Catholic organisations condemn Trump’s Paris agreement withdrawal

Trump Paris Agreement

Catholic organisations in the United States are condemning the Trump administration as it begins to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Citing economic downsides to the plan, on June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump said he would pull out of the deal at the earliest possible date.

It makes the US the only nation in the world to be outside the Agreement.

Calling the move “realistic and pragmatic”, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced the beginning of the US withdrawal.

“Today we begin the formal process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement”.

“The U.S. is proud of our record as a world leader in reducing all emissions, fostering resilience, growing our economy and ensuring energy for our citizens”, Pompeo tweeted.

However two US Church groups, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS), are left feeling less proud.

LCWR says it is “profoundly troubled” by the White House’s move.

“The failure of the United States to fulfil its 2015 commitment will dishonour our nation and threaten our common home,” it added.

“Catholic teaching is clear: climate change is a grave moral issue that threatens our commitment to protect human life and dignity; to exercise a preferential option for the most vulnerable; to promote the common good, and to care for God’s creation,” said Carol Zinn, LCWR executive director.

CRS, the official charitable arm of the US Catholic bishops, similarly opposes the move saying the US is turning its back on a “concrete pledge affirming the shared responsibility for the planet.”

“The U.S. must not turn its back on the rest of the world at a time when urgent action is needed,” said CRS’ executive vice president Bill O’Keefe.

“With the planet warming at an alarming rate and the poorest of the poor left to withstand the consequences, there will undoubtedly be more global instability, forced migration and conflict,” said  O’Keefe.

CRS is urging the country to rejoin the agreement as soon as possible.

“It is not too late to take meaningful steps to care for creation and mitigate some of the worst impacts of climate change, which is why we hope our government reconsiders this misguided decision,” O’Keefe says.

The Paris Agreement was reached in 2015 at the COP21 United Nations climate summit.

195 countries agreed to reduce their national greenhouse gas emissions toward limiting average global temperature rise “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and as low as 1.5 C (2.7 F).

NCR reports that climate scientists have identified 1.5 C as the threshold where the most severe impacts of climate change such as rising sea levels, longer droughts and more powerful storms.

Climate change is an issue which is challenging Catholics around the world.

It has also raised the concern of the past three popes.

The Church’s interest is due in large part because threats to life posed by a warming world are often experienced first and most severely by the poor and vulnerable, despite these people contributing little to the problem.


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