Below is Minister Gabbay’s speech to the delegation heads at the Climate Conference:
Three weeks have passed since the terror attacks in Paris; an attack against freedom and independence – values bequeathed to our culture by the French Revolution. I send you condolences, in both my name and in the name of Israel’s citizens.
Last week at this conference, I heard many speeches. And I assume that there is not much new to say with regards to the importance of climate challenges. Therefore, I will focus on Israel’s program:
Our population is around 8-million residents. Our GDP is $38,000 per capita, and grows nearly 3% a year. We emit only 0.2% of global greenhouse gases, not particularly significant. The emissions reduction target decided upon by the Israeli government is 24%, compared to business as usual. We have a 5-step plan to achieve this target:
- Reduction of electricity consumption by 17%;
- At least 17% of electricity will be produced by renewable energies (today that figure is 2%);
- Reduction in the use of coal;
- A 20% reduction in private vehicle use;
- Adoption of breakthrough technologies that will change the world as we know it (just like REM sings about)
I joined the political realm a year ago, after 20 years of experience in the telecommunications field. I experienced the dramatic change that brought with it telecom technology. No one could have imagined the technological developments. I saw how smart strategies collapsed under new, breakthrough technologies. Therefore, I am very optimistic with regards to our ability to achieve these targets.
Israel is called the "start-up nation." We have more than 350 cleantech companies, and in the last year, we were rated number one, out of 40 countries, in terms of cleantech development.
Technological developments are our contribution and our main task in the climate change arena. If you are not optimistic with regards to the global target, close your eyes, and image how the world can look in 2030:
- The electricity grid will be much more efficient, thanks to smart-grid developments.
- Many of us will be producing the energy we consume.
- All factories will use co-generation (electricity production and heat).
- Car companies will manufacture more electric cars than gas-powered cars.
- Public transportation will be smarter and more efficient.
Can we reach the target we set for ourselves – to prevent a global increase of 2-degrees Celcius by 2100? I am certain we can. It is in our hands.