Spotlight: Israel maps out blueprint to tackle climate change crisis

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 9, 2018
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by Nick Kolyohin

JERUSALEM, July 9 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli government is set to launch a national campaign to tackle the future climate change crisis that will challenge the stability of the Jewish state, according to a government final resolution draft regarding climate change obtained exclusively by Xinhua.

In recognition of the high risks the future climate may pose to human health, agriculture, environment as well as the economy, the government will form an administration to initiate an inter-ministerial strategic action plan to deal with the climate change crisis before it is too late, the resolution draft reveals.

The action plan has five main goals: reducing the damage to life and property, increasing the resilience of the natural systems and the economy, advancing scientific research, promoting education about extreme climate, and strengthening international cooperation over global warming.

Israel's concern over the climate change emerged at the beginning of the decade, when the Ministry of Environmental Protection established the Knowledge Center for Climate Change and worked with all other government ministries for recommendations on a national action plan.

Sinaia Netanyahu, former chief scientist of the ministry who led the work on climate change, said the government has done a lot of work to achieve the tangible action plan to deal with the worst possible climate scenario in the future.

"All 16 Israeli ministries, along with a lot of national and private organizations, worked in coordination under my leadership for almost seven years, untill we got this plan," Sinaia told Xinhua.

"Almost the entire country will take part in this challenge," she noted.

The Israeli government expects significant changes in climate, particularly in Israel, during the 21st century, with a rise of 1.5 to five degrees Celsius in the global temperature by the end of the century.

Experts say an increase greater than 2 degrees in global temperature will have severe consequences on the Earth, some of which will even be irreversible.

The dominant cause of the change in the global climate system is the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The livestock sector is one of the leading greenhouse gases polluters, accounting for 18 percent of all emissions, even more than all the transport combined, according to a UN report.

Despite the steps being taken to reduce emissions by developed countries, the rate of emissions is still mounting, raising concern that more extreme weather events will come with rising intensity of climate change.

Alon Zask, senior executive director-general for Natural Resources at the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection, expressed the same concern in an interview with Xinhua.

"The entire weather system is not stable anymore. There will be more droughts, floods, earthquakes and even tsunamis," he warned.

"The weather is becoming very extreme. The level of the sea is rising, which will significantly affect all infrastructure along the sea in Israel," Zask told Xinhua.

The prospect of one meter rise in the oceans by the end of this century has motivated the Israeli government to consider building sea dams as one of the solutions to save lives from the seal level rise.

In addition, Israel expects 30 percent less rainfall worldwide in the future, triggering severe drought and shortage in drinking water.

Uri Schor, spokesman of Israel Water Authority, said in an interview with Xinhua that Israel is pumping desalinated water through pipelines into aquifers, streams and springs to prevent their dehydration for lack of rain.

The Sea of Galilee, the main tap water resource of Israel, is a top target that the government plans to protect from the climate change, Schor told Xinhua.

According to the Israeli resolution draft, the climate change may also take a heavy toll on the global economy, estimated at a 0.5-percent annual decrease in the Gross World Product by the middle of this century, and one to five percent annual loss by the end of the century and beyond.

Meanwhile, the worldwide income is expected to decline by 23 percent, leading to yawning gaps in economic inequality, the government document notes. Enditem

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