Jewish organisations call on the British government to address climate change


As a major conference took place in Paris this week, Jewish organisations called on the British government to address climate change.

Over the next fortnight, negotiators from 195 countries will gather at the COP 21 conference to try to reach a deal aimed at reducing global carbon emissions and limiting global warming the internationally agreed target of 2°C.

In support, and as the conference coincides with Chanucah, the Board of Deputies launched its "1 for 8 Eco Chanukah Challenge" to stretch one day’s worth of fossil fuel “oil” consumption over all eight days of Chanucah.

Some of the Board's suggestions to limit fuel consumption include having a meatless or car-free Chanucah, wearing jumpers and turning heating down to limit energy, and making organic latkes.

Board vice-president Sheila Gewolb said: "The issue of climate change is one that affects the whole community, and as Jews, we have a responsibility to look after the environment for our children and grandchildren."

On Sunday, Jewish, Muslim and Christian organisations took to the streets of London on the UK’s largest-ever climate change march. Around 50,000 people called on the British government for better investment in renewable energy, green infrastructure and new clean jobs.

The interfaith march ended at Westminster for a final rally where the Jewish community was represented on stage by Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner. She was joined by Dr Ruth Valerio, churches and theology director at Arocha UK, and Shanza Ali, director of Muslim Climate Action, who read a public statement of interfaith unity.

Rabbi Janner-Klausner said: “Right now, something irreversible is happening, something that will destroy the gift we’ve all been given, Christian, Muslim, Jew, people of any faith and none.

"Our earth is gathering scars and scratches from overuse and abuse. There’s no insurance policy. We can’t replenish lakes and trees, oil and minerals, melting ice caps. But together, we can halt this damaging process.”

Richard Verber from World Jewish Relief said: “These are difficult times. Tackling the refugee crisis, confronting climate change and responding to the terror attacks in Paris and elsewhere require coordination.

"When both human lives and the earth itself are threatened, it is vital that we are united and not divided. In order to address a truly global problem we need to see governments working together at the Paris summit.”

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