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Catholic organizations decry U.S. decision to abandon climate accord


Smoke billows from a plant in late October at sunset in Wismar, Germany. (CNS photo/Daniel Reinhardt, EPA)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic leaders said President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change agreement snubs the needs of impoverished people around the world and eschews responsibility to begin addressing the causes of global warming.

They joined a broad cross section of U.S. society and world leaders and organizations in decrying the June 1 announcement.

Trump's decision sets in motion a long formal process for withdrawal from the agreement, which entered into force Nov. 4. Under rules of the agreement, no nation can withdraw until November 2019 and mandate a one-year notice period. The earlier total withdrawal can be accomplished is in November 2020.

The leaders focused their concerns on the needs of communities around the world that they say contribute least to climate change but suffer the most from it. They pointed to impoverished people who have been forced to migrate to other lands to make a living because of drought, changing weather patterns or rising sea levels.

Many organizations pointed to Pope Francis' 2015 encyclical, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home," in which he called all people to respect God's creation and remember that the welfare of each person is integral to human life and future of the planet.

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