Today, President Trump announced his intent to start the process of withdrawing the United States from official party status to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Once the process is finalized in 2020, the United States will join only Syria and Nicaragua as the lone countries not party to the agreement. The agreement, which entered into force on November 4, 2016, has been signed by 195 countries and ratified by 147. China, India, the E.U., and dozens of other countries have reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement in recent weeks.
A recent Yale Program on Climate Communication poll found that 7 in 10 Americans believe that the U.S. should participate in the Paris Agreement, and that Trump voters believe the same by a nearly 2-1 margin. These majorities join over 1,000 businesses, 14 governors, and 75 mayors in support of the Paris Agreement.
In response, national organizer and spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, released the following statement:
“With his decision today, President Trump has once again positioned himself on the wrong side of history. By characterizing the Paris Agreement as a top-down constraint on economic growth that is “a bad deal for America”, he betrays his ignorance of the actual structure and spirit of agreement. He damages both America’s reputation abroad and its economic competitiveness in the coming clean energy revolution. He may hope to negotiate a “better deal”, but will find a world unwilling and uninterested in engaging an America that has willingly shut itself out.
More than the economic and geopolitical consequences, however, the impact that this rash and unnecessary decision will have on the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people is staggering. Already, millions of people in the U.S. and around the world are struggling to adapt to rising seas and more extreme weather. These are the very people that we are commanded by our Lord to love with the same commitment and tenacity that we show to ourselves and our own loved ones. The President’s open disregard for their well-being is a moral travesty and an affront to our faith as followers of Christ.
So, we invite the President and every other political leader that stymies climate progress to take note: young evangelicals overwhelmingly support the Paris Agreement and strong climate action. We will continue to take hopeful action to address climate change and to love our neighbors both here and around the world. As we do, we reject your disdain for the well-being of those suffering from the impacts of a changing climate. We bear witness to your moral failure, and we will not forget it.”