Three new carbon emission-reducing projects approved

Projects include a gas collecting facility; a project that turns agricultural waste into compost; and a project to reduce nitrous oxide.

pollution gross 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
pollution gross 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel's National Designated Authority for the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism [CDM] worldwide standard recently approved three new projects to reduce greenhouse gases, the Environment Ministry announced Wednesday. The committee, headed by Dr. Yossi Inbar, Deputy Director-General for Industries in the ministry, was established by the Israeli government following the Kyoto Protocol, which Israel signed and ratified. CDM allows industrialized countries with a greenhouse gas reduction commitment to invest in emission reducing projects in developing countries as an alternative to what is generally considered more costly emission reductions in their own countries. The Protocol classified Israel as a developing nation, a fact that allows Israeli entrepreneurs to establish and construct technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sell the reduction percentage to developed nations such as Germany, Japan and Canada. The projects approved by the committee include a gas collecting facility at a large waste dump in the Arava [municipal waste, when left standing in huge heaps out in the open or buried underground, produce large amounts of methane which adds to the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere]; a project that turns agricultural waste into compost at Kibbutz Nirim; and a project to reduce nitrous oxide at a chemical factory in Haifa. Altogether, the three projects would constitute a 150,000 metric ton CO2 equivalent per annum reduction in carbon emissions, which should bring the entrepreneurs NIS 5 million every year in emissions trade. The committee's approval of the projects allows the entrepreneurs to register patents with the United Nations Environment Program. The committee has approved 17 projects in the renewable energy field since its establishment. These include two on landfill reclamation, including production of clean energy; three projects on the generation of clean electricity using natural gas and wind; three projects on improving production processes in chemical plants, and a project on manure treatment in pig farms. The Israeli carbon emissions reduction industry is still in its early stages of development, with several projects combining to effect a 2.5 million metric ton reduction in carbon emissions annually. This number puts Israel ahead of the UN's average annual reduction expectation, which stands at 241,255 metric tons, according to a UN Web site which monitors emissions. Israel's CDM market is growing however, with the recent registration with the UN of five new renewable energy projects designed in Israel. Lawyer Lior Shmueli, who served as an economical adviser to the former environment minister Yehudit Naot and now acts as an adviser to the ministry's designated authority on CDM, told The Jerusalem Post that Israel is making good progress in CDM implementation. "We're in a good place, somewhere in the middle," he said, and added that although the process of coming up with and getting approval for emissions-reducing technologies was not easy, several Israeli firms are making good progress in the field. Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued an alarming report pointing to the rapid increase of the rate of global warming, warning that the effects of climate change are already being felt and will continue to increase in effect. The report concludes that the world's rivers, lakes, wildlife, glaciers, permafrost, coastal zones, disease carriers and many other elements of the natural and physical environment are already responding to the effects of humanity's greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth Middle East, an environmental organization that brings together Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian environmentalists has opened a campaign to raise awareness of global warming and water security in the region. The organization points to the IPCC report's conclusions on arid areas in the Middle East, which states that governments may have problems meeting water requirements due to reduced precipitation. The group says that the social effects of climate change could destabilize the region politically and cause a large refugee problem as people leave arid areas. The UN Security Council is to discuss the potential security effects of global climate change at a special meeting on April 17.