Israel and the European Union step up cooperation on climate change ahead of Paris conference
The European Union and Israel today committed to continue and strengthen cooperation on climate change in the run up to the adoption of a new global climate deal in Paris this December.
EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen welcomed Avi Gabbay, Minister of Environmental Protection, and Ambassadors of EU countries for a working breakfast at his official residence to discuss preparations for the Paris conference. "The EU was the first major economy to submit its contribution to the new agreement last March," said Ambassador Faaborg-Andersen, "– a binding domestic emissions reduction target of at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels."
Minister Gabbay stressed the economic opportunity embedded in global efforts to tackle climate change : "Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a win-win situation, for the environment and for the economy, in Israel and in the EU. Governments and business leaders must work together to reduce emissions, and foster a global transition to a low-carbon economy. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with the EU and its members on this issue."
Ambassador Patrick Maisonnave of France, which is hosting the conference, said : "The Paris conference will be a historic opportunity to accelerate the shift to a low-carbon, climate-resilient global economy. People around the world are looking to their leaders for a signal that they are ready and willing to take decisive action to tackle climate change. The EU and its Member States are committed to doing their part and working with our partners to ensure that Paris is a success."
Virtually all countries of the world, including Israel and all 28 EU Member States, will gather together at the Paris climate conference (COP21) to conclude a new global climate change agreement.
The EU and Israel are committed to ensuring the adoption of a legally binding, ambitious and fair international agreement applicable to all countries that is capable of keeping the global average temperature rise below 2°C and avoiding dangerous climate change.
For the EU, there are four key elements to a successful deal. These are : ambitious emissions reduction commitments, a shared destination of travel in the form of a long-term goal, a five-yearly review cycle to consider and strengthen emissions targets, and strong transparency and accountability rules to give stakeholders confidence that countries will deliver on their commitments.
As well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the new agreement must also address adaptation to the impacts of climate change and the mobilisation of finance for climate action.
EU action on climate change
The EU’s commitment to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, builds on the EU’s current targets and policy framework for climate action. The EU is on track to meet or even exceed its target to reduce emissions by 20% by 2020. Between 1990 and 2013, EU emissions fell by 19% while GDP increased by 45% over the same period.
Climate change and action to fight it is an integral part of the EU’s cooperation with its partners across the world, including in Israel and the Middle East.
The EU and its Member States are major providers of international climate finance – delivering EUR 9.5 billion in 2013 alone. They remain committed to scaling up climate finance in order to contribute their share of the developed countries’ goal to jointly mobilise USD 100 billion per year by 2020 from a wide variety of public and private sources.
Israel’s action on climate change
Israel intends to achieve an economy-wide unconditional target of reducing its per capita greenhouse gas emissions to 7.7 tCO2e by 2030 which constitutes a reduction of 26% below the level in 2005 of 10.4 tCO2e per capita. An interim target of 8.8 tCO2e per capita is expected by 2025. The target also includes sector specific targets for 2030 :
17% reduction in electricity consumption relative to BAU scenario
17% of the electricity consumed will be from renewable sources
20% shift from private to public transportation relative to BAU scenario.
Curbing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing use of non-fossil fuels have clear environmental co-benefits, such as air pollution reduction resulting in lower environment-related illness and mortality rates. Energy efficiency increases commercial competitiveness, and Green Building can bring substantial savings to residents.
Israel is currently in the final stages of drafting its National Adaptation Plan. Israel has a rich history of dealing with the challenges of being an arid and semi-arid country facing chronic water scarcity. As the effects of extreme weather events are felt globally and in EU countries, Israel wishes to share its knowledge and experience on adaptation, in particular via the Israel Climate Change Information Center set up by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The necessary shift to low-carbon climate-resilient economies worldwide, presents great opportunities for Israeli technologies and know-how and this is another area in which Israeli – EU cooperation should be encouraged.
For more information :
EU Climate Action website : http://ec.europa.eu/clima
Ministry of Environmental Protection website :
In photo : Minister Gabbay (centre) with EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen (to his right in light grey suit) and EU Member State ambassadors.