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Israel, UAE, Jordan to sign US-backed water-for-energy pact

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Israel and Jordan will next week sign a water-for-energy pact along with the United Arab Emirates and the US, an agreement that emerged from months of negotiations on joint solutions to the climate crisis.

The declaration of intent to be signed by all four nations would see Israel buying solar energy from Jordan in return for an increase in the amount of desalinated water it sells to the kingdom, according to a statement from Israel’s Energy Ministry.

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The proposal is the latest between Israel and the UAE since the two countries agreed to normalize ties under a US-brokered deal.

Jordan, which has had a peace agreement with Israel since 1994, has historically been wary of deepening ties beyond security and diplomatic relations.

But economic links have improved since the UAE and Bahrain agreed to full diplomatic relations with Israel. Under a previous deal, Israel will double its supply of desalinated water to Jordan to 50 million cubic meters a year.

“The arrangements are a very clear win-win for both parties concerned that lead to climate resilience both in increased water supply and the ability to meet Paris climate commitments on renewable energy,” said Gidon Bromberg, Israel country director for EcoPeace Middle East, an environmental organization which has long-promoted a water-for-energy deal between the two countries.

If it goes ahead, this will be the biggest regional cooperation project ever undertaken between Israel and one of its neighbors, according to Axios. A new solar energy farm in Jordan will be funded by the UAE, and should be operational by 2026, according to the news website.

Israel announced last month plans to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has promised to roll out green infrastructure and develop carbon capture and storage technology to help meet those goals.

After years of slow progress in renewable energy, Israel now aims to triple production to 30 percent of its electricity use by the end of the decade.

Read more: New regional peace