Coalition MPs will push climate law within weeks to force PM’s hand
A climate bill signed by the leaders of several coalition parties will be presented in the coming weeks, with the aim of forcing the government to respect its coalition agreement and anchoring measures to tackle the climate crisis. in law.
Written by environmental organization Adam Teva V’Din, the bill will be introduced by Yorai Lahav-Hertzano (Yesh Atid).
With ambitious goals of reducing carbon emissions by 45% and producing 50% of energy from renewable sources by the end of this decade, it will provide the legal framework to create, budget, implement and report to the public on national plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. emissions and prepare for the effects of climate change, which are expected to be particularly felt in Israel and the Middle East.
While giving professional authority to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Lahav-Hertzano’s bill will put climate change at the door of the whole government through the creation of a National Climate Council in within the Prime Minister’s office. This will approve policy, monitor and ensure implementation, and resolve inter-ministerial disagreements.
It echoes recommendations in a scathing state comptroller report released on the eve of the United Nations Environment Conference COP26 last month in Glasgow, Scotland, to pass climate law and create, budget and empower a permanent body that can implement climate crisis-related plans.
Chaired by the CEO of PMO, the climate council will include broad representation from ministries, planning authorities, emergency services, utilities, local government, green organizations and youth.
It will be advised by a committee of independent experts of 15 members which will meet at least every two months, reporting to the public, and whose members will be remunerated.
âThe US Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t tell other government departments what to do,â said Adam Teva V’Din CEO Amit Bracha. âJohn Kerry (US President Joe Biden’s climate emissary) comes with his program as a project manager. “
The first climate bill, also co-authored with Adam Teva V’Din, was unveiled in April by former environment protection minister Gila Gamliel. He was removed by his successor, Tamar Zandberg, after getting bogged down in objections from energy and finance ministries.
Meanwhile, Bracha said, the government is in violation of its coalition agreement.
As the state comptroller pointed out in his report, governments have made formal decisions on climate action over the years, but failed to implement them. They also set goals that were never achieved. It lacked proper budgets and legislative teeth.
In July, Israel sent a revised pledge to the UN to cut emissions by 27% by 2030 and 85% by 2050, compared to 2015 benchmarks. Its target is to produce 30%. energy from renewable sources by 2030, but this figure is currently only 9%, down from 10% at the end of last year.
Even the 30% target – which, according to the state comptroller’s report, does not meet the 2015 Paris Agreement requirement of âambitiousâ targets – is the lowest among OECD countries, which target between 40% and 100% renewable energy. by the end of this decade.
Giving an example of the importance of having a law, Bracha said: âThe government has failed to meet its commitments (to update a national air pollution reduction and reduction program every five years) by under the Clean Air Act.
âThe existence of the law is what enabled us to go to the High Court and have it order the government to update the program within two months,â he said.
The bill that Lahav-Hertzano will introduce outlines the goals to be achieved and the systems needed to achieve them.
It contains a 2050 target for net zero carbon emissions (in which the carbon emitted into the atmosphere is balanced by the carbon absorbed, for example, by forests or peatlands). This is in line with international trends and promises (two days before the Glasgow confab) of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Department of Energy Karine Elharrar, but contrasts with official government policy and the most recent commitment to l ‘UN, which is to reduce emissions. by 85% by mid-century
While the government aims to cut emissions by 27% by 2030, Lahav-Hertzano’s bill will specify a 45% reduction by that date, in line with UN recommendations to keep global warming at less than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), compared to the pre-industrial period.
It will require that 50% of the energy mix come from renewable sources, mainly the sun, by 2030, based on calculations by the Ministry of Environmental Protection according to which 47% of energy by that date could come from only solar panels.
The state has pledged to reduce its energy consumption by 17% by 2030, but it is far from achieving it, as the state comptroller’s report pointed out. But there has been some improvement, nonetheless, thanks to another law.
Adam Teva V’Din was able to submit a petition to the High Court based on the Energy Sources Act 1989, successfully forcing the Department of Energy to fulfill its obligation to create an energy efficiency program. The government then budgeted 900 million shekels ($ 285 million) to implement it.
The bill includes chapters on mitigation – reducing carbon emissions – and adapting to climate change, setting out content and timetables for creating national plans that address both.
Several years ago, Sinaia Netanyahu, then chief scientist at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, oversaw the creation of a national plan to adapt to climate change and extreme weather events. But it was never budgeted, had no statutory force and was not implemented.
The bill will also require the review of all government permits and regulations in light of the goals and purpose of such a climate law.
In the past, most environmental laws were proposed by opposition MPs as private bills.
Neither Bracha nor his deputy Tamar Gannot expect the government to pass the Lahav-Hertzano bill as it stands, but to take inspiration from it and present a bill of its own.