“When we look to the long term, we have to change the way we measure success in protecting national security, environmental protection minister says.

In a keynote address to the Conference on Environment and Security, held at Tel Aviv University on Tuesday, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan warned that Israel was not sufficiently ready to deal with the national security threats posed by climate change.

“When we look to the long term, we have to change the way we measure success in protecting national security, and also change our priorities when it comes to economic management,” he said.

Erdan said Israelis didn’t need to be reminded of how energy security was tied to national security.

“For years, trade in ‘black gold’ has lined our enemies’ pockets, giving them a disproportionate share of power and financing international terror that targets Israel and her allies,” he asserted. “An international shift to alternative and renewable energy sources aligns directly with Israel’s security and political interests. The government of Israel needs to adopt further measures that promote research into technologies that will reduce international dependence on fossil fuels.”

Erdan said that in a recent cabinet meeting, the IDF’s head of Military Intelligence presented a study showing that in 20 years, the whole world’s fuel deposits would be held by countries antagonistic to Israel.

“I think that the ramifications of that fact on Israel’s national security plans for the next few decades is clear,” said Erdan.

However, Erdan added that energy considerations were not the only ones that should be taken into account when it came to national security. The minister pointed to a whole range of natural resources that are in diminishing supply – things like minerals and metals used in a range of industries – which may also be cause for international friction in the future.

“One of the challenges that humanity will have to face in the upcoming decades is the effects of climate change. I remind you of the Carmel forest fire, and that these days when the weatherman talks about continued warm and dry weather, it has more implications than for what we wear that day,” the minister said.

Erdan praised the IDF on its educational activities regarding environmental protection, stating that it was an invaluable tool to implement a culture change throughout Israeli society.

Erdan said that the root of the problem lay in Israel’s economic priorities, warning that a country that only measured its success in terms of economic growth, without taking into account things like sustainability or preparedness to meet the challenges of climate change, was shortsighted and lacked real understanding of the upcoming challenges.

“We, like most other Western countries, live in a capitalistic society and have gotten used to encouraging a culture of consumption, and measure our success based on our ability to purchase commodities as we wish, even if we don’t really need them. The same goes for national expenditure,” he said.

“What I’m saying is that we need to change our priorities.