Saperstein: "New, equitable, and comprehensive national and international policies are needed to truly tackle the environmental, economic, and public health challenge of climate change."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 7, 2009 - In response to the Environmental Protection Agencys formal finding that greenhouse gas emissions pose a public health threat, announced today on the opening day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
As the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen begins, we are encouraged that President Obama will travel to the conference next week armed with the official EPA finding that global warming pollution presents a public health threat. Of course, although the "endangerment finding" is a critical reminder of the urgent nature of the climate challenge, the religious community has long understood the danger posed by increased greenhouse gas emissions, as we already see our brothers and sisters around the world suffering from the impacts of climate change.
The EPA announcement, coupled with the Presidents travel to Copenhagen, gives us increased hope for success in forging a fair and effective global agreement. However, it is time for the United States Senate to act by passing comprehensive legislation that drastically cuts global warming pollution and ensures that the most vulnerable at home and around the world are protected.
As we prepare to kindle the Chanukah lights, we are reminded yet again of the precious nature of our energy resources, and our obligation to be responsible caretakers of Gods earth. I am proud that the Reform Movement is well-represented in Copenhagen by leaders like Rabbi Warren Stone, who are standing for a greener, more sustainable global future and sending the clear message to the world that now is the moment to make this dream a reality.
We applaud the Administrations decision to assert once again the danger posed by polluting fossil fuels, and to take steps to rebuild the United States on a foundation of clean energy and green jobs. Yet we know that new, equitable, and comprehensive national and international policies are needed to truly tackle the environmental, economic, and public health challenge of climate change.
We urge President Obama and the United States Senate to act on the EPA finding, at home and in Copenhagen, to ensure that the United States becomes the model for a more sustainable world. Like our Chanukah candles, such work can bring much-needed light to our world.