The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns released the following press statement on November 4, 2020, regarding the United States' formal exit from the Paris Climate Agreement.
For nearly four years, the Trump Administration has been making unfounded claims that the Paris Climate Agreement would cripple the U.S. economy and taking steps to withdraw from the global accord. Today, on November 4, the day after the U.S. election, while the world is facing a pandemic, economic crisis, and a climate crisis, the U.S. withdrawal from the Agreement has become official. Guided by Gospel values and the social teachings of the Church, the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns condemns this shortsighted and callous action and calls for its reversal.
“At a moment when global solidarity is needed more than ever, the Trump Administration has made a reckless decision in formally withdrawing from the Paris Agreement,” said Susan Gunn. “This move will cause irreparable harm to long-term U.S. economic stability as well as all life on Earth if the decision is not reversed and current climate trends continue.”
“Yet, after every vote is counted, it will be U.S. voters who will decide how soon we will rejoin the global community and the Paris Agreement,” she continued. The majority of Americans support taking action against climate change. While the election results remain unclear, no matter the outcome, people across the country will continue to move forward with climate action that will benefit the most marginalized communities in the United States and around the world.
“We will continue to take action for our planet and those who suffer from the impacts of climate change,” said Gunn. “We say again, as we said three years ago when President Trump announced his intention to withdraw us from the Agreement, ‘Catholics are still in.’”
Five years ago, in anticipation of the Paris Agreement, Pope Francis released his landmark environmental encyclical, Laudato Si’. The encyclical calls for action from the individual to the global level and warns of “political expediency that puts short term economic gains before the longevity of the planet.”
In his newly released encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis calls for a style of politics focused on concern for the common good. “Most fitting for today,” Gunn said, “are Pope Francis’ words in Fratelli Tutti, ‘Thinking of those who will come after us does not serve electoral purposes, yet it is what authentic justice demands.’”