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Reform Jewish Leader Disappointed by Lack of Action in President’s Climate Change Initiative

Saperstein: Although a vision for a sustainable and greener future, President Bush’s proposal does not provide the necessary tools to address and prevent the needless destruction that is occurring in the world today.

Contact: Marc Katz or Rachel Slomovitz
         202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

Washington, DC | September 21, 2006 – In response to the release of the Bush Administration’s Climate Change initiative, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

While an important recognition of the seriousness of the issue of climate change, the Bush Administration’s proposed initiative on Climate Change fails to recognize the urgency of this environmental threat.

Chief among the Initiative’s flaws is its reliance on voluntary cuts and good faith, rather than requiring a reduction in harmful environmental emissions. The initiative also fails to mandate and support adequately, existing technologies, such as hybrid vehicles and alterative energy sources, that could help curb greenhouse gas emissions today. Instead, the Administration’s plan provides insufficient funding for long term research into technologies that experts tell us will not be viable for between 20-50 years. In the face of such delays, our greenhouse emissions and temperatures continue to rise, as evidenced by the news that the first 7 months of 2006 were the warmest January-July on record. Above all, the Initiative puts the burden of environmental health on future generations, rather than assuming the mantle of responsibility.

The Reform Movement believes deeply in the principle of Bal Tashchit, the biblical mandate that forbids needless destruction of our resources. Today, our policies and practices are slowly destroying the world around us. Action must be taken immediately to prevent further damage. Although a vision for a sustainable and greener future, President Bush’s proposal does not provide the necessary tools to address and prevent the needless destruction that is occurring in the world today.

We have the technology to make a significant and positive impact in our greenhouse emissions. We need policy that raises CAFÉ standards, promotes both current and innovative green technologies, and puts mandatory regulations on emissions. We are at a critical crossroads – one that will determine how the generations the succeed us view our commitment to the earth and to them.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is 
the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis


 



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