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. Under its energy-transition strategy, it plans to stop using coal by 2030, replacing this largely with natural gas and solar power.

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

#37

How effectively does environmental policy in your country protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and environmental quality?

10
 9

Environmental policy goals are ambitious and effectively implemented as well as monitored within and across most relevant policy sectors that account for the largest share of resource use and emissions.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy goals are mainly ambitious and effectively implemented and are monitored within and across some of the relevant policy sectors that account for the largest share of resource use and emissions.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy goals are neither particularly ambitious nor are they effectively implemented and coordinated across relevant policy sectors.
 2
 1

Environmental concerns have been largely abandoned.
Environmental Policy
5
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 government 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.

Recently, Israel launched the “Israel 2030 Energy Goals,” which includes various paths to increase the country’s use of natural gas and renewable energy sources. According to this new initiative, Israel plans to stop using coal as an energy source by 2030, and replace coal with natural gas and other less-polluting sources of energy (e.g., solar energy). These plans were criticized by the Ministry of Finance as well as the oil and gas industry, while some environmentalists expressed skepticism, describing the plan as ambitious.

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’s 2030 Energy Goals Come Under Fire From Interest Groups, Environmentalists” Haaretz, 11.12.18 (Hebrew)’:
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-s-2030-energy-goals-come-under-fire-from-interest-groups-environmentalists-1.6729528

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, the 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): https://bit.ly/3cIbiST

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

Global Environmental Protection

#39

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, contributes to their being advanced and has introduced 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 contributes to their being advanced and/or has introduced some appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but does not contribute to their being advanced and has not introduced appropriate reforms.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes.
Global Environmental Policy
5
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.

The Israeli cabinet has approved a proposal to integrate the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals into Israeli programs in order to improve governance and strategic planning. The cabinet passed the resolution on 14 July 2019. The proposal had been led by the prime minister, as well as the ministers for environmental protection and foreign affairs.

As part of Agenda 2030, which Israel has adopted, each government ministry should set environmental protection goals and then report on what progress has been made in achieving these goals to the relevant international bodies.

Citations:
“Government OKs Decision to Implement Sustainable Development Indicators,” Ministry of Environmental Protection, 14.7.2019 (Hebrew):
https://www.gov.il/en/departments/news/government_approved_implementation_of_sdgs

“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

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
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