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Anthropogenic Climate Change in Israel

June 11, 2013

Climate and archaeological records from the last 10,000 years show that there has always been significant climate variability in the East Mediterranean (Issar and Zohar 2004).  As we enter the 21st century, however, Israel’s climate is entering a new period of uncertainty. Over the last 40 years, the unexpected ways in which humans influence the climate have become increasingly evident. This article surveys how researchers have come to understand Israel’s climate, with a focus on the significant science and policy challenge posed by global warming. 

While we now have a fairly clear picture of the likely effects of global warming in Israel and the Middle East, successive Israeli governments have been slow to recognise the need to address it: slow to allocate research funding; slow to introduce policies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and slow to introduce adaptation strategies to protect Israel against the changing climate. While the Ministry of Environmental Protection has been quietly working on this issue since 1989, only in the run-up to the 2009 UN Climate conference in Copenhagen did Israel’s leaders begin to recognise the need for action and the additional health, security and economic benefits of doing so.  Where the Israeli government has faced significant barriers to action, scientists, entrepreneurs, environmental NGOs, municipalities and civil society have been at the forefront of addressing climate change in Israel. 

 

Michaels L, Alpert P, 2013, Anthropogenic Climate Change in Israel, Between Ruin and Restoration: An Environmental History of Israel, Chapter 15, Pittsburgh University Press, Chapter.

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