After President Trump’s announcement today that the United States will withdraw from the Paris agreement, CWS President and CEO Rev. John L. McCullough issued the following statement:
“CWS strongly condemns President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Coming at a time when the world is facing its largest humanitarian and refugee crisis since World War II, this decision will directly impact impoverished and vulnerable communities around the world and in the United States that are already facing the consequences of a changing climate.
“Our children’s very future is at stake.
“As this is being announced today in Washington, more than 20 million people are on the brink of starvation in East Africa because of drought. Millions more are either battening down, preparing for or already recovering from the 2017 Tropical Cyclone and Hurricane seasons. Americans are not exempt from these disasters; the communities with whom CWS works in the United States are disproportionately affected. We don’t need science anymore to prove to us that climate change is real. We are witnessing it with our own eyes and in our own communities. What we need is for the administration and the United States Congress to act—not avert their eyes from facts.
“The Paris Agreement did not deliver complete climate justice for the world’s most vulnerable communities, but it remains the hard-won product of tough discussions between 195 nations who have now negotiated for nearly two decades. It represents climate-specific accords that undergird the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, also agreed upon in 2015. The United States played a significant a significant role in Paris Agreement negotiations. Withdrawal will exacerbate tensions with traditional allies and isolate the United States from crucial international negotiations.
“A crucial component of the Agreement was the pledge by rich countries to contribute $100 billion a year to help poorer countries prepare for and adapt to climate change. The Obama Administration committed $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, which has recently aided climate-vulnerable nations’ investment in early warning systems, climate smart agriculture and flood management systems. The Trump Administration, in addition to deciding to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, has also zeroed out U.S. contributions to this fund in its proposed budget.
“Our CWS team is proud of the development gains made through our global programs and by our local partners, often in the face of adverse circumstances. But climate change continues to make our work more challenging. To withdraw now that the warming of the earth is accelerating is folly. We need more action to face climate change, not less. We need to act with urgency—not to retreat.”
CWS works with local partners in more than 30 countries around the world to prepare for climate change. We are training communities to adapt to changing weather conditions, develop climate smart agriculture, diversify crops, better harvest and manage water resources and build renewable sources of power. We help communities rebuild homes and livelihoods after disasters. In the United States, our team works with local churches and community groups to increase awareness of environmental risks, map out hazards and vulnerabilities and become more resilient over time. Learn more at cwsglobal.org.
Laura Curkendall and Christina Levin, firstname.lastname@example.org