The comptroller’s findings indicate that Israel is projected to only reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 12% from 2015 to 2030, which is 56% less than the target of 27%. 


The state comptroller has raised a red flag on Israel’s alarming lack of progress in addressing the country’s climate crisis.

In a comprehensive report released Tuesday, Comptroller Matanyahu Englman and his team highlighted the government’s failure to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, take preventive measures against global temperature rise, adopt policies for climate change risk management, address economic and financial concerns, and establish a suitable framework for tackling climate issues.

“The State of Israel has made many declarations, mainly implemented through a long series of government resolutions regarding its commitment to climate action, yet it has not led processes or taken enough actions that would enable tangible progress,” the report said. “The government’s conduct in this matter can, therefore, be characterized as ‘functional stagnation.’”

his is the second comprehensive audit regarding the state’s preparedness for the climate crisis. A previous report released in 2021 found more than 100 deficiencies, the majority of which have not been rectified at all or fully addressed in the last three years.

“The war is a wake-up call to the government to stop its criminal negligence in dealing with the climate crisis,” said Amit Bracha, CEO of Adam Teva V’Din. “This is Israel’s existential war, and the fact that there is no legislation, no policy, and no preparedness is leading Israel towards becoming a third-world country with high morbidity, poverty, and death.

“Adam Teva V’Din has been working for years to promote comprehensive climate legislation with ambitious goals because, as stated in the report, government decisions are not implemented, and without proactive and comprehensive regulation, Israel is drifting away from the developed world towards a developing country.”

Thousands of Israeli youth protesting the climate crisis in Tel Aviv, March 19, 2021.  (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Thousands of Israeli youth protesting the climate crisis in Tel Aviv, March 19, 2021. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

The latest report is divided into four sections: mitigation, adaptation, economic and financial aspects, and climate change governance. Across more than 100 pages, the authors meticulously outline Israel’s challenges: the lack of a central authority on climate change, significant delays in passing climate legislation, the absence of a carbon tax initiative, and the inadequate government risk management and budgetary framework for climate issues.

Approximately 60 countries have anchored their climate policies in legislation, a step that Israel still needs to take. Every year, ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Israel either introduces new climate resolutions or its leaders make ambitious statements. Nevertheless, the report reveals that most of these measures have not been implemented.

Moreover, the comptroller pointed out that the current climate bill, which recently cleared the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, falls short of what’s necessary to be truly effective. One key issue is that the Ministry of Finance insisted that the targets outlined in the bill should be aspirations rather than binding obligations.

“This stance presents a real and fundamental difficulty since the ministry effectively demands unlimited flexibility in changing climate targets, which could allow these targets to be postponed in favor of any other issue that arises,” the report said. This position could delay and, in some cases, even halt the achievement of Israel’s climate goals.”

Israel’s climate targets falling short

Israel is currently falling significantly short of its climate targets. The comptroller’s findings indicate that Israel is projected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by only 12% from 2015 to 2030, which is 56% less than the target of 27%.

Strikingly, GHG emissions in Israel increased by 1% between 2015 and 2022.

Specifically, Israel reduced its GHG emissions by 2% compared to 2015, and in 2020, it was 5 to 10 times less than in other surveyed countries, where reductions were between 11% and 20%. In 2021, Israel also slightly reduced emissions by 1.5%. However, in 2022, GHG emissions rose by 3.5% compared to the previous year.

The comptroller stressed in the report that “this increase in emissions essentially negates the progress made in reducing GHG emissions in Israel.”

The primary culprit for the rise was coal. Despite a government decision, Israel failed to shut down coal-powered units 1 to 4 at the Orot Rabin Power Station, costing the country NIS 1.6 billion for GHG emissions in 2022 alone.

At the same time, the report highlighted that Israel is expected to produce only 19% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 instead of the required 30% determined by Government Resolution 465. Moreover, Israel’s target of 30% for the use of renewable energy is the lowest among OECD countries.

“This comptroller’s report confirms that Israel is not serious about renewables and not serious about energy security… Israel could easily be at least 50 percent powered by renewables by 2030, but the comptroller says we won’t even reach half that,” stressed environmentalist Yosef Abramowitz. “We are at war, and when the grid goes down soon, and Israeli lives will be lost due to lack of water, sewage treatment, refrigeration, and more, this comptroller’s report will exhibit A at the commission of inquiry.”

