Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Let me start by expressing my thanks and appreciation to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for initiating this summit and making the critical issue of climate change a major priority.
The holy scripts tell us that when G-d first created man, he showed him all the trees in the Garden of Eden, saying: ”All I created – I created for you. Beware not to destroy my world, for if you do, there is no one to repair it after you.”
We are here to ensure a sustainable world for us, our children and our grandchildren.
I am here to declare Israel’s support for a new global agreement on climate change.
At Copenhagen, Israel committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We remain committed today, as we prepare our recommendations for an ambitious post- 2020 reduction target. We will be an active partner, contributing to the transition to a low-carbon global economy.
During recent years, Israel has invested major resources in advancing greenhouse gas reduction, with a focus on energy efficiency, based on our strong belief that electricity not generated is the cleanest and most cost efficient.
Let me mention just a few examples:
• Shifting from polluting coal to natural gas in electricity production, and then in the industrial and transportation sectors.
• Promoting solar energy production, from large-scale solar power plants to rooftop energy production.
• Developing a national program on oil alternatives in transportation.
• Assisting industrial facilities to improve their energy management systems.
• Subsidizing municipal energy efficiency plans, including upgrading street lighting infrastructures.
THE ENVIRONMENT knows no borders. Neither does climate change.
I wish to take this opportunity and request the secretary-general to appoint a special envoy tasked with creating a new framework of all Middle Eastern countries for fighting climate change. We must rise above political differences.
I have always been a man of peace. The environmental challenges further emphasize the need to renew negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians under the leadership of Abu Mazen (President Mahmoud Abbas).
There are many difficult issues to solve, but I believe that environment is one thing we all agree on.
Let us begin with environment and climate change as a bridge to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
As I stand here today, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, I wish us all a good and successful year.
Shana Tova! The writer is environmental protection minister.