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May 8, 2022 5:52 pm
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Israel Advances ‘Critical’ First Climate Bill to Meet Gas Emissions Targets

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Traffic on an Israeli highway. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israel is advancing the passage of its first climate bill as part of a national strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

“This is a critical step for our future and for the prosperity of the State of Israel over time,” stated Minister of Environmental Protection Tamar Zandberg, who is leading the effort. “Israel will join the developed countries in making progress in fighting the climate crisis.”

Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved the draft bill, which must now be passed by the Knesset. The legislation sets targets for a zero-emission economy by 2050, as well as a low-carbon economy in the medium-term, similar to goals set by other developed countries. By 2030, it sets an intermediate goal for Israel to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 27 percent from 2015 levels.

Zandberg hailed the approval as a “historic moment,” thanking Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid for their support. The law will introduce the mechanisms and plans Israel needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the risks expected from climate change, she said.

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“The climate crisis is only getting worse and endangers the global economy,” Zandberg warned. “The geographical location of the State of Israel already exposes it to more climate risks that affect our health, industry, environment, infrastructure, agriculture and security.”

Zandberg pointed out that anchoring emissions targets within the law will provide more certainty for the economy to plan ahead, promote innovation, and develop smart and clean growth.

According to the bill, Israeli government ministries and other bodies must prepare plans for climate change, build capabilities, and implement and report on them annually. At the end of each calendar year, cabinet ministers will be asked to submit a report on the implementation of the national plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the previous year. This report will include the achieved rate of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and a forecast of the expected rate of emissions in the coming years.

“The climate crisis is one of the biggest challenges facing Israel,” Lapid said Sunday. “The draft legislation defines national goals and regulates government oversight and control mechanisms to achieve them.”

With the new legislation, Lapid remarked, Israel joins OECD countries in their goal to recognize and cope with the climate crisis.

“It is our moral duty to the environment in which we live and to future generations,” he added.

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