By Fentay Alemu
World leaders are currently convening on one of the most crucial issues of our generation. During the course of this conference, leaders attempt to come to a joint agreement on prevention of the direst consequences of climate change. The COP26 meeting is a critical crossroads; some may even say fateful. If we, as human society, can agree on the target of net zero emissions by 2050, then we may likely avoid crossing the warming threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius. This will ensure that we shall avoid the most serious consequences of the climate crisis. However, if an agreement is not reached, we will inevitably move far closer towards the wide variety of natural disasters that are threatening our future.
The challenge is immense, but it is possible: for the first time in human history, the effort needed demands that all major global players, including governments, the private sector, civil society, the media, academia, as well as religious leaders be mobilized. For the first time, humanity is also facing a tangible threat unprecedented in scope and power that will have far-reaching implications for many generations. We must therefore make every possible effort to ensure that the Glasgow climate conference is a success, and set ourselves on a path that will secure climate stability, security, and prosperity for all the world’s citizens.
In this context, swift implementation of practical and inexpensive solutions on a broad scale are what we now need to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience and adaptation to the effects of the climate crisis. In these areas, Israel stands out as a significant country in climate innovation, possessing a diverse range of companies and start-ups working in this field as well as major investment in R&D and more. Together, these elements have created an exceptional climate innovation ecosystem that includes over 1,200 companies and start-ups – and which is constantly growing, according to Israel’s first State of Climate Tech 2021 Report. The fact that some 10% of all new high-tech companies founded in Israel last year were in the field of climate innovation is just one example that speaks to the vibrancy of Israel’s start-up landscape.
The range of solutions that Israel has to offer is diverse. In agriculture, Israel offers drip irrigation and precision agriculture, and in the field of water and water loss prevention in urban systems, Israel holds the world record with its 3% water loss rate and 90% wastewater reusage rate. Israel also has solutions to offer in desalination, energy storage in compressed air or ice, energy efficiency, reforestation, sustainable transportation and mobility. These technologies have paved the way for increased global food security during an era of climate crisis.
Israel seeks to share its knowledge and collaborate with Ethiopia and countries around the world in order to implement these solutions, which will greatly assist in reaching global mitigation targets, building resilience among already-affected countries and communities, and implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Earth is the sole suitable residence of the human- kind. If we fail to protect it, the existence of human for generations to come will remain in question. International cooperation in the field of climate innovation is an important opportunity to strengthen the economy for all, create new job opportunities, and allow humanity to prosper and flourish while preserving nature, the climate, and our planet’s ecological diversity.
In welcoming the New Year with Ethiopia, Israel hopes to take steps forward in combating this global problem by closely working with Ethiopia and other countries around the world, through sharing and learning innovative means to sustain life while protecting the climate.
We sincerely hope that the climate conference in Glasgow will be the positive turning point in the future of humanity that we so sorely need. It is within our power to make that happen.
Fentay Alemu is Deputy Chief of Missions at the Embassy of the State of Israel in Ethiopia