Ariel Beery
Ariel Beery
Dedicated to solving problems facing humanity with sustainable and scalable solutions

Why cutting emissions isn’t Israel’s right response to climate change

Photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash
Photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash

In 10 years, give or take a year or two, all of us will face a completely different operating environment than the one we know today. The impact of climate change on business, leisure, and everyday life cannot be overstated. For millennia we shared Kohelet’s assumptions that there would be nothing new under the sun, so far as the weather is concerned. We need to immediately disabuse ourselves of this notion. As the latest UN report on climate collapse has made clear, there is no return. The State of Israel needs to properly prepare for the chaos caused by climate change just as we’ve prepared for our worst enemies’ acquisition of unconventional weapons, and we need a Grand Strategy to do so properly.

Israel is responsible for far less than 1% of the world’s carbon emissions. No matter how large a percentage of our emissions we cut, we won’t make a dent in global carbon emissions unless we take a global approach

Minister Zandberg’s call for Israel to take climate collapse more seriously must be heard by every citizen of Israel, and it is good we are recognizing our existing technological strengths and seek to share them through climate diplomacy. It would be wrong of us, however, to assume that acting according to the Paris Accords will make any difference. Israel is responsible for far less than 1% of the world’s carbon emissions. No matter how large a percentage of our emissions we cut, we won’t make a dent in global carbon emissions unless we take a global approach.

A globally-focused Grand Strategy for Israel would focus on how Israel can harness its inherent capabilities to build new and more powerful solutions for humanity to survive the coming period of climate chaos. Instead of a goal of reducing global carbon output by 1% through internal efficiency, Israel should set itself an audacious goal: to develop the technologies and solutions that will enable the world to reduce its carbon output by at least 10% by the end of the decade.

Like our ancestor Joseph, we should recognize that we are well into our last seven years of plenty. Humanity is at the tail end of a glorious era, one in which Israel especially has benefitted. Our Start Up Nation developed a world-leading digital industry and is now recognized as a global center of technology innovation. But soon seven years – at least – of climate chaos will be with us. It is time for us to use the strengths we’ve developed during our years of plenty to ensure our country and our world survives the years of famine to come.

A Grand Strategic goal for Israel inspired by Joseph would have Israeli technological and policy tools contribute to a minimum 10% reduction in global carbon output

A Joseph-inspired Grand Strategy for Israel would have us develop an independent commission insulated from government turnover and responsible for accelerating efforts to develop groundbreaking responses to climate collapse. The Joseph Commission would set as its goal to enable Israeli technological and policy tools to contribute to a minimum 10% reduction in global carbon output. It would likewise invest in solutions humanity will need to adapt to a warmer world. To do so, a Joseph Commission would coordinate public and private sectors to develop sector-specific strategies to encourage rapid innovation and implementation in critical areas such as Water, Agriculture, Sanitation, Health, Energy, and Digital (WASHED).

There is no government or non-governmental body better suited to this task than Israel.

Israel is already a world leader in each of the WASHED categories. Israeli universities and industry leaders have over a century of experience building solutions for water, developing innovative solutions for agriculture in harsh climates, developing sanitary infrastructure, advancing health, enabling more advanced energy production and storage, and laying and securing digital infrastructure. Israeli entrepreneurs know how to operate despite great uncertainty, and how to move quickly to develop solutions for regulated industries.

Israel also knows that government intervention in industry is a critical catalyst. The Innovation Authority has already created a blueprint for how an independent body can operate, albeit on a more limited remit. Israeli policy makers do not need to be convinced by MIT’s report on how private equity and venture capital funding has woefully failed to develop clean energy alternatives. We have enough experience with building Tnufa and Israel’s incubator ecosystem to know that a public-private partnership can build more with less and can rapidly advance an industrial sector in times of need.

A Joseph Grand Strategy would leverage its experience of successfully making massive public investments in innovation to attract private investment into a broad portfolio of WASHED solutions. The State of Israel would commit its institutions for the purpose of validation of these solutions, and build international coalitions to enable rapid-fire implementation pilots for the most promising of these technologies.

And above all else, a Joseph Grand Strategy would enlist all of Israel in a national mission that will enable each and every one of us to tell our grandchildren:  we did everything we could to ensure the world you receive is as safe as we could bequeath.

A Joseph Grand Strategy would enlist all of Israel in a national mission that will enable each and every one of us to tell our grandchildren: we did everything we could to ensure the world you receive is as safe as we could bequeath

We can no longer ignore the fact that the climate is collapsing around us. There is no turning back. We need to mitigate the damage and build infrastructure for what comes next. We have been here before, as a People, when our ancestor Joseph ensured the survival of Egypt and thereby the legacy of Israel. We must draw inspiration from Joseph and do more for the world than cut emissions and market our existing technologies. By committing ourselves to a Grand Strategy to enlist the public and private sectors towards reducing humanity’s overall carbon footprint by a minimum of 10%, we can survive the seven years of chaos and help humanity, and Israel, emerge stronger from the forthcoming climate collapse.

About the Author
Dedicated to solving problems facing humanity with sustainable and scalable solutions, Ariel Beery co-founded and led 3 Israel-based social ventures over the past two decades: CoVelocity, MobileODT, and the PresenTense Group. His geopolitical writings - with deeper dives into the topics addressed in singular columns - can be found on his substack, A Lighthouse.
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