As I watched President Trump announce that he’s pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, I felt massive disappointment. I thought about all the people this will affect, and one in particular came to mind, a Malawian man named Fambi. He’s married with six children, 3 girls and 3 boys, and works as a farmer, and I remembered him because I heard his story just ahead of the Paris climate talks at the end of 2015.
The erratic weather there has affected his ability to feed his family – every year, Fambi told us, there just wasn’t enough to food to feed them. He said that if he could meet world leaders face to face, he'd convince them of the need to act on climate change.
I wondered how he’ll feel when he hears of President Trump’s actions. I hope he’ll know that we’re still standing alongside him, praying and calling on our governments to keep their Paris promises despite this.
We’ve come so far
Over the last 25 years we've seen massive progress for people in communities like Fambi’s. The number of people living in poverty has been halved, life expectancy's risen, and more people have healthcare and education. But the effects of climate change threaten to halt that progress and push people back into poverty. That's why the Paris Agreement was - and still is - so important and such good news.
Thankfully other big economies such as China and India are discovering how renewable energy can be a catalyst for a booming economy, creating green jobs and flourishing businesses, while reducing carbon emissions. We’ve seen that here in the UK too, as in the last few years we’ve cut our greenhouse gas emissions and the economy’s grown at the same time. It’s good to hear so many world leaders say they’ll stick to what they promised in the Paris Agreement.
Many Americans are too. State governors, city mayors, and business leaders were falling over each other to say they’ll go on tackling climate change anyway even if the White House is quitting. I was particularly struck by a couple of iconic American drinks - Budweiser will be brewed using only renewable electricity, and Coca Cola are going renewable. It’s good for business – putting up solar panels and wind turbines is usually cheaper now than building new fossil fuel power stations to generate electricity.
This is what the Lord Almighty said 'Administer true justice: show mercy and compassion to one another.' Zechariah 7:9So this announcement makes me angry and disappointed because it's not merciful or compassionate. It could slow down the world's response to climate change and mean unnecessary suffering for people in many countries - people who Jesus tells me are my brothers and sisters. But I’m also hopeful because so many people in the US and round the world are not turning their backs, they’re rolling up their sleeves to get on with the job. Fambi included. Me too.
Ben Niblett, UK