Pollution costs Israel an estimated 31 billion shekels a year, according to calculations in a report issued by the Environmental Protection Ministry.
The numbers represented so-called “external costs,” the monetary value assessed by experts on the negative effects on human health and the environment caused by emissions.
The ministry said that in 2018 greenhouse gases accounted for about NIS 11.3b. (36%) in external costs, while 18 other pollutants accounted for NIS 19.8b. (64%). Nitrogen oxides accounted for the largest share of the external costs (36%), followed by carbon dioxide (29%).
Transportation was the leading culprit, responsible for 38% of the measured cost. Emissions from power plants was second at 30%, followed by industry with 16%.
On the other hand, in 2019, emissions from industry and electricity production decreased along with a reduction in the use of coal and oil for electricity production and the installation of measures to reduce emissions. The ministry estimates that this led to a decrease in external costs by about NIS 450 million in 2019, about 3% of the cost of emissions from electricity generation and industry.
Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) drew conclusions:
“The report presents a frightening picture, and for the first time there is a price tag in shekels for polluting emissions. The conclusion is that the war on the climate crisis is at the core of Israel’s national and economic resilience and should serve the government, planning institutions, commercial companies and environmental organizations when it comes to assessing the broader picture of the effects of air pollution and greenhouse gases on us.”
“This data leads to the conclusion that the Israeli target for renewable energies should be raised to 40% by 2030, and to reach zero polluting emissions by 2050,” added Zandberg. “This is an ambitious and achievable goal that will save the Israeli economy billions a year.”