President Donald Trump’s decision “not to honour the US commitment” to the Paris climate agreement “is deeply troubling,” said the chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace.
“The Scriptures affirm the value of caring for creation and caring for each other in solidarity. The Paris agreement is an international accord that promotes these values,” Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, said in a statement released shortly after the president made his announcement in the White House Rose Garden.
“President Trump’s decision will harm the people of the United States and the world, especially the poorest, most vulnerable communities,” the bishop said after Trump announced the US will withdraw immediately from the Paris accord.
“The impacts of climate change are already being experienced in sea level rise, glacial melts, intensified storms, and more frequent droughts,” Bishop Cantu said. “I can only hope that the president will propose concrete ways to address global climate change and promote environmental stewardship.”
Trump said the climate accord “is less about the climate and more about other countries obtaining a financial advantage over the United States.”
He said he wants to create a “level playing field” and establish the “highest standard of living, highest standard of environmental protection.” The United States now joins Syria and Nicaragua in not being part of the accord.
Bishop Cantu said that although the Paris agreement is not the only possible mechanism for addressing global carbon mitigation, the lack of a current viable alternative is a serious concern.
He said the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Pope Francis “and the entire Catholic Church have consistently upheld the Paris agreement as an important international mechanism to promote environmental stewardship and encourage climate change mitigation.”
Before Trump made his announcement, Bishop Cantu issued a statement saying the United States had an obligation to honour the Paris agreement to protect “our people and our planet” and “mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.” He urged Trump to honour the accord.
Picture: Protesters carry signs during the People’s Climate March on 29th April outside the White House in Washington. The US bishops urged President Donald Trump to honour the nation’s commitment to the Paris climate pact and protect the planet. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts).