Cabinet approves ministerial climate and environment committee

While environmental protection minister hails ‘step toward a climate law,’ climate group cautions move could be a ‘fig leaf’

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter

Minister of Environmental Protection Idit Silman speaks at an Energy Conference in Tel Aviv, March 13, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)
Minister of Environmental Protection Idit Silman speaks at an Energy Conference in Tel Aviv, March 13, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)

The cabinet on Sunday approved the creation of a ministerial environment and climate committee, to be chaired by Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman.

Silman said the committee would help to coordinate work across ministries to ensure that Israel’s climate policies were appropriate and properly implemented, particularly against the backdrop of recent UN reports and in the run-up to the next UN climate conference in Dubai at the end of the year.

Silman said the committee was a step on the way to the government passing a climate law.

The committee is to include representation from the ministries of National Missions; National Security; Energy and Infrastructure; Transportation and Road Safety; Agriculture and Rural Development; Economy and Industry; Interior; Construction and Housing; Health; and Science, Technology and Innovation.

The environmental advocacy organization Adam Teva V’Din, which has been involved in the formulation of a climate bill, said the new committee had to be anchored in a climate law that obliges the government to act on certain issues.

Otherwise, it would serve as a “fig leaf” and resemble many of the government decisions that have been passed on environment and climate-related issues, but never put into practice.

The organization called for the ministerial committee to be placed in the Prime Minister’s Office, and for the Defense Ministry to be included, given the security implications of climate change.

Adam Teva V’Din maintains that the Social Equality Ministry should also have a seat to ensure that the committee meets the needs of poorer populations that are disproportionately affected by climate change.

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