February 25, 2006
The United States and many other countries have become increasingly dependent on oil in the Middle East. U.S. foreign policy is constrained by the burden of protecting oil supplies in nations whose autocratic governments are often hostile towards democracies and the West in general and the U.S. and Israel specifically. As stated at the 2001 Plenum, the JCPA wishes to reaffirm our support for the development of a comprehensive national energy policy that increases U.S. energy independence by reducing our reliance upon fossil fuels – particularly oil from the Middle East – through energy efficiency and the development of environmentally-clean, safe, affordable, alternative energy sources and technologies. The U.S. Congress should adopt new policies that maximize these efforts.
Since the Jewish Council for Public Affairs first addressed the issue of climate change in 1997, the evidence that human activity is causing climate change has become compelling. Serious debate in the scientific community is no longer about whether climate change is occurring, but rather by how much and how fast. Some experts believe we may only have a decade to make major changes in worldwide energy policies before the effects of a warming planet become irreversible.
The community relations field should:
- Educate and advocate on the importance of climate change as an issue in environmental, religious, ethical and moral terms and lobby for the reversal by the US Government on the Kyoto Accord;
- Urge the Jewish community to work with those in leadership positions within their communities and in businesses to demonstrate what can be done to tackle climate change – independent of government regulation. Among the meaningful responses to this most urgent environmental challenge are: ‘Greening’ Jewish institutions in building design and operations; encouraging members of the Jewish community to make sustainable choices, such as conserve energy at home and on the road; and committing individual companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
- Participate in interfaith efforts to engage other groups outside the Jewish community to take action on climate change; and,
- Support legislation materially similar to S2025/HR 4409, the bipartisan “Fuel Choices for American Security Act”, currently pending in Congress.