Can Israel keep its promises on climate change?

Before the start of the climate summit in Glasgow, the Israeli government finally approved a national program that meets the standard of other developed nations, to achieve zero emissions by 2050. Although it is a welcome move, the government must now recalibrate its actions when It is about the climate agenda to achieve this ambitious goal.

The approval came just five months after Energy Minister Karine Elharar indicated that Israel will cut carbon emissions by just 80 percent by 2050, despite the new national program calling for an 85% reduction in emissions for the same year.

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Haifa Bay, Naftali Bennett

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the industrial zone of the coastal city of Haifa

(Photo: Alex Kolomoisky, Elad Gershgoren)

Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg said at the time that the figure was the best the country could hope for due to restrictions imposed by the Energy Ministry.

However, under pressure from the Finance Ministry, Zandberg later withdrew his proposed climate law from consideration, a move that would have sent Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to Glasgow with only a limited response on how Israel would respond to the climate crisis.

This led Bennett to go further and bring Israel to the level of the rest of the developed world, which is reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 27% by 2030 and 85% by 2050.

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Hao Conference"Climate change in Glasgow, ScotlandHao Conference"Climate change in Glasgow, Scotland

The UN climate summit in Glasgow

(Photo: AFP)

A scathing report released by the State of Israel Comptroller last week painted a grim picture of Israel’s handling of the pending climate crisis over the past decade, stating that Israel is one of the few nations that has not prepared and budgeted for a response. national to the problem.

“The data presented in the report should be seen as a bright red warning sign,” said the comptroller.

But have our ministers taken these warnings seriously? No. They have not yet allocated the budget to institute the necessary steps to meet the stated goals.

“We believe that Israel not only should have done it, but could have taken the necessary steps earlier,” Zandberg said. “All other developed nations have committed to zero emissions, and there is no excuse for Israel, which has the necessary tools available, to be left behind,” he added.

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Tamar Zandberg outside the coalition training event prior to budget approvalTamar Zandberg outside the coalition training event prior to budget approval

Minister of Environmental Protection, Tamar Zandberg

(Photo: Yair Sagi)

Shuli Nezer, a senior official at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, agrees that Bennett’s commitment to reducing emissions by 85% is staggering. “Now we can reduce 12 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. We must institute revisions to existing plans and take more action,” he said.

But Israel must first increase its use of renewable energy massively. The technologies are available, but it is essential that investments are made. So far, the country has drifted a lot.

In fact, Israel has the lowest renewable energy use among OECD members, with just 3% production and a projected target of just 35% by 2030.

Public transportation is also slow to adopt electric vehicles to its itinerary despite. In Israel, public transport is responsible for 20% of all emissions, compared to an average of 17% in the rest of the developed world.

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A gasoline bus at the central bus station in Tel Aviv A gasoline bus at the central bus station in Tel Aviv

A gasoline bus at the central bus station in Tel Aviv

(Photo: Ohad Zweignberg)

The European Union estimates that public transport is responsible for 26% of all its emissions, including travel by air and sea, due to an almost total dependence on oil.

The Energy Ministry says that 90% of the world’s energy consumption comes from oil, and in Israel, these figures are even higher.

The use of electric vehicles in the private sector and in public transport could bring a dramatic reduction in emissions.

But there are only 12,000 electric cars out of the 3 million vehicles on Israel’s roads, and the vast majority of them are hybrids. Ministers are only now beginning to take steps to increase that number.

The head of the Department of Climate Change of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Gil Proactor, says that the main obstacle is money. “The state has an important role … But financial institutions and industrialists also have it. Ultimately, it is due to diverting public investments.”

Proactor says that investments in oil and refinery industries must be a thing of the past and that the government must not renounce its commitments or investors will stay away.

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A group of delegates wrap their hands around a world display on October 31, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.A group of delegates wrap their hands around a world display on October 31, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.

A group of delegates wrap their hands around a world display on October 31, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.

(Photo: Getty Images)

“Today, tens of billions of shekels are invested in infrastructure that cannot contribute to the zero emissions goal. Institutional investors must recognize their critical role and divert funds from polluting industries,” he said, adding that without legislation Israel will not it will be able to move the economy towards its emissions target.

Zandberg believes that the Glasgow conference will provide the necessary impetus for his climate bill to pass. “This is a matter of national security, the future of our economy, our energy, our nature and our society, and we have the public support we need to be successful,” Zandberg said.

Bennett will have to back his own words with a comprehensive, fully-budgeted program to increase reliance on renewable energy, strengthen the use of electric vehicles in public transportation, and implement best practices in construction, industry, and more.

You will have to pass the necessary legislation if you are to achieve your stated goals.

Although Israel is a small country in the grand scheme of things, a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will significantly improve the quality of life for Israelis, and if technological advances continue, Israel will not only be a nation again. creation, but also green. well.

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