AJC to Climate Conference: We Need Clean, Secure Energy

AJC sent the following letter to all delegations gathered in Copenhagen for the 15th UN Climate Change Conference.

December 9, 2009

To World Leaders and Delegates to the UN Climate Change Conference:

The dual challenges posed by our global utilization of energy – climate change and the security concerns associated with the sources for petroleum, the world’s chief transportation energy resource – are among the most significant challenges facing the United States, and the rest of the world. As a global Jewish advocacy organization with over 175,000 members and supporters represented by regional offices across the United States and with offices around the world, the American Jewish Committee looks to the UN Climate Change Conference now taking place in Copenhagen as a key component in the effort to move our nation and the world toward the path of clean and secure energy.

AJC has understood for over thirty years the profound environmental, societal and geopolitical dangers associated with the fashion in which America and the world are economically and environmentally linked to petroleum use in the transportation sector. For this reason, AJC has sought domestic policy changes directed at reduction of American petroleum consumption through energy efficiency, conservation and development of alternative fuels and vehicles. In addition, we have supported efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as followed “green” corporate practices. In the legislative and policy arena, our work has focused on promoting legislation such as the Open Fuel Standard Act and strengthening of CAFE standards, efforts that serve the purpose not only of enhancing security but also, because reduced petroleum use means reduced carbon emissions, combating climate change and protecting the environment.

In addition, we are mindful that whatever the United States may do, there will be meaningful progress on all of these fronts – security, climate change and the environment – only if the international community is united in its energy efforts. It is in this spirit that we call upon the leaders gathered in Copenhagen to focus on energy development and use issues through the lens of promoting clean and secure energy. If the climate conference fails to focus on energy security issues, real and daunting aspects of our global energy challenge will go unaddressed.

Accordingly, AJC calls on the world leaders and COP delegates meeting in Copenhagen to forge an agreement that addresses:
• What the world community will do to reduce security risks associated with our dependence on petroleum as the chief transportation fuel;
• What industrialized nations will do to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to safe levels;
• What developing countries will do to limit the growth of their own greenhouse gas emissions;
• How to protect tropical forests and other carbon-absorbing ecosystems around the world through sustainable development;
• How to support the global development and distribution of clean, renewable and more secure energy technologies;
• How good, green jobs can be developed to empower all people to take part in building a more sustainable society;
• How to bolster the climate resilience of vulnerable countries and protect lives and livelihoods;
• What finances will be made available for climate change adaptation and mitigation to address the disparity in resources between industrialized and developing countries;
• An effective institutional mechanism for disbursing funds for these purposes, and an equitable, accountable governance structure for these funds.
Richard T. Foltin
National and Legislative Affairs
Henry Dubinsky
AJC Energy Committee

Date: 12/11/2009 12:00:00 AM