Catholic community affirms support for Paris Agreement on climate change

June 1, 2018

Declaration signers see global warming as moral issue

Catholic organizations nationwide are declaring their support for the 2015 Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions. The U.S. was one of 195 nations to adopt the agreement; but in June 2017, President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the treaty.

The Catholic Climate Covenant, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and others have been collecting signatures for a declaration that Catholic organizations across the nation continue to champion actions that meet the climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. CHA is a signatory to the declaration and one of 16 national members of the Catholic Climate Covenant, which guides the Catholic Church in the U.S. in its response to climate change.

The "U.S. Catholic Climate Declaration" says, in part: "Climate change is an urgent moral issue because it compromises the future of our common home, threatens human life and human dignity, and adds to the hardships already experienced by the poorest and most vulnerable people at both home and abroad."

The Catholic Climate Covenant is collecting signatures for the declaration through June 11 on its website: On the website, the organization also provides background information, a question-and-answer guide, handouts, videos and other materials about the Paris Agreement and the Catholic Church's support of it.

On June 18, in honor of the third anniversary of Pope Francis' climate change encyclical, Laudato Sí, the Catholic Climate Covenant will announce the names of the organizations that have signed the declaration.

Mitigating harm
The December 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement establishes a framework for participating nations to collaborate to reduce carbon emissions. To guard against the most dangerous effects of climate change, signatories agreed to rigorous, measurable efforts to contain the rise in global average temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius as compared with preindustrial average temperatures.

The declaration is part of the "We Are Still In" campaign, which the Catholic Climate Covenant says is "a U.S. civil society response to President Trump's announced U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement." More than 2,600 organizations — including cities, states, tribes, businesses, investors, universities, nonprofits and churches — have joined We Are Still In, according to information from the Catholic Climate Covenant.

The Catholic declaration says the church's support of the Paris Agreement is directly tied to Catholic social teaching. Quoting the bishop conference's 2001 "Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good," the declaration says global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms.

"It is about the future of God's creation and the one human family. … It is about our human stewardship of God's creation and our responsibility to those who come after us."




Copyright © 2018 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.

Copyright © 2018 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.