Media CenterCRS Opposes U.S. Withdrawal from Paris Agreement

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Tom Zolper
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
(410) 951-7110


BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, November 4, 2019 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) strongly opposes withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and urges the United States to rejoin as soon as possible.

“Every day CRS and its local church partners witness widespread suffering by tens of millions of people around the world from the direct impacts of climate change. American leadership is absolutely necessary to tackle this critical global issue,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ executive vice president of Mission, Mobilization and Advocacy. “The U.S. must not turn its back on the rest of the world at a time when urgent action is needed."

The Paris Climate Agreement is a concrete pledge affirming the shared responsibility to care for the planet. It signifies international recognition that climate change is threatening everyone, especially the most vulnerable who contributed the least to it. No single country can stop these impacts alone; the Paris Agreement would secure the cooperation, action and resources needed to address the problem.  

“With the planet warming at an alarming rate and the poorest of the poor left to withstand the consequences, there will undoubtedly be more global instability, forced migration and conflict,” O’Keefe said. “It is not too late to take meaningful steps to care for creation and mitigate some of the worst impacts of climate change, which is why we hope our government reconsiders this misguided decision.”

In his 2015 encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis called for collective action to care for our common home. He has since said: “Faced with a climate emergency, we must take action accordingly, in order to avoid perpetrating a brutal act of injustice towards the poor and future generations. “

CRS works in over 100 countries, and in most of those nations climate change is exacerbating poverty, conflict and unstable governance. CRS works to help communities build resilience to worsening weather and other stresses. In the so-called dry corridor of Central America, for example, CRS helps subsistence farmers increase their maize and bean yields even during drought. In the Philippines, the organization is helping relocate an entire community to avoid catastrophic damage from typhoons. CRS helps farmers in Africa survive as the expanding Sahara Desert threatens to swallow the entire Sahel region, and countless other vulnerable people adapt.  

CRS will continue to urge the administration to robustly fund humanitarian and development programs – including the Green Climate Fund – that help vulnerable communities adapt to the changes in their climate.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuildingFor more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Tags: Advocacy