• Home
  • keyboard_arrow_right Daily World News
  • keyboard_arrow_right How our home is slowly becoming uninhabitable

Daily World News

How our home is slowly becoming uninhabitable

CM 16/09/2021

share close
As the fires raged on in Jerusalem in July and August this year, it was an occurrence all too familiar for the region’s residents, yet one that has become increasingly exacerbated. The smell of smoke lingering for longer in the city and the dark clouds taking over the skyline served as a reminder that nature still trumps all.
This summer in particular, however, has seen Israel finally take its opportunity to grapple with climate change, even if means baby steps to save its home.
“Israel isn’t prepared to tackle climate change; there’s no question about it,” Galit Cohen, the Environmental Protection Ministry director-general, said earlier this summer. “We have to prepare… in order to avoid the hell expected for us if we do nothing, we have to work on reducing [greenhouse emissions],” Cohen told Channel 12 News on July 31.

Cohen was pressing politicians to allocate more funding for climate action in the upcoming state budget. This year has seen a number of proposals for more funding dedicated to climate change, with hopes that a new government will move forward with a budget.
The government announced on July 25 that by 2050 it would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 85% from 2015 levels, as part of an international push to limit global warming.
The government then set an interim target of 2030 to reduce emissions by 27% from levels in 2015, the year when global climate accords were agreed in Paris. The Paris deal aims to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably by 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels.
“We set significant goals, we met our international commitment on time and, most importantly, we mobilized the entire government,” Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg (Meretz Party) said during the announcement.
“The Israeli government made a decision on July 25; it was a historic decision,” said Blue and White MK Alon Tal. “Which is not to be dismissive of what the government is doing; to reach a goal of 90.5% in carbon emission is unprecedented.” However, Israel can do more and reach higher in its goals, like the rest of the Western world, Tal said. “[US President Joe] Biden is committed to 100% [in carbon emission] by 2035. Israel is not even in the same ballpark,” he said.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on climate change was released August 11, and provided no indications of straying from Earth’s climate change path. The report finds that the land surface will continue to warm more than the ocean surface (1.4 to 1.7 times more), and the Arctic will continue to warm more than global surface temperature – at more than twice the rate of global warming.
Ahead of the IPCC report’s release, climate change continued to dominate the conversation. US Vice President Kamala Harris spoke on the phone with President Isaac Herzog on August 9, with much of the reported conversation focused on climate change, according to the readout, specifically on water scarcity, and the frequency and intensity of fires, such as those in the Western US.
With every additional increment of global warming, changes in extremes continue to become larger. For example, every additional 0.5°C of global warming causes clearly discernible increases in the intensity and frequency of hot extremes, including heat waves and heavy precipitation, as well as agricultural and ecological droughts, according to the report.
According to an IPCC report published in November 2018, global warming should be limited to an average of 1.5 degrees. However, temperatures in Israel are expected to be higher than the global average. This can cause more extreme phenomena, such as nighttime temperatures that could warm at a higher rate than daytime temperatures in Israel, as well as more frequent, harsher and more prolonged heat waves.

A troubling forecast

The Environmental Protection Ministry makes loud and clear the looming issues that are endangering Israel, and what’s at stake in very real numbers.
Since 2000, extreme heat waves in Israel have been at least 6 degrees higher than the average temperature for more than three consecutive days.
The Israel Meteorological Service (IMS) has also published a report on extreme weather events that pointed to an overall warming trend all over the country. The rate of warming is particularly higher in the country’s western regions – the Coastal Plain, lowlands and the northern Negev.
An increase in the temperature and in the strength of rainstorms will require new preparations, with regard to infrastructure, the preparedness of local authorities, and measures to increase the resilience of ecosystems. As a result of increased warming, there may be longer dry seasons and there may be droughts, urban heat islands, dry rivers, and fires.
Heavy rainfall in short periods of time also mean more flooding of lands – especially in cities – and land erosion. The danger of flooding is generally higher in cities because most of the land is not exposed, thus water cannot seep into the ground.
This became a particularly relevant issue earlier this year for Nahariya, which saw heavy flooding following torrential rains. January’s rainfall broke a 51-year record of rainfall within a two-week period, with more than 400 millimeters (15.7 inches) of rain in the Western and Upper Galilee. A 38-year-old man died in the Nahariya floods in January, after he tried to save trapped people in an overturned car.
“I’m very glad that Israel has decided to come to the table,” Tal said. “We’re trying our best, but not enough. There are certain areas [in which] we can do more.”
Among the wish list of items that Israel could do to catch up, Tal said incorporating electric vehicles is a huge step that is attainable, in addition to providing more staffing to the Environmental Protection Ministry, handling the drainage issues in places such as Nahariya immediately, as well as having more planes and resources ready ahead of the inevitable wildfire season.
The Foreign Ministry said national targets include a 96% reduction in carbon emissions from transport, an 85% reduction from the electricity sector and a 92% reduction in the municipal waste sector.
As for the forecasted changes ahead of Israel, various agencies have managed to put together a picture of how the region will continue to see challenges.
According to the Water Authority, there is a likelihood of a 10% reduction in precipitation by the end of the 21st century. The change in rainfall distribution could lead to decreased replenishment of water sources, which will also face increased salinity. The flow of the Jordan River – the main water source of Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) – is expected to decrease by up to 22% throughout this century.
According to the IMS, there has been no significant change in rainfall or the seasonal distribution of rainfall since the early 1920s. However, since 2000, there has been some change in the rainfall distribution, characterized by a decrease in the average rainfall in the North and an increase in the average rainfall in the South, as well as an increase in the volume and intensity of rainstorms.
Israel’s sea level also continues to rise by 10 mm. per year, which is expected to ultimately affect all of the country’s coastline. As the sea level continues to rise, the water line is expected to recede until it reaches the coastal cliffs, and the coastal cliffs may see damage. This would then have an impact on all the buildings and heritage sites located on the coast, as well as factories, which would need to move.
The increase in average temperature and decrease in precipitation will affect crop quality and quantity, livestock functions, such as milk yields, and cause decreases in fish thanks to the sea warming’s potentially harmful effect on Israel’s marine ecological life.
For Israel’s residents, climatic changes also spell potential troubles in food security and for vulnerable populations. Heat waves can be harmful for the elderly, children and chronically ill patients. With climatic stress events damaging food resources, food security becomes a more looming challenge.
A projected water shortage also means more pressure on our current water sources. As more water will need to be pumped from rivers and streams, the less water those sources will have (also with the projected rainfall decrease), and this will damage ecosystems connected to those rivers and streams.
The expected increase of salinity in the water, particularly for Lake Kinneret, will make the water more difficult to use. The ministries therefore expect that surface water will become a resource, at the expense of groundwater.
Luckily, the environment is a shared issue and not one that’s become partisan within Israel, Tal said.
Zandberg, who took over as head of the Environmental Protection Ministry in June, has been urging for better funding for the Climate Change Preparedness Directorate, which was initiated in 2018.
However, securing enough funding has been a challenge for the directorate. It asked for NIS 2.5 billion in a report in April for short-term climate change preparedness projects. The crisis demands even more funding for proper staffing and preventative measures, Tal said.
“Thank heavens, climate is not a partisan issue and doesn’t exist on any side of the political divide, which means we can actually do something,” he said.
The writer is a PhD of Desert Studies from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.


Rate it


The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

list Archive

Previous post

Post comments

This post currently has no comments.

Leave a reply