The State Comptroller's Office will publish a broad, systemic follow-up audit on the climate issue in October 2023, ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), Comptroller Matanyahu Englman revealed Tuesday evening.
Speaking at the spring conference of the President's Climate Forum at Hebrew University, Englman told the closed forum that the report would examine critical issues, including:
- achieving targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
- forming a national preparedness plan;
- establishing a national meteorological forecasting center;
- developing a preparedness plan for Israel's security system;
- carrying out climate impact assessments on Israel's economy;
- rolling out a carbon tax;
- reporting on financial bodies' activities in the field;
- updating on the status of Israel's climate legislation; and on
- developing a comprehensive framework for managing the climate crisis.
A special session of state comptrollers at COP28
In addition, Engelman serves as vice president of the European Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions. In that capacity, he said he is working with his colleagues to hold a special session of state comptrollers at COP28 in Abu Dhabi, where the results of Israel's latest audit will be presented.
"I believe that the state comptrollers have an important role in the global climate campaign - to make sure that the government's climate decisions are translated into effective actions and that governments are preparing in the best possible way for climate change," Englman said.
"I believe that the state comptrollers have an important role in the global climate campaign - to make sure that the government's climate decisions are translated into effective actions and that governments are preparing in the best possible way for climate change."Matanyahu Englman
He told participants, mostly senior-level experts in the climate arena, that "the world is warming up. About a year ago, we emerged from the coronavirus pandemic that shook us for two years and changed the world order. If we do not make fundamental changes in our attitude toward the climate crisis, COVID-19 will only be the prelude to what will happen in years to come."
He praised Israel for making a series of decisions since his office's previous extensive climate audit in 2021 to help prepare the country for the climate crisis, including a plan on climate and health that the Health Ministry designed and efforts by the National Emergency Management Authority to incorporate heatwaves as part of the national threat map.
Earlier this year, the authority released a report predicting that at least two severe heat waves lasting three to four days could strike Israel over the summer and lead to increased mortality.
However, his most recent comptroller's report, released on the same day, included a condemnation of the Environmental Protection Ministry for failing to properly take action against businesses and factories that committed environmental violations, costing money and lives.
"It seems that there is higher awareness among government ministries regarding the climate," Englman said. "However, there is still a long way to go."
Englman called on Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich to complete the formation of a carbon pricing mechanism to ensure that Israeli companies that export to Europe are not forced to pay carbon taxes abroad.
"Israel must cooperate with the other developed countries of the world and achieve leadership in the field of climate so as not to be left behind," Englman concluded.