By Yannai Kranzler
I recently shared a car ride with Moshe, a factory logistics manager in Israel.
When I mentioned my work at Jewish Climate Initiative, his response was, “Sounds like quite the bit of nonsense.”
“New environmental standards make enormous demands of factories,” he explained. “We, as factory workers, have then to spend tremendous resources that we don’t have, to change modes of production and waste disposal and alter completely the way we have always done our jobs.
“For us, it’s more profitable to sell our factories, and move business to China where they won’t enforce the same standards. And there goes your fight against climate change.”
Moshe, mind you, does not come from an oil company, or the type of factory that has pocket cash enough to rig up a renewable energy system, or offset carbon footprints by reforesting Brazil. He likes the world and believes in science. His children work for Israel’s National Parks Authority.
I’d bet that most factory managers would love to run an environmentally sensitive show if only they could afford it.
To me, this is important. I’m a pretty white bred kid- my dad’s a doctor, my mom ran a music and art school. I studied social sciences in college, and learned Jewish ideals in Yeshiva. Because of my education and my skillset- not because of my morals or ideals- my carbon footprint is limited to a personal computer, a car and a home. I might spend a few bucks on different light bulbs, keep air in my tires, get healthy riding a bike. Maybe I’ll buy a hybrid. But I will never be asked to make the same sacrifices as Moshe.
And when I think of that, it becomes very obvious to me why I’m so gung-ho about taking action against climate change- and Moshe is not.
Ironically enough, it’s the Moshe’s that policy makers fight for, when they advocate for solutions like a carbon tax and cap and trade, including the creating of a global post-Kyoto carbon-capping protocol, to prevent everyone from shipping out to China.
Shapers of these policies and their advocates understand that in order to be effective, paying for climate change must be fair, with policies that reflect a level playing field. Only then will people like Moshe have support and incentives to make changes without losing out in the market.
At Jewish Climate Initiative, we like to say that our vision for the future must match the magnitude of the challenge of climate change.
Such a vision includes understanding everyone’s needs, appreciating- not discrediting or forgeting about, complaints such as Moshe’s.
To learn more about Carbon Tax and Cap and Trade systems, visit our Climate Change Policy page. And be sure to check out the Policy Programs page to read about what we, as the Jewish People, can offer climate policy discourse.
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