Catholic Relief Services dismayed over US intent to leave Paris Climate Accord

Baltimore, Md., Nov 6, 2019 / 12:03 am (CNA).- Catholic Relief Services, the official charitable arm of the U.S. bishops, is expressing strong opposition to the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.

“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 Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ executive vice president of Mission, Mobilization and Advocacy.

“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.”

On Monday, the United States gave its formal notification of its intent to exit the Paris Climate Accord.

The Dec. 2015 agreement, which 188 nations signed following the United Nations Climate Change Conference, came into force during Nov. 2016.

The coalition of nations agreed to attempt to limit the rise of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.

Pope Francis hailed the agreement as “historic” and said that it would require “a concerted and generous commitment” from members of the international community. Since then, officials of the Holy See have reiterated its view that climate change is a moral issue and has an effect on human dignity.

At a UN climate change summit in Poland in Dec. 2018, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin urged the implementation of the Paris Climate Accord by “easing the impact of climate change through responsible mitigation and adaptation measures.”

“The scientific data at our disposal clearly show the urgent need for swift action, within a context of ethics, equity and social justice,” Parolin said.

Some 60 dioceses in the United States have so far pledged to continue to support action to mitigate climate change, along with close to 200 religious communities, more than 100 parishes, and other Catholic groups in an agreement affirming the goals of the Paris Climate Accord.

President Donald Trump had announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the agreement after he took office in 2017, citing economic downsides to the plan’s implementation.

The United States is the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China. Trump has previously said that the agreement put “no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters” like China.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a formal notification to the United Nations of its intention to withdraw on the first possible day to do so, the BBC reports. UN rules meant it was not possible for the U.S. to start the withdrawal process until Nov. 4, 2019.

The withdrawal will take effect on Nov. 4, 2020, one day after the 2020 presidential election.

According to the BBC, the Paris Climate Accord included efforts to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100, as well as a review of each country's contribution to cutting emissions every five years.

Pompeo said the U.S. would instead follow “a realistic and pragmatic model,” using “all energy sources and technologies cleanly and efficiently.”

CRS said in a Nov. 4 statement that the Paris Climate Accord signifies international recognition that climate change is especially threatening “the most vulnerable who contributed the least to it,” and asserted that the agreement would “secure the cooperation, action and resources needed to address the problem.”

The agency also quoted Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si on the environment: “Faced with a climate emergency, we must take action accordingly, in order to avoid perpetrating a brutal act of injustice towards the poor and future generations.”

CRS noted that in Bangladesh, rising sea levels are encroaching on water tables and coastal homes. In Central America, CRS said in 2017, coffee farmers are losing their crops due to more frequent drought and because warmer temperatures help pests thrive.

According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the years 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 are the four warmest years in recorded history, with 2019 projected to be in the top three.

The next UN climate summit will begin in Madrid in December.

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  1. Oh dear. I’m really sorry to read about this but it makes me feel a little better for not supporting CRS in the past. This isn’t the first time they’ve gone off the rails.
    I hope they understand that many folks who believe the climate emergency hype additionally believe in compulsory population control.

  2. Thank God I stopped contributing to the CRS years ago. Will they also apologize to the Pachamama worshipers for the brave young man who removed their idols from the church in Rome and discarded them in the Tiber?

  3. This is a hoax! And the real agenda of this hoax is to enable population reduction in the form of planned parenthood and euthanasia. STOP IT NOW! Stop this hoax – it is not Catholic.

  4. Sadly NO ONE CARES What CRS and our Wayward Bergoglio F.- Laudato Si.cares Or Says about Climate Change etc. Worry instead about lost souls and Victims of Cleric Sex abuse at the Hands of B.F. Henchman like Grassi MC Carrick, Zunchetta ,Parras and Cocopalmeiro Etc,..,

  5. I am dismayed that they had a “married” gay serve as a vice president until they were exposed. I’m dismayed that they actively engage in distributing abortifacients. Need I go on? They will receive from me not one red penny.

  6. It’s in the details why this ‘agreement’ should never have been entered.

    It would seriously damage the US economy starting with the poor. China, India and a good part of Indonesia – currently the largest ‘culprits in emissions – have already been given credits for ridiculously low targets met.

    China continues with more than 2,000 coal-fired plants that are currently being built.

    And it takes Freedom of Information Acts to get the raw data that these people use in computer models that cannot control for variables in real time even a decade away let alone a century from now.

  7. I will be 75 this year. If information gained through first-hand experience matters in a discussion on climate change (….is the Earth warming up?) I’d have to believe the science. My daughter has a Birthday in early September, around the time school began. A Fall chill always accompanied our last minute school preparations. Here we are 45 years later and that Fall chill doesn’t happen until mid-October! That’s 6 weeks later!! That’s climate change; the world is heating up in the State of Maryland, USA!

  8. Leslie,
    If the type of wooly worm I’m thinking of is entirely a dark color this fall, that’s a very bad sign according to folklore. But there are many types of caterpillars throughout the country and some are solid dark every year.

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