Climate touted as Israel's big challenge

Presidents Conference t

Climate change and environmental issues will be featured prominently as a major challenge facing Israel and the world in the second annual Presidential Conference 2009: Facing Tomorrow, slated to take place in Jerusalem on October 20-22. The conference will bring together ministerial level representatives from some of the key developing countries ahead of major climate change negotiations set to take place in Copenhagen in December. Nobel laureate Israel Aumann, who won in Economics in 2005, will unveil new strategies derived from game theory to confront environmental issues. Conference materials refer to the climate change crisis as one of the major challenges facing Israel and the world, while one-sixth of the panels focus in some way on the environment. President Shimon Peres has been a frequent and vocal supporter of green initiatives and promoting abroad Israeli clean-tech. The "Conversation between Ministers: the Green Challenge" panel will feature moderator Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan and ministers from France, Brazil, Hungary, Kazakhstan and maybe India, the conference's director of programming, Lior Shilat, told The Jerusalem Post last week. "If the four biggest developing economies of the future are Russia, Brazil, China and India, then getting [representatives of] two of the four in the room at the same time ahead of Copenhagen should be interesting," he said. The Indian environment minister has expressed interest in attending, but has not yet confirmed. Shilat said there was no environmental diplomatic agenda per se, but a discussion between the ministers about environmental challenges facing their respective countries and how to operate with the environmental portfolio within their respective governments. Meanwhile, Aumann will unveil game theory strategies for dealing with environmental situations for the first time on the panel "Does the Environmental Crisis Threaten our Future?" "We offered Aumann a spot on the economic panels, but he came back to us and said he wanted to be on one of the environmental panels instead," Shilat told the Post. The opening plenum will highlight climate change as a major global challenge, while five of the 30 panels look at green issues. Two of the panels will focus on the global climate crisis, while others will look at sustainable cities, Israel as a hub for irrigation technology and solar technology, and the future of food.