In a move seen as a significant step for environmental protection, Israel’s Cabinet unanimously approved on Sunday an investment of 2.2 billion shekels for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The money will be invested over the next decade and is line with Israel’s announcement in the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit to target a 20% emissions reduction by 2020.
Sunday’s decision adopts the conclusions of a general committee that was established in March for the purpose of formulating a national plan for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Israel and for compliance with the target set at the Copenhagen summit.
The decision includes recommendations whose implementation will bring about a reduction of 13 million tons CO2-eq (carbon dioxide equivalents) in 2020, which constitute 60% of the reduction target. The Ministry of Environmental Protection is planning to take additional steps in the field of waste reduction and recycling which are expected to bring a further reduction to 15.6 million tons, which are 70% of the target.
Some of the main points of the government decision include:
- an estimated 1.2 billion shekels will be invested to promote the scrapping of refrigerators and air conditioners;
- 626 million shekels will be allocated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection to support investments targeted at the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the industrial, commercial and public sectors;
- 39 million shekels will be used to promote pioneer projects for new and existing 'green' building.
The Minister of Environmental Protection was granted powers to oversee the implementation of the necessary steps by all ministries. It will also promote regulations to improve the energy efficiency of electrical appliances. The smart meter system currently in use to calculate electricity bills will also be improved to include additional small consumers. Finally, the Minister of Finance will introduce taxation to promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, especially as in relation to motor vehicles.
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said following the approval by the Cabinet: “The decision relates to action in a field which was not dealt with by any previous government. For the first time, Israel's government is promoting a multi-billion shekel plan based on concrete steps aimed at advancing Israel's contribution to greenhouse gas mitigation. This is a practical plan which relates to the life of every citizen and to steps which will support industry, technological innovation and a response to the universal problem of global warming.”