President Shimon Peres
President Shimon PeresIsrael news photo: Moshe Milner

President Shimon Peres told the United Nations Climate Change conference in Copenhagen Thursday afternoon that pollution has no borders and that “carbon molecules travel without a passport.”

He called on Israel’s neighbors to “separate the environment from politics,” adding that “while peace requires borders, the climate requires decisive action that is not connected with borders.”  He added, “Political differences must not prevent environmental cooperation.”

The President suggested that Israel can be a “regional laboratory for the environment” and noted the country’s success in several areas, particularly inventive methods for reducing water consumption, recycling wastewater and for irrigating arid soil.

He committed Israel to cutting the growth in gas emissions by 20 percent in the next 10 years. President Peres also pointed out Israel’s development of solar energy and the pioneer efforts in Israel to develop an electric car.

Participants in the climate conference hope to reach an agreement on goals before it ends on Friday, but most observers doubt there will be an accord, primarily because of opposition from China.

President Peres attended Chanukah candlelighting ceremonies in various Scandinavian congregations.