City of Tempe, Arizona 2019 Climate Action Plan

The City of Tempe, Arizona’s first Climate Action Plan (CAP) offers a roadmap toward sustainability and climate change resilience focusing on emissions reductions in transportation and energy use, and resilience to extreme heat. The plan includes twelve climate mitigation and adaptation actions for the city government, businesses, and residents of Tempe. 

Tempe and the surrounding Phoenix valley urban area is facing intensifying extreme heat and the city acknowledges this is due to climate change and the urban heat island (UHI) effect. Along with climate mitigation measures, this plan prioritizes building resilience to extreme heat and UHI. Tempe is actively developing the following actions to build resilience to extreme heat:

  • Green infrastructure
  • Green construction code
  • Urban Forestry Master Plan 
  • Emergency Management Program 

Extreme heat resilience strategies related to these actions are described which include a brief description of the action and how it aligns with the City’s strategic priorities; key features of the action; specific, related actions for collaborating partners (university, businesses, non-profits, developers, residents, and City government); and community feedback on the action. Some actions also include examples from other cities that offer insight and guidance on best practices. Extreme heat resilience-building actions include to:

  • Create resilient energy hubs, prioritizing locations close to frontline communities, to ensure all Tempe residents can access a place to cool down during extreme heat events or in a power outage.
  • Adopt green infrastructure and Low-Impact Development design standards for stormwater management and to cool urban landscapes.
  • Adopt as optional the ‘International Green Construction Code’ to encourage more structural shade, tree canopy coverage, and use of cool materials in new development projects.
  • Increase tree planting, staff, irrigation funding, and green infrastructure under Tempe’s Urban Forestry Master Plan which now employs the first Urban Forester in Arizona.
  • Create and fill a full-time, permanent Emergency Manager position to create a preparedness plan for extreme heat and coordinate emergency response and disaster preparedness efforts.

Climate resilience measures in Tempe’s Climate Action Plan are focused on adapting to extreme heat. According to the report, extreme heat has caused an increase in heat-related deaths and hospitalizations, especially among children, the elderly, and homeless people.

Tempe is working to develop more equitable policies, programs, and opportunities through the city’s Equity in Action project. As described in the report: “Equity in Action is a Tempe project that works with underrepresented groups to develop and test new policies and programs that make Tempe more equitable. The City of Tempe, in partnership with Vitalyst Health Foundation, funds social justice organizations and community representatives to participate in redesigning city policies and processes to reflect the values and needs of all Tempe residents. Tempe is committed to building city staffs’ understanding of the implications of race, culture, and socio-economic status on public processes to advance equitable opportunities for all.”

 

The City of Tempe set a goal of carbon neutrality in municipal operations by 2050 with 100% renewable energy by 2035.  

 

 

Publication Date: 2019

Related Organizations:

  • City of Tempe, Arizona

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  • Plans (other)

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