How Israel Is Losing the Fight Against Global Warming, Let Us Count the Ways

With the UN’s climate talks ending without an international agreement, Israel continues to dilly-dally when it comes to environmental protection

CTech 17:3815.12.19

On Friday, the United Nations’ climate talks in Madrid went into overtime, only to conclude Sunday without reaching an international agreement on measures to put climate change in check.


Israel has been criticized repeatedly for dragging its feet when it comes to climate legislation. A November report by Israeli advocacy group the Israel Union for Environmental Defense (also known as Adam Teva V’Din), found that Israel is one of only four OECD member countries not currently bound by climate legislation, along with the U.S., Canada, and Turkey.

Air pollution in the Haifa Bay. Photo: Elad Gershgoren Air pollution in the Haifa Bay. Photo: Elad Gershgoren


And Israel is likely to pay dearly for its environmental dilly-dally. Already a hot country with short, mild, and dry winters and scarce water resources, Israel is expected to become hotter and droughtier still, with large parts of it affected by the rising Meditteranean Sea levels. According to a recent report by the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection, the average temperature in Israel will increase by 1.2 degrees Celsius by the end of 2050 and rainfall will decrease by 15%-25% by the end of the century.


While Israel fails to introduce environmental regulations, industrial pollution in the country continues to rise.


Israelis often pat themselves on the back for the country’s technological achievements, but there is another aspect in which Israelis are way ahead of the pack: they produce much more waste than people in other developed countries do. For starters, Israelis suffer a well-documented addiction to single-use plastics.


The average Israeli produces about 610 kilograms of trash a year compared to about 500 kg on average in other OECD countries, according to data from Israeli advocacy group the Israel Union for Environmental Defense (also known as Adam Teva V’Din). The amount of trash produced by a single person each day grew by 6% within a decade, from 1.63 kg in 2007 to 1.72 kg in 2017, according to the organization. With no real recycling processes available in the country, most Israeli households simply invest in bigger trash cans.


Some local tech companies are trying to curb Israel’s trash problem. For example, these six startups that came up with innovative ways to turn trash into fuels and even nutritional supplements for people.


Read more about Israeli startups innovation for the environment:


From sea waves to processed CO2 emissions: these five startups are developing clean energy solutions. Read more


From edible shot glasses to biodegradable plastics, these eight companies innovate to reduce plastic waste. Read more


Five startups that want to save the planet, by saving its most valuable resource: clean water. Read more


Land of tech and honey: five Israeli startups that tackle the problem of the disappearing bee. Read more