CRC Office of Social Justice Statement on U.S. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement
On Monday, November 4, President Trump began the formal process of withdrawing the U.S from the Paris Climate Agreement. This action by the president deepens the climate crisis as it reverses the United States’ initial commitment to reduce greenhouse gases up to 28% by 2025. The unique nature and significance of the Paris Agreement cannot be overlooked as it marked the first time that all the nations of the world agreed to common strategies to reduce the harm caused by climate change.
We lament that the U.S. will no longer be a part of this global agreement. We also lament the impacts this decision will have on the world’s most vulnerable people and future generations.
CRC ministries in the U.S. and around the world are extremely worried about the effects that climate change is already having on the poorest of the poor. In the U.S., climate change threatens the health, homes, and livelihoods of millions of people. Since 2014, the U.S. has spent over $400 billion in responding to weather and climate change disasters. Additionally, reports from World Renew field staff note the already devastating effects of climate change on the vulnerable communities with whom they work. Flooding, drought, and other extreme weather are exacerbating poverty in many parts of the world. It is unjust for the United States to turn its back on communities most impacted by the climate crisis.
As a denomination which has declared climate change as “an ethical, social justice, and religious issue” (2012 Synodical Statement on Climate Change), we will continue to advocate for a vigorous response to climate change because we know that if we do not respond, people in poverty will continue to suffer the consequences. Despite this setback, we will continue “to be voices for justice and public examples in the effort to live sustainably within our God-given resources… and to seek justice for the poor and vulnerable among us and for future generations” (2012 Synodical Statement on Climate Change).
Despite the President’s action, local leaders, businesses, organizations and individuals across the nation have declared their intent to continue to work towards the goals of Paris. We are encouraged by this and we call on you to continue to uphold our compelling moral obligation to care for the environment and creation.
Take this action from our partners at Young Evangelicals for Climate Action: Tell Your Elected Leaders to Support the Paris Agreement!
“Today, in the wake of the United States taking action to pull out of the Paris Agreement, Greta Thunberg’s impassioned speech at the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit, numerous climate-care marches in cities across North America, and environmental concerns taking a primary place in last month’s Canadian federal election, several CRCNA leaders are adding their voices to this ongoing conversation.
‘In 2012, the Christian Reformed Church in North America considered the issue of creation care and publicly stated, ‘Love of God, love of neighbor, and the demands of stewardship are more than enough reason for evangelical Christians to respond to the climate change problem with moral passion and concrete action,’’ wrote Steve Timmermans, executive director of the CRCNA”
If you’re not sure what to say, or how to say it, in response to the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, consider using this short summary and prayer as a guide.
On Monday, November 4, President Trump began the formal process of withdrawing the U.S from the Paris Climate Agreement. This action by the president deepens the climate crisis as it reverses the United States’ initial commitment to reduce greenhouse gases up to 28% by 2025.
The Paris Agreement, which entered into force November 4, 2016, was signed by 196 countries. Each of these nations committed to tackling climate change and supporting a transition to a clean economy. There was hope that U.S. leadership in this agreement would strengthen its impact abroad and increase renewable energy usage in the U.S. Now that the U.S. has begun the formal process to withdraw from the agreement, we continue to pray for national and international cooperation in response to the threat of climate change.
Our world belongs to God - every square inch of it. Because of this, we affirm a commitment to work vigorously to protect and heal the creation for the glory of the Creator. Despite this setback, we will continue to be faithful stewards of creation, voices for justice, and public examples in the effort to live sustainably with our God-given resources in the spirit of the Paris Agreement.
God our Creator, we confess.
We have not cared for your creation you have called us.
We have been selfish and wasteful.
We have been short-sighted and partisan.
We have been lulled by comfort and profit.
We have forgotten our identity as the caretakers of your world.
We have sinned. Help us to change.
God our Sustainer, we are afraid.
The threat of a warming climate -- of extreme weather, of rising seas, of floods and droughts, of displacement and war -- is sobering and frightening.
We know that those who are most impacted by this decision are the ones who are most marginalized: the orphan and widow, the migrant and the poor.
We know that when we turn a blind eye to their suffering, we turn a blind eye to you.
Embolden us, Lord, with a fierce love for our you and for our neighbor.
May our trust in your providence look more like courage than complacency.
God our Redeemer, we are your people.
The power that brought Jesus out of his tomb is a power that dwells among us today.
It is the power of life, of abundance, of promise, of hope.
Fill us with that power.
Help us to be loving, intelligent, energetic, courageous and imaginative in the ways that we respond.
Help us to draw nearer to one another, and nearer to you, in the work that is to come.
Draw near to us and show us the way.
Come quickly, Lord.