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Columbans strongly oppose US withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement

  • Jenny Labbadia and Ellen Teague

President Donald Trump has announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate accord.

The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, an advocacy office of the Missionary Society of St Columban, serving as the line of communication between Columban missionaries serving in 15 countries around the world and policy makers in Washington, DC, says: "Columbans serve communities across the globe who daily face the devastating impacts of a dramatically changing climate. Our mission experience of living with poor communities impacted by environmental degradation compels us to work for the full restoration of our relationships with all of Creation."

Scott Wright, Director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, responded: “Columbans around the world stand strongly opposed to this decision. Withdrawal from this crucial agreement directly jeopardises the health and sustainability of our common home, including vulnerable communities both at home and abroad.

"Climate change is an unprecedented phenomenon in recent human history, affecting every aspect of life. The magnitude, severity, and urgency of climate change are difficult to fathom. Our response to the crisis of climate change must be prophetic, both for the well-being of the vulnerable and of the planet. Withdrawal from the agreement undercuts our positive relationship with the rest of the world, jeopardising cooperation on many global efforts and weakening our response as one global family united in our efforts to respond to the destruction of climate change.

"This shortsighted refusal by the administration to prophetically address climate change will have consequences. It will exacerbate the negative effects of climate change, including forced migration, food insecurity, conflict, and disease, to name only a few. These impacts will be primarily borne by the most vulnerable who contribute to climate change the least.

"Called by our faith and the reality of those we serve around the world, Columbans will continue to stand against policies that negatively affect the communities we serve, our common home, and the poor and vulnerable who inhabit it."

Ellen Teague of the UK Columban Team for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, says: “President Trump's refusal to commit to the 2015 Paris Agreement is disastrous since the US is a top emitter of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere which are causing increasing instability in global climate. While all other G-7 countries recently reaffirmed their commitment to the 2015 agreement to limit greenhouse gas emission, the United States stood alone. President Trump’s refusal to sign onto the pact came after three days of intense lobbying by other leaders, including Pope Francis.

"He was strongly lobbied to stay within it by groups such as the Global Catholic Climate Coalition and the US-based Catholic Climate Covenant. Two weeks ago their petition of 15,000 signatures were presented to President Trump asking that his administration honour the Paris Agreement, contribute to the Green Climate Fund, and implement the Clean Power Plan. Catholics, including ourselves, contributed to the twitter storm on 1 June urging President Trump not to withdraw from the Agreement.

"We urge President Trump to read the copy of the encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ recently presented to him by Pope Francis! And our own Columban work to address the causes and impacts of climate change will continue with even greater dedication."



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