If Israel’s government is concerned with climate change and its consequences, it must focus less on reducing the country’s inconsequential greenhouse gas emissions, and more on preparing for the difficulties ahead.
By Yossi Loss (translated from Hebrew by Maya Naveh)
In Israel’s latest budget plan, the item dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions has been cancelled, arousing frustration among the country’s environmental organizations. However, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not the most urgent problem facing Israelis regarding climate change, and thus, the budget should be directed toward other environmental problems.
Many publications point to an atrocious inequality in global emissions. Western countries have emitted and continue to emit greenhouse gases at an excessive rate, while disadvantaged countries emit far less. However, those disadvantaged countries are the ones that will suffer the most from the resulting climate change, while the countries that can best prepare for climate change repercussions will remain strong.
Where do things stand in Israel?
In all the publications I have come across, Israel’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions more or less matches the size of its population, relative to the world. Sometimes I wonder whether these publications take into account the emissions of the Palestinian population under Israeli military control, or whether they only consider citizens of Israel. But let’s put this question aside for a moment. Because of Israel’s size, even if it were to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions entirely, the effect on climate change and the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would amount to zero. That is why, according to the Kyoto Protocol, Israel isn’t required to reduce emissions at all. Still, President Shimon Peres committed to reducing emissions during the Copenhagen Summit, and was rewarded with generous compliments for doing so.
Think of a small child whose parents are agonizing over huge debts, losing sleep at the night, and not functioning during the day for fear of debt collectors and worries about the future. The sweet, beloved child comes to his parents and gives them a coin he found, which he received for helping an old man cross the street or for selling a toy to another kid....Read More