The Israeli government has unanimously approved a plan for reducing emisions of greenhouse gases and improving energy efficiency. The plan is part of the effort to meet the commitment made by Israel along with many other countries at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Under the government's plan, NIS 500 million will be allocated to provide government guarantees for loans for energy efficiency programs, and NIS 300 million will be allocated to provide grants for energy efficiency projects in enterprises and local government, with an emphasis on assisting small and medium-size businesses and less well-off local authorities. It is estimated that such energy efficiency measures will save the Israeli economy some NIS 30 billion, and will take Israel towards meeting the goals set at the Climate Change Conference.
According to the government, investment in energy efficiency under this plan will leverage investment in the billions of shekels by private enterprise, leading to economic growth and job creation. A long-term plan will also be launched for allocation of quotas for production of power from renewable sources that will provide clarity and a horizon for ventures in this area and will enable the market to develop.
The government will also examine ways of further lowering greenhouse gas emissions, including the reduction of the use of coal and a switch to natural gas that will substantially reduce air pollution. It will also examine ways of making transport more efficient and reducing the number of journeys people take. A team will be set up for removing barriers to the development of the Israeli cleantech industry; tax incentives will be provided to encourage the use of renewable energy and the use of energy efficient equipment; and green construction projects will be promoted.
The plan is economy-wide, and applies to all the various sources of pollution, among them power production, energy consumption by buildings and industry, transport, and so on.
Among the advantages of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that the government outlines are a strengthening of Israel's long-term energy security, improvement in the competitiveness of the Israeli economy, reductions in energy and operating costs in industry, leveraging of investments and a boost to economic activity, development of the Israeli cleantech industry, job creation, and a reduction in environmental pollution and the health hazards it creates.
Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon said, "We hope that the plan we are approving today will first of all lead to a reduction in sickness caused by pollution, and in addition will lead to greater efficiency and savings in the economy. We intend to continue investing the resources required to keep reducing air pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases in Israel."
Minister of Environmental Protection Avi Gabai said, "The State of Israel is at the start of an unprecedented revolution. The plan combines reduction of environmental damage and air pollution with stimulation of economic growth, economic savings, and greater efficiency in industry and public authorities."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 11, 2016
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