UPDATE: other church leaders’ statements
Presiding Bishop on the President’s action and the Paris Climate Accord
June 1, 2017
This statement was released by The Episcopal Church here.
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry has issued the following statement on President Donald Trump’s action and the Paris Climate Accord.
With the announcement by President Donald Trump of his decision to withdraw the commitment made by the United States to the Paris Climate Accord, I am reminded of the words of the old spiritual which speaks of God and God’s creation in these words, “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” The whole world belongs to God, as Psalm 24 teaches us. God’s eye is ever on even the tiny sparrow, as Jesus taught and the song says (Luke 12:6). And we human beings have been charged with being trustees, caretakers, stewards of God’s creation (Genesis 1:26-31).
The United States has been a global leader in caring for God’s creation through efforts over the years on climate change. President Trump’s announcement changes the U.S.’s leadership role in the international sphere. Despite this announcement, many U.S. businesses, states, cities, regions, nongovernmental organizations and faith bodies like the Episcopal Church can continue to take bold action to address the climate crisis. The phrase, “We’re still in,” became a statement of commitment for many of us who regardless of this decision by our President are still committed to the principles of the Paris Agreement.
Faith bodies like the Episcopal Church occupy a unique space in the worldwide climate movement. In the context of the United Nations, the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, we are an international body representing 17 countries in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia and the Pacific. We also are a provisionally admitted observer organization to the UNFCCC process, empowered to bring accredited observers to the UN climate change meetings. Furthermore, the Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the third-largest Christian tradition, and we remain committed to ensuring that Anglicans everywhere are empowered to undertake bold action on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
We know that caring for God’s creation by engaging climate change is not only good for the environment, but also good for the health and welfare of our people. The U.S. is currently creating more clean jobs faster than job creation in nearly every other sector of the economy, and unprecedented acceleration in the clean energy sector is also evident in many other major economies.
My prayer is that we in the Episcopal Church will, in this and all things, follow the way, the teachings and the Spirit of Jesus by cultivating a loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, all others in the human family, and with all of God’s good creation.
In spite of hardships and setbacks, the work goes on. This is God’s world. And we are all his children. And, “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
More church leaders comment on the President’s action here.
… the Church of England’s lead bishop on the environment, the Bishop of Salisbury Nick Holtam, went much further with an outright condemnation of President Trump’s decision, which he described as an “abject failure of leadership.” …
“How can President Trump look in the eye the people most affected, including the world’s poorest in the places most affected by climate change now, and those affected by increasingly frequent extreme weather in parts of the USA? The leader of what used to be called ‘the new world’ is trapped in old world thought and action.”
… “For the US government to withdraw from taking responsible action in keeping with the Paris agreement is an abject failure of leadership. The USA emits nearly a fifth of global CO2 emissions. This step is particularly disappointing at a time when China, the world’s other mega-emitter of CO2, has committed to deep and sustained cuts in emissions to protect its own citizens as well as the rest of the world.
…The decision was also condemned by leaders of other Christian traditions and ecumenical bodies.
“This is a tragedy, missing an opportunity to show real, accountable leadership for the future of humanity and our common home,” the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Revd Olav Fykse Tveit, said. “This is a decision that is not morally sustainable; and not economically sustainable either. The struggle for climate justice has to continue.”
Rudelmar Bueno De Faria, the general secretary of the Act Alliance, an organisation which includes a number of Anglican development agencies, said: “Only 18 months ago global leaders welcomed the landmark Paris Climate Agreement for taking into account the immediate needs of countries most severely affected by the impacts of climate change. The move by the President of the United States today flies in the face of ethics and Christian values.”
Last month, Pope Francis presented President Trump with a copy of his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’ during a visit to the Vatican. The chair of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops international justice and peace committee, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, described President Trump’s decision as “deeply troubling.”
“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. President Trump’s decision will harm the people of the United States and the world, especially the poorest, most vulnerable communities.
“The impacts of climate change are already being experienced in sea level rise, glacial melts, intensified storms, and more frequent droughts. I can only hope that the President will propose concrete ways to address global climate change and promote environmental stewardship.”