In Israel there have been no climate change actions raised against private actors, however the following grounds could be the basis of future actions:
- Constitutional grounds: under Israeli Basic Laws and the decision in The Israel Union for Environmental Defence v. The Government of Israel HCJ no. 4128/02, there can be action raised if a private actor breaches the minimum environmental standard.
- National Law: Under the Clean Air Act citizens can bring an action against a private actor if they are found to have committed an act or omission which results in air pollution. Additionally, this can also be of a criminal nature. The definition of air pollution under the Act includes substances like carbon dioxide and methane resulting from combustion so the connection to climate change could be argued. Pensions and Investments: the Commissioner of the Israeli Capital Market, Insurance and Saving Authority issued instructions for pension institutions, requiring a portion of pension funds to be channelled to social investments, which will not necessarily yield a return to investors. However, it is not possible under current law to bring a claim against a pension fund that does not support environmental protection, social justice or the protection of human rights.
In relation to remedies, under the Clean Air Act citizens can be granted damages for the loss sustained due to breach of the Act. Private actors may also have committed an act or omission which could be of a criminal nature and so a remedy could also be punitive.
The Locus Standi is broad. Under the Clean Air Act any citizen can bring an action if they have suffered damage. If a human rights claim is made under the Israeli Basic Law then the individual citizen would also have standing.
- The Israel Union for Environmental Defence V. The Government of Israel, HCJ no. 4128/02
For more country specific context and relevant national climate change law see: https://climate-laws.org/geographies/israel
This country report has been produced by Robbie McAdam, C2LI Research Assistant, Humzah Khan, C2LI Senior Research Assistant and Kate McKenzie, C2LI Legal. This summary is based on Dr. Tzipi Iser Itsiq, Adv., Tzvi Levinson, Adv, “Climate Change Litigation in Israel – Trends, Prospects and Challenges” in F. Sindico and M. Moise Mbengue, Comparative Climate Change Litigation: Beyond the Usual Suspects, Springer, 2021.