Israel

   

Environmental Policies

#39
Key Findings
Despite some recent progress in climate-change policy, Israel falls into the bottom ranks internationally (rank 39) with regard to environmental policies. Its score on this measure has declined by 0.6 points relative to 2014.

The country has made significant recent environmental-policy advances. In 2016, it ratified the Paris climate agreement, and approved a new energy-efficiency and emissions-reduction program. A reduction in emissions intensity was reported in 2017. It has signed or acceeded to numerous other environmental conventions.

One of the world’s largest solar-power stations has been sited in the Negev desert. A green-tax policy encourages consumers to purchase less pollution-intensive cars.

With insufficient water reserves, the country is a leader in desalination and related innovations. International coordination efforts include a focus on water and desertification issues. A strong industrial sector is dedicated to sustainable water, energy and environmental technologies.

Environment

#30

How effectively does environmental policy protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment?

10
 9

Environmental policy effectively protects, preserves and enhances the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy largely protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy insufficiently protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 2
 1

Environmental policy has largely failed to protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
Environmental Policy
6
Israel faces significant environmental challenges due to its small territory, high population growth and poor natural water resources. Its geopolitical climate adds another challenge, since unlike many OECD countries, Israel’s relationship with its neighboring countries prevents it from sharing power facilities and thereby reducing environmental costs. Security and political considerations also overshadow environmental issues, resulting in long-term neglect of environmental policy even as OECD accession has bound Israel to conform with Western standards and goals.

However, Israel has demonstrated significant recent advances with regard to environmental policy. At the end of 2016, the country ratified the Paris climate agreement. Earlier that year, the governmental approved an ILS 500 million national program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increasing energy efficiency; as a part of this policy, it has committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 26% from the 2005 emissions level. An additional ILS 260 million has been allocated to a two-year program focused on reducing air pollution. A reduction in emissions intensity was reported In 2017, indicating some early success for the policy effort. In addition, a new solar-power station, one of the largest in the world, was launched in 2017 in the Negev desert. Israel also has a unique green-tax policy, created to encourage customers to purchase less pollution-intensive cars. This innovative policy has led to positive results, and is regarded as a model within the OECD.

However, Israel has experienced some severe ecological disasters in recent years. In 2011, a backhoe loader damaged an underground fuel pipeline, and 1.5 million liters of jet fuel polluted the Zin river. Three years later, in 2014, another oil pipeline disaster occurred in southern Israel. Millions of liters of oil leaked into Evrona Nature Reserve, creating one of the worst pollution disasters in its history. In 2017, massively acidic water polluted the Ashalim Creek. Investigation of these cases has often lasted for long periods of time, and the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, one of the country’s most prominent environmentalist groups, has criticized the fact that criminal proceedings in this area take so long.

Citations:
Ben-David, Amir. Delay in Ashalim acid spill probe could result in lenient punishment, 12.8.2017, Ynet, Retrieved from https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5001938,00.html

“Govt. OKs Program to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Increase Energy Efficiency,” Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection, online website, 10.04.2016, http://www.sviva.gov.il/English/ResourcesandServices/NewsAndEvents/NewsAndMessageDover/Pages/2016/04-April/Govt–OKs-Program-to-Reduce-Greenhouse-Gas-Emissions,-Increase-Energy-Efficiency.aspx


Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection
: http://www.sviva.gov.il/English/env_topics/InternationalCooperation/OnTheIntlFront/Pages/OTIFdefault.aspx

Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection, “Israel Biennial Update Report,” 15.5.2017
http://www.sviva.gov.il/english/env_topics/climatechange/mitigation/documents/israel-biennial-update-report-may-2017.pdf

Jpost.com Staff. Industrial waste water leaks from Israeli chemical plant, 30.6.2017, Jpost, Retrieved from: http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Environment/Industrial-waste-water-leaks-from-Israeli-chemical-plant-498433

Koriel, Ilana. The biggest ecological disasters in Southern Israel (Hebrew), 8.7.2017, Ynet, Retrieved from www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4986127,00.html

OECD, “Israel’s Green Tax on Cars,” OECD Environment Policy Paper, July 2016,
http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/environment/israel-s-green-tax-on-cars_5jlv5rmnq9wg-en#.WdJ0SBOCy34#page5

Rinat, Zafrir, Seidler Shirly and News Agencies, Oil Spill One of Worst Pollution Disasters in Israel’s History, 4.12.2014, Haaretz, Retrieved from https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.629958

Rousseau, Daphne. In Israeli desert, world’s highest solar tower looks to future, 19.6.2016, The Times of Israel. https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-israeli-desert-worlds-highest-solar-tower-looks-to-future/

“The state of nature 2015,” HaMarag publication June 2015 (Hebrew):
http://www.hamaarag.org.il/sites/default/files/media/file/report/field_report_report_file/%D7%93%D7%95%D7%97%20%D7%9E%D7%A6%D7%91%20%D7%94%D7%98%D7%91%D7%A2%202015.pdf


Law Library of Congress: Regulation of Air Pollution: Israel, https://www.loc.gov/law/help/air-pollution/israel.php

Global Environmental Protection

#40

To what extent does the government actively contribute to the design and advancement of global environmental protection regimes?

10
 9

The government actively contributes to international efforts to design and advance global environmental protection regimes. In most cases, it demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, fosters their advancement and initiates appropriate reforms.
 8
 7
 6


The government contributes to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes. It demonstrates commitment to existing regimes and occasionally fosters their advancement or initiates appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but neither fosters their advancement nor initiates appropriate reforms.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes.
Global Environmental Policy
4
Israel is a relatively small participant in the international climate-policy network, but is constantly contributing innovative environmental technologies, and is demonstrating responsibility in its local policy. In recent years it has taken a larger role in environmental policy matters, partly due to a rise in public awareness of these issues, and partly due to its accession to international organizations and treaties. Israel has signed, ratified or acceded 20 environmental conventions, as well as several amendments and protocols to those conventions.

The country has been forced to develop technological and ecological solutions due to the unique and diverse nature of the Israeli climate, the country’s scarcity of natural drinking water, and its hostile neighboring countries. Thus, it has become a dominant actor in the “clean tech” field. The country has developed an industry of more than 400 companies dedicated exclusively to sustainable water, energy and environmental technologies. It has launched green-technology projects aimed at demonstrating its achievements in the fields of desalination and water recycling, and actively shares information and technologies with other countries. Israel is also involved in international anti-desertification efforts, since it is an important exporter of new methods and technologies developed specifically for arid regions.

Citations:
OECD, “Israel’s Green Tax on Cars” OECD Environment Policy Paper, July 2016,
http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/environment/israel-s-green-tax-on-cars_5jlv5rmnq9wg-en#.WdJ0SBOCy34#page5

“Israel and World Bank Group sign agreement to share innovative best practices in water,” The World Bank website 17.6.2015: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2015/06/17/israel-world-bank-group-agreement-innovative-best-practices-water

Israel Ministry of Environment Protection: http://www.sviva.gov.il/English/env_topics/InternationalCooperation/IntlConventions/Pages/default.aspx
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