TEL AVIV — Aside from the small number of climate change deniers in the world, leaders from most developed nations recognize that taking stock of their greenhouse gas emissions is the first step in reducing them.
Greenhouse gases are believed to be causing global warming. And while Israel ratified the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol in 2004, it has no limit on how much greenhouse gases it can send out into the atmosphere.
However, Israeli government and industry recently showed its intent to do its part in fighting global climate change, by hosting an international workshop. The workshop’s mission was to help Israeli companies set up a voluntary mechanism to measure their greenhouse gases.
The recent two-day event was held in a conference centre at Yad Hashemona, near Jerusalem, and included international guests from the United States, Germany and Mexico. The workshop was “a first of its kind,” reports Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
There, Israelis mingled with policy-makers and officials from other countries, and discussed the best ways for setting up an efficient and effective greenhouse gas emissions mechanism in Israel.
Only a week earlier, some 15 Israeli cities made a pledge to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by the year 2020. And a day before the workshop, Israel’s environmental protection minister and the German ambassador signed an agreement saying that they would work together on fighting climate change.
Franzjosef Schafhausen, deputy director general of Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature, Conservation and Nuclear Safety, said at the conference: “Climate change is a threat to global peace and security. I hope that yesterday’s signature will create a closer co-operation with the people of Israel.”
Among the local attendees included Israel’s two carbon offset provider companies, Elysium and EcoTraders. Roni Komar, the president of EcoTraders and formerly the general manager of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, told ISRAEL21c that in order to be competitive, international markets will require companies to account for their greenhouse gases.
His company currently works with major Israeli companies in the areas of solid waste, cement, energy and other heavy industries to help reduce and take stock of their carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions: “EcoTraders is a three-year-old company, and we have 15 projects in Israel, a diverse portfolio that includes power plants,” he says.
“We are also specialized in the magnesium sector and are world pioneers on how to deal with SF6 – the most harmful greenhouse gas.”
There are six major greenhouse gases; carbon dioxide is the one most people are familiar with. Organizations such as EcoTraders help companies find ways to reduce the gases they create and, in some cases, invest in developing clean technology for future generations.
One of EcoTraders’ clients in Israel is Nesher Cement. The company helped Nesher install a vertical grinding mill, a type of grinding technology new to the region, in order to improve energy efficiency in its cement production process.
At the Hiriya Landfill, the old garbage dump of Tel Aviv, EcoTraders are collecting and flaring landfill gas to reduce greenhouse gases and odours and to prevent explosions at the site. “Some of the gas may be sold to local industry as a fuel-replacement, which will cut the use of fossil fuels and contribute to improved air quality in the area,” the company says.
Climate change worriers and warriors believe that companies cannot stall any longer: they must take account of their greenhouses gases. This recent workshop in Israel shows that the tiny nation of seven million is playing its part.
Karin Kloosterman is the associate editorial director of ISRAEL21c, a media organization focusing on 21st-century Israel.