Israel joins world’s carbon-free bandwagon, but some wonder if it makes economic and scientific sense
BY DAVID ISAAC
(August 26, 2021 / JNS) Israel’s government unanimously agreed on July 25 to adopt a low-carbon economy, “part of its commitment to the global effort” to reduce greenhouse gases. It’s the first time that Israel has set a national goal to reduce carbon emissions. In doing so, it joins a host of countries that have made similar announcements over the last several years.
Some praise the plan, saying Israel must act as the “science is in,” and the world faces an imminent global climate crisis. Others scoff at the “so-called science” and say there’s no justification for overhauling Israel’s economy—that it will be “all pain, no gain.”
The plan calls for an 85 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2015 levels by 2050 and sets an intermediate goal of a 27 percent reduction by 2030. To hit those targets, it calls for major changes to the transportation, manufacturing and energy sectors. …
Key excerpts: “It was to show support of the IPCC and the U.N. in general and to say that we are concerned with climate change,” Gideon Behar, special envoy for climate change and sustainability at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told JNS.
Behar said no one should question climate change: “There’s no place for doubt anymore. We need to move forward and if skeptics need more examples, they should look at the huge firestorms in Siberia, Greece, Turkey.”
Israel announced it will adopt a carbon tax. Paid by consumers, it is meant to act as a brake on fuel consumption. “The step we are taking today is historic and aligns with the developed countries struggling with the climate crisis,” said Finance Minister Lieberman.
MIT Climate Scientists Dr. Richard Lindzen: When asked his opinion of Israeli solutions to climate change, Lindzen said: “Solution implies there is a problem.” The real question is if the plan’s worth doing. To that, he replied: “Not at all.”
“Demonizing carbon dioxide is just crazy,” said [MIT climate scientist Richard] Lindzen. “It means we have a population that’s forgotten elementary biology. They don’t remember photosynthesis. We’ve already benefited due to the increase in CO2 by probably over a trillion dollars increase in agricultural productivity. The earth is greening due to this.”
“If you were to believe the worst scenarios of the IPCC,” it still wouldn’t matter what Israel did, he said, referring to Israel’s tiny carbon footprint when compared to major polluters like China, the United States and European Union.
Lindzen, who was the lead author on the 3rd report, dismissed the new IPCC report. “What people focus on is the ‘Summary for Policymakers,’ which is about 40 pages vs. the 3,500-page full report. Lindzen said politicians write the summary and “count on the fact that people won’t read the report. It doesn’t even have an index. But if you read the report, you realize it doesn’t say what the summary says.” Lindzen argued that the field of climate science was politicized when it became flush with government funding in the 1990s. “Until then, it was a tiny field. In 1990, no one at MIT called themselves a climate scientist. You were a meteorologist, a geochemist, an oceanographer. Within those disciplines, you had an interest in climate. Now they’re all climate scientists.”
Lindzen’s advice to Israel? “Ignore the climate crisis. Israel’s already an outlier. Let the rest of the world commit [economic] suicide.”
Nir Shaviv, a professor of physics at Hebrew University, told JNS that he feels many climate scientists are under pressure to produce alarming reports. There is “such a large climate industry that people need to publish things that show a large effect [from man-made emissions], or they don’t get grants,” he explained. Shaviv said the IPCC’s scientists are not looking at all the evidence. “The thing that they’re totally missing is the fact that the sun has a big effect on climate. We can simulate it in large-scale simulations.”
Shaviv: “So I’m totally confident after 20 years that the link is there, the sun has a large effect on climate.”
“It warmed between 1910 and 1940, then for 30 years, there was a cooling trend, and then it warmed from 1970 to 2000, and that explains a large fraction of the warming,” Shaviv explained.
The feasibility of Israel’s carbon reduction plan, Shaviv said: “These kinds of things are feasible if they’re willing to pay the price. Obviously, you can fill the Negev Desert with photovoltaic cells if you want. But is it the smart thing to do? I think the answer is no.”
Shaviv noted high energy prices in Europe, whose economy is just emerging from a decade of stagnation. “Industries are leaving Europe because they can’t afford the price of energy & manpower. They always had the problem with expensive manpower. They now have energy price problems.”
Bloomberg reported on Aug. 5 that “in Europe, utilities pay near-record prices to buy the pollution permits they need to keep producing power from fossil fuels.”
“They think the world is going to end. So we have to do something. We have to pay the price of more expensive energy,” said Shaviv, who blames not politicians but scientists for pushing false scenarios. “They are fooling the media. They are fooling the politicians. They are fooling the youngsters who want to do good for the environment.”
Israel joins world’s carbon-free bandwagon, but some wonder if it makes economic and scientific sense https://t.co/n7RJRjIlCi
— Marc Morano (@ClimateDepot) August 29, 2021