During his keynote address at Tel Aviv University's Renewable Energy Conference, former U.S. vice president Al Gore called on Israel to take the lead in the development of renewable energy.
"The people of Israel stand in my moral imagination as guardians of the proposition that we as human beings are answerable to moral duties, that there are ethical laws that should guide our decisions and choices. At this moment in history, when, for the first time, all the people of this earth have to make a clear, seemingly difficult but simple moral judgment about our future, the people of Israel can lead the way to renewable energy."
A video of the event, including speeches by Al Gore and Israeli President Shimon Peres -- who called oil the "biggest problem of our time" -- is available on Tel Aviv U.'s web site.
Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Israel's Minister of National Infrastructures, announced his intention to commit Israel to construct an additional solar power station in the Negev every year for the next 20 years, and to construct a 300MW wind power station by 2011. Ben-Eliezer also revealed that in the coming weeks he will introduce a government resolution designating all of the Negev Desert and southern Israel as a national preference zone for renewable energy.
I will be attending the conference on Wednesday. The program focuses on (1) Renewable Energy: R&D Challenges; (2) Sustainable Energy: Opportunities in the Business Sector; (3) Global Warming and Geopolitics: Instability or Peace?; and (4) Israel's Road to Energy Independence.