Environment minister said to meet with climate change skeptics

Newspaper says members of Rational Environmentalism Forum presented Idit Silman with claim Israel’s climate activity meaningless, expressed doubt over human involvement in crisis

Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman speaks at a conference in Jerusalem, January 8, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman speaks at a conference in Jerusalem, January 8, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman met Thursday with a group of climate change skeptics, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

According to Haaretz, Silman and the Environmental Protection Ministry’s director-general, Guy Samet, met Thursday with members of the so-called Rational Environmentalism Forum, a group promoting skepticism of the general scientific view on climate change.

The group included professors Yonatan Dubi, Hallel Gershoni and Micha Klein, all known for their skepticism of climate change.

Sources familiar with the three-hour-long meeting told the daily that the group presented Silman and the ministry director-general with information claiming Israel’s climate-related activity is meaningless, expressed doubt over the human involvement in causing climate change, and were skeptical about its severity.

Silman’s office said in response that she had met with “a wide variety of people from the Jewish, Arab, ultra-Orthodox public, while also listening to different opinions” over the past week.

“On Wednesday, the minister and the director-general met with dozens of environmental organizations that they invited to a lengthy meeting, with a series of topics on the agenda, and on Thursday they responded to a request by another forum that asked to meet with them,” the ministry said in a statement.

File: Activists participate in a climate march calling on the government to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the impact of climate change in Tel Aviv, October 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)

“In both meetings… the director general and the minister noted the challenges and ministry plans of action, listened to all the bodies, and expressed a willingness to listen and be heard,” it added.

Silman, of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, took over the Environmental Protection Ministry after the new government was sworn in at the end of December.

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