With just two days to go until the United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow on Sunday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Energy Minister Karine Elharrar announced on Friday that Israel will join the growing number of countries pledging to be carbon neutral by 2050.
The measure changes the policy of the previous government, announced in April, which was to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent in general for that year and emissions from the electricity sector in particular by up to 85%.
Being carbon neutral means balancing the amount of carbon emitted with the amount that is removed from the atmosphere and stored.
“The climate crisis affects all of our lives, including those of our children and grandchildren,” Bennett said. “We must be completely determined. Israel is the ‘nation of innovation’ and has the ability to bring to the world the talent and creativity that only we have. With the new target, Israel aligns itself with developed countries that are already taking steps to achieve the zero-emissions target and redoubles its commitment to the Paris agreement and international agreements on the subject. We are responding to the global challenge, finding technological solutions and uniting to achieve this important objective ”.
Energy Minister Karine Elharrar said: “This is a challenging but necessary step in the State of Israel’s fight against the climate crisis. I am confident that we will achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Israeli government is committed to fighting the climate crisis for the future of our children. “
Most developed countries, which are responsible for 70% of global emissions, have already declared that by 2050 they will reach zero emissions. Among them are the United States, Canada, France, Australia, Germany and Ireland.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the measures that Israel will take include the development of technology for green energy, its storage (Israel will depend mainly on solar energy and will need to store some of it for cloudy days and during the night), trapping the carbon and educate consumers on energy conservation.
“In recent months, extensive staff work has been carried out to formulate an action plan to achieve zero emissions by 2050,” the PMO statement reads. “To this end, approximately 2000 scenarios [across] various models, in which various technologies, energy consumption forecasts and various possibilities of development of the electrical network were taken into account, among other things ”.
“Reaching the goal will require all economic sectors – energy, transportation, industry, agriculture and waste – to take a broad series of steps to reduce emissions.”
Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg said: “There was opposition and there were difficulties, but in the end, we managed to convey the message that the State of Israel must and can achieve zero carbon emissions and join the battle of the climate crisis.” .
“It is good for the world, it is good for us and, mainly, it forces us to change,” he continued. “To stop the development of oil and gas fields, and legislate a climate law that will anchor Israel’s obligations to achieve net zero emissions.”
Zandberg, who presented an inter-ministerial plan earlier this week that contains 100 practical steps to tackle climate change, added that it was obvious that the country had to focus its investments on renewable energy going forward.