Global Climate Crisis and Israel as Global Warming Hotspot

Climate change is here. Heat waves, droughts, floods, and superstorms are occurring at an ever-growing pace, piling up astronomic losses and dire predictions for ecosystems, health and food and water supplies.

Israel and other Middle Eastern and North African countries (collectively referred to as the MENA region) are particularly vulnerable to global warming, representing a climate change hotspot in which heat waves and dry spells are increasing even faster than global patterns. Indeed, a recent report by Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection paints an alarming picture for Israel and the region, describing plummeting precipitation and the growing risk of extreme heat, natural disasters, pandemics, water contamination, Israel and other Middle Eastern and North African countries (collectively referred to as the MENA region) are particularly vulnerable to global warming, representing a climate change hotspot in which heat waves and dry spells are increasing even faster than global patterns. Indeed, a recent report by Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection paints an alarming picture for Israel and the region, describing plummeting precipitation and the growing risk of extreme heat, natural disasters, pandemics, water contamination, massive migration and border tensions.  

Worldwide, strong emission reductions are needed by 2030 to meet the objectives of the Paris agreement, which requires signatories to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Centigrade.

“Natural” gas is actually methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Large amounts of CO2 and methane are emitted during gas production, refining, and transportation. Research has now shown that methane is 84 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2 when measured over a 20-year period. 

Many countries have internalized the implications of producing and using oil and gas and are transitioning to renewables. This includes Norway, that in 2019 decided to walk away from billions of gallons of oil and natural gas. Biden’s 2021 blitz of environmental orders added great cause for hope and academic institutions and private investors worldwide are also opting out of fossil fuel investments.

Unfortunately, Israel lags behind.

While Israel has committed to producing 30 percent of its electricity through renewables by 2030, critics claim this is way too little, too late. Moreover, Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz, (who proudly calls himself “The Gas Minister”) is continuing to invest heavily in gas-fired energy facilities nationwide, anchoring the country to polluting energy for decades.

IHG recently submitted a report to Israel’s Electric Authority urging the transition to 80% renewables by 2030 instead of the only 30% proposed.

Read more: Letter to Energy Ministry by over 100 scientists including Nobel and Israel Prize winners urging Israel’s rapid transition to renewables.

Gas strategy is outdated and unsustainable

Solar energy is now substantially cheaper to produce than gas and is increasingly accompanied by new “big battery” storage technologies that solve the key challenge for green energy – the intermittency of wind and sunlight. Battery storage technologies are now working successfully in power plants, as recently demonstrated by the increased capacity to store electricity, from 100 to 150 megawatts at Australia’s Tesla Big Battery.

IHG maintains that Israel’s ongoing investment in oil and gas, including the plans for 12 gas-fired power stations, anchors the country to past, far more polluting technologies.

Our organization invests considerable efforts in advocating the country’s transition to renewables – studying the subject and making information accessible to local authorities, decision makers and the public.

 

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