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Israeli Minister Sees Opportunity at UN Climate Change Conference

Jerusalem – Israel’s new Minister of Environmental Protection has set some ambitious goals. She believes she can use her office to play an important role in the global fight against climate change while promoting peace in the volatile Middle East.

Tamar Zandberg presented her agenda in an interview with The Associated Press prior to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. She states that Israel has the potential to become a major player, despite its small size and failure to meet its global goal of zero net emissions by 2050.

Zandberg said the country is eager to share its expertise in green technology. Israel is widely regarded as a world leader in areas such as solar energy storage, sustainable protein substitutes, agricultural technology and desalination.

“These are areas where Israel is already at the forefront of global innovation, and we hope that this will help small Israel contribute to larger countries to better adapt to the reality of the new climate. “I will,” she said.

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Major countries, including China and India, have become important markets for Israeli environmental technology. Mr. Zandberg has already held two meetings with the United Arab Emirates counterpart, who established diplomatic relations with Israel about a year ago, and both countries have cooperated with issues such as agriculture and water in the dry Middle East. He said he was working. east.

Israel and Jordan held a signing ceremony on a new water sharing agreement last week, and Mr Zandberg said the two countries are in “extensive talks” on a variety of environmental issues.

“Our neighbors share our area and our climate,” she said. “So it’s only natural that we face together. It not only contributes to climate change, but also to regional stability and peace in the Middle East.”

Zandberg took office in June as part of Israel’s new government. This is a diverse patchwork of small and medium-sized political parties across the political spectrum. This includes deep ideological differences in how to handle decades of conflict with Palestinians.

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leads a religious and transnational party against the establishment of a Palestinian state, and Bennett, a former leader of the Settlement movement on the West Bank, denies peace talks with Palestinians. doing.

The Meretz Party in Zandberg is the most dovish member of the eight-party coalition and supports a two-state solution with the Palestinians. All members were forced to compromise on their basic beliefs as part of a coalition agreement designed to prevent the country from entering its fifth election in two years.

Mr Zandberg acknowledged dissatisfaction with the restrictions created by political reality, but said environmental cooperation would provide an opportunity to improve the atmosphere and lay the foundation for future negotiations. She said she had met with Palestinian counterparts and that a team of experts met regularly to address issues of mutual concern, such as the protection of shared water resources.

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“We live here together, sharing land, sharing air, sharing water,” she said. “The better we communicate, the better our people will live.”

At home, Zandberg has a long to-do list.

Israel acknowledges that it will not be able to meet the international community’s goal of zero net emissions by 2050. By then, we expect to reduce emissions by 85%. Environmentalists cited the lack of political will by the former government and the country’s dependence on newly discovered natural gas for energy for lower goals.

Mr Zandberg said the numbers were calculated primarily on the basis of the circumstances inherited from the previous administration. She also said Israel’s relatively high population growth was an obstacle. Israel is lagging behind its renewable energy goals, but she says the government is determined to help the world reach its zero emissions goal through technology exports and do more domestically. Said.

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“That’s our goal to fill that gap,” she said. “We are the first in the Israeli Parliament to work on a new climate law. We will take a series of implementation plans, the Government Declaration of a Low Carbon Economy and implement it in the areas of energy, transportation and waste. We are working on it. It’s agriculture, so we’re serious. “

There are other challenges as well. The Dead Sea is actually the lowest salt lake on the planet, but it is slowly shrinking. This is the result of years of diversion of water from the Jordan River for drinking and agriculture and the damage caused by mineral extraction companies. A secret oil pipeline transaction between Israel and the United Arab Emirates has raised concerns that an oil spill may one day destroy coral reefs in the Red Sea. Water resources across Israel and the occupied West Bank are under threat of sewage and pollution.

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Zandberg said the team is involved in negotiations to enable one of Israel’s worst polluters, the Dead Sea plant, to address environmental issues as licenses are renewed in the coming years. Stated. The Israeli and United Arab Emirates pipeline is currently under consideration by the government and “expresses concern in these discussions,” she said. Zandberg is pushing for a new tax on disposable plastics that will come into effect next year.

Gidon Bromberg, Israeli director of Ecopeace, an environmental group with offices in Israel, Jordan and the West Bank, said it was too early to judge Zandberg’s achievements. However, he said her appointment raised hopes that Israel could eventually make some progress on long-standing issues.

“We are in a very unique position and there are Ministers of the Environment who are very enthusiastic and want to succeed on this issue,” said Bromberg. “You have an environmentalist, the Minister of the Environment.”

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He said her success depends in part on her political skills, primarily her relationship with Bennett. Despite their different backgrounds, Bromberg said they seem to have a good relationship so far.

“It’s still in the very early stages. The problem is enormous,” he said.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Israeli Minister Sees Opportunity at UN Climate Change Conference

Source link Israeli Minister Sees Opportunity at UN Climate Change Conference

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