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Reducing Global Warming: Israel Presenting Solar Energy Solutions At UN Climate Change Conference

times of israel

50-strong Israeli delegation to UN Climate Change Conference in Paris to show how blue and white tech can lower emissions.

Israel hopes to highlight its green technology expertise, with an emphasis on solar energy, as a major solution to global warming at the United Nations Climate Change talks in Paris starting on November 30 says Josef Abramowitz, the president of solar company Gigawatt Global and part of the Israeli delegation, in a statement to The Times of Israel ahead of his trip.
The purpose of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) is to get all 166 UN member countries to sign a binding agreement that will keep global warming below an increase of two degrees Celsius over the next century. A global increase of two degrees is considered a tipping point that will lead to widespread environmental disasters. Hundreds of leaders will gather in Paris for the 11-day summit to try to hammer out a deal capping emissions for all countries and looking for creative solutions to halt the warming of the planet.
“The main focus for the Israeli delegation is that Israeli innovation can help all countries achieve their development and reduction goals, states Abramowitz, one of the pioneers in the Israeli solar energy industry with the Arava Power Company, which is responsible for many of the solar fields in the region. He is one of three founders of Gigawatt Global, an American/Dutch/Israeli company which completed a solar field in Rwanda in February, the largest in eastern Africa.
Gigawatt-Project-Rwanda

The Israeli delegation must also explain why, despite their emphasis on technological expertise, Israel has only committed to 17% of energy coming from renewable sources by 2030. That figure is on par with other developed countries, but low for a country that claims to have such advanced technology. The government has claimed this is due to high security costs, the geopolitical situation, or lack of geothermal energy. The US is aiming for 28% of energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Currently, only 2% of the country’s energy currently comes from renewable sources, which is solar. Although wind energy could be economically viable in some parts of the country, Israel’s path along a major migratory route for birds makes large windmills environmentally untenable, Abramowitz explained. As for the 2% figure, “we can certainly do better than that,” he said.

But while the country has a long way to improve, the Arava region has shot ahead in terms of renewable energy. Right now, 60% of the energy for the area from Eilat to the Dead Sea comes from solar energy, said Abramowitz. By 2020, 100% of the daytime energy consumption in this region will be from solar, and by 2025, it will be 100% of all energy, day and night.

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Abramowitz said that his company’s solar field in Rwanda, built in the shape of the continent of Africa, refutes the notion that prosperity can only come from so-called dirty fuels, such as coal or oil. The $23.7 million solar field, built in cooperation with the United States government’s Power Africa Initiative, will provide Rwanda with 8.5 megawatts of power, enough to power 15,000 homes. The solar field now produces 6% of the country’s electricity generation but added zero greenhouse gas emissions.

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Netanyahu will take the stage in Paris as the green movement in Israel is gaining even more momentum. On Wednesday, for the first time ever, a Green Party candidate was sworn into the Knesset. Zionist Union MK Yael Cohen-Paran replaced MK Danny Atar, who quit to head the Jewish National Fund. In an interview with The Times of Israel, the former CEO of the Israel Energy Forum and longtime environmental activist called solar energy “the real solution the world needs.”

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“There’s a sense of urgency on behalf of all the countries going into Paris,” Abramowitz says. Even places like Saudi Arabia are concerned about global warming, dealing with issues like coral reef bleaching due to rising ocean temperatures, Abramowitz pointed out. “No one is questioning the science any more, everyone is looking for solutions.”

“I’m highly cognizant that the signing [of a possible global climate deal] will be during Hanukkah, the festival of lights,” Abramowitz added. “Perhaps we should all expect a miracle on December 10 or 11.”

To read the full article, please visit the Times of Israel webpage.