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Israel must begin to prepare now if it hopes to improve its global standing ahead of next year's environmental summit, said MKs in the Committee for the Interior and the Environment Tuesday.
Committee Chairman Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor) said that Israel must work to improve its current place among developing countries. On Wednesday, he will propose a bill that would see Israel cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.
"Israel has the technology, and the minds, to create a greener country," said Paz-Pines. "We are not directing our resources at this issue at the moment."
A number of high school students who took part in the meeting told the lawmakers that they were not being educated about environmental issues.
"Sure, we know that these things exist. That there is a problem with the environment. But nobody is telling us the details or how to really make it better," said a high school student from Ra'anana.
An Education Ministry representative said that high school students should be learning about environmental awareness in their science classes, but that the ministry could not monitor each school's curriculum.
Last month, delegates from nearly 190 nations took part in the two-week UN Climate Conference in Bali, which concluded that industrialized nations must cut their greenhouse gas emissions while helping developing countries cut their own emissions and adapt to rising temperatures.
The conference marked the beginning of a long process in which countries hope to agree on a new pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012. That pact requires 37 industrial nations to reduce greenhouse gases by a relatively modest 5% on average in the next five years.
In a series of pivotal reports this year, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the world would face severe consequences - including rising sea levels, droughts, severe weather, and species extinction - without sharp cutbacks in emissions of the industrial, transportation and agricultural gases blamed for warming.
To avoid the worst, the panel said, emissions should be reduced by 25% to 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.
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