National Energy Policy

Resolution Adopted by the CCAR


Resolution adopted at the 111th

Convention of the

Central Conference of American Rabbis

March, 2000


Since the 1970s, the organized Jewish community has

consistently supported federal policies and programs to reduce U.S.

consumption of fossil fuels. The United States’ historic and

increasing reliance on fossil fuels compromises our national security

by creating dependence upon oil-producing nations; causes and

exacerbates illness for millions of our citizens; and degrades our

environment – through acid rain, global warming, and the destruction

of natural areas.

For 25 years, the organized

American Jewish community has unanimously advocated action to reduce

our nation’s reliance on fossil fuels through energy conservation and

the development of environmentally sound, non-nuclear energy

technologies. We have advocated investment to accelerate the

development of new technologies when they were largely underdeveloped.

We urged action to reduce fossil fuel use before climate change was

confirmed. We supported the development of public transit before many

Americans spent hours each day in traffic.


decades of advocacy by public interest groups, pressure from

industrial interests and consequent Congressional inaction has

prevented progress. In 2000, the average fuel economy of all new

passenger vehicles is at its lowest point since 1980, while fuel

consumption is at its highest. American vehicle manufacturers are

significantly behind Japanese competitors in bringing new auto

technologies to market. U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, already the

highest per capita in the world, are rising steadily. Trends are

equally poor across a broad spectrum of American energy use. We have

made almost no progress in 20 years.

We stand at the beginning

of a new century. The vast majority of scientists and policy experts

agree that if dramatic action is not taken soon, it is very likely

that human well-being and global geo-political stability in the 21st

century will be gravely affected by global climate change. In

addition, many economists believe that aggressive development of

environmentally friendly technologies and products will create U.S.

jobs, enhance U.S. competitiveness in the global economy, and

demonstrate U.S. leadership toward a sustainable energy future for the

entire planet.

We have a solemn obligation to do

whatever we can within reason both to prevent harm to current and

future generations and to preserve the integrity of the creation with

which we have been entrusted. Not to do so when we have the

technological capacity – as we do in the case of non-fossil fuel

energy and transportation technologies – is an unforgivable abdication

of our responsibility.

Therefore, the Central

Conference of Rabbis calls upon all Reform households, schools,

synagogues, and camps to:

  • develop environmental policies for our religious


  • consider installing solar Ner Tamids, Eternal Lights,

    for our religious sanctuaries;

  • dedicate a Shabbat or holiday to discuss energy

    consumption from a Jewish perspective;

  • join interfaith communities nationally this

    year, the 30th anniversary of Earth Day which occurs during

    Passover, to show our Jewish support for seeking alternative energy

    sources and reducing consumption.

Furthermore, the CCAR calls upon Congress

and the Administration to set aside

the concerns of special interests and do the following:

  • encourage the development of alternative

    energy sources, i.e., solar, hydro, fuel-cell, wind

  • close the loophole that allows sport

    utility vehicles, mini-vans, and pick-up trucks (over 50% of passenger

    vehicles sold) to meet significantly lower fuel economy standards than


  • raise

    Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for all passenger

    vehicles to a minimum of 45 miles per gallon by 2010 and 65 miles per

    gallon by 2020;

  • support investment in environmentally friendly energy


  • phase

    out all subsidies for coal, oil, and nuclear industries by


  • provide tax

    credits for investments to make homes and buildings more energy


  • create

    progressively strict emissions standards, including carbon dioxide

    emissions, for all power plants regardless of fuel source or