Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Bill Gates at the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow. The two agreed to establish a joint working group for the State of Israel and the Gates Foundation on the subject of innovation in the field of climate change. Israel’s Energy Minister Karine Elharrar also took part in the meeting.
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also called the COP26, is currently underway in Glasgow, Scotland. Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attended the conference, at the head of a delegation of 120 representatives from government ministries and the Knesset, civil society, academia, the business sector, and local government. Israel’s Minister for the Protection of the Environment Tamar Zandberg and Energy Minister Karine Elharrar will be among them.
The convention offers an opportunity for numerous world leaders from Bennett himself, to President Joe Biden, French President Macron and the British PM Boris Johnson, to those from many smaller countries that deal every day with the problems caused by climate change.
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Bennett pointed out that as it is located in the Middle East, a region of the world characterized by a desert climate, Israel, like its neighbors, has always had to deal with the problems caused by a low supply of available drinking water and frequent drought.
“Whereas the countries of the region had much land but a shortage of water,” he said, “Israel, which is a very small country, had the ability to generate energy that produces water.”
And Israel has always been at the forefront of agtech since the early days of the first Zionist settlements. The country may now be known more as Startup Nation for all of its success in the high tech world. But until recently it was best known for its agricultural innovations.
Prime Minister Bennett said just before the start of his meeting with Bill Gates, “Israel is known as the startup nation and I think it’s time that we channel our national energy, which is the energy of the people, and the brainpower, to fighting climate change.”
For his part, Bill Gates explained that, while Israel is widely known for innovation, this is not the case when it comes to the area of climate tech. So Gates said that the job will be to find, “where are the brilliant people in Israel who are thinking about these new techniques.”
“We were thinking how do we connect up and find more people who are doing mitigation type innovation, more people doing adaptation?” Gates said. “Given the talent that you have and what we’ve seen in the digital space, how do we unleash more of that? So I’d love to take that R&D innovation push and figure out where Israel can partner with us.”