DeSmog recently revealed the latest troubling chapter in the story of Israel’s nascent oil and gas boom – a saga of revolving doors, multinational fossil fuel intrigue, and significant American political intervention. But there’s another interesting tale to tell, one that has gone unnoticed by many observers.
Individuals and groups associated with climate denial or science obfuscation have recently inserted themselves into the raging public debates over the use of Israel’s newly discovered natural gas fields.
Sparked in 2010, the contentious debate surrounding the offshore fields has largely revolved around how to allocate royalties and ownership rights rather than whether to extract the enormous amounts of gas in the first place.
There are many reasons for this narrow framing. One is the inability of Israel’s environmentalists to shift the discourse in a way that will take into account the global imperative of keeping most fossil fuels in the ground to stave off climate catastrophe.
As was evident in the lost battle over the construction of the Trans-Israel Highway, another privatized infrastructure project, the country’s greens always seem to be a step behind quick global investors and multinational corporations.
In addition, the misleading characterization of natural gas as a “clean bridge fuel” in Israeli public discourse myopically overlooks the role caused by methane leaks in perpetrating global warming. The disastrous methane leak in Porter Ranch, California is the latest case in point, although that calamity has been temporarily stopped.
Clearly, though, the participation of climate change deniers in debates about Israel’s energy future surely does not help shift the conversation.
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