Humanity’s crossroads will be defined in Glasgow

October 31, 2021 by Ran Yaakoby
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In just a few days, world leaders will convene for one of the most crucial conferences of our generation; COP26 in Glasgow.

Ambassador Ran Yaakoby

During the course of this conference, leaders will attempt to come to a joint agreement on the goals and ways in which the direst consequences of climate change may be prevented. The COP26 meeting is a critical crossroads; 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 and can already be seen in the Pacific.

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. A good example of this is the recent HOMEBIOGAS systems Israel has recently donated to many of the Pacific Islands. This system transfers livestock waste into an organic fertilizer and delivers clean cooking gas for remote local households. Israel stands out as a significant country in climate innovation, possessing a diverse range of companies and start-ups working in this field as well as major investment in R&D and more. 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. Some of these systems have already been adapted in New Zealand too. 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 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 a fantastic opportunity to strengthen the economy for all, create new job opportunities, and allow humanity to prosper and flourish while preserving nature, the climate, and our planet’s ecological diversity. Let us work together!

Ran Yaakoby serves as Ambassador of  Israel to New Zealand and Non-Resident Ambassador to the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga

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