Even China, the world leader in GHG emissions, has made tremendous progress in finding greener energy sources. A report published by the Yale School of the Environment last week stated, “China has achieved stunning growth in its installed renewable capacity over the last two decades, far outpacing the rest of the world.” According to Yale, in 2022 alone, the country installed roughly as much solar capacity as the rest of the world combined.

Financial neglect

The report highlighted Israel’s mismanagement or lack of expenditures on solving the climate crisis and the government’s failure to conduct a thorough assessment of the potential economic impacts of climate change on the country.

The government earmarked NIS 3 billion to address the climate crisis between 2015 and 2022 through 14 different government decisions. According to the comptroller, only 50% of the budgets designated were allocated, and only 32% were spent.

At the same time, the country lost NIS 32 billion through support of subsidies for fossil fuels between 2015 and 2022, meaning that 33 times more funds were waved by the government to support polluting energy than were invested in implementing climate-friendly policies.

The report calls out the Finance Ministry for not being actively involved in green budgeting but limiting its engagement to “promoting voluntary green procurement and issuing a single green bond letter.” The report said the ministry does not incorporate recommendations on green budgeting into fiscal and economic actions it takes and does not see its role as central in promoting climate actions.

“Ninety finance ministers worldwide are members of the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action,” the comptroller noted. “Israel is not among them.”

Alon Tal, who chaired the Knesset’s first subcommittee on environment and climate from 2021 to 2022 and has served as a scientific adviser on climate to the comptroller, told The Jerusalem Post that “the Ministry of Finance is justifiably singled out for criticism in the report. Its officials and the minister are characterized as ‘obtuse,’ simply out of touch with the international community. The ministry’s senior officials don’t participate in international finance agencies’ forums, and the minister maintains an indefensibly narrow view of the national good.

“They simply don’t seem to get it: Israeli companies will soon be penalized in international markets for our pitiful performance in climate mitigation,” Tal concluded.

Most damning, according to the comptroller, is Israel’s failure to implement a carbon tax after 13 years of discussion on the matter and a related resolution passed in 2021.

“Currently, there is no willingness on the part of the Ministry of Finance to promote its implementation even though the carbon tax framework is supposed to be implemented progressively, and regarding households, it imposes a low to moderate cost of NIS 32 per month on average per household,” the report stated. It said that Israel faces potential trade restrictions due to the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism advocated by the European Union. This mechanism levies a carbon tax on imports from countries lacking a carbon pricing system.

Climate tech investment trends

Relatedly, despite Israel touting itself as a leader in climate technology, the comptroller report found that only 5.5% of the public investment of the Israel Innovation Authority in 2022 was directed to the fields of energy, water, environment, and sustainability – NIS 96 million out of NIS 1.7 billion. However, this does represent an increase from 2021’s NIS 39 million investment.

At the same time, the audit found that in 2023, there was a 38% decrease in “supplementary budgets” compared to 2022, which translated to new climate-related projects planned by the  Chief Scientist’s Office not receiving funding.

“This significantly affects the advancement of projects and may lead to missed opportunities and the ‘flight’ of Israeli investors and entrepreneurs from Israel,” the report said. “This sends a negative signal of a de facto retreat by the State of Israel from its declarations in government decisions on climate tech, expressed at the recent global climate conferences.”

Startup Nation Central has reported more than 800 climate tech companies in Israel. The organization said that climate tech’s portion of investments in the Israeli ecosystem rose from approximately 6% between 2019 and 2021 to 10% in 2022.

Governmental adaptation deficiencies

Finally, most ministries and other public bodies surveyed said they lack approved budgeted adaptation plans for climate change, despite Government Resolution 4079, which requires them.

“Addressing climate change requires comprehensive governmental attention that involves most government offices and relevant bodies mentioned in government decisions, including the Ministries of Finance, Environmental Protection, Energy, Transportation, Economy, Agriculture, Defense, and the IDF, as well as the Planning Administration within the Ministry of Interior,” the report stressed. “The State Comptroller’s Office reiterates its recommendation from the previous report to designate the handling of climate change issues to a permanent, consolidating body that will lead the subject and possess executive powers.”