United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Israel

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
Statement by
Ambassador Uzi Manor
Coordinator for Sustainable Development
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem
During the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting
15th Commission on Sustainable Development
Agenda Item 2d: Policy options and possible actions to
expedite implementation
Climate Change (E/CN.17/2007/5)
(United Nations, New York, 28 February 2007)
Check Against Delivery
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Thank You, Mr. Chairman.
Allow me, at the outset, to commend you for your leadership of this preparatory
meeting and for the direction of the proceedings.
Mr. Chairman,
Israel shares the world's concern for the global problem of the greenhouse effect and
greenhouse gas emissions. As a party to the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change since 1996 and to the Kyoto Protocol since 2006, Israel is
committed to fulfilling its obligations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the
atmosphere.
Greenhouse gas emissions in Israel currently exceed 80 million tons of carbon dioxide
equivalents per year, with 80% of the emissions generated by the electricity and
transportation sectors. It is well recognized that greenhouse gas reduction has major
economic ramifications, both in terms of the reduction of the use of fossil fuels and in
the development and introduction of new technologies. Israel is classified as a non-
Annex I country within the framework of the UNFCCC. Although, its contribution to
global warming is very small, we are strongly aware that we must take account
climate change considerations when planning our energy policies.
We are preparing for the Post Kyoto period of greenhouse gas reductions as we
address climate change in all of the three accepted ways: 1) Developing climate
change scenarios and models that look at such parameters as temperature,
precipitation, extreme weather events, winds and humidity 2) Developing mitigation
options for reducing the factors responsible for climate change, specifically
greenhouse gas emissions 3) Developing mechanisms for adaptation to climate
change.
Israel prepared its first national inventory of emissions and removals of greenhouse
gases for 1996, which has been updated annually since the year 2000. The inventories
chart the emissions and removals of direct and indirect greenhouse gases for the
sectors of energy, industrial processes, solvents and other products, agriculture, landuse
change and forestry, and waste. In 2002 a policy paper on alternatives for
reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Israel was prepared based on a breakdown of
the sources of GHG emissions. It describes the different technical means that may
reduce GHG emission under the special conditions characteristic of Israel. An
economic analysis has been prepared for the various alternatives.
Following ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, a Designated National Authority (DNA)
was established under the responsibility of the Ministry of Environmental Protection
thereby providing Israeli entrepreneurs with the opportunity to implement emissions
reductions projects in Israel and to sell carbon credits to developed countries,
including European states, Canada and Japan. The DNA includes representatives of
numerous government and public bodies. It has formulated sustainable development
indicators, to be used in the assessment process of the Project Design Document.
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The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is an effective economic-environmental
tool for promoting projects. To date 15 projects have been submitted to Israel's DNA
for approval mainly in the areas of production of renewable energy, waste treatment,
increased efficiency of production processes and agricultural projects. Once approved,
they should deliver about 2 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CERs) per
year.
Israel provides a fruitful ground for potential investors due to its technological and
scientific expertise, including its wide experience in the field of clean technologies, its
transparency and open access to a wide range of data and the stability of its
government. Categorized as a non-Annex I country under the Convention, but with
the advantages of a developed country, it offers favorable conditions for the
implementation of CDM projects with minimal risk in a wide variety of subjects.
Future projects will be encouraged in the field of energy efficiency and conservation.
The carbon credit market from CDM projects in Israel is estimated at about 15 million
Euros per year. This mechanism will play a pivotal role in advancing environmental
projects in Israel.
Several initiatives have been taken recently to increase knowledge about the potential
impacts of climate change. The Ministry of Environmental Protection approved ten
research projects for funding on subjects as diverse as the impacts of vegetation on the
urban microclimate to changes in biodiversity as a result of climate change. In
addition, a successful conference on "The Impacts of Climate Change in Israel ?
Towards a National Action Plan" was held last year. Presentations focused on climate
change trends and scenarios and their anticipated impacts on energy demand,
hydrological changes in the Kinneret (Israel's only surface water reservoir) watershed
basin, rise in Mediterranean Sea level, agriculture, health and economy. This provided
a forum for leading academics and professionals to discuss the projected impacts and
future adaptations.
