President Isaac Herzog has proposed regional cooperation on climate change to the leaders of Turkey, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, sources said.
Sources in the President’s Residence said all three of the other leaders assented to his proposal, and they agreed to move ahead on the issue in the coming months.
Over the past few months, Herzog discussed the issue with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a visit to Turkey, with King Abdullah of Jordan during a visit to Amman and with Emirati leader Mohammed bin Zayed during a visit to the UAE. He has also discussed regional cooperation on climate change with officials in Greece, Cyprus and Bahrain in recent months.
Herzog, who believes that dialogue on this issue could prevent friction on other issues, also started a climate change forum at the President’s Residence. The forum is headed by former Hadash lawmaker Dov Khenin.
The president has repeatedly said that he is worried about the climate crisis and about Israel’s level of preparedness.
The Middle East is one of the regions most affected by climate change and is heating up faster than the global average. According to reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and studies published in scientific journals, this means that by the end of the century, around half the population of the Middle East and North Africa region – some 600 million people – will be exposed to extreme heat waves with temperatures of 56 degrees Celsius (132 degrees Fahrenheit) or more, as well as accelerated desertification, water shortages, droughts and floods.