Trump pulls out of Paris climate accord: Bay Area Jewish community reacts

Leaders of Bay Area Jewish environmental groups blasted President Trump’s announcement on Thursday that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, a landmark agreement among 195 nations to combat the effects of climate change.

Urban Adamah executive director Adam Berman summed up his reactions with five words: “short-sighted, illogical, and embarrassing.”

“If you believe the near universal consensus among senior scientists from around the globe the you know climate change is an urgent challenge facing humanity,” he said. “So pulling out of an international agreement, even though it’s much weaker than the scientific community has said it needs to be, seems to be counter productive to a world that supports life, and healthy communication to achieve that.”

Maggid Zelig Golden, Wilderness Torah’s founding director, was also troubled by President Trump’s announcement.

“I think it’s a travesty,” he said. “I think that under [President] Obama we finally made some progress in what is the most pressing issue of our age, climate change. Trump is setting the clock back when we simply can’t afford to move backwards.”

Golden suggested that the community now has a responsibility take action. “In our homes and synagogues we need to use as much renewable energy as possible,” he said. “We need to buy hybrids and electric cars.”

In a written statement, Goldman Environmental Foundation president Susan Gelman said, “We strongly condemn the president’s decision, as it is a direct threat to the Earth and to future generations that will inhabit it…. we must not let the administration’s actions define America’s fight for a greener future.”

Berman also noted that people need to get involved with the political process. “My suggestion would be, the most urgent calling is for people to get politically involved,” he said. “There are growing numbers of organizations that enable people to plug into political activism, even outside of California.”

National Jewish organizations also weighed in, with Rabbi David Stern, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform), urging Trump in an open letter to “reconsider his disastrous decision,” and to “recommit the United States to the Paris Climate agreement.”

The decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement will take effect the day after the 2020 election.

max cherney
Max A. Cherney

Max A. Cherney is a former J. staff writer. He can be reached at max@jweekly.com.