Options Summer 2020: Researchers from IIASA and Israel have customized the IIASA MESSAGE and GLOBIOM models to Israel’s unique context, to provide Israeli policymakers with useful options and analyses as they plan for the future.

By 2050, Israel’s population is projected to almost double, expanding from 9 million to 17.6 million people, according to government projections. The country, similar in land area to Belgium, already has one of the highest population densities in the world. With the growing population density and impacts of climate change on temperature and water availability, Israel’s energy system is expected to be stressed by greatly increased demand. At the same time, the country aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which demands a growing investment in renewable energy options.

In December 2019, IIASA researchers presented a new energy analysis to policymakers with the Israeli Ministry of Energy. The analysis, developed through a collaboration of IIASA and Israeli researchers, provides pathways to achieve needed energy capacity and emissions reductions at the lowest possible cost. Using the IIASA MESSAGE energy optimization model and Global Biosphere Management Model (GLOBIOM), Israeli researchers Ruslana Rachel Palatnik and Ayelet Davidovitch, and IIASA researchers Volker Krey, Matthew Gidden, and Keywan Riahi modified the framework to apply specifically to Israel’s unique context.

The analysis presents four scenarios based on a range of policy options and climate and socioeconomic developments, thereby presenting Israeli policymakers with a useful set of options and analysis of needed investments as they plan for the future. The analysis will allow decision makers to better understand the costs, trade-offs, and potential consequences of their decisions for meeting targets in terms oo both energy needs and climate change  mitigation, enabling them to make more robust choices for the future of the country.