Paz-Pines decries Israel's lack of environmental policy

Home Depot VP explains how to turn a profit on energy conservation.

paz-pines grim 298 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
paz-pines grim 298 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee chair Ophir Paz-Pines dismissed and derided Israel's environmental efforts on Thursday at the Israel Democracy Institute's 16th annual Caesaria Conference. Paz-Pines charged that efforts being made now would only have a minimal effect and that Israel was missing the big picture. "The general consensus is that we have between 7-10 years to act to end global warming. Israel is on its way to becoming a desert entirely. I predict that in five to ten years the debate will look totally different. "Even if we wanted to have a coal-burning power plant in Ashkelon, the world won't let us. There are going to be worldwide regulations the likes of which we've never seen. The Kyoto model has collapsed. We're not getting to the numbers we wanted. "Environmental protection is not a fad or fashion. It is to be or not to be. And 10% electricity from renewable sources won't even change the situation," Paz-Pines warned. Paz-Pines also charged that Israel had no environmental policy, "There is no such thing, nor anything even close to [a policy]." Paz-Pines noted sarcastically that the government had shot down a proposed bill to use energy-saving lightbulbs in public buildings "because it was a bill proposed by the Knesset rather than the government." He also predicted that the next government would have to take serious measures to deal with rising demand for electricity. Home Depot Vice President for environmental renewal Ron Jervis described how energy conservation and environment friendly products have actually been very profitable for the chain. Jervis said that a conservation education program had actually made the company $16m. and a recycling program in the various branches had saved the company $20m. a year. Jervis also explained how Home Depot had encouraged energy saving lightbulbs by introducing a recycling option for them - at a heavy cost to the chain. "It cost us a lot of money, but in calculating the profits from the resales and customers who came to the store to recycle their lightbulbs and also bought something else - at the end of the day, it was profitable," he said. Jervis also noted that Home Depot had helped save "old growth" forests in the US in the 1990s from being chopped down and made into furniture by surveying the forests and manufacturers and finding alternate sources of wood. He said that 94% of Home Depot's wood products were made in North America and yet the forestation rate was still positive - meaning more forest area is grown than is cut down.