WASHINGTON, December 12, 1997 - Mark J. Pelavin, associate director of Reform Judaism's Religious Action Center, today called the recent international climate change treaty negotiated in Kyoto, Japan, an "historic accord" which "holds the promise of a safer, cleaner, healthier world for our children."
The full statement of Mr. Pelavin follows:
In the months before the international climate change summit in Kyoto, we urged the Clinton Administration to reach a binding agreement to significantly reduce American fossil fuel emissions. Joining with much of the organized Jewish community, we called for a treaty which commits the industrial nations to reduce their carbon emissions below 1990 levels by the year 2010. This recommendation was based on our concern for the health and well-being of future generations, for the Torah teaches us to "choose life, that you and your descendants may live." (Deut. 30:20)
The historic accord that was signed in Kyoto, calls on the U.S. to cut our emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2012. Even lower than the Clinton Administration's original proposal, which was to stabilize emissions at 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012, it is a truly historic agreement for it holds the promise of a safer, cleaner, healthier world for our children.
We are pleased that the U.S. showed flexibility in its stance and ultimately championed and joined an agreement which demonstrates our nation's commitment to address the threat of global warming. Active U.S. participation in this effort to curb greenhouse gases is a critical step in leading developing nations of the world, including China and India, to act.
We commend the Clinton Administration - and, in particular, Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat and White House environmental adviser Katie McGinty - for its leadership in ensuring a better future for our children. We will continue to urge American industries and research institutions to develop more environmentally efficient and clean technologies that will, in the long- run, strengthen, rather than negatively impact, the U.S. economy.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews and 1,800 Reform rabbis in 875 congregations throughout North America.