USCCB-CRS Letter to Secretary of State Pompeo on Paris Agreement, November 14, 2019

Year Published
  • 2019
  • English

Printable Version

November 14, 2019

The Honorable Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC  20520

Dear Secretary Pompeo,

We write to you regarding our country’s responsibility for advancing environmental protection and addressing climate change. The Paris Agreement is a concrete pledge affirming our shared responsibility to care for the planet. It signifies international recognition that the ecological crisis imperils the entire human race, especially the most vulnerable communities who contributed least to the crisis. When it comes to protecting the environment and life on earth, “a global consensus is essential for confronting the deeper problems, which cannot be resolved by unilateral actions” (Laudato Si’, no. 164).

Unfortunately, even the most advanced economies on the planet have collectively struggled to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement. Without aggressive improvements in technology and policy innovation, the goals of the Agreement run the risk of ringing as hollow rhetoric. At this time, when nothing short of an ‘energy revolution’ is needed to meet our global ecological challenges, to withdraw from the Paris Agreement forfeits U.S. leadership.

Addressing energy executives earlier this year, the Holy Father stated that the global energy transition represents “the greatest leadership opportunity of all, one that can make a lasting difference for the human family, and one that can appeal to your boldest dreams and ideas.” As countries struggle to meet their emissions reduction goals, the challenge to deliver clean energy is an opportunity for American ingenuity and economic leadership to demonstrate that we can get the job done. Multiple bipartisan carbon pricing bills have been introduced in Congress and cutting-edge energy research initiatives are already underway on American soil; the Administration should support these efforts.

We have witnessed in our own work the devastating impact that climate change is already having on the lives of the families and communities we serve in the United States and around the world. The American people stand to benefit from limiting the rise of average temperatures, increased investment in climate adaptation and truly sustainable economic growth. Beyond our borders, societies highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change benefit from commitments to low-emission and climate-resilient development through the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which we continue to urge you to support. Assistance for the poor and vulnerable who disproportionately suffer from natural disasters, storms, droughts, conflict, diseases and food scarcities that are further exacerbated by climate change allows them to build stable, secure communities.

Climate change is one of the principal challenges of our time and U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is a critical step in the wrong direction. There is still time to recommit our nation to caring for creation, protecting life, safeguarding the economy, and ensuring secure and affordable energy. We pray that our nation may demonstrate the courage and leadership to remain in the Paris Agreement and take even bolder steps to prevent the worst impacts of the changing climate.

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio
Archbishop for the Military Services, USA
Chair, Committee on International Justice and Peace
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane
Bishop of Venice, Florida
Chair, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Sean L. Callahan
President and CEO
Catholic Relief Services