Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality launches multi-year action plan to prepare for climate change
* The municipality expects the number of annual ‘hot days’ to increase by 30 during the next decade *
Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality has published a detailed climate action plan to cope with the threat of climate change, including the launch of a series of significant, new municipal initiatives.
The action plan presents an in-depth look at the key threats and challenges facing the city, and details required actions to cope with them, with an emphasis on a rapid response for vulnerable population groups.
Tel Aviv-Yafo’s plans were developed within the framework of its membership in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a leading global network of cities fighting global warming. As part of its membership, the municipality committed to adopting a program for adapting to climate change, including preparing for rising temperatures and changes to rainfall trends and quantities.
The climate action plan identifies a series of threats and challenges facing Tel Aviv-Yafo:
- An increase of approximately 30 annual hot days (exceeding 33 degrees Celsius) over the next decade.
- Rising temperatures in homes and public spaces
- Increased heat emissions
- A decline in ecological infrastructure function
- Rising sea levels
- A decline in natural water sources and an increased risk of flooding
- An increase in population groups considered to be vulnerable
- Increased municipal service workloads and demand for emergency assistance
Considering these threats, the action plan defines two key objectives:
- Cooling the city – including urban forest management, increasing green urban planning, increasing shaded areas, climate-appropriate construction, encouraging sustainable community lifestyles, and support for vulnerable population groups.
- Water management – including enhanced natural drainage, strengthening the resilience of the coastal ecosystem, preparations for coastal flooding and reducing risks, preparations for urban flooding, and saving water in gardening, buildings and infrastructure.
Efforts to realize these objectives will be divided into three phases:
- Immediate response (2020-2021): Formalizing an action plan for heatwaves and extreme heat; enabling solar energy independence for public buildings during times of crisis; reduced removal of trees; strict implementation of permeation requirements in construction plans and permits; and economic assessments for damages and measures required to cope with climate change.
- Gradual response (by 2030): A series of wide-scale operations to enhance the city’s ability to cope with climate change, commencing with vulnerable areas of the city and subsequently continuing in all neighborhoods. Operations include planning; infrastructure development; guidelines and regulations; community involvement and education.
- Fostering urban innovation: Activities to connect municipal preparations for climate change with efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, improve sustainability and enhance quality of life in the city. This will be facilitated by data collection and fostering research; advancing new technologies; the establishment of innovation zones for pilot programs and demonstrations; increasing competition; supporting community-based entrepreneurship; and encouraging businesses to operate in an eco-friendly manner.
Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo:
“The climate crisis is not slowing down – even faced with COVID-19 – and if we do not act today, the resilience of our society will be drastically harmed in the generations to come.
“Accordingly, I instructed municipal teams to prepare an action plan on the topic with clear goals for implementation by 2030. Among other trends in the coming years, we will see fewer vehicles and more trees, we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the use of renewable energies in all public buildings in the city.
“This is not a straightforward process but we have already taken significant steps in the same direction: we are placing pedestrians and cyclists at the top of our priority list in transportation planning; we adopted a ‘kibbutz in the city’ approach for smart and shared use of resources; we are implementing the ‘Cool Cities’ approach in various parts of the city; and of course we are active in the C40 – together with leading cities in the world – to ensure that we, our children and our grandchildren, may continue to enjoy life in Tel Aviv-Yafo and all of Israel.”
Reuven Ladianski, Tel Aviv-Yafo Deputy Mayor and City Council portfolio holder for environmental protection and sustainability:
“The climate crisis is one of the main challenges we, at Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, must address in the coming years. The consequences of the climate crisis will impact the lives of all of us, and especially the environment, health, the economy, public spaces, older and vulnerable populations, and more.
“The world’s major cities are at the forefront of climate crisis readiness, and they pave the way for governments. The adoption of eco-friendly standards in planning and construction across the city, increased use of renewable energy, decreasing landfill waste, transitioning to the use of electric vehicles, and increasing shade in the city primary by planting more trees are some of our objectives to tackle the climate crisis.
“I am full of pride that Tel Aviv-Yafo is the first city in Israel to launch a professional and extensive program to deal with the climate crisis. The strength and unique nature of the plan is that it sets concrete goals for relevant municipal units and will be integrated into the work plans of the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality to bring real change for all of us and for future generations.”
The action plan was jointly prepared by municipal departments with a shared understanding that such an effort requires coordination from early planning to execution. Municipal partners include: Engineering Administration, Construction & Infrastructure Construction, Operations Division, Social Services Administration, Community Administration, and Environmental Protection Authority.