Along with many of its neighbors in the Middle East, Israel is defined as a “climate hotspot”: the rate of rising temperatures, sea levels, forest fires and extreme weather events is roughly twice that of the world average. Local manifestations of the climate crisis should have created particularly high awareness about climate-related responsibilities, but in fact, only recently, has Israel begun to design a comprehensive greenhouse gas mitigation strategy. Nonetheless, many of the unique development initiatives and technologies which the country has adopted over the years are relevant to global efforts to ensure sustainability, with the potential for meaningful reduction in the planet’s collective carbon footprint.
Among the more notable such Israeli technological innovations are dryland afforestation, drip irrigation and wastewater reuse. Israel has also developed the lowest price desalinated sea water production in the world. While many of the Middle East’s country’s face a water scarcity crisis, exacerbated by increasingly frequently droughts, water security in Israel has actually improved dramatically over the past twenty years. While this is an extremely important contribution to quality of life, Israel’s desalination program remains powered by fossil fuel-powered electricity, increasing aggregate greenhouse gas emissions.
The presentation will consider both technological approaches to overcoming climate challenges in dryland regions – and initiatives involving regional cooperation between Israel and its neighbors. Transboundary environmental cooperation has the potential to both increase political harmony in the region as well as ensure that economic development continues without compromising climate responsibilities and Sustainable Development Goals.
Panel discussion with Nicholas Hawtin (CEO and Co-founder at thinklegaltech.com) as moderator, and Alon Tal