Training Themed “The Struggle of Local Authorities with Climate Change”

İzmir Metropolitan Municipality took action for the new project, which will reveal the optimistic,pessimistic climate scenarios, and models for the years 2050 and 2100. Environmental scientist Dr. Nuran Talu indicated that they examined İzmir Metropolitan Municipality’s intense projects regarding struggle with climate change closely and said: “Neither Ankara nor İstanbul has an action plan concerning climate change. İzmir has come a long way in this regard.” 

Metropolitan Municipality took considerable steps for “a greener İzmir” and started another project that will shape the city’s future. “A Framework for Resistant Cities: Green Oriented Adaptation” project, begun with the cooperation of Landscape Surveys Association, was first explained to the Municipality councillors in charge in related committees and the municipality personnel. The Metropolitan Municipality will both determine the city’s green infrastructure and reveal the “optimistic and pessimistic” scenarios and models for the years 2050 and 2100 with this project conducted in order to designate İzmir’s green area future and to draw a road map considering climate change. Project results will be shared with the public opinion next month. 

Within the context of project studies, the training themed “The Struggle of Local Authorities with Climate Change,” took place in İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Council Chamber with a broad participation on 31.01.2019. The training participants were the councillors in İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Units, Municipal Incorporation, İzmir Provincial Directorates, District Municipalities and İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Zoning and Public Works Committee, Planning and Budget Commission, Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Commission, Social Services Commission, Culture and Tourism Commission and Consumer Protection Commission.  

Rail system investments decrease carbon emission 
İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Secretary General Dr. Buğra Gökçe, delivering the keynote speech, mentioned the importance of minimizing the effects of climate change and said: “Today, there is a problem named climate change and global warming. We may not find a remedy if we do not admit the problem. Also, it is not possible to explain the weather events experienced recently as insignificant meteorological events.” 

Dr. Gökçe, asserted that İzmir Metropolitan Municipality is the only local authority that took a step to decrease carbon emission among big cities and went on speaking: “The municipality in İzmir has been aware of the reality of environmental problems for a long time and it has been developing its investments in an environmentalist manner. İzmir Metropolitan Municipality has been looking into nature-based solutions and taking important steps to leave rubber wheel and start using electrical and rail system. We have a choice, which prioritizes the orientation of city centres mostly towards pedestrian and bicycle transportation. Izmir has been a pioneer in performing actions that will set an example to Turkey. We base the general framework on the governing idea of decreasing carbon emission. İzmir Metropolitan Municipality has been proceeding step by step to keep its promise regarding “decreasing the 20 percent carbon emission” by 2020.” 

We will produce biogas in Harmandalı 
Secretary General Buğra Gökçe went on speaking: “The most comprehensive Intelligent Traffic System in the country was carried into effect by the name İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, İZUM. This is one of the works that aims at decreasing 251 thousand tons of carbon emission by the year 2020 with a system, which gathers the proportion of waiting and passing at crossroads in a single centre as far as possible. Thanks to the moves we have made in water transportation, our new nature-friendly ferry with 15 passengers and 3 cars sways on the gulf. It consumes much less fuel when compared with other ships. Moreover, each vehicle that helps leave transportation with rubber wheel and leads towards water and rail system transportation helps decrease carbon emission a bit more. Our low-floored buses with green engines are in service and we have been trying to renew all of our buses in this way. As a first in Turkey, 20 electrical buses as a fleet of urban transportation have been actively in use. Electric bus has transported 5 million passengers and in this way the usage of 780 thousand litres of diesel fuel has been prevented. In this way, 2 thousand 103 tons of carbon emission has been prevented. The roofs of ESHOT’s ateliers in Gediz have been covered with solar panels. Thus, it also becomes possible to obtain our energy from the sun. Likewise, we resume our projects to use solar power and roofs more actively at our other facilities. The Tahtalı Dam is one of the most significant dams in Turkey used as a water basin and İZSU General Directorate has planted 1 million 75 thousand saplings in an area of 640 hectares to protect this dam. İzmir Metropolitan Municipality does not approve any decision to allow housing in this basin by no means.” Gökçe emphasized that, in İzmir, the space problem regarding the establishment of solid waste recycling facilities equipped with the latest technology has long been an unresolved problem. He mentioned Harmandalı Sanitary Landfill, which served as a topic of political arguments and said: “There is no unsanitary disposal area in İzmir. The unsanitary disposal area in Harmandalı is the bigger disposal area because the one in İstanbul is of similar nature. We have been conducting a large rehabilitation project in Harmandalı. We have come to the end in the making of a biogas facility with 15 MW of energy production capacity. Soon we will produce energy in this facility. Afterwards, we will afforest this area systematically. However, our primary concern is the building of Solid Waste Recycling and Biogas Facility, for which we have been waiting for the authorisation processes. 

İzmir difference in the action plan 
Environmental and political scientist Dr. Nuran Talu, mentioning that they closely examined İzmir Metropolitan Municipality’s intense projects regarding struggle with climate change, said: “İzmir Metropolitan Municipality has been implementing Sustainable Energy Action Plan, using European Union’s standards. It has made a lot of progress in the design of many green areas both in inner city transportation and in waste management, to decrease carbon dioxide emissions, which we consider important and refer as fossil fuel. Metropolitan Municipality sets serious goals to decrease greenhouse gas within its borders and proceeds systematically to achieve this goal. The three big cities in Turkey are Ankara, İstanbul and İzmir. However, neither Ankara nor İstanbul has an action plan concerning climate change. İzmir has made a lot of progress. Even the organizational structure the municipality builds shows that it has understood climate change very well. You should actually both protect the nature and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The only metropolitan municipality that proceeds understanding this duo is İzmir. İzmir is one of the most decisive municipalities.” 

Ege University Faculty of Agriculture Landscape Architecture faculty member Associate Professor Çiğdem Coşkun Hepcan, gave a talk in the expert training meeting of the project “A Framework for Resistant Cities: Green Oriented Adaptation” supported by the European Union fund within the framework of IklimIN project. In this talk, she indicated that the project is scientifically an exemplary study, aiming to generate solutions for İzmir to become a resistant city against the negative effects of climate change.
The study lasting 18 months 
İzmir Metropolitan Municipality’s project “A Framework for Resistant Cities: Green Oriented Adaptation” which received a grant of 150 thousand Euros, lasted for almost 18 months. The urban infrastructure system was mapped and area usage and change models were prepared for Balçova district, which was chosen as pilot area. Urban ecosystem services were mapped. Plan decisions were formed for İzmir to be able to adapt to climate change. A guidebook including all the information obtained and formed throughout the project was prepared.