The sun tower in the Ashalim solar power station in the Negev desert. (Kobi Richter/TPS) (Kobi Richter/TPS)
solar power station ashalim negev

Israel, views cooperation on solar energy as an “integral part of [the] new cooperation with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain,” the prime minister said.

By Benjamin Brown, TPS

Israel has committed to ending its use of fossil fuels as a means of producing energy by 2050, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday told world leaders at the Climate Ambition Summit conference.

Netanyahu thanked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for hosting the conference and told the Climate Ambition Summit that “like the UK, Israel is totally committed to a successful transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2050.”

Although Netanyahu presented no concrete plan as to how his government aims to achieve the energy transition, he pointed out previous Israeli achievements in moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

The Prime Minister told the conference that Israel had made “crucial progress” in reducing its dependency on coal, adding that Israel was “a global leader in cutting coal consumption” and, “barring an emergency,” planned to stop burning coal by 2025.

He further noted that a third of Israel’s electricity use will stem from solar power by 2030.

Admitting that technological challenges remained in the switch to green energy, Netanyahu told the summit that he was “convinced that Israeli scientists and Israeli entrepreneurs, with their unquenchable ingenuity, will enable us to play our part in the global solar revolution.”

The Prime Minister added that Israel, a global powerhouse in the use of solar power, views cooperation on solar energy as an “integral part of [the] new cooperation with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. So, not only is solar energy helping eliminate dependency on fossil fuels, it’s helping us cement Arab-Israeli peace. And both these goals offer us a bright, clean and safe future.”

Netanyahu’s comments were welcomed by Neil Wigan, the UK’s Ambassador to Israel, who described Netanyahu’s speech as an “important commitment from Israel.”

The Climate Ambition Summit was hosted by the UK, France and the United Nations (UN) and saw world leaders and climate experts gather virtually to discuss states’ reductions of greenhouse gases. The UN described the conference as “an important step forward in the battle against the climate crisis.”

By pledging to end its use of fossil fuels by 2050, Israel joins a number of states to have made similar pledges. The government will have the chance to further clarify its commitment on the world stage in 2021 when the UK hosts the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.