What can be done to tackle climate crisis

April 22, 2024 00:42

Dr. Jane Goodall, the renowned primatologist and anthropologist, said, "What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." As we reflect on the year 2023, marked as the hottest year on record with a global average temperature increase of 1.49 degrees Celsius, it becomes evident that we urgently need to make a significant change and a difference.

It is no longer sustainable to continue at this pace as the climate crisis unfolds. Consider the data from 2023: ocean temperatures reached a historic high, polar ice caps in Antarctica and Greenland are melting at an alarming rate, resulting in an annual rise in sea levels of approximately half a centimeter. The concentration of major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continues to ominously rise.

All of these factors have led to a record year of extreme weather events and natural disasters, 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 following Storm Daniel, resulted in thousands of deaths. Heatwaves in North America, Asia, Europe, and beyond exacerbate agricultural productivity loss, water scarcity for drinking and agriculture, immense property damage, and loss of life.

So, what can be done?

We must swiftly transition to higher levels of renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, nature rehabilitation and more to significantly reduce greenhouse gases emissions. At the same time, there is a growing urgency to focus on building resilience, adaptation, and preparing ourselves for the crisis already underway. All of this requires significant climate innovation, technological solutions, and initiative.

In Israel, we have dealt with challenges such as desertification, water scarcity, and extreme temperatures for decades, and have successfully developed a variety of methods that can be applied to address the climate crisis. These can serve as a model and example for many countries worldwide. Take water for example: water conservation, wastewater treatment, desalination, and the use of saline water for irrigation are very well developed in Israel and practically create a circular economy of water that is much needed globally.

The climate crisis decreases agricultural output. But in Israel we produce more with less water and less land. The application of drip irrigation, developed in Israel, is a necessity in a world where droughts occur much more often. And as the world faces enormous demands to supply more food and agricultural production for industry, we need better agricultural technology.

Remote sensing through satellites and drones for maximizing agricultural production, water use efficiency in irrigation, carbon sequestration monitoring, wildfire prevention, are more examples of Israeli climate innovation. And indeed, the Israeli climate innovation sector is growing rapidly, with one out of every six startups founded in Israel in 2022 focusing on this area, with approximately 800 Israeli startups in the sector.

It is important to emphasize that Israel is willing and eager to collaborate globally with countries and companies in these areas, as only through cooperation can we overcome the immense challenges ahead and preserve our planet.

During my 2.5 years in Hong Kong , I have noticed the increasing awareness and importance that is being attached to adapting and developing new green technologies, both by the Hong Kong government as well as by the private sector- the real estate industry is a fine example of that ,The high attendance in the One Earth Summit in Hong Kong at the end of March is an illustration of that important key role that Hong Kong can play in that awareness .

Climate tech and environmental technologies have transformed from being technologies that less entrepreneurs and investors are being attracted to, perhaps because of the notion that they are less business orientated or should be categorized as public goods and services, into the main stream of innovation also on the commercial side.

Promoting Green tech technologies here is and will be one of the main directives of our consulate here and we would are interested in partnering up with suitable partners for this important journey.


Consul General of Israel Amir Lati