A Seat at the Table: Rev. Emily Carroll to Attend UN Climate Conference

Mark Lambert
November 13, 2023

At the United Nation’s Nov. 28 climate change conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the spotlight will shine on increasing ambition, assessing existing goals, and strengthening commitments that slow the march to global warming.

But Rev. Emily Carroll, pastor of Shady Grove United Methodist Church in Mansfield and a part of the delegation of United Methodists attending the convention, will have a more personal focus. 

She plans to tell the stories of how climate change has affected people like many of those in her northwest Louisiana congregation and community – the disenfranchised, people who have little money or clout.

“I am going to bring light to the story and the plight of how climate change affects African Americans in disproportionate numbers,” she said. “I can tell the stories of how it affects people whose stories are not often told.”


The conference is officially known as the Conference of the Parties 28, or COP28, with “parties” referring to the 197 countries that participate and “28” designating the 28th annual meeting. The conference will host 70,000 delegates from around the world. It wraps up December 8.

Rev. Carroll was invited to the conference by the UMC General Board of Church and Society, which has a non-governmental, consultative status with the United Nations. This allows the board to participate in UN meetings, such as COP28.

On the heels of the hottest summer on record, Rev. Carroll said it’s important for world leaders and delegates to understand how extreme heat disproportionately impacts minorities and low income communities.

“This summer, we couldn’t go outside. It was over 100 degrees,” she said. “The power keeps going out – too much on the grid – and we have no relief. I have members who are seniors, and there’s nothing to do but pray for a breeze and go to the library for a few hours.”

Rev. Emily Carroll

Born and raised in Oakland, California, Rev. Carroll worked in the banking industry before being called to the ministry. She moved to Atlanta, went to seminary, and became a Baptist preacher, following in her father’s footsteps. When her mother, a retired teacher, became ill in 2018, Rev. Carroll left her role as Associate Minister to Children and Youth in Durham, North Carolina., and moved to Desoto Parish to take care of her mom.

“When I moved here, it was suggested I meet with the United Methodist Church in Louisiana,” she said. “After a couple of interviews, they accepted my credentials.”

Rev. Carroll was given an “Other Fellowship” appointment and assigned to St. James UMC in Shreveport. She served there until taking over at Shady Grove in June, 2020.

Rev. Carroll also serves as the Northern Field Director for Green the Church, a national organization “that taps into the purpose and power of black churches as it relates to environmental awareness,” she said. “The work I do with Green the Church is to ensure the stories of the black church, for environmental justice, are brought to the forefront.”

In Louisiana, the fracking, petrochemical, and refinery industries have flourished, giving large corporations huge profits off the state’s natural resources. More attention should be focused on the environmental and economic costs of those industries, especially on how they impact African Americans, Rev. Carroll said.

“We have a high number of children with asthma,” she said. “All air isn’t equal. Some people’s air quality is better than others.”

The COP conferences came about because the United Nations wanted to have a vehicle to address these kinds of environmental issues and “to have a framework for addressing climate change” on a global level. “Science says our world is warming because of the greenhouse gases, methane gas, and pollution. The COP28 says, “What can we as humans do to slow it down, combat it?’”

Rev. Carroll said she is “stoked” to be invited to the conference, “excited there’s space for the conversation and excited it’s happening on a world stage. Just to be able to be at the table, that is a success.”
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