By Oren Anolik, Ambassador of Israel in Cyprus
World leaders are currently convening for one of the most crucial conferences of our generation-the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference will take place from 31 October to 12 November 2021 in Glasgow, UK. During the course of this conference, leaders will attempt to agree on the goals and ways in which the most dire consequences of climate change may be prevented. The COP26 meeting is a critical crossroad; some may even say fateful. If we, as human society, can agree on the target of net zero emissions by 2050, then we may likely avoid crossing the warming threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius. This will ensure that we will avoid the most serious consequences of the climate crisis. If an agreement cannot be reached however, then we will inevitably move far closer towards the wide variety of natural disasters that are threatening our future.
The challenge is immense, but it is possible: for the first time in human history, the effort needed demands that all major global players be mobilized, including governments, the private sector, civil society, the media, and academia, as well as religious leaders and others. For the first time, humanity is also facing a tangible threat unprecedented in scope and power that will have far-reaching implications for many generations. We must therefore make every possible effort to ensure that the Glasgow climate conference is a success, and set ourselves on a path that will secure climate stability, security, and prosperity for all the world’s citizens.
In this context, practical and inexpensive solutions that can be quickly implemented on a broad scale are what we now need to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience and adaptation to the effects of the climate crisis. In these areas, Israel stands out as a significant country in climate innovation, possessing a diverse range of companies and start-ups investing in this field. Together, these elements have created an exceptional climate innovation ecosystem that includes over 1,200 companies and start-ups – and which is constantly growing, according to Israel’s first State of Climate Tech 2021 Report. The fact that some 10% of all new high-tech companies founded in Israel last year were in the field of climate innovation is just one example that speaks to the vibrancy of Israel’s start-up landscape.
The range of solutions that Israel has to offer is diverse. In agriculture, Israel offers drip irrigation and precision agriculture, and in the field of water and water loss prevention in urban systems, Israel holds the world record with its 3% water loss rate and 90% wastewater reusage rate. Israel also has solutions to offer in desalination, energy storage in compressed air or ice, energy efficiency, reforestation, sustainable transportation and mobility, the development of new materials, animal protein substitutes such as 3D-printed steak – a field which Israel is leading globally – and food loss prevention, as well as many other exciting areas.
Israel is supportive of the Cyprus Government’s Initiative for coordinating Climate Change Actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME). We see it as the cornerstone for creating the much-needed resilience for our region, which has been greatly affected by this crisis.
Both countries cooperate closely in different fields. Τhis collaboration can be further developed by facilitating more synergies between the two governments, the private sector and the academia.
Israel is considered one of the world’s leading countries in the field of climate innovation and can be a leading international force in the provision of answers and solutions to the climate crisis. And at a regional level it wants to invest its efforts towards building cooperation, reducing risk, and maximizing benefits for all countries of the region.
Israel wants to share its knowledge and collaborate in order to implement these solutions, which will greatly assist in reaching global mitigation targets, building resilience among already-affected countries and communities, and implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). International cooperation in the field of climate innovation is also an opportunity to strengthen the economy, create new job openings, and allow humanity to prosper and flourish while preserving nature, the climate, and our planet’s ecological diversity. Let us work together!
We sincerely hope that the climate conference in Glasgow will be the positive turning point in the future of humanity that we so sorely need. It is within our power to make that happen.