is a policy analyst at the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy; his work focuses on health care, climate, and community engagement. Imaad is a guest blogger for Green Muslims, all views are his own and do not represent Green Muslims.
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Photo: Imaad Khan and Hareem Ahmed at COP22
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Asalaamu Alaikum and Marhaba from Marrakech!

I’m writing to you from COP 22, the 22nd Conference of the Parties that serves as the United Nations Climate Change Conference. The “parties” referred to in the conference title are countries that are party to the UNFCCC, and they have been meeting every year since 1995 to negotiate and decide on the best ways to limit greenhouse gas concentrations in a manner that mitigates the effect of human interference with the climate. For a brief history of climate negotiations, visit Texas Impact’s resource page here.

The U.N. has dubbed COP 22 in Marrakech the “COP of Action.” Last year at COP 21 in Paris, the world agreed to take steps to confront the imminent effects of climate change. But it is in Morocco and beyond that world leaders will define what those steps actually are, and how and when their respective countries will take them. The conferences serve as a meeting for both government and civil society leaders, and NGO’s, businesses, and faith groups are represented. As such, I will be writing about events that various Muslim groups are holding at the conference, as well as any initiatives that Muslim countries are putting forward. I have also been connecting with Muslim climate activists to present their perspectives on how local communities can do their part in protecting and preserving our world.

Many participants at COP 22 have been asking about the effect the election will have on U.S. participation in the Paris agreement. It is important to note that formally pulling out of the agreement is a lengthy process that can take three years, with a one-year period of notice for leaving. The Paris agreement also does not bind the U.S. to certain emissions reductions imposed by foreign governments, as any reductions are nationally determined, meaning that the U.S. alone decides how it plans to reduce emissions. The U.S. has a long tradition of working with other world leaders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and I am hopeful that the passion for climate justice from leaders from all levels of government, businesses, and the civil society will continue unabated in the future. 

It is difficult to predict the effect that having a president that has publicly doubted human interference with the climate will have on international climate negotiations, but we must remember that climate action is larger than just one person. National delegations, non-state actors, businesses, and faith communities have all gathered together this year in Marrakech in solidarity with the idea that we must all contribute in one way or another to fight climate change. Humanity’s excessive extraction and burning of fossil fuels that has flooded our atmosphere with greenhouse gases has thrown off the balance of the climate system. It is our duty as Muslims to not only protect that balance, but to try and establish it again once it has been altered. 

وَالسَّمَاءَ رَفَعَهَا وَوَضَعَ الْمِيزَانَ

And the heaven He raised and imposed a balance

أَلَّا تَطْغَوْا فِي الْمِيزَانِ

That you not transgress within the balance

وَأَقِيمُوا الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تُخْسِرُوا الْمِيزَانَ

And establish weight in justice and do not create deficiency in the balance