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Teen climate activists fly to UN confab in Scotland, deliver letter to PM

Alma Pomagrin, 15, and Lia Lev, 16, both from central Israel, present request signed by 524 young people for Israel to set more ambitious climate targets

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Alma Pomagrin, 15 (R) and Lia Lev (16) of the Israel branch of Fridays4Future meet with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1, 2021. (Sue Surkes/Times of Israel)
Alma Pomagrin, 15 (R) and Lia Lev (16) of the Israel branch of Fridays4Future meet with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1, 2021. (Sue Surkes/Times of Israel)

Two enterprising teenagers from Tel Aviv who are active in the Israeli branch of the youth movement Fridays4Future managed to get to the UN climate conference in Scotland and to buttonhole Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as he came out of the main plenum, following his address to world leaders on Monday.

Alma Pomagrin, 15, who studies at the Kfar Hayarok School for Leadership in Ramat Hasharon in central Israel and Lia Lev, 16, a pupil at Tel Aviv’s Ironi Aleph school, flew to Glasgow with Alma’s mother, Nancy, to spend a week at the COP26 confab, regarded as a critical test of world leaders’ determination to fight climate change with action, not just promises.

Assisted by Israeli solar entrepreneur Yossi Abramowitz, the girls delivered a letter to Bennett signed by 524 young activists.

Bennett praised them, gave the letter to an adviser, and promised to meet with the duo in Israel.

“The bitter truth is that our country’s current targets for renewable energy and emissions cuts are disappointing and insufficient,” said the letter.

Israel has committed itself to cutting global warming emissions by 27 percent and generating 30% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. Last week, Bennett and Energy Minister Karine Elharrar announced that they would be aiming for net zero emissions by 2050, an improvement on the policy of the previous government.

The letter charged that the price of not setting more ambitious goals for the coming few years would be paid by the younger generation. “Our security, health, and future are hanging in the balance,” it said.

Welcoming Bennett’s net zero pledge, the letter ended with an appeal to “listen to the voices we bring with this letter, in the name of the youth of Israel, and adopt more ambitious goals for renewable energy and emission reductions.”

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