For Immediate Release: December 7, 2015
Contact: Jonathan Gilad, Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Washington, D.C., – The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) sent Jewish representation to the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris last week with a Religions for Peace USA interfaith delegation. There, the Coalition advocated for finance, loss and damage, just transition, and human rights in the final agreement. Looking towards the second week of negotiations, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life issued the following statement:
The Jewish community believes that we have a moral obligation to act on climate change. We are in Paris at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, in the U.S., and around the world watching this historic moment. We are hopeful that the momentum we have seen in this first week of negotiations will culminate in a strong agreement by the end of this week. We hold four central principles that we believe are critical for an agreement:
I. Stewardship – As Jews, we are charged with being stewards and guardians of the earth and our shared natural resources. An agreement coming out of the 21st Conference of Parties must be ambitious. We will not support an agreement that locks in low ambition with insufficient targets for emissions or without a mechanism to ratchet up ambition over time. We believe that an ambitious agreement is necessary for environmental stewardship, a value critical for our communities.
II. Justice – We have a moral obligation to champion the needs of the poor and vulnerable around the world. As Jews, we support a new framework of dynamic differentiation of common responsibilities. The burden of emissions reductions is shared between all nations, but must be differentiated in its application in both adaptation and mitigation efforts. Incorporating a loss and damage mechanism into the core agreement is fundamental to this end. Accounting for losses and damages to climate change by least developed countries and small island states is necessary for a just framework for combating climate change. As historic emitters, we hope that the our United States negotiators and elected officials will take leadership in this area, along with the leaders of other developed countries.
III. Sustainability – A final agreement of the Conference of Parties must be sustainable. We believe that a sustainable agreement must include robust financial support for a clean energy transition in developing countries. As the Jewish community, we see support for an energy transition as pragmatically critical for serious and equitable emissions reductions.
IV. Dignity – We recognize the human dignity and worth of every person and therefore hope to see an agreement that recognizes in particular the rights of indigenous people, women, and other groups especially vulnerable to climate change. We also recognize the need for a just transition for all workers to ensure an economy that serves all people.
We urge our leaders around the world to work together to protect us and future generations from the dangers of a changing climate.
COEJL is an initiative of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Jewish partner to the National Religious Partnership on the Environment. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs is the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community and serves as the advisory body for the 16 national and 125 local Jewish community relations organizations.