The Tempe City Council met on March 3. (Alexa D’Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Tempe City Council approved the Tempe 2022 Climate Action Plan Update at a March 3 meeting. The plan, which was first adopted in 2019, created a roadmap to address the immediate threat of extreme heat and implement strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sectors. energy and transport.
“Our City Council is fully committed to seeking out and hearing the voices of our residents in this essential climate work,” Mayor Corey D. Woods said in a statement. “Because of the thoughtful process of developing the update, the board has a clear vision for a sustainable and resilient Tempe and an understanding of the staff, programs, policies and infrastructure needed to get there.”
Tempe was the second city in Arizona to adopt a climate action plan and the first city in the Valley, officials say. The updated plan was created with residents and businesses through more than 20 listening sessions, focus groups and town hall meetings in 2021.
Tempe’s Director of Sustainability and Resilience, Braden Kay, welcomed the help from Tempe’s Neighborhood Services Division; the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission; the Tempe Chamber of Commerce; Arizona State University School for the Future of Innovation in Society, School of Sustainability and School of Design; and community organization Unlimited Potential, according to the statement.
“We wanted to take the time to have conversations across Tempe and better understand what residents and businesses think about the current state of sustainability efforts and what their ideas of a truly sustainable city look like,” said Kay said in the statement. “We were able to facilitate authentic and meaningful engagement that led to the co-creation of four agendas.”
The update reports that municipal operations and community greenhouse gas emissions were reduced between 2015 and 2020. Municipal operations saw a 2.5% reduction, while greenhouse gas emissions communities were reduced by 16%, according to the report. This analysis helps Tempe decision makers and staff better understand the progress and strategies needed to achieve the city council’s goal of being carbon neutral in community and municipal operations by 2050, according to the release.
According to the release, three main actions are outlined in the update as the most important for reducing carbon emissions and promoting resilience to extreme heat:
- Green codes and standards: Ensure that Tempe constructs buildings and infrastructure that allow residents to thrive despite increasing summer heat. Developers can design landscapes that capture stormwater while growing vegetation for shade and urban cooling to promote a more walkable and cooler Tempe. The city can also work to encourage sustainable building methods and the use of materials.
- Transport demand management and mobility hubs: Support programs and infrastructure that make it affordable and easy to choose low-carbon transportation options across the city. It is possible to develop a transportation demand management program to encourage the use of public transit and carpooling to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions. The city can establish a network of mobility hubs that combine different modes of transportation in one location, reducing the need for single-occupancy trips and vehicle ownership.
- Resilient hubs and resilient energy hubs: The City of Tempe can partner with utilities to reduce barriers to adding solar and battery storage to first response and first shelter buildings. These solutions can contribute to the clean energy economy and ensure residents are prepared for power outages and increasingly hot summers.
The update outlines Tempe’s progress in these action areas since the 2019 climate action plan and provides examples of cities that have made major progress in these areas. The Office of Sustainability and Resilience proposes the creation of a Tempe Resilient Master Plan and Utilities Feasibility Study to plan a comprehensive approach to green stormwater infrastructure, urban forestry and infrastructure investments. shading and determining appropriate long-term funding strategies to ensure Tempe is ready for summers that have more than 50 days per year over 110 degrees, according to the release.