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Israel Climate Change Adaptation Report - launched

2012-01-26
The Ministry of Environmental Protection is advancing a national action plan on adaptation to climate change. In order to help formulate policy and recommendations on the necessary measures to minimize vulnerability to climate change in different sectors, the ministry financed the establishment of an Israel Climate Change Knowledge Center on adaptation to climate change in Haifa University in March 2011.

The goal of the Knowledge Center, during its initial stages of operation, is to gather and coordinate the scientific knowledge available on climate change issues in Israel in seven areas: regional climatic forecasting, impacts of climate change on the water sector, urban planning and building, public health, biodiversity, the economy and regional geo-strategic issues. Seven steering committees with more than one hundred scientists and experts from academic institutions, industry, government organizations and NGOs are charged with assessing the gaps in existing knowledge on the impacts of climate change in Israel based on different scenarios, surveying available means for minimizing damage and vulnerability and organizing seminars on each of these areas.

The first report produced within the framework of the Knowledge Center and submitted to the Ministry of Environmental Protection in December 2011 reflects the current state of knowledge on the implications of climate change on Israel. The report surveys scientific research and professional studies in Israel and abroad, identifies knowledge gaps and makes recommendations on priorities for bridging these gaps. It relates to forecasted climate changes in Israel over the next 50 years, per decade, and to the impacts of climate change on four areas: the water sector, public health, biodiversity, and urban building. In addition, the scientific knowledge in two multi-disciplinary topics is surveyed: geostrategic issues and the economy in Israel.

Among the main findings of the report:

  • Continued increase in average annual temperatures in Israel of between 0.3-.0.5°C per decade.
  • Reduction in the average quantity of rain in Israel of between 1.1-3.7% per decade.
  • Increased desertification in the southern part of Israel.
  • Increase in the duration and intensity of heat waves, which will increase risks to vulnerable populations.
  • Increase in extreme events such as floods, which will result in damage to property and ecosystems.
  • Increased probability of forest fires.
  • Uncertainty with regard to the impacts on biodiversity, with a risk of increased numbers of invasive species and earlier migration periods of migrating birds.
  • Necessity to adapt buildings and urban planning to conditions of increased temperature and flood risks and to develop the field of green building.
  • Climate has a major impact on health, both directly through physiological effects, and indirectly through its effects on non-communicable and communicable diseases and morbidity and mortality from external causes. Climate change is likely to exacerbate these effects.
  • Israel's water uses are affected by deterioration in the quantity and quality of water resources and have to undergo many changes in order to adapt to the expected climate changes.
  • Growth in migration waves to Israel, increased struggles over water sources, changes in sea level and impacts on civil and military facilities on the coast.
  • Necessity for nature damage insurance.

These forecasted conditions will significantly impact on different sectors of the economy and are expected to impact on neighboring states as well.

The work undertaken by the Knowledge Center, which was coordinated by the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Dr. Sinaia Netanyahu, along with the work undertaken by different government ministries, will serve as the basis for a national action plan on adaptation to climate change. The plan will include operative recommendations for government policy on adaptation to anticipated climate change. It will incorporate damage prevention measures and will identify economic and other opportunities caused by global changes.

The second part of the report which will present concrete recommendations on climate change adaptation policy, will be submitted to the Ministry of Environmental Protection by March 2012.

Link to Climate Change Adaptation topic in the Ministry of Environmental Protection web site