Jewish leaders pledge to reduce greenhouse gases

(JTA) — Fifty Jewish leaders signed a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in advance of Tu b’Shvat.

The communal leaders and rabbis from the Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Reform and Renewal movements on Monday signed The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life’s "Jewish Environment and Energy Imperative" declaration.

In the declaration, signed during an official ceremony in Manhattan, the leaders set the goal of significantly lowering greenhouse-gas emissions, advocating for energy independence and security, and reducing the Jewish community’s energy consumption 14 percent by 2014.

"The need to transform the world’s energy economy while addressing global climate change is not only a religious and moral imperative," the declaration states, "it is a strategy for security and survival."

The year 2014 is the next sabbatical, or seventh year, on the Jewish calendar, a traditional time to refrain from impacting the earth.

Tu b’Shvat, the New Year for Trees, begins Tuesday night, with tree plantings the next day.

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