Convergence and conflict with the 'National Interest': Why Israel abandoned its climate policy

Lucy Michaels, Alon Tal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article describes how Israel abandoned its climate policy through the prism of the country's evolving energy profile, most importantly the 2009 discovery of huge natural gas reserves in Israel's Mediterranean exclusive zone. The article outlines five phases of Israeli political engagement with climate change from 1992 until 2013 when the National GHG Emissions Reduction Plan was defunded. Israel was motivated to develop its climate policy by international norms: OECD membership and the 2009 UN Summit in Copenhagen. Although the eventual Plan may not have significantly reduced Israel's emissions, it contained immediate cost-effective, energy efficiency measures. Despite rhetorical support for renewable energy, in practice, most Israeli leaders consistently perceive ensuring supply of fossil fuels as the best means to achieve energy security. The gas finds thus effectively ended a potentially significant switch towards renewable energy production. The development of commercially competitive Israeli renewable energy technology may change this prevailing economic calculus alongside renewed international and domestic leadership and a resolution of the region's conflicts. Although Israel's political circumstances are idiosyncratic, the dynamics shaping its climate policy reflect wider trends such as competing economic priorities and failure to consider long term energy security.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-485
Number of pages6
JournalEnergy Policy
Volume87
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Energy
  • Energy security
  • Israel
  • Policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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