OSLO U.S. President Donald Trump is sending U.S. energy production “back to the past” with disastrous decisions to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and to promote the coal industry, a senior Vatican official said on Friday.
Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, said Pope Francis was concerned that any harm to the environment will be like a “boomerang that will come back … especially to poor people” with ever worsening effects.
Trump said on June 1 he was pulling the United States out of the 195-nation Paris climate agreement, the first to oblige all nations to limit greenhouse gas emissions, saying he wanted to create jobs in the U.S. fossil fuel industry.
Trump said participating in the pact would undermine the U.S. economy, wipe out jobs, weaken national sovereignty and put his country at a permanent disadvantage.
“This is to go back to the past and not to see the future,” Sanchez Sorondo, an Argentine like the pope, told Reuters in a telephone interview. He said future energy jobs would be in renewables, such as wind or solar power, rather than coal.
Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement “is a disaster for this country (the United States) and also for all the world”, he said, echoing remarks he made to an Italian newspaper just before Trump’s announcement.
Many other leaders have expressed dismay and anger at Trump’s withdrawal and pledged to push ahead with the Paris accord. Among them, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged action to protect “Mother Earth”.
The 2015 Paris Agreement aims to phase out greenhouse gas emissions this century to limit a rise in average temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.
The pope has urged Trump to be a peacemaker and gave him a signed copy of a 2015 encyclical about the environment in a meeting in the Vatican last month. Sanchez Sorondo said he had…