We promised a more depth interview with Israel’s carbon offset non-profit, Good Energy Initiative (GEI) and today we deliver. The group is the first body in Israel to utilize voluntary carbon offsetting through its own carbon offsetting projects.
Founders Eyal Biger and Joshua Berman explain a little more about what they are doing for GEI, and offer us a taste of the carbon offset climate in Israel. Here is their story:
Environmental consciousness is doubtlessly growing in Israel. The discussion regarding global warming is finally picking up pace, and both media and decision makers seem to be spending more time and attention on climate change and other environmental issues. Recently, President Shimon Peres has made a number of speeches stressing the desire of Israel to be a global leader in alternative energy research and production. Israel is already a leader in solar water heating and solar electricity technologies as well other technological advances in the fields of water and wastewater treatment.
Nevertheless – a widespread change of consciousness followed by a large implementation phase has yet to happen.
Israel is a small country with a copious amount of work to do in terms of simple changes like recycling, composting and home/office energy efficiency. This is beginning to change.
The Good Energy Initiative (GEI) is a newly established task force by the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership - a major environmental NGO in Israel. GEI is acting to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) production and emissions, and to support Israel’s energy independence by means of energy efficiency and alternative technologies.
GEI is the first body in Israel to utilize voluntary carbon offsetting for implementing GHG reducing practices and projects. Israel currently houses 4-5 for profit carbon trading companies and 20 offsetting projects in concrete works, land-fills, and additional methane producing sites.
Some of these projects were certified by the CDM, but only two of them were actually sold as carbon credits (Nov 2007 – Talia Landfill and E. Hefer Cow Dung Power station – to the Austrian Government).
The voluntary offsetting market is in its infancy. The non-profit GEI is running grassroots targeted projects with additional social benefits throughout the country.
These include replacing central boilers with solar heating systems in apartment buildings, supplying solar -PV systems for cancer-stricken children in unrecognized Bedouin settlements using diesel generators for cooling medicine, running organic waste composting programs for communities and public entities, running an incandescent-to-CFL campaign, operating a smart electric metering library and implementing energy saving programs in factories.
The concept of carbon neutrality and carbon offsetting is new to most Israelis. Currently the carbon credits arising from projects are sold to pioneering Israeli bodies (media companies, financing and high-tech companies, conferences) and to Jewish communities and organizations around the globe.
While Israelis are learning about being carbon neutral the GEI sees a golden opportunity for people outside Israel to purchase locally produced carbon as an exciting and meaningful way for forging a new relationship with and in support of Israel.
While The Good Energy Initiative is a pioneer in this field – there are other companies and organizations are looking to sell voluntary carbon credits, from existing or future projects. We hope this is a trend that will continue to grow and make serious impact on global warming and the mind of Israeli public.