The Israeli cabinet approved a new climate plan on Sunday that will require its government ministries to submit action plans by 2023 that will detail preparations to “meet the climate crisis.”
The move comes ahead of the upcoming United Nations Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Conference slated for November 6-18.
“We are taking another important step in preparing government ministries for the climate crisis by setting a deadline for submitting a readiness plan that will require all of the relevant ministries to present the Cabinet with annual reports on their progress in implementing the action plans,” said caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
“We see the damage of the climate crisis, the most severe crisis facing humanity today, in all of our daily lives. Storms at sea are causing death and destruction around the world; as a result of the climate crisis, they are worsening and appearing more frequently,” said Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg.
“Advance preparations on a national level are critical in saving lives and the environment. The step we are taking today is a significant step toward preparing Israel to deal with the damage and the changes brought by the climate crisis.”
Under the decision, the cabinet mandated all government ministries to draft and present “readiness plans for climate change” by the end of 2023.
The plans are to be written in accordance with climate change scenarios prepared by the National Emergency Authority (NEA) and the Environmental Protection Ministry, and with the priorities and analyses of climate trends prepared by the Climate Change Authority in the Environmental Protection Ministry.
The National Security Council has been responsible for inter-ministerial coordination; however, a professional consultant working for the Environmental Protection Ministry will be tasked with helping other government ministries map out their needs and write their plans.
Various government ministries are responsible for different areas affected by the climate crisis, the prime minister’s office said.
“Warming and the reduction in the number of cold nights” is expected to change the agricultural produce appropriate for Israel. Maritime infrastructures will need to adapt to the projected increase in sea levels. Israel’s cities will need to adapt by increasing shade and forestation to counter longer severe heat waves.”
Against this background, the National Emergency Authority has begun to prepare climate change scenarios in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Ministry. Earlier this year, the Authority had already issued the first scenario regarding floods. In the coming years, additional scenarios are to be issued to help various government bodies prepare for expected regional events such as heat waves, wildfires, and snowstorms and extreme cold.
The Environmental Protection Ministry recently passed the Climate Law on its first reading in the Knesset and is expected to continue working toward its advancement in the next Knesset as well.
Local authorities are also writing “focused preparation plans” for the climate crisis. The Ministry, meanwhile, is advancing a national plan to increase shade and cool urban areas by planting trees, along with a plan to rehabilitate streams and encourage local authorities to preserve natural urban green spaces.