Speaking at the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Madrid, Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz declared that Israel was committed to the Paris Agreement, saying, "The coal era in Israel will end in 2025." Steinitz began his speech by saying that Israel was aware of the its great responsibility and need to join the global effort to promote a low-coal economy.
Steinitz remarked that use of coal in Israel would be reduced by up to half by the end of 2019, and that use of coal would be completly halted by 2025. He said that the proportion of electricity produced with coal, which was 65% in 2012, would fall to zero, adding that he would consider increasing Israel's commitment to electrical production using renewable energy sources from 17%, a very low target set in the Paris Agreement, to 25-30% by 2030. At the same time, it should be noted that no decision has been taken on the matter; what Steinitz said is only a declaration. According to Steinitz, the expanded use of natural gas has reduced pollution from electrical production: sulfur dioxide by 57% and nitrous oxide by 40%. By 2025, carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production will fall by over 30%.
"In Israel, we believe in innovation and technological progress, and we will take far-reaching steps to raise our targets for electricity production using renewable energy sources and energy conservation for 2050," Steinitz said. "This is a difficult challenge, because our renewable energy is based mostly on solar energy, which has to take into account the Israel's national characteristics: a very dense population and little available land."
Steinitz also spoke about Israel's plan to lead a transition to 100% electrical vehicles by 2030, saying that the country was devoting resources to deploy electrical charging infrastructure. It is unclear however, what policy is backing this declaration. As of now, Israel is not meeting the transportation target it set for itself in the Paris Agreement, and sales of electric vehicles account for only a negligible proportion of all the vehicles purchased in Israel.
Steinitz said that Israel was planning to launch a platform of innovative energy cities that would "enable cities to be energy-efficient and reduce carbon dioxide by promoting energy efficiency, electric vehicle infrastructure, energy storage, and smart networks." A number of discussions on the matter took place during the conference in which cities were placed in the forefront of the effort to cope with the climate crisis.
Steinitz added that he believed that the countries in the entire region should act jointly to win the climate struggle, and that we should do everything in our power to put conflicts aside and present a united front in the crisis. He referred to the countries' commitment to aid in the developing countries' struggle against the negative effects of climate change. "Since it was founded, Israel has faced challenges resulting from our geographic and climate conditions. At the same time, challenges such as a shortage of water and energy sources motivated us to overcome the obstacles with technology and innovation. Israel is known to be the global leader in water efficiency and desert agriculture," he stated.
The decision to send Steinitz, whose ministry is responsible for issuing approval for exploration of oil, shale oil, and natural gas in Israel territory - fossil fuels that aggravate the climate crisis, and that the entire world, according to the Paris Agreement, is supposed to find ways of replacing - to a conference dealing with the environment and climate change has aroused strong criticism.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 10, 2019
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