Israel will invest NIS 8 million to bring a delegation of 1,000 people and more than 100 Israeli climate and related technology companies to Dubai at the end of November for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 28, according to the Foreign Ministry.
On Monday, representatives from the public and business sectors, academia, and civil society gathered at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem to discuss ideas and potential collaborations before COP 28, which runs from November 30 to December 12 in Dubai.
Some 80,000 people from 198 countries are expected to attend the event.
The Economy Ministry is leading the selection of 30 companies, including many start-ups, to present their ideas in the Israeli pavilion, which will be marketed under the tagline “Climate of Innovation.” More than 100 companies will travel to Dubai with the Israel Export Institute and participate in meetings and side events.
Throughout the two-week conference, Israel will participate in around 70 events, explained Maya Kadosh, Israel’s national coordinator for COP 28, including some events on the main stage. The country will also invest heavily in public relations, she said.
This year’s conference comes as the world is starting to feel the impact of climate change, from warmer ocean waters and marine heat waves to extreme weather events and more.
Consequences of climate change
“For many years, we have been aware that climate change is a risk, and we are already witnessing the harmful effects today,” said Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman on Monday. “Extreme weather events, huge fires, water shortages, worsening desertification – all of these are already affecting Israel, the Middle East, and the entire world.”
She called on participants to find “creative ways to prepare for the effects of climate change, including finding ways to relieve particularly vulnerable populations of the phenomena created as a result of these changes.”
In recent years, Israel has focused on research, entrepreneurship, and technological innovation in the field of climate in the private and public sectors, already proving itself as a leader in areas ranging from agriculture, energy, and transportation to water and food systems, Silman said.
According to Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Israel is home to around 700 climate-tech companies, and one in every seven new Israeli start-ups is now operating in some capacity in that industry.“The State of Israel can – and should – join the global fight against climate challenges, far beyond our relatively small share in the global emissions of greenhouse gases,” Silman stressed.
She said Israel set the goal for COP 28 of sharing “blue-and-white solutions” with the international community.
“At the regional level, we see the conference in Dubai as an opportunity to establish relations with our near and far neighbors, in the framework of bilateral projects as well as in the framework of existing regional forums and those that we wish to promote,” Silman noted. “The environment must not be hostage to political disagreements. On the contrary, I believe that working together on climate issues and other environmental issues can be a bridge to building trust and further collaborations.”
COP 28 will center on a handful of initiatives in which Israel will also participate, explained Yuval Laster, senior deputy director of strategy and policy for the Environmental Protection Ministry. The first area is “global stocktaking,” looking at how much progress countries have made toward meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and other international initiatives.
The second is looking at loss and damage associated with climate change impacts. Third is evaluating local, national, and transnational financing available to support mitigation and adaptation actions to address climate change. Next is building adaptive capacity. And, finally, “just transition” – efforts to ensure that the transition towards a climate-neutral economy leaves no one behind.
Almost every day of COP 28 is themed, including the first two days, known as the “World Climate Action Summit,” in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog will participate. Other days focus on nature, health, food and water systems, energy, and equality.
Israel has set the goal of zero emissions for 2050 and modest goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions for 2030. However, multiple reports by the Environmental Protection Ministry, the comptroller, the OECD, and the United Nations have shown that Israel is grossly off target.“Israel needs to meet the climate goals it has set for itself,” Silman said. “I believe that Israel must and should align with the advanced countries in the world and present an ambitious climate policy.
“Israel is not only a source of pride for entrepreneurship and technologies in the climate field – the nations of the world must look to us also as a progressive country in terms of the national vision on the subject,” she continued. “I will do as much as possible to reach the convention meeting with real news about Israel’s contribution to the fight against climate change.”
Silman and her ministry are pushing for Israel to pass a climate law with clear and binding terms ahead of COP 28. A vote by the government has been continually delayed due to opposition by the Energy and Economy ministries.
“We only have a short time to deal with the climate crisis,” said Ambassador Gideon Behar, special envoy for climate change and sustainability at the Foreign Ministry. “The world is looking to Israel to come up with solutions. We are on an international and historic mission.”