ELCA Advocacy is deeply disappointed with President Trump’s decision to begin the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. The effects of climate change are being felt globally, and vulnerable and the marginalized populations are most impacted. These are communities who have contributed the least to the greenhouse gas emissions and are ill equipped to mitigate or adapt to the impacts of climate change. Our goal must be to develop and forge ahead with policies that safeguard against these impacts. We are called by God to protect all of creation. The Paris Agreement is a key tool in doing this on a global scale. It represents an unprecedented cooperation among world leaders to address one of the direst issues facing humanity and the rest of creation today. The viability of our planet is being threatened in extraordinary ways. Without action, we are relinquishing our responsibilities for the prosperity of future generations.

Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that human activity is contributing to climate change by emitting greenhouse gases that change the earth’s atmosphere. This is causing the earth to warm, which results in climate changes never experienced before.

The stresses of climate change are real, impacting practically every fiber of our existence, including health, food security, water, hunger, agriculture, migration and national security. The Paris Agreement is landmark in international climate policy, and helps to set the agenda for action now and in the years to come.

As a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, United States has an obligation to the world to address climate change. But the United States is also in a unique position to maintain its global leadership on international climate action. Inaction will allow the devastating effects of climate disruption to continue.

As disciples of Christ we affirm that we address climate change in a number of ways. While supporting government policies that we believe will help mitigate the effects of climate change we also recognize the importance of individual actions. We as individuals must change, that is, reduce our energy consumption. This will mean lifestyle changes, but as stewards of creation we owe that God and to the future generations. We must live more sustainably. Our children’s future are dependent upon us being stewards of  and protecting the earth.

Many of our daily choices on how we use natural resources play an important role. Lutherans Restoring Creation, one of ELCA’s partners, have a number of resources to help congregations and ministries with modeling good stewardship. As believers in, but not of, the world we pursue a multipronged approach to living out our faith. As ELCA Advocacy we will continue our advocacy efforts.

The requirement for the United States to maintain its global leadership presence could not be more urgent. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is contrary to our nation’s principled character.  We urge President Trump to reverse his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.