WASHINGTON, DC, March 30, 2017 -- Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is profoundly disappointed with the Administration’s roll back of U.S. commitments to combat climate change,and recent announcements to cut funding intended to help those globally who are most at risk of climate change disasters.
Released on March 27, the “Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” called for the reversal of the Clean Power Plan and other measures taken by the last Administration to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and avert catastrophic increases to average global temperatures. The new executive order also rescinds the former Administration’s Climate Action Plan, which among other things called for U.S. leadership in promoting climate resilience in developing countries.
“As Pope Francis made clear in his encyclical on the environment, climate change is real, it is driven by carbon emissions, and we have a moral obligation to stop damaging the environment and help those who have been harmed by it,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ vice president for government relations and advocacy. “Investments in climate resiliency are investments that help small farmers deal with drought, and poor villages strengthen their defenses to typhoons and floods – these are the people Pope Francis called on us to help.”
The changes in U.S. policy come on the heels of Administration announcements to end all U.S. funding for the Green Climate Fund in Fiscal Year 2018 and cuts in Fiscal Year 2017 funding for bilateral climate change programs implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“Climate change is hurting agriculture, spreading disease, and making natural disasters worse all around the world,” O’Keefe said. “Refusing to help now will only lead to more conflict, migrationand instability, and that is not in the U.S. interest."
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 peacebuilding. For more information, visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org.