In its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which was updated in 2021, Israel commits to reducing its emissions by 27% by 2030, relative to 2015 levels, including (LULUCF).2 To be in line with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C goal, Israel’s 2030 emissions reduction target should be 37% below 2015 levels, excluding LULUCF.2
Israelʼs total GHG emissions
excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr
- 1.5°C compatible pathways
- Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
- Current policy projections
- 1.5°C emissions range
- Historical emissions
The energy sector plays a dominant role in Israel’s overall emissions (more than 76% of emissions in 2019). Cutting the energy sector emissions will therefore be critical to reducing Israel’s ambition gap.
1 Government Of Israel. National Action Plan on Climate Change. 2021.
2 Gütschow, J. et al. The PRIMAP-hist national historical emissions time series. Earth System Science Data vol. 8 2016.
3 Arlosoroff, M. Israel’s Population Is Growing at a Dizzying Rate. Is It Up for the Challenge? HAARETZ. 2021.
4 Israel. Updated of Israel’s Nationally Determined Contribution Under the Paris Agreement. UNFCCC. 2021. Preprint at unfccc.int/sites/default/files/NDC/2022-06/NDC%20update%20as%20submitted%20to%20the%20UNFCCC.docx
5 Ivanova, A. Israel devises plan for 40% renewables in 2030. Renewables Now. 2022.
6 Surkes, S. The sun is shining, so why isn’t Israel making hay of its solar energy? The Times of Israel. 2021.
7 Ministry of Environmental Protection. The Finance Committee discussed the framework of a pricing mechanism on carbon, following a government decision on the issue. 2021.
8 Ministry of Environmental Protection. Ministry unveils new waste strategy that is both environmental and economic. 2021.
9 Ministry of Energy. The Israeli government set to approve an unprecedented decision mandating that by the year 2050 Israel will move to a low carbon emissions economy, while dealing with the climate crisis that threatens all of humanity. 2021.
10 Accelerating Climate Action in Israel. OECD, 2020. doi:10.1787/fb32aabd-en.
11 Brode, B. Green construction is the new standard in Israel. The Times of Israel. 2022.
12 Ministry of Environmental Protection. ISRAEL’S THIRD NATIONAL COMMUNICATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE. UNFCCC. 2018. Preprint at unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/UNFCCC%20National%20Communication%202018.pdf (2018).
13 Schmidt, B. Israel unveils plans to go 100 per cent electric by 2030. The Driven. 2018.
To do its fair share of global climate action, Israel would need to provide substantial support for emission reductions to developing countries on top of its domestic reductions.
Current policy projection
Israel aims to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 85% below 2015 levels by 2050 (including LULUCF).2 The goal is not in line with 1.5°C compatible pathways as it will still allow an amount of emissions of 12 MtCO₂e by 2050.
Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways shows that Israel would need to reduce its GHG emissions by 77–86% by 2050 below 2015 levels, excluding LULUCF. As land sinks are negligeable in the country, Israel will either need to achieve higher emissions reductions or rely on carbon dioxide removal technologies to reach net zero GHG emissions by around mid-century.
- The Israeli power sector relies heavily on coal and gas which account for the biggest share of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
- Israel has decided to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2026 which is a step in the right direction. However, the government’s plans to replace coal with fossil gas, which has taken over the share of coal in the power mix in the past ten years, are not compatible with the Paris Agreement and risk locking the country in a carbon intensive pathway.
- The government aims to increase the share of renewables in the power sector to 40% by 2030.3 To be in line with 1.5°C compatible pathways, this goal should be 68–83%.
- With Israel’s population expected to grow at a rate of around 2% per year, the government has announced plans to build 1.5 million new dwellings. Ensuring the highest possible energy efficiency of these new buildings will be crucial to align the sector with 1.5°C pathways.
- Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways shows that electricity would need to provide 89–96% of energy to the buildings sector by 2030. By 2050, this share could increase to 96–99%.
- Emissions from industrial processes in Israel increased by a dramatic 176% between 1990 and 2019, while direct CO₂ emissions from the industry sector energy use rose by 18%.
- The government aims to reduce emissions in this sector by 30% by 2030 compared to 2015 levels through energy efficiency measures and the replacement of polluting fuels.1 While the target is a step in the right direction, a 1.5°C compatible pathway would require direct CO₂ emissions to reduce by 58–60% by 2030 compared to 2015 levels.
- Between 1990 and 2019, transport emissions rose by 126% due to a large increase in private car ownership and the sector’s reliance on oil.10
- Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways shows that CO₂ emissions from transport should reduce by 32-44% by 2030, and the sector should be fully decarbonised between 2055–2066. Oil needs to be replaced by a larger share of electricity and to a lesser extent, hydrogen and biofuels.
- As a small and densely populated country, Israel has significant potential for electric vehicle (EV) adoption as well as for upgrading public transportation. The government’s announcement that all new car sales from 2030 must be EVs is a welcome move towards cutting transport emissions. This mandate needs to be accompanied by a rolling out of charging infrastructure and greater investments in public transport.