10/23/2011 23:41

Government task force given six months to give course of action for transitioning to a green economy.
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The cabinet approved the future institution of a national plan toward promoting green growth on Sunday, pursuant to Israel’s responsibilities as an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member state, the Prime Minister’s Office reported later that day.

The plan, which was suggested by the Environmental Protection and Industry, Trade and Labor ministers, will create a framework for green growth in the years 2012-20, and will recommend a specific course of action for Israel’s transition to a green economy, according to an Environment Ministry statement.

A government task force will have six months – until May 2012 – to submit a detailed plan, whose implementation the two ministries expect will generate billions of shekels for the Israeli economy, as well as save additional billions that are currently being invested in combating environmental and health hazards, the statement said.

Some stipulations within the plan will include mapping out and removing environmentally harmful subsidies, accelerating green innovation, developing the cleantech industry, encouraging cleaner production and promoting green industrial zones, according to the Environment Ministry.

Part of the government’s decision to begin formulating a plan stems from a June 2009 OECD Declaration on Green Growth, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Signed by all 30 then-members, as well as Israel and three other non-members at the time, the declaration tasked the OECD with harnessing a green growth strategy that combined economic, environmental, technological, financial and developmental elements, according to the OEC website.

The Israeli cabinet, the Prime Minister’s Office explained, defines green growth as “socioeconomic growth and development that does not harm the environment, promotes the efficient, cost-effective and lasting use of natural resources and promotes the creation of ‘green’ jobs while maximizing opportunities for using clean growth engines.”

Pleased with the cabinet’s decision, the Environmental Protection Ministry said it viewed the move as a positive step in the growth of Israeli industry toward meeting new international standards and maintaining competitiveness in the global market.

“Economic growth is an important thing, but is not the essence of everything,” Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement. “What interests us is the quality of life of the country’s citizens, and economic growth that destroys and depletes natural resources does not improve quality of life. Therefore, it is necessary to advance green growth, taking into consideration public health and the environment. Everyone will benefit from this green growth: the market and the environment.”