Israeli greens to march in global campaign against Trump climate policies
(photo credit: REUTERS)
While the Israeli demonstration is occurring on Friday, the main People's Climate March in Washington is scheduled for Saturday, to coincide with the 100th day of the Trump Administration.
Joining in a global fight against President Donald Trump’s environmental policies, Israeli activists will take to the streets of Tel Aviv on Friday morning in a companion event to Saturday’s Washington’s People’s Climate March.Organized by the nationwide student movement Green Course, the Tel Aviv demonstrators are not only calling Trump “a danger to the environment,” but also demanding that the Israeli government fulfill its own climate commitments. The Tel Aviv event will join hundreds of sister marches around the globe this weekend, with the main event on Saturday at the US Capitol. “President Trump’s policy of denying the global climate crisis is a classic example of a fool that throws a stone into a well that a hundred wise men would not be able to pull out,” said Mor Gilboa, head of Green Course.“It is sad to watch the ignorance and irresponsibility displayed by the president of the world’s most polluting country regarding the greatest danger humanity is dealing with today.” The People’s Climate March in Washington is scheduled to coincide with the 100th day of the Trump administration, according to organizers People’s Climate Movement.At the Washington march, one of the main goals of the organizers include pressing Congress to advance solutions to the climate crisis rooted in racial, social and economic justice. They are also marching to protect the right to clean air, water and land, as well as to ensure that public funds are fostering a clean and renewable energy economy. “We do not have the privilege to waste time over ‘fake news’ and blatant lies,” Gilboa said. “Trump may declare himself as a friend of Israel, but for us he is no friend and no leader of the free world, but a friend to oil tycoons that keep polluting the planet and earning profits while harming the lives and health of billions of Earth’s citizens.”Although the exact direction of the Trump administration’s climate policies still remain unclear, already last May, Trump warned that if elected president, he would cancel the Paris Agreement on climate change, adopted in December 2015. Signatories to the agreement determined that the global temperature rise must be kept “well below 2°C,” by means of varying national targets.“Today, more than ever, Israel must serve as light unto the nations and put pressure on the US government to fulfill its commitment in the Paris Agreement,” Gilboa said.Gilboa called upon the Israeli government to adopt the Environmental Protection Ministry’s goals of achieving 30% renewable energy sources in the country’s power mix by 2030, rather than the current 17% commitment.“We have no other planet and it is our moral and ethical duty to secure humanity’s well-being for many more generations,” he said.Although acknowledging that Trump has not yet precisely defined his environmental agenda, climate policy consultant Naor Yerushalmi stressed that the administration’s greatest concern rests on what will be best for American interests – an attitude he described as similar to that of the Israeli leadership.“No one is trying to save the world,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.“They’re looking for the best way, in their view, to gain better chances for their local country and their local economy.”Yet while the Trump administration has been promoting a return to coal use, coal power plants and mines are constantly closing down, Yerushalmi said. Meanwhile, he continued, the same officials are also arguing that renewable energy sources are not viable.“Fortunately we know that this is wrong,” he said.“Renewables wouldn’t be here if they were not economical.Today, we have grid parity everywhere, even in Israel. There are no more subsidies for renewables.”As activists around the world prepare to march this weekend, Yerushalmi expressed his confidence that such public campaigns could exert significant pressure on Trump. Turning to Israel, he stressed the need to compel the government here as well to move forward with plans to boost renewable energy, phase out coal and improve public transportation.“We need to show the government policy-makers here in Israel that the public is ready and demanding these things,” Yerushalmi said.“They are all economically viable. They are good for the Israeli market and of course for our health and the environment.”Friday’s Climate March in Tel Aviv is set to begin at 10 a.m., kicking off on Ben-Zion Boulevard and heading toward the US Embassy.