Environment minister welcomes Biden, Harris, with zero carbon pledge

Gila Gamliel congratulates incoming administration, declares Israel 'a solar light unto the nations' that joins US in bold move to achieve 100% carbon pollution-free electricity

Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel (left) and solar energy entrepreneur Yosef Abromovitz in a video welcoming the new Biden-Harris US administration, January 20, 2021. (Screen capture)

Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel on Wednesday became the first member of government to congratulate incoming US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris ahead of their inauguration, sending them a bold message that Israel joins them in their goal of reaching 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity.

Gamliel declared the Jewish state “a solar light unto the nations,” bringing green energy to the developing world.

“You are entering the White House with an important promise that will impact our planet, our economies and our national security — to achieve a goal of 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035,” she said, in video clip posted on her Twitter account.

“Here in the Holy Land, we are joining your inspiring vision, and by working together, we can reach the 100% renewables goal.”

The video clip is likely to further anger Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is locked in battle with Gamliel over the country’s renewable energy goals. These should have been presented to the United Nations by the end of last year, in line with the terms of the Paris Climate Accords, which Israel signed in 2015.

Steinitz wants more conservative goals and is pushing for new natural gas power plants. He often accuses Gamliel of “populism.”

Gamliel’s video draws attention to some of Israel’s environmental technologies, from renewable energy storage to robotic solar panel cleaners. It carries footage of the minister with solar energy entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz, who, after immigrating from the US,  helped set up the country’s first solar energy plant and is now working to introduce solar energy across Africa.

“I am currently in the south of Israel,” says Gamliel, standing alongside Abramowitz with a solar energy field in the background. “I am proud to announce that this region is the first region in the world to be powered 100% by the sun, during the day.”

Gamliel ends by calling solar energy “the energy of peace, that can bring our region together and brighten up the lives of our peoples.

“On behalf of the government of Israel and our prime minister, on behalf of the citizens of Israel, we look forward to further deepening our partnership with our friends in the US,” she said.

“Together we can reach new heights and win the climate battle, for all of humanity.”

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