By Lisa Zengarini
US Bishops have welcomed the outcome of the Leaders' Summit on Climate Change convened by President Joe Biden on April 22-23, marking Washington’s return to the front lines of the fight in the climate crisis.
The Summit followed the new Administration's decision to rejoin the Paris Agreement signed in 2015 by 190 parties at the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) with the aim of preventing worst-case scenarios for global warming.
Renewed commitment for climate change
During the online meeting, President Biden announced that the United States will target reducing emissions by 50 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
He also underscored America’s commitment to leading a clean energy revolution, creating good-paying jobs and helping vulnerable countries adapt to climate impacts.
Other world leaders taking part in the meeting, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s President Xi Jinping, also committed to curbing domestic greenhouse emissions and to tackling global warming.
Ambitious and welcome national goal
US Bishops have expressed their support for these commitments and have welcomed the “renewed American leadership on climate change”, while backing Pope Francis’ message to the Summit calling for a cleaner, healthier and conserved environment.
“We commend the Biden Administration’s commitment to climate stewardship and environmental justice, consistent with the decision to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement," reads a statement signed by Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development and International Justice and Peace, respectively.
According to the Bishops, the pledge by the US Government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030 “is an ambitious and welcome national goal.”
The call for a just transition
At the same time, recalling Pope Francis’ call for integral ecology, the statement warns that the “movement towards a net-zero emission world must also emphasize just transition so that working families who rely on the energy sector are not left behind.”
US Bishops have consistently supported the Paris Agreement, expressing their regrets for President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in 2017.