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Especially now, it is important to invest in Israeli climate innovation

Opinion: The way to overcome the economic difficulties caused by the war is through Israeli environmental high-tech. Our climate innovation, and the response it offers to the decisions made at the UN's global climate conference, can strengthen the economy - and rebrand Israel

By Gideon Bacher, Angle - Science and Environment News Agency

Environmental solutions industry in Israel. The image was prepared using artificial intelligence and is not a scientific image
Environmental solutions industry in Israel. The image was prepared using artificial intelligence and is not a scientific image

Among the hardships of the war, we kind of forgot for a moment that we are The high-tech nation. that Israeli innovation, including in the fields of the environment, is such a significant strength of ours. But these days, it is worth remembering this strength of the country. Because now, our climate innovation can be the opportunity for the Israeli economy to overcome the economic difficulties resulting from the war, and march the entire economy towards prosperity and growth.

In Israel, a system of climate innovation has developed that is amazing in its diversity, its capabilities and the solutions it offers. According to The climate innovation report of the Innovation Authority and the Israel Institute for Innovation, one out of every 6 Israeli start-ups established and 14 percent of the investments in Israeli high-tech in 2022 were in the field of climate innovation. The number of Israeli start-ups in the field is close to 800 - a very impressive number by all accounts, both in absolute terms and in relation to the size of the country.

The interest in Israeli climate innovation was experienced by the Israeli companies and startups that participated in the World Climate Conference (COP28) held last month in Dubai. Many of them came from the envelope (with the assistance of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environmental Protection), and presented in the Israeli pavilion at the conference groundbreaking solutions in areas such as the development of solid hydrogen, turning household waste into plastic, weather forecasting with the help of artificial intelligence and optimal utilization of renewable energies. The Israeli solutions are received with great appreciation: when I discussed them extensively at the conference with the international media and with partners from the business, governmental and non-governmental world, I detected a great surprise in many of them as to the extent of Israel's ability to contribute to solving the climate crisis.

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In Israel, a system of climate innovation has developed that is amazing in its diversity, its capabilities and the solutions it offers. Photo by Sky Studios on Unsplash

Israel can help the world fulfill the decision made at the World Climate Conference, which many call historic: to switch from fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas, to an economy based on renewable energies. The decision also includes tripling the amount of renewable energies in the world and doubling the rate of energy efficiency by 2030. according to many, this is the beginning of a move that has major implications for the global energy and economic systems. And there is no doubt that this is a necessary step, since 2023 is expected to be The hottest year in history, and the clear climate crisis is also manifested in the many climatic disasters that plague the world: from droughts and heat waves, through floods and storms to massive forest fires and rising sea levels.

Unprecedented opportunities

In order for the decisions made in Dubai to become a reality, the world needs technologies, and a lot of them. These should be effective, proven technologies that can be deployed quickly and at low costs. They are the ones that will allow the decision makers and those holding the wheel of energy and economic policy in the world to make the move that has now become an international convention.

Today, there is a gap between the technologies that exist today and the aspiration to reach a world with zero emissions by the middle of this century. Israel can help bridge the climate technology gap. The decisions made in Dubai create unprecedented opportunities for the world of Israeli innovation in diverse fields, such as carbon capture and sequestration (at least 5 Israeli companies in this field participated in the climate conference), energy efficiency, renewable energies, energy storage, early warning systems for extreme weather events, food security and alternatives Animal protein, climate-adapted agriculture and irrigation, efficiency in the water sector, nature-based solutions to problems, use of new materials and more.

Continued government investment, academic development and research, and support for the Israeli climate innovation industry are greatly needed. So is their international publication and exposure, in order to bring them to the attention of partners in the private and governmental sectors in the world. With a not particularly great effort, it is possible to position Israel as the global center for climate innovation and as one that provides solutions to the entire world.

Now, the great opportunity lies before us. It can benefit the Israeli economy, rebrand Israel - as a country that contributes to the world, and also contribute in a real way to solving the climate crisis. Now we just have to notice it, and concentrate effort in achieving it.

Ambassador Gideon Bachar is the special envoy for climate change and sustainability at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and he represented Israel as part of the delegation to the climate conference in Dubai.

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