Washington, D.C., September 17, 2015 – Today, Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19) and nine other House members introduced H.Res. 424. This resolution acknowledges the impacts of climate change, and expresses a commitment to addressing its causes. Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, Chairperson of the Coalition on the Environment in Jewish Life (COEJL), issued the following statement:
“Today in Congress we see a glimmer of hope for America to accept reality, and responsibility. This newly-introduced resolution has been a top Jewish and interfaith priority for some time, to set us on course for combating climate change – and towards a new and constructive dialogue in Congress about solutions to our generation’s most pressing problem.
Communities across the United States and around the world are already experiencing climate impacts, such as rising sea levels, increased extreme weather events, devastating droughts, and attendant social unrest. This is of great concern to us as Jews, who have a moral obligation to look out for the most vulnerable, to act as environmental stewards, and to be partners with God in the work of protecting Creation. Acknowledging climate change’s causes and effects is the first critical step toward mitigating its severity, and helping those impacted to adapt to this unprecedented challenge.
The timing of this resolution, just days before Pope Francis’ historic address to the joint session of Congress, is significant. Also significant, for us, is that the Pope and his message will be in the headlines just as we gather on Yom Kippur to ask unsettling questions about our own culpability, and emerge committed to positive change. May all elected officials join us in acknowledging environmental reality, and working together to ensure that we and our descendants enjoy a healthy, habitable Earth in years to come. We call on the House of Representatives to support House Resolution 424, and ensure its swift passage.”
COEJL has been an initiative of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs since 1993 and serves as the Jewish partner in the National Religious Partnership on the Environment. Today, COEJL’s priorities are to mobilize the Jewish community to address the climate crisis through advocacy for appropriate legislation as well as action to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions.
JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 16 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.