The most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of the devastating implications for civilization if we don’t take dramatic steps in the coming years.

In particular, the Middle East will be hard hit with extreme temperatures, droughts and more, impacting life in Israel severely.

The Heschel Center stands at the forefront of the efforts of Israel’s civil society to create a robust response to the threat of climate change. Our climate initiative consists of a number of important components, oriented both to civil society and to cooperative work with the government.

The Climate Forum – The Directors’ Council – CEOs of member organizations of the environmental movement – which the Heschel Center spearheaded, has initiated the establishment of a Climate Forum of the movement, that will coordinate climate-related actions in Israel. The Forum, under the leadership of the Heschel Center, has met and is in the midst of planning the Israeli National Climate Conference, to take place on Nov 29th in Tel Aviv. They Climate Forum is also active in the government-led multi-sectoral process for crafting the 2050 National Plan for energy reform and GHG mitigation (see below).

The National Climate Conference – The conference will be composed of two parts. First there will be roundtables, designed to feed into the multi-sectoral process for the 2050 National Plan. Roundtables will be conducted in the areas of: energy, economy and industry, transportation and mobility, urbanism and planning, agriculture and food, education and media, cleantech and innovation, the ocean, water and nature preservation, regional climate change, health and climate. The results of each one will be documented and collated in a joint paper.

In addition, during that time, there will be a workshop learning from the German experience of integrating climate policy in the world of business and industry, with two visiting German experts, and sponsored by the German Embassy in Israel.

The second half of the Conference will have three plenaries, on the topics of:

“It’s Necessary” – The effects of regional climate change on energy, water, food, health and emigration;

It’s Possible” – Urban adaptation and resilience in Israel and the world;

“It’s Worthwhile” – Opportunities in the world of innovation, industry and business (with guests from abroad)

2050 National Plan – The Heschel Center was instrumental in urging the government to promote a multi-sectoral participatory process to create a vision and program regarding climate change towards the year 2050. There is a joint committee of the Heschel Center and government representatives to craft a proposal and process. In a very positive development, there will be official representatives of the OECD participating in this committee. The process will deal broadly with all sectors of society, an initiative that hasn’t been undertaken since the national strategy plan that Ariel Sharon promoted when he was prime minister.

The Heschel Center’s climate project, led by Dr. David Dunetz, with Victor Weis, is supported by the Heinrich Boell Foundation, the German Embassy in Israel, and the Common Sense Fund.