The Ministry of Environmental Protection’s budget for tackling climate change impacts has been cut by 200 million shekel (approximately US$ 55 million), effectively cancelling planned programs for creating municipal resilience plans and advancing energy efficiency in industry, and other climate preparedness measures.
Naama Karmon, Adam Teva V’Din’s head of Economics & Environment, recently participated in a meeting called by the Ministry of Environmental Protection to announce the climate budget allocation would be transferred to the government’s Tkuma program to repair damage inflicted to population centers and infrastructure as a result of the ongoing war with Hamas.
Karmon protested that the cuts will halt the completion of already-launched programs on national and municipal climate preparedness, even though public funds have already been invested in them. “In effect, the budget cuts will significantly damage Israel’s capacity to meet the predicted environmental impacts of the climate crisis.”
The Finance Minister can access alternative funding
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich authorized the drastic cut in environmental protection projects on the same day he extended his repeal of the Single Use Plastic utensils tax. During the period it was in force (November 2021 to January 2023) the tax caused a reduction of at least 40 per cent in sales of disposable plastic items, proving its efficacy as an effective environmental regulation.
“The failure to reinstate the SUP tax reduces by some NIS 1.5 billion (approximately $405 billion) of revenues available for the Tkuma restoration of the Gaza perimeter,” notes Karmon, “while further vacating Israel’s capacity to tackle the climate crisis.”