Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Representing Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, and Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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U.S. Climate Commitments a Welcome Step Forward

The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns issued the following statement on Earth Day, April 22, 2021, in response to the new U.S. climate goals announced by the Biden administration. 

Read the statement as a PDF.

April 22, 2021

The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns welcomes the United States’ return to the global effort to address climate change with the Leaders Summit on Climate at the White House and the announcements of the first ever climate finance plan and a new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the goals of the Paris climate agreement. 

Susan Gunn, Director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, said: 

“I applaud President Biden for hosting 40 world leaders to discuss climate change, one of the leading existential threats of our time, and for setting goals for the United States that we believe are achievable and point us toward right relationship with the Earth and with each other. 

“For more than five years, Pope Francis has called us to an ecological conversion grounded in a culture of care, in listening to communities on the margins – especially indigenous communities. The scientific consensus on climate change and the pope’s teaching require a transformational change from the personal to the political. So much needs to be done, and today’s news is just a start, but it is a good step forward in the right direction.” 

Chloe Noel, Faith Economy Ecology Program Coordinator for the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, said:

“The new NDCs and international climate finance plans make a just and equitable recovery possible. In order to protect the Earth and everyone on it, we need to make sure both domestic and international projects associated with these plans are rooted in community-level participation and are respectful of human rights and environmental integrity.  

“We know that climate change is already having dire consequences and much more needs to be done with the policy tools that already exist. We urge our Congress to pass legislation to expand the policy tools available so that we can make the progress we need to meet and exceed President Biden’s NDC pledge and provide the finance developing countries need.

“For more than a year, people around the world have endured health, social, and economic hardships stemming from COVID-19 as well as the impacts of climate change. The twin crises have pushed economies and individuals to the knife’s edge of survival. 

“In his video message for Earth Day, Pope Francis said, ‘Covid and climate change prove that we do not have time to wait.’ We agree. It is long past time for decisive action for a more just and sustainable future. We pray today’s decisions help push us forward.”