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Israel approves plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions

Cabinet okays NIS 800 million in loans and grants to boost energy efficiency as part of climate change commitments

File: A weekly cabinet meeting at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem, May 26, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)
File: A weekly cabinet meeting at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem, May 26, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

The Israeli government has approved a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency.

The plan adopted Sunday in a unanimous vote by the Cabinet is expected to save the Israeli economy $8 billion, the government said. It is part of Israel’s effort to meet its commitments from last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Under the plan, Israel will allocate some NIS 500 million ($132 million) in guarantees for loans over 10 years for programs to increase energy efficiency and some NIS 300 million ($80 million) in grants for projects that will lead to energy efficiency in industry, business and local governments.

The government also has committed to examining other ways of lowering greenhouse gas emissions, including reducing coal use and switching to natural gas, as well as assisting in the development of the Israeli clean-tech industry and providing tax incentives to encourage the use of renewable energy and promoting green building construction.

“We hope that the plan we are approving today will first of all lead to a reduction in sickness caused by pollution, and in addition will lead to greater efficiency and savings in the economy,” Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said in a statement. “We intend to continue investing the resources required to keep reducing air pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases in Israel.”

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