Tel Aviv Municipality launches action plan to combat climate change

Tel Aviv Municipality committed to take action against climate change threats by launching a multi-year action plan.

Solar Guerrilla addresses the issue of climate change in an innovative and thought-provoking manner. (photo credit: TEL AVIV MUSEUM OF ART)
Solar Guerrilla addresses the issue of climate change in an innovative and thought-provoking manner.
(photo credit: TEL AVIV MUSEUM OF ART)
As a member of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a leading global network of cities fighting global warming, Tel Aviv Municipality has launched a detailed climate change action plan aimed at identifying the threats and challenges faced by the city and establishing the required actions to deal with them with an emphasis on a rapid response for vulnerable population groups.
"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,” declared Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.
Tel Aviv Municipality committed to adapt its infrastructures to climate change, including preparing for rising temperatures - as the number of annual hot days is expected to increase by 30 during the next decade - and changes to rainfall trends and quantities.
"The climate crisis is one of the main challenges we, at Tel Aviv 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,” added Tel Aviv deputy mayor Reuven Ladianski.
Among the other identified threats which Tel Aviv will have to cope with in the coming years are a rise in sea levels, a decline in natural water sources and an increased risk of flooding, and increased heat emissions, which will increase municipal service workloads and demand for emergency assistance.
"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,” said Ladiansky
The action plan is moving in two main directions to face these challenges:
- Cooling the city, by including urban forest management, increasing shaded areas and climate-appropriate construction, encouraging sustainable community lifestyles, and support for vulnerable population groups.
- Improving water management, by enhancing natural drainage, strengthening the resilience of the coastal ecosystem, preparing the city for urban and coastal flooding and reducing risks, and saving water in gardening, buildings and infrastructure.
"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,” said Huldai.
Indeed, according to a municipality press release, the action plan will be divided into 3 main phases, starting in 2020.
The first step, called the “Immediate response”, will take place in the coming year. It intends to formalize an action plan to heatwaves and extreme heat, enable solar energy independence for public buildings during times of crisis, reduce the removal of trees, coming along with a strict implementation of permeation requirements in construction plans and permits and economic assessments for damages and measures required to cope with climate change.
The second step, called the “Gradual response” will start by 2030. It will include 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.
Finally, the last step, with no time frame yet, will be fostering urban innovation with activities to connect municipal preparations for climate change with efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, improve sustainability and enhance quality of life in the city.
"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,” continued Ladianski. “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."