The World Council of Churches (WCC) has censured President Donald Trump for his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord, an agreement the president said gravely disadvantaged American workers.
In an official statement from its executive committee, the WCC said that the President’s decision “has grave consequences for the impoverished and vulnerable, for our children’s children, and for the entire planet, putting at risk people’s access to clean water, food, shelter and secure livelihoods, and undermining efforts for environmental sustainability and for peace.”
The 25-member executive committee met in Bossey, Switzerland, from June 7-12, to discuss a number of issues, at which time it issued its statement.
“We will continue to work even harder with movements, multi-faith groups and likeminded governments to build climate-resilient communities,” the statement said. “As Christians, we do not only have hope, we will live out that hope in action.”
— WCC Climate (@WCCclimate) June 8, 2017
The WCC itself has often been criticized by evangelical Christians and others for its “political radicalism,” its embrace of homosexuality, its pacifism, and its opposition to the State of Israel. The Roman Catholic Church has never applied for membership to the Council.
In his June 1 speech announcing the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, President Trump said that the accord would “subject our citizens to harsh economic restrictions” while failing “to live up to our environmental ideals.”
“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States,” he said.
“As someone who cares deeply about the environment, which I do, I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States — which is what it does -– the world’s leader in environmental protection, while imposing no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters,” Mr. Trump said.
In an interesting twist, the World Health Organization (WHO) has placed the U.S. among the cleanest and pollution-free nations on the planet.
In the most recent WHO report on air pollution, the United States was listed as one of the countries with the cleanest air in the world, significantly cleaner in fact than the air in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, Japan, Austria, and France.
While France and other G7 countries lamented the U.S. exit from the Paris climate accord, America’s air is already cleaner than that of any other country in the G7, except Canada.
Following standard practice, the WHO measures air pollution by the mean annual concentration of fine suspended particles of less than 2.5 microns in diameter. These are the particles that cause diseases of all sorts and are responsible for most deaths by air pollution.
The annual mean concentrations of particulate matter in the air range from less than 10 to over 100 µg/m3, the report states. At the very low end of the spectrum, the United States has a concentration of just 8, while China has a concentration more than seven times higher at 59, India at 66, Egypt at 101, and Saudi Arabia with the worst air pollution at 127.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome.