Israel to promote ‘blue and white’ climate tech at its first COP27 pavilion
Ten companies chosen at Tel Aviv confab to be part of delegation to United Nations climate conference in Egypt in November
Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.
Israel will host a pavilion for the first time at a United Nations climate conference, promoting 10 groundbreaking climate tech companies and offering more than 30 events at the upcoming COP27, set to take place in the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm el Sheikh in November.
The pavilion — to be financed by eight government ministries — will open on November 7 at the conference’s Innovation Zone.
The space will feature a “technology boulevard,” spotlighting 10 companies — each with their own promotional video — as well as a 40-seat lecture space and a meeting room.
The technology boulevard will showcase 10 Israeli climate tech companies, that were selected out of 100 candidates. The winners’ names were announced Wednesday at the end of Israel’s first climate tech conference, organized by PLANETech, an Israeli nonprofit innovation community.
They are: H2Pro, which is promoting hydrogen technology developed by the Grand Technion Energy Program at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa; GenCell, which has has developed a way of using hydrogen by storing it in ammonia for off-grid and backup power that can be used across a range of markets; Remilk, a developer of cultured milk and dairy; Aleph Farms, which makes cultivated meat and grows steaks from non-mutating, non-genetically modified cattle cells; Groundwork BioAg, which develops a fungus-based inoculant for commercial agriculture to enhance and strengthen crops; Tomorrow.io, which has created a weather and climate analytics platform; Beewise, with its robotic beehives; UBQ Materials, which converts household trash, organic, paper and plastic into a bio-based plastic substitute; HomeBiogas, which turns waste into cooking gas and liquid fertilizer; and Wiliot, which has developed battery-free Bluetooth-based chips to tag onto consumer-packaged goods that can collect and analyze physical and environmental conditions across the supply chain.
The 10 companies were selected for meeting certain criteria, including current climate impact, potential climate impact, technology innovation, team and leadership, economic potential, and status and relevance for the Mediterranean region.
Dror Bin, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority, said, that the ten winners, “each a trailblazer in their own right, are the strongest evidence of Israel’s potential leadership in the climate tech industry.
But, he added,there were not enough investment entities in Israel specializing in climate tech – specifically, venture capitalists who could support and facilitate the business success of climate tech companies.
Vincent Tchenguiz, head of the CBG investment group, said, “We have good, life-changing technologies that are just waiting for investments to break through, and I call on more entrepreneurs to expand their involvement and investments in the field.”
On the eve of last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, then-prime minister Naftali Bennett said, “For the world to get to zero emissions by 2050, changing our behavior will do less than half the job. The other half will come from technology that has yet to be developed. That’s where Israel has to lead.”
In June, the government approved a NIS 3 billion ($870 million) plan to boost climate innovation.
Other conference events featuring Israeli organizations will include Tomorrow.io appearing at the pavilion of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), the Good Food Institute presenting at a smart food pavilion, and YKCenter hosting a session on climate finance.
According to Ayelet Rosen, head of the Environmental Protection Ministry’s Division of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, this year’s confab, under Egyptian leader and former African Union chairman Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, will focus largely on Africa and the developing world, which continues to suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change, even though its contribution to global warming has been negligible.
These countries will be pushing the richer nations to stand by their as-yet unfulfilled 2015 pledge to provide $100 billion a year in aid to the developing world from 2020 onwards to help them adapt to climate change and halt further temperature rises. In 2025, a new, improved collective goal is supposed to be set.
With the ongoing failure of the developed world to help, pressure is growing among developed countries for the West to establish a loss and damage fund, independent of the $100 billion pledge, to compensate poorer nations for the devastating effects of extreme weather events such as floods.
The Egyptians are saying that COP27 will be about implementing decisions made at previous confabs, and it is here — with its technology, its formal and informal educational programs about climate change, and more — that Israel will be hoping to play a constructive role, Rosen added.