As a faith leader, you can help inspire your congregation to care for God's creation.

SUBSCRIBE

Paris Accord: These Churches Want the U.S. Back on Track with Climate Solutions

By Nichole Tucker
(resize font)

The long-awaited decision from President Donald Trump on the Climate Change Paris Accord was one that many climate leaders do not approve of. In the faith community, a similar response arose, but rather than simply opposing Trump’s choice, these organizations are urging him to reconsider.

African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church

Social Action Commission Director Jackie Dupont-Walker considers the Paris Accord to be America’s “seat at the table,” in relation to climate change. Without it, she believes that people in America’s most vulnerable communities and beyond our borders in Africa and the Caribbean will be left out.

However, with a seat at the table, the opportunities that the United States will have to make a difference on climate issues are plenty. Still, Dupont-Walker highlighted key actions that the United States should strive for. These ambitions include;

  • community-drive emissions cuts
  • leaving fossil fuels in the ground
  • environmental human rights policies
  • no fracking
  • no “clean” coal

The only way to ensure these climate goals are met is for America, as a dedicated United Nations member state, to remain active in climate solutions globally. This is not only the belief of Jackie Dupont-Walker but fellow AME signatories Bishop John F. White, Bishop McKinley Young, Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie, and Bishop Frank M. Reid III.

The AME Church is not the only church or faith organization in the support of the Paris Accord; joining their plea is the United Church of Christ (UCC), the Catholic Church and Catholic community.

 United Church of Christ

Climate solutions are a part of caring for the creation: this is a key belief of the United Church of Christ. Having this view, UCC has stated:

President Trump's decision to abandon the Paris Climate Accord violates the values and vision that are basic to Christian faith.

Aside from the church’s disappointment about the Paris Accord decision, they have already begun to put new solutions in place to make up for what the federal government will not do for the climate.

  • Take on moral leadership- As one of the world’s biggest stakeholders, the U.S. President is opting out of work on climate change; thus, shepherds of God must lead from the pulpit.
  • Make a change- Pulpit leadership doesn’t stay in the pulpit. The congregation will leave the doors of the church and pass their wisdom to the rest of the community.
  • Speak out to the public- Although faith leaders will lead their congregants, that should not stop them from reaching out to state and local government officials about the importance of climate solutions in their community.

Similar to the AME Church, UCC wants to end fossil fuel extraction from the ground and desires accessible renewable resources for all.

Catholic Church

The Catholic Church was troubled upon learning that the United States has reversed its climate change pact commitment. Mentioning the values of the Catholic Church and how the Paris Accord upholds many of them, the Vatican released a statement, then regional Catholic leaders like Bishop Oscar Cantu were inspired to speak out.

Unlike many other organizations, the bishop is not asking President Trump to re-enter the Paris Accord, but he does urge Trump not to back away from climate progress. Cantu begins by reminding everyone of what’s at stake if the U.S. gets off track on climate change. Here’s what he had to say:

“President Trump's decision will harm the people of the United States and the world, especially the poorest, most vulnerable communities.”

The Paris Accord is not the only way that America can contribute to climate solutions, as Bishop Cantu suggests. In order to still have a positive impact, the President must act on the following climate promises that he made to the country;

  • “create a level playing field”
  • “establish the highest standard of living”
  • “establish the highest standard of environmental care.”

Joining Bishop Cantu, these other Catholic organizations have also made statements about America’s exit from the Paris Accord:

  • Adrian Dominican Sisters
  • Global Concerns
  • Catholic Democrats
  • Global Catholic Climate Movement
  • Franciscan Action Network
  • Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Blessed Tomorrow

As an organization designed to support and empower climate leadership, Blessed Tomorrow applauds the statements of the AME Church, UCC, the Catholic Church, and other faith organizations who were against U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord.