Michaels, Lucy, and Alon Tal. “Convergence and Conflict with the ‘National Interest’: Why Israel Abandoned Its Climate Policy.” Energy Policy 87 (2015): 480-485.
This article describes how Israel abandoned its climate policy through the prism of the country’s evolving energy profile, most importantly the 2009 discovery of huge natural gas reserves in Israel’s Mediterranean exclusive zone. The article outlines five phases of Israeli political engagement with climate change from 1992 until 2013 when the National GHG Emissions Reduction Plan was defunded. Israel was motivated to develop its climate policy by international norms: OECD membership and the 2009 UN Summit in Copenhagen. Although the eventual Plan may not have significantly reduced Israel’s emissions, it contained immediate cost-effective, energy efficiency measures. Despite rhetorical support for renewable energy, in practice, most Israeli leaders consistently perceive ensuring supply of fossil fuels as the best means to achieve energy security. The gas finds thus effectively ended a potentially significant switch towards renewable energy production. The development of commercially competitive Israeli renewable energy technology may change this prevailing economic calculus alongside renewed international and domestic leadership and a resolution of the region’s conflicts. Although Israel’s political circumstances are idiosyncratic, the dynamics shaping its climate policy reflect wider trends such as competing economic priorities and failure to consider long term energy security.