Winchester Cathedral is joining the nationwide call for all churches to ring their bells on the eve of CoP26, the United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow.

The Ring Out For Climate Change campaign is being led by Edward Gildea, a Christian Aid climate campaign organiser who is asking churches to ring their bells at 6pm for thirty minutes on Saturday October 30, as a warning of the climate emergency and to mark the start of the conference.

The Revd Roly Riem, Vice-Dean at Winchester Cathedral said: “We all know that COP26 is important. Five years after the Paris Agreement, the nations are updating the contributions they pledge to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Action is urgent as the rise already stands at 1.1 degrees. We’re grateful to our bell ringers for sounding a call for climate justice at 6pm this Saturday, on the eve of the conference. We stand with all the leaders and delegates, praying that they take bold and imaginative steps to preserve our planet.”

The UN Climate Conference, CoP26, will see 196 world leaders and an expected 20,000 delegates meet in Glasgow to work together to commit to a reduction in emissions to avoid a climate emergency. It comes just months after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change described global warming as a “code red for humanity”.

The bell ringing campaign has already been endorsed by the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, the CoE’s lead bishop on the environment, who will join the delegation in Glasgow.

He said: “Church bells have traditionally been rung through the centuries to raise the alarm for local communities. The recent “code red” report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an alarm call for us all.

“I am happy to endorse a nationwide “ring out for climate change” on the eve of the COP26 as a symbol of warning, but also of hope, that this conference will lead to action for us all, like Jesus, to tread more gently on our single island planet home and care more for those already adversely affected by climate change, especially in the economically poorest places on earth,” he added.

Almost half of all the 42 Church of England Cathedrals have achieved an Eco Church Award by the Christian nature conservation charity, A Rocha UK. Projects range from LED lights, solar panels, bug hotels, replacing disposable cups and plates, to re-wilding and woodland projects. Winchester Cathedral was awarded a Silver Eco Church Award in 2019 for taking steps in encouraging an environmentally friendly approach in its ministry and operations.