Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz declared on Tuesday that the
elimination of the greenhouse gas reduction program in the country’s recent
budget cuts “lacks any economic and social considerations.”
addressing a discussion on the freeze of the greenhouse gas reduction program at
a meeting of the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee – one of
more than a dozen environmental sessions that took place on Tuesday in honor of
Knesset Environment Day.
Peretz slammed Finance Minister Yair Lapid for
claiming that the introduction of natural gas supplies to Israel would be
sufficient toward decreasing pollution levels.
“This argument is simply
not true,” Peretz said. “Morbidity that is caused by air pollution has a heavy
economic price. It cannot be that a plan budgeted for 10 years with the
international commitment of the president of the country and with social and
economic goals can just be deleted.”
Such a decision by the country,
which committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020,
“would severely undermine the credibility of Israel,” according to
Through the greenhouse gas reduction program, the Environment
Ministry was able to give NIS 106 million worth of support to 208 projects,
which are expected to lead to the reduction of 450,000 tons of carbon dioxide
emissions annually by 2020, according to the ministry.
This is equivalent
to the electricity consumption of a city the size of Herzliya.
businesses and authorities making use of upgraded, less polluting systems, will
enjoy an annual total savings of about NIS 100 million, ministry data
“Were it not for these grants, many authorities would be weakened,
and they would not have entered into procedures for energy efficiency and
pollution reduction,” said MK Miri Regev (Likud Beytenu), chairwoman of the
Internal Affairs and Environment Committee.
Eitan Parness, CEO of the
Israel Renewable Energy Association, stressed that the companies benefiting from
such grants will be brought down by the end of the program.
likewise addressed an Economic Affairs Committee session on renewable energy
that morning, during which he submitted a comprehensive report on Israel’s
renewable situation. Emphasizing the urgency of approving further solar energy
production quotas, he lamented the fact that Israel will not likely meet its
target for renewable energy electricity generation by 2020.
calculations that the Treasury does are incorrect and do not take into account
the prices of gas infrastructure and the prices of air pollution paid by
children who grow up near power stations in the periphery,” Parness
Along these lines, the Children’s Rights Committee likewise took a
stand on an issue of emissions and breathing clean air on Tuesday, assessing the
impact that various environment hazards have on children.
chairwoman MK Orly Levy-Abecassis (Likud Beytenu) called for an amendment to the
law that prohibits smoking in public places to include kindergartens, and asked
the Education Ministry to map out potential asbestos hazards at educational
institutions throughout the country.
In addition, Levy-Abecassis asked
that the Environmental Protection Ministry and local authorities restrict the
distribution of building permits near schools, as particles generated by the
construction can affect the health of students.
The Environment Ministry,
the Health Ministry and the Education Ministry must all come together to enforce
monitoring of radiation levels at all educational institutions, Levy-Abecassis
“Children face greater harm than adults because they are in the
process of development,” said MK Dov Henin (Hadash).
Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense) presented a report at
this session, demonstrating that Israel lacks proper legislation for addressing
environmental risks at educational institutions as well as the necessary data
relevant to children found within these institutions.
suffer from a series of environmental hazards, including odor, noise, air
pollution, dust, smoke and radiation exposure, according to Dafna Shalev, the
manager of Adam Teva V’Din’s Green Center.
“The fact that a child studies
at a particular educational institution... requires authorities to make sure
that appropriate conditions are in place in all respects, including exposure to
environmental hazards,” Shalev said.
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