“Israel-UAE agreement can open the door to solar energy collaborations”
Sir Laurie Bristow and Alzbeta Klein spoke at the "Sustainability and Innovation Week", organized by Calcalist and ESIL Technologies
The recently signed agreement between Israel and the UAE can open the door to cooperation on policy efforts, Sir Laurie Bristow, Regional Ambassador for COP26 of the UK Foreign Office, said at Calcalist and ESIL Technologies’ Sustainability and Innovation Week opening event on Sunday. He gave the example of solar energy as an issue the two countries could come together on to their mutual benefit.
According to Bristow, the Covid-19 outbreak was one of the biggest economic and social disruptions of our lifetimes, during which governments all over the world were forced to cope with similar challenges, such as, sudden recessions and increased unemployment, demanding they come up with new answers and solutions.
“You can’t cope with this pandemic by yourself, we all need to work with international partners, he said, adding that the same logic applied to the even greater disruption caused by climate change.
Alzbeta Klein, Global Head of Climate Business at the International Finance Corporation, who also took part in the panel, agreed, adding that people and governments now have an opportunity to rebuild and improve from the way things were done in the past. “It would be just awful if we overcome this epidemic and then encounter another crisis in 10 or 15 years,” she said.
She called for all future Covid-19 rehabilitation efforts to take on an environmental component, with more and more of an emphasis as time goes by. She pointed to the need for liquidity in the financial markets and green job creation as two critical element of post-pandemic efforts.
Klein said that the business sector, which makes decisions based on financial incentives, is surprisingly aligned with environmental interests. She said all countries are keen on expanding their renewable energy capabilities, whose costs are getting constantly lower.
Bristow pointed out that one of the few positives to come as a result of the pandemic was the improvement in urban air quality.
“I believe that one of the factors that will motivate the public and governments in the coming months and years will be how to take advantage of opportunities to make our cities nicer places to live in,” Bristow said.