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Dominican Justice Promoters: Oppose U.S. Withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement

Sister Marcelline Koch Signs National Call
To Keep U.S. in Global Agreement

About the photo: Dominicans at COP25. From left, Sister Cecilia Espinella, Laurence Blattmer, Sister Marcella Zambrano, Father Xavier Gomez.


A strongly-worded letter to delegates attending this week's UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid includes the signature of Springfield Dominican Sister Marcelline Koch, who represents Dominican sisters and brothers from North America as the co-promoter of Justice, Peace, and Care of Creation. Her co-promoter is Dominican Father Brendan Curran of the Central Dominican Province.

"It is unconscionable that the United States is pulling back from the Paris Climate agreement at a time when climate-related events are exacerbating hunger, conflict, and global migration," the letter states.

"As the largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, the United States has a moral obligation to work with other nations to prevent further climate change and to protect vulnerable people and ecosystems experiencing its effects first and worst," it continues "There is growing evidence of climate change on the ground, such as more intense droughts in Central America and East Africa, fires in California and the Amazon and Indonesia, and powerful storms in Asia and the Caribbean. These climate-related events are exacerbating hunger, conflict and global migration."

The letter asks the Dominican delegates attending the conference, known as COP25, to "publicly oppose the United States' withdrawal from the Parish climate agreement and move forward with action that will benefit all."

Read the letter.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the withdrawal on November 4, 2019, the earliest possible date nations could indicate their intentions to leave this cooperative effort of 197 countries, signed in Paris in 2015. The withdrawal will not take full effect for one year, or November 4, 2020, one day after the U.S. Presidential election.

"The science makes it patently clear that Earth and all people and nations are at great peril from climate change unless the global community takes action now," Sister Marcelline said. "We Dominicans, along with many others, are amplifying that message and, with God's help, hope to reverse the decision announced by the U.S. Government in November. We still have time. The decision isn't final until next November 4."

Jubilee Farm, an eco-spirituality center near Springfield, is the Springfield Dominican's ministry most closely identified with the struggle to end the proliferation of greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. The sisters have also been committed to reducing energy usage at their motherhouse. Watch this video about steps taken in 2012 to reduce by more than half the energy used at the facility on West Monroe Street, or be inspired by Sister Sharon Zayac's explanation of the birth of the Universe, Earth, and all Earth's creatures.

The Dominican Sisters of Springfield are part of a worldwide Dominican family, the Order of Preachers. For more than 800 years, Dominicans have preached the Gospel in word and deed. The Springfield Dominicans were established in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1873 and relocated to Springfield in 1893. Today, thousands of Dominican sisters, nuns, priests, brothers, associates, and laity minister in more than 100 countries around the world. You can learn more about the Dominican Sisters of Springfield by browsing this website.

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