Leading the Way: Israel's climate innovation and global collaboration

MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2024

On the occasion of Earth Day 2024, it's imperative that we heed the words of Dr Jane Goodall: "What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." Reflecting on 2023, which marked the hottest year on record with a global average temperature increase of 1.49 degrees Celsius, it's abundantly clear that urgent and significant change is needed.

The unfolding climate crisis demands immediate action. In 2023, we witnessed historic highs in ocean temperatures, alarming rates of melting polar ice caps, and a steady rise in greenhouse-gas concentrations. These factors culminated in a record year of extreme weather events and natural disasters worldwide, including severe storms, widespread wildfires – reminiscent of the devastating fires in Canada that blanketed the skies of New York with haze and smoke – as well as wildfires in the United States and Mediterranean countries.

Powerful winds and flooding, such as that which occurred in Libya after Storm Daniel, resulted in thousands of deaths.

In Asia, record-high temperatures were measured in Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Laos. Cyclone Mocha killed 145 people in Myanmar, and the South Asia floods (Pakistan and India) resulted in nearly 2,900 fatalities. This sad list goes on and on.

So what can we do in the face of such daunting challenges?

First and foremost, we must swiftly transition to higher levels of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and nature conservation to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Building resilience and adaptation strategies is equally crucial as we prepare for the impacts of climate change already under way.

Israel, a country accustomed to challenges such as desertification and water scarcity, has pioneered innovative solutions that can serve as a blueprint for global action.

Take water for example: Using advanced technologies for water conservation, wastewater treatment, desalination, and the use of saline water for irrigation, Israel has practically created a circular economy of water that is much needed globally.

Moreover, Israel's climate innovation sector is thriving, with a significant number of startups dedicated to developing solutions for climate resilience and sustainability.

Through collaboration with governments, universities and the private sector, Israel is actively sharing its knowledge and technology with partners around the world.

At the Embassy of Israel in Bangkok, we are committed to fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange with our Thai partners. Whether through educational programmes for Thai students in Israel or supporting Thai businesses seeking sustainable technologies, we strive to be a catalyst for positive change.

As we confront the challenges of climate change, cooperation on a global scale is imperative. Israel stands ready to collaborate with countries and companies worldwide to address the immense challenges ahead and safeguard our planet for future generations.

In the words of Henry David Thoreau, "What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?" Let us work together to ensure that our planet remains not only tolerable but thriving for all.