The mayors of 15 major Israeli cities will join the fight against global warming in two weeks time, by joining the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives’ (ICLEI) Cities for Climate Protection Campaign (CCP), thereby committing to reducing greenhouse emissions by 20% in their cities by 2020, as well as to other environmental protection measures.
The so called Forum of 15 will formally sign a resolution committing to these measures in a festive ceremony held February, and attended by Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Where as national environmental policy in Israel is tentative at best, some even say destructive, these big cities have decided to step up and institute the ICLEI’s plan for reducing air-pollution, which consists of several separate milestones.
As a first step, these cities will conduct a baseline emissions inventory and forecast, based on energy consumption and waste generation. They will then adopt an emissions reduction target for 2020.
As a final step the cities will develop a local action plan describing the policies and measures that the local government will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These plans are then to be implemented within the municipality, citizenry and educational system of the cities in question.
These environmental protection measures may prove invaluable to the 3 million citizens residing in these cities, some 40% of Israel’s total population, as well as to the countless other Israelis who visit, or receive municipal services from, the cities in question.
The campaign addresses four main areas: transportation and fuels, energy conservation and environmentally friendly construction, garbage and recycling, and green spaces. Among other environmental protection measures, cities will commit to reducing gas emissions from factories, encourage recycling, and develop more environmentally friendly public transport.
The Forum 15 municipalities decided to join the campaign, initiated by the ICLEI which operates under the auspices of the UN and EU, following the Bali Climate Change Convention in December 2007, which featured the slogan “think globally, act locally”.
Huldai: I am sure gov't will help us as well
The Israeli delegation to this conference then learned that most emission reduction measures are implemented at a municipal, rather than national level. Cities worldwide, notably Seattle, San Francisco, and London, have already put the ICLEI's plan into practice.
The first to suffer from the effects of air-pollution, as well as global warming, furthermore noted the delegation, are residents of big cities whose quality of life is hampered due to the environmentally-based diseases that they often contract.
Tel-Aviv’s Mayor, and chairman of the Forum 15, Ron Huldai, noted that “municipal leaders are the ones initiating environmental protection measures worldwide, and Israel is no different. This is just the beginning and there is a lot of work ahead, but I am confident that the government will pitch in to help municipal leaders.”