Today's adaptation efforts focus on innovative tools that will give top priority to such
goals as energy conservation, green building, water sensitive construction and
creation of floodplains and suitable riverbank vegetation. The government is in the
process of establishing an inter-ministerial committee for the preparation of a national
action plan for climate change adaptation.
The very scarcity of natural resources has catalyzed Israel to seek and to implement
cutting edge technologies in such fields as water treatment, recycling and reuse,
seawater desalination and desert agriculture and afforestation. We are interested in
learning from the world community, and at the same time we have much to contribute
in many fields by exporting our technologies to high-risk countries in terms of climate
change.
Effluents are the most readily available and cheapest source of additional water. Israel
has expertise in wastewater treatment and reuse and the rate of effluent reuse is
among the highest in the world. National policy calls for the gradual replacement of
freshwater allocations to agriculture by reclaimed effluents. Presently 63% (300
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million cubic meters per year) of treated municipal sewage is reused for irrigation,
which is about 30% of the total water supplied to agriculture (about 1000 million
cubic meters per year). It is estimated that by 2020 effluent use will constitute 50%.
Israel has emerged as a pioneer in the use of solar energy, for domestic use and for
solar plants. Regulations require that all new buildings be equipped with solar
collectors for water heating. Household solar collectors save some 3 percent of overall
energy consumption and we have one of the highest rates of domestic solar water
heating worldwide, used in about 75% of households. Local companies have
pioneered solar technologies such as the large-scale solar-powered electricity
generating plant installed in South California?s Mojave Desert. Plans are now going
forth in Israel to establish a 100 MW solar power plant in the northern part of the
Negev desert. The technology is available but the cost is still too high to compete with
alternatives, particularly when considering the low cost of natural gas.
Energy consumption is on the rise, with the highest increase in the use of electricity.
There is about a 4% increase annually in demand, which is exceptionally high. The
question facing Israel's decision makers is how to secure the availability of energy
supply, in the requisite quantity and quality, in the short and long terms, at minimal
economic, social and environmental cost.
The introduction of natural gas to the electricity sector is unprecedented and will have
dramatic consequences on pollution abatement. It is expected that almost 50% of total
electricity generation will be based on natural gas within a decade. The National
Master Plan for the distribution and transmission of natural gas includes an offshore
and onshore route to maximize the possibility of supplying natural gas to major power
plants and to industrial areas.
Long range plans for the energy sector call for increasing production capacity without
increasing pollution levels, promoting natural gas as a clean source of energy supply,
giving higher priority to renewable energy sources, and improving the efficiency of
energy systems and reaching savings of 20-30% of the energy used in different
sectors of the economy. Energy conservation is the most effective method of
reducing energy related environmental effects.
Buildings are major consumers of energy, water and raw materials and significant
generators of greenhouse gas emissions and waste. A recently approved green
building standard offers environmental, social and economic benefits. It is a voluntary
standard awarded to new or renovated residential and office buildings that comply
with the requisite requirements and criteria. The standard is comprised of four
chapters: energy (which carries the most weight), water, land and other environmental
subjects. A building which meets the prerequisites in each chapter and accumulates
the minimum number of credit points in every environment related sphere is eligible
for green building certification.
Green building is a true win-win situation for Israel. The standard will provide
developers with a marketing advantage and will serve as a measure of the quality of
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the building for consumers. Investment in green building should not necessarily be
greater than in conventional buildings since most of the effort is concentrated in the
planning stage, prior to actual building. Additional investment, if any, should not
amount to more than one to two percent, and will certainly be recovered in a
reasonable amount of time, due to savings in energy.
The solid waste sector is experiencing significant change since several landfills began
operating facilities for methane gas extraction and energy recovery. An advanced biotreatment
method operates at the former Hiriya Landfill in the center of the country,
which transforms the organic fraction of municipal waste into biogas. The gas is
supplied to a nearby textile company for the production of steam and electricity,
equivalent to 10 MW. In addition, an amendment to the Maintenance of Cleanliness
Law was recently approved for a landfill levy which will significantly reduce the
quantities of waste reaching landfills thereby increasing waste recycling and recovery.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, climate change has proven to be one of the greatest
threats to sustainable development. We are working on finding alternative energy
sources and improving energy efficiency, while maintaining a strong economy.
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