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All Israelis are vulnerable to the climate crisis; some more than others

From the pursuit of environmental justice to the race for climate justice

For over three decades, Adam Teva V’Din has used litigation, legislation and policy to promote the recognition of people’s rights to a sound environment as a basic human right.

“Environmental justice is a crucial to our organizational mission, it’s in our DNA. Israelis have no legislated, constitutional environmental rights, and in a densely populated, resource-poor country, environmental injustice is felt most keenly in underserved and minority communities,” notes Amit Bracha, Executive Director.

“We’ve served as the voice of people pursuing environmental rights through the courts, and worked in the Knesset to enshrine this concept within environmental laws such as the Coastal Environment Protection Law (2004), the Clean Air Law (2011), and waste management laws,” notes Amit Bracha, Executive Director.

The Climate Crisis brings Climate Injustice

All Israelis face the dangers and potential damage of climate change. As a coastal/desert country, we can expect unprecedented heatwaves, fires, floods, coastal damage, and more. The consequences will be felt by all, not only by weakened and marginalized groups but by all children, women, elderly, the sick, those most vulnerable across society.

“By not putting in place basic preparations for adapting to climate change in the form of a government-wide framework Climate Law, by not investing in essential infrastructure to prevent floods, fires and urban hotspots, then the government will be liable for the health and safety of us all,” adds Bracha.

“This week, we’re depositing with every government agency, municipal authority and decision-makers a new report on Climate Justice to bring home this message.”

The report, compiled by attorney Bar Rozov, is based on research of climate legislation, adaptation and climate policies across the globe. “Based on our observations, we recommend that the government integrate essential climate policies without further delay. Our recommendations include:

  • Enactment of a Climate Law for Israel as the essential framework for implementing and budgeting for government-wide action to the climate emergency.
  • Establishment of an Advisory Council for Climate Justice, under the Prime Minister’s Office, as the overall monitor and strategic guide on scientific, technological, regulatory, economic, and community responses.
  • Acceleration of informed-decision making by government agencies in regard to energy and infrastructure, and integration of climate adaptation through the National Planning Authority.
  • Development of a ‘climate justice index’ to assess the threats to all sectors of the population as a result of climate change.

The report also issues a wake-up call on the specific ‘climate infrastructure’ responses to be put in place without delay, such as climate shelters, shading devices etc., in urban areas, particularly in low socio-economic neighborhoods, prioritization of public transportation, a national energy efficiency program, and development of employment opportunities in the changing economy.

“The discourse on Environmental Justice is becoming the discourse on Climate Justice,” adds Bracha.

“The Climate Law for Israel provides an opportunity for the government to ready Israel for climate change, without further delay. Involvement of the Ministries of Social Equality, Health is essential.  The climate bill, in development with three successive Environment Ministers over the last three years, is due to resume review in the Knesset’s Ministerial Justice Committee in June. There’s no time to waste.”

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From the pursuit of environmental justice to the race for climate justice

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