Resolution on Climate Change

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly has articulated the Jewish responsibility to address global climate change and work towards an environmentally responsible energy policy on a personal, communal, and national level with 15 resolutions since 1991;

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly is a founding partner of COEJL (Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life) and is a signatory to the 2012 COEJL Covenant Campaign to reduce our carbon footprint by 14%;

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly adopted in 2008 "The Green Covenant: A Jewish Pledge Toward Carbon Neutrality” and is a sponsor of Greenfaith’s Energy Shield program, offering merit certification to institutions that demonstrate commitment to environmental sustainability;

Whereas the international scientific community has reached broad consensus on the reality of climate change as a result excessive carbon emissions (U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007);

Whereas the proposed Keystone XL pipeline will not reduce our nation's reliance on petroleum but will instead increase carbon emissions due to the high carbon content of Canadian Tar Sands oil;

Whereas climate change globally disproportionately harms poorer communities, while greenhouse emissions come disproportionately from more affluent communities; and

Whereas recent catastrophic weather-related events around the world, including Super Storm Sandy, have brought further attention to the impact of climate change.

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call on the United States Congress and the Administration to address the climate change crisis by:

  • Providing financial incentives (such as a carbon tax) for all segments of society, including government, industry and citizens, to dramatically reduce carbon emissions;
  • Working in partnership with the automobile industry, energy sector and local government to invest in technology and infrastructure to dramatically increase access to electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles and to provide consumers with incentives to use these vehicles;
  • Investing more aggressively in renewable energy resources and increasing their use in power grids; and
  • Investing in infrastructure, including restoration of coastal wetlands, to reduce exposure of coastal communities to catastrophic damage from major tropical storms.

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly urge the United States Congress and Administration to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline;

Be it further resolved that members of the Rabbinical Assembly urge their local and regional governments and governmental officials in all countries where RA members reside to pass legislation establishing specific deadlines for reducing local and regional greenhouse gas output;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly ask its members to advocate within their own institutions and those of the broader Jewish community to conduct energy audits of their synagogues, schools, community centers, and other commercial buildings, as well as the private homes of their members and constituents;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly encourage its members to advocate that future construction of buildings of their institutions and those of the Conservative movement meet the EPA Energy Star standards wherever possible; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly urge its members and affiliated institutions to reduce energy use and carbon output in transportation by utilizing and encouraging the use of public transit, high mileage or hybrid vehicles, carpooling and bicycling whenever feasible.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, June, 2013