The Ministry of Environmental Protection recently published the Memorandum for the Climate Law 2021. The memorandum’s main purpose is to create an organizational framework for Israel’s handling of the global climate crisis. It follows the developing trend among countries worldwide that have enacted similar climate legislation. According to the memorandum, handling the crisis shall occur on two primary levels. The first is prevention and minimization of greenhouse gas emissions in order for Israel to meet its international obligations under the Paris Agreement. The second is advancing national preparedness for the impacts and harms of the climate crisis.

In 1995, Israel submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate the first goals it established for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030. So far, such goals have been enshrined into a string of government resolutions and national plans, which were ultimately gathered together as the Climate Law.

These are the main points presented in the memorandum:

  1. Goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – These are long-term goals, separated into two main periods, first between the years 2030-2049 and then starting in 2050. In the first period, the yearly amount of greenhouse gas emissions shall be 73% of the amount measured in 2015. In the second period, that amount shall be a mere 15%.
  2. National plan for achieving the goals and preparedness for climate change – The national plan is meant to include intermediate goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, along with various operative steps the relevant government ministries must implement. According to the timeline proposed in the memorandum, the first plan is likely to be approved by the end of 2025 and shall be updated every five years.
  3. Reporting to the Knesset – The memorandum proposes the Minister of Environmental Protection report to the Knesset each year on the implementation of the national plan. The report shall be based, inter alia, upon reports government ministries submit each year. The memorandum also proposes publishing the report for public review on the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s website. (This is to ensure updated information on national climate progress is accessible to the public.)
  4. An advisory board for climate change and an independent experts committee – In order to establish a national policy aimed at properly meeting the challenges of the climate crisis, in-depth understanding of the range of challenges Israel faces in implementing the above goals is necessary. Therefore, the memorandum proposes establishing a climate change advisory board, comprised of representatives from relevant government ministries as well as representatives of interested groups among the public. (Examples include industry parties, environmental organizations, youth representatives, and the like.)

In addition, the memorandum proposes establishing a committee of experts on climate change at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanity. The committee shall operate independently from decision makers. Namely, the Academy will appoint its members and the committee will set its own agenda and the issues for deliberation in order to advance knowledge and research on the matter. Finally, the committee must submit to the Minister of Environmental Protection its opinion on the national plan every five years in order to encourage discourse based on scientific facts.

Further, the memorandum proposes authorizing the Minister of Environmental Protection to make regulations for the implementation of the Climate Law’s provisions and to be responsible for executing its provisions.

To review the full memorandum, click here.

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