Climate Action

SDG 13 -Is COP27 Worth It?

Soon all eyes will be on November’s COP27. Like the other participants, Israel is also gearing up for the conference.

But is the event important? The naïve may hope for some quick fix to emerge from the occasion; the cynical might roll their eyes at that naiveté; the despairing could protest the irony of a climate action gathering that includes a flurry of air traffic, mountains of refuse and construction for probable one-time use.

From where we stand, what’s truly important – as we’ve stated before – is to move forward. Cynicism about the machinations of international diplomacy is easy; but such an approach ignores the fact that the talk is actually leading to the walk.

In Israel, at least, the walk is accompanied by a realization that we’re playing catch-up – but also by increasing momentum toward action. Take, for example, the National Security Council’s recent decision to examine risks to the coastline by sea level increases; the accelerated move by the Environmental Protection and Energy ministries toward green construction; the government-funded Council for Higher Education’s budgeting of a five-year climate crisis research program; an initiative by the non-profit Jewish National Fund, which functions as an “owner-custodian” for 13% of state land, to expand the protection of forested areas; and the creation of an eco-corridor in the country’s northern region.

Is COP27 Worth It? - SDG 13 - Social Impact Israel
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Through all this activity, the Environmental Protection Ministry has particularly stood out. One of its numerous reports raises concern with regard to the socio-economic ranking of local authorities in the vicinity of higher air emission levels. Another report details pollutant emissions in 2021 for 575 of Israel’s greatest pollution sources – and presents some progress in comparison with 2020.

Need to take the good with the bad, of course – albeit when it comes to climate action we’d all prefer the positive. So we were glad to see, for instance, that the Israel Electricity Authority has reportedly decided to facilitate the direct purchase and use of green energy by businesses and private consumers. In addition, the newly released “Israel’s State of Climate Tech” report by the non-profit “PLANETech” (on the occasion of its recent conference) indicates that there are now about 700 Israeli climate startups, and that climate tech accounted for 1 out of every 7 startups founded in the country in 2021. Indeed, an Israeli climate tech eco-system appears to be developing.

Encouraging news here. For the sake of advancing SDG13, COP27 will hopefully accelerate such positive climate action activity – in Israel, and throughout the world.

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