For Our Sin of Emissions: 10+1 Climate Commandments | Opinion

A narrow strip of biblical land, from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, is not only the pathway of the Israelites during the Exodus, but it is also the birthplace of our climate redemption. This November, world leaders will gather down the coast from here in Sharm el-Sheik to try to hammer-out yet another climate plan for the too-distant future that miraculously has already been successfully implemented in the Arava Valley: The region is the first in the world to be solely powered by the sun during the day—producing 150 percent of the region's needs. And by 2025 it will be lit up night and day with solar power alone.

Humanity is losing the race to beat back catastrophic climate change. Yet the Arava region's solar success serves as a prophetic rebuke to those who claim that going 100 percent green energy is not technically feasible, economically advantageous or would take decades. The technology and economics are here; missing is moral climate leadership.

Climate hope may not come from the 27th gathering of world leaders on the issue but instead from a nearby place of paramount spiritual power. A group of us, under the auspices of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development and the Elijah Interfaith Institute, recently came together at Mount Sinai to envision what message of hope and transformation religions can offer to humanity as we grapple with the challenges of climate justice. One of the ideas was returning to the 10 commandments, given at Sinai. While not set in stone, here's my version (with a little bit of help from my friends):

Mount Sinai
A bedouin boy guides a donkey from the summit of Mount Sinai after delivering supplies to shops along the stairs to the summit on May 15, 2008. Matt Moyer/Getty Images

Acknowledge a Higher Power

Like in Alcoholics Anonymous, the first commandment is to acknowledge, with humility, that we are partners with and subservient to the Creator.

Vote Climate

James Sternlicht, from the non-governmental organization The Peace Department, teaches that we have to hold governments and corporations accountable, since they are the ones desecrating our common home with each new drilling license and pipeline. In sun-rich Israel, for example, Prime Ministers Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennet and Binyamin Netanyahu all allowed the gas companies to lock-in an expensive and polluting monopoly for at least another generation, putting the People of the Book on the wrong side of climate history.

Do Not Murder

Since we know that millions of people—usually the poorest and indigenous—will die and suffer from the effects of extreme heat and cold, wild-fires, rising sea levels, and super-charged storms, why doesn't the business-as-usual approach of most leaders make them accessories to murder?

Do Not Steal

"Climate change is robbing our future," says Gili Berkovitz, 16, of Strike4Future in Tel Aviv. "We are also robbing nature of her ability to regenerate."

Do Not Bear False Witness

There are sins of omission—politicians not telling the truth about the real and immediate dangers of climate change; and there are sins of commission—the same leaders at the annual world climate conference, COP 27, who are approving new drilling and pipeline licenses. Together, says the writer David Hazony, these distortions of truth and policy lead to the sin of increased emissions.

Keep the Sabbath

Emissions are down 30 percent over the sabbath every week in Israel and are almost zeroed out on Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement, the holiest of the year). A global weekly non-carbon day of rest could reduce emissions of the world by a seventh, and can be observed by different faith communities on different days.

You Shall Innovate

Last month I was hiking up Mount Sinai at 3 am and coincidently—is that even a thing on Mount Sinai?—ran into my friend Avi Jorisch, author of the book by the name of this commandment. Technology can accelerate decarbonization; collaboration can accelerate implementation.

Honor Mother Earth

Kristina Greer, 15, from California says that climate change is a form of arson against the very home that nurtures our lives and that of all living creatures.

You Need Not Covet

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn teaches, "Dayenu. We have enough. And we have the science and technology we need to build a world in which all people can have enough. We just need to achieve the political will."

Do Not Continue to be Hoodwinked

Oil and gas companies and disingenuous leaders want you to believe that reducing your carbon footprint through individual action is the key. Yet Alan Divack teaches we must not place the burden of solving climate change on individual action. Fossil fuel companies and governmental leaders together gamed the system to favor long-term burning of fossil fuels for energy, industry, and transportation no matter what individual action you take.

And +1: Do Not Give Up Hope or the Fight

The rise of the ancient Egyptian dynasties coincided with the rise of worship of Ra, the sun God. A new era of renewables must shine out of Egypt this November or our civilization, like that of the ancient Egyptians, will be doomed. When religious leaders of all faiths ascend Mount Sinai on Nov. 13, during COP27, they will seek to touch the heart of humanity and deliver a prophetic message. Sinai power worked once before to fuel moral revolutions; it must work again. To keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, we need a miracle.

Nominated by 12 African countries for the Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering solar energy on the continent, Yosef I. Abramowitz serves as CEO of Gigawatt Global, an impact investment platform ( He serves as an Ambassador for Israel's Climate Solution Prize and can be followed @Kaptainsunshine

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.