(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Buildings emit 67 to 87 percent of greenhouse gases (GHG) and transportation is
responsible for more than 80% of air pollution in Israel’s biggest cities.
That’s the bottom line of a new set of surveys the Forum of 15, plus three
others, conducted as part of a pledge to reduce greenhouse gases and air
pollution by 20% each by 2020.
The Forum of 15 is an association of the
independent municipalities in the country, which do not receive aid from the
government. It represents 40% of the population, or about three million people.
It consists of: Ashdod, Givatayim, Herzliya, Hadera, Holon, Haifa, Kfar Saba,
Netanya, Petah Tikva, Rishon Lezion, Rehovot, Ramat Gan, Ra’anana, Tel
Aviv-Jaffa and Beersheba (even though it receives government funding as
Jerusalem, Ashkelon and Bat Yam also signed the Forum of 15’s
pledge to reduce GHG in 2008.
The surveys have been conducted in almost
all of the 18 municipalities as the basis for crafting master plans to reduce
emissions. Master plans are expected to be completed by early 2011 by all of the
According to the surveys, buildings of all sorts constituted
the greatest source of GHG by far – ranging from 67-87%, depending on the
Given that finding, the Forum of 15 has decided to make a
push for inculcating green building, which reduces resource use and emissions in
The Forum has decided to create a sub-forum to encourage urban
There are only a handful of green buildings in Israel at
present. Israel has a green building standard – 5281– which is in the process of
revision to bring it up to speed in comparison with international green building
standards such as LEED or BREEAM. The standard is, right now,
The biggest source of air pollution came from the different
types of transportation vehicles and represented more than 80% of urban air
Therefore, the Forum called on the government, in conjunction
with the municipalities, to prioritize public transportation. Public
transportation projects largely required government funding over and above
municipal contributions, the report’s authors pointed out.
also found, not unexpectedly, that less than 10% of emissions, GHG and air
pollution were under the direct jurisdiction of the municipalities. Most
emissions resulted from the actions of the “community.”
Water and sewage
represented a significant source of emissions – both pollution and GHG – under
the direct jurisdiction of the municipality mainly because of the electricity
needed to run the pumps and treatment centers.
Reducing waste was a
relatively easy way to reduce emissions, according to the Forum’s
The greenhouse gas surveys were based on data from 2000 and 2007,
while the air pollution surveys were based on data from 2007.
environmental pledge that the 18 municipalities signed is a local version of the
international Local Governments for Sustainability – ICLEI pledge.