The Bishop of Salford said it was a pity the president had 'seemingly not read' the copy of Laudato Si' he was handed by Pope Francis

Bishop John Arnold of Salford has said that Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement is an “abdication of responsibility” that puts him on the “wrong side of history”.

In a letter to the Times, Bishop Arnold noted that Pope Francis had given the president a copy of Laudato Si’ at their meeting last month.

It was “a pity that the president has seemingly not read it”, the bishop said, as “he would have seen that the Holy Father asks why anyone would want to be remembered for their inability to take action in the face of the environmental crisis”. Bishop Arnold, who is chairman of Cafod, the bishops’ overseas aid agency, added that it was “for Donald Trump to decide whether to remain isolated on an issue that will define our time”.

Graham Gordon, Cafod’s head of policy, said: “President Trump argued that he is ‘someone who cares deeply about the environment’. Walking away from the problem and ripping up your obligations are strange ways of showing this.”

The Paris agreement was a commitment by 195 countries to reduce carbon emissions.