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Statement on the US Government’s Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC), meeting in Bossey, Switzerland, on 7-12 June 2017, expresses its deep disappointment at the recent decision by the US President to withdraw from the Paris Agreement concluded in December 2015.

11 June 2017

World Council of Churches

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Bossey, Switzerland

7-12 June 2017

Doc. No. 12 (final)

Public Issues Statements

The document is available in Arabic.

 

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it (Psalm 24 :1)

The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC), meeting in Bossey, Switzerland, on 7-12 June 2017, expresses its deep disappointment at the recent decision by the US President to withdraw from the  Paris Agreement concluded in December 2015.

The US President’s decision to withdraw from its commitment to lower green house gas emissions as well as to financing the Green Climate Fund has grave consequences for the impoverished and vulnerable, for our children's children, and for the entire planet, putting at risk people's access to clean water, food, shelter and secure livelihoods, and undermining efforts for environmental sustainability and for peace.

Based on overwhelming scientific evidence confirming that climate change is real and accelerating and driven substantially by human activity, and in the knowledge that climate change is a major impediment to the enjoyment of human rights not only for the most vulnerable but for all people, the onus is on all of us to do our utmost to halt emissions now in order to slow this already dangerous process.

The WCC has always emphasized that wealthy, industrialized nations such as the US have a moral and ethical obligation to act first and to act immediately. The US could have set a powerful example of what it means to be an accountable, responsible and justice-loving member of the international community in responding to this global challenge. Instead the current US administration has chosen to step back from a better future - including for its own citizens – from both environmental and economic perspectives.

The WCC Executive Committee:

  • Urges the US government to reconsider this decision, in light of the environmental, economic and existential impacts on its own citizens as well as on the whole world.
  • Expresses its solidarity and support for the churches, national and state councils of churches, and church-related organizations in the USA in their efforts to respond to this development from the basis of their faith commitments to justice, peace and the integrity of creation.
  • Recognizes and applauds the response from some states, municipalities, companies and other organizations and communities in the USA reaffirming their commitment to abide by the principles of the Paris Agreement in spite of their government's withdrawal.

The WCC shares the conviction that the shift towards a low-carbon and sustainable future is both essential and already unstoppable. As churches, we will continue to work even harder with movements, multi-faith groups and likeminded governments to build climate-resilient communities. As Christians, we do not only have hope, we will live out that hope in action.