Solar energy will help us strengthen Israeli-Arab peace, Netanyahu says

"Israel is completely committed to the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy by the year 2050," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the International Climate Change Committee.

A worker walks next to parabolic mirrors at the research site of solar power company Brenmiller Energy near Dimona (photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
A worker walks next to parabolic mirrors at the research site of solar power company Brenmiller Energy near Dimona
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
“Israel is completely committed to the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2050,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told world leaders via video at the International Climate Change Committee in the UK last night.
The summit marked the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Accord and was held as a one-day virtual gathering. Netanyahu’s speech was recorded beforehand and broadcast during the conference.
Netanyahu thanked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his staff for hosting “this important summit” and stated that like the UK, Israel is completely committed to the world’s shared goal of combating global warming.
“We’ve already made crucial progress in two specific areas,” Netanyahu noted. “In coal, we’ve substantially reduced our dependency. In fact, Israel is a global leader in cutting coal consumption.”
He guaranteed that by the year 2025, Israel will no longer be burning any coal, except in case of an emergency.
Regarding solar energy, the prime minister said that Israel has increased its solar energy production from 2% of total energy production to about 10% in the past five years alone.
“By the year 2030, solar energy will provide over a third of all of Israel’s electricity,” Netanyahu stated.
While noting the progress that Israel has made in the field of solar energy, he did mention a problem that the county faces in this regard: storage.
“Luckily, we have hundreds of Israeli start-ups working on this and related issues in alternative energy.” Netanyahu expressed confidence in Israeli scientists and entrepreneurs developing solutions that will “enable us to play our part in the global solar energy revolution.”
Collaboration in the field of solar energy is also an inseparable part of Israel’s latest collaborative efforts with the UAE and Bahrain, Netanyahu noted.
“Not only is solar energy helping us eliminate our dependency on fossil fuels, it’s helping us cement Arab-Israeli peace,” he said, pointing to the double strategic function solar energy may hold for Israel in the near future.
“Both of these goals offer us a bright, clean and safe future,” Netanyahu said.
Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel (Likud) later thanked Netanyahu for “positioning the issue of renewed energy at the top of Israel’s agenda and for expressing his commitment to the issue and for a sustainable future.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned world leaders participating in the summit, calling on them to declare states of “climate emergency.”
“Can anybody still deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency?” Guterres asked via video. “That is why today, I call on all leaders worldwide to declare a State of Climate Emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached.”
Guterres said that economic recovery packages launched in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic should represent an opportunity to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future – but that this was not happening fast enough.
Reuters contributed to this report.