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Technology transfer to fight climate change and reduce emissions could mean big opportunities for Israel, Environmental Protection Ministry Chief Scientist Yishayahu Bar-Or told The Jerusalem Post Monday.
Bar-Or had just returned from Poznan, Poland where the UN was holding a two-week summit to work out a protocol to replace the Kyoto one when it expires in 2012.
One of the major accomplishments of the summit was to launch an Adaptation Fund to dispense money for developing countries to acquire the technology to reduce emissions. Israel is potentially situated to take advantage of the fund's budget to provide cleantech and environmental management technology the world over, Bar-Or said.
"We are looking into creating an Israeli virtual knowledge center to export Israeli know-how," Bar-Or told the Post."During my meetings with the Green Environment Facility (GEF), the fiscal arm of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), I determined whether they were interested in funding the transfer of Israeli technology to those who need it, and they said that in principle they were," he said.
A representative of the GEF will be coming in February to discuss the matter further, he added.
Especially at a time when the world economy is reeling, hooking up with the fund, worth $4-5 billion., could be extremely lucrative for the country and Israeli companies.
"Israel can both help save the world and take advantage of those budgets," Bar-Or added.
An Israeli presentation of cutting edge solar and water technologies at the conference was extremely well received, the chief scientist said. The room was packed and people were standing in the aisles.
He said he had already reached out to research and academic institutions to discuss potential collaborations with the aim of starting up the center in 2009. Right now, there were still several bureaucratic hurdles to overcome, Bar-Or admitted, including securing a budget from the government to establish the center.
There are still a lot of things to be worked out, but we're seriously looking into it, he said.