Israel and New Zealand’s Climate Change Co-operations

October 22, 2021 by Ran Yaakoby
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On the 24th of October, the world celebrates “International Day of Climate Change”.

Ambassador Ran Yaakoby

This day should serve as a stark reminder that even to those of us not particularly cognizant of the climate crisis could not help but be alarmed by what has been happening around us lately. While massive floods in Germany and Western Europe claimed the lives of hundreds, entire villages in China and India were being washed away by heavy rains. Giant hailstones rained down on Italy in the middle of summer, and Britain and Switzerland were surprised by sudden wild and rainy weather. Sardinia, Greece, and Siberia were hit by widespread fires, and in California, temperatures reached unthinkable records of 56 degrees Celsius, leaving residents feeling as though they were sweltering in a real-life

oven. Also here in New Zealand, and even more so in the Pacific Islands, we have already experienced the devastating effects of climate change.

I write this following my two previous op-ed publications and the encouraging responses it got as well as the important report which was recently released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and should serve as a serious warning sign for us all. We must change our ways and expedite a transition to a lifestyle and economy that supports – not disrupts – planet Earth’s climate, nature, and environment.

The testimonies of the hundreds of scientists who took part in the writing of this report, on the basis of thousands of well-established and diverse scientific studies, are extremely important. The time for change has come. Change, however, is difficult, and we need success stories, peer learning, and technologies that will help us move to a zero-emissions economy by 2050 and halve humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Following the recently published report by the New Zealand Climate Change Commission, New Zealand proves to be well prepared to achieve these goals.

If you look around for inspiration and good ideas, you’ll find that Israel stands out from the crowd too. Over decades, Israel has learned to establish agriculture in the desert and arid areas, to recycle 90% of its wastewater, and to desalinate drinking water. It has developed breathtaking solutions for energy storage, energy efficiency, and renewable energy, has cultivated a groundbreaking industry of animal protein substitutes, and knows how to preserve forests in conditions of drought and aridity. Israel is a living laboratory for the development of practical solutions to the climate crisis.

Israel’s climate innovation can help the entire world develop the capabilities it so needs to adapt to the climate crisis and build resilience. Take, for example, the incredible

developments that are taking place in research institutes and the private sector in Israel in the field of animal protein substitutes. Products such as meat, milk, eggs, and more are being produced in laboratories using methods that emit almost no greenhouse gases, and which allow huge swaths of agricultural land currently being used for livestock purposes to be freed up for ecological restoration and reforestation. As if this weren’t enough, these technologies also pave the way for increased global food security during an era of climate crisis.

Israel’s climate innovation is also very much needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provides some of the most fascinating solutions in the world today in the fields of compressed-air energy storage, energy generation from sea waves, the use of advanced computing tools for energy management, and more.

Closer to us, we can already see some of Israel’s technologies being implemented here in New Zealand, for instance Ormat’s Geothermal power plants in Taupo, CropX Smart Irrigation Systems and Afimilk Advanced Dairy Management Solutions.

It is clear to everyone today that there is not one single country, strong and developed as it may be, that can cope with this unprecedented crisis in human history alone. We need to harness all of humanity’s amazing abilities together in order to turn this huge ship that is planet Earth – that we all are on, shoulder to shoulder – towards a safe shore. The only way to do this is by working together, sharing information and experience, and providing mutual support. Israel is willing to contribute its share of experience, as well as to learn from the experiences of others. Together we can do it!

Ran Yaakoby is Israel’s Ambassador to New Zealand

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