Athens becomes the first city in Greece with an integrated Climate Action Plan

Athens is the first city in Greece to develop an integrated Climate Action Plan for both mitigation and adaptation, following the example of other megacities around the world.

In the light of World Environment Day on June 5, Athens would like to highlight the ambition this plan sets: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and help the city and its citizens adapt to climate change.

Mayor of Athens, Georgios Kaminis said: 

"It is now clear that cities are more effective in fighting climate change in comparison to the states. Where national governments fail to act, we – the cities – take the lead and undertake action to limit global temperature rise, reduce energy costs, protect vulnerable groups and safeguard the quality of life in cities. Athens benefits from its participation in large cities networks, like C40 and 100 Resilient Cities, by exchanging experience with other cities to deal with our common problems and also fully supports the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. It is important to highlight that the city has made significant progress getting also technical support from the above mentioned networks at no cost for the city.”

The climate action plan is part of the Athens Resilience Strategy that is to be presented in June. The Resilience Strategy, co-created with citizens and other stakeholders, prioritizes actions that help the city deal with crises, respond to citizens’ needs, support sustainable development and in the long-term make Athens a livable, attractive and creative city.

“The decisions and actions taken by cities in the next 3 years will determine if the world can realise the ambition of the Paris Agreement and prevent catastrophic climate change,” said Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. “With this integrated Climate Action Plan, Mayor Kaminis and the City of Athens are showing their absolute determination to lead the way in the fight against climate change. The plan will help protect citizens of Athens from the effects of a rapidly changing climate, whilst also delivering the emission cuts needed to ensure the city’s future is sustainable.”

“The Athens Climate Adaptation Plan is an important step in Athens journey to build resilience in the face of the myriad challenges of the 21st Century. Climate adaptation is a crucial part of urban resilience, and we’re excited to see this impressive step by the city and our partners at C40. We look forward to working collaboratively to realize the goals of this plan and the city’s forthcoming Resilience Strategy,” said Michael Berkowitz, President, 100 Resilient Cities — Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation.

The City of Athens faces real and significant climate risks today, such as heat waves, extreme hot days and flash floods. These events affect every Athenian, and as our climate changes, they will become more frequent and intense. The implementation of climate actions will have positive impacts to the city, which are not restricted to environmental and energy ones. Between 2000-2012, Athens has observed a 5.2% increase in mortality for every 1°C increase in daily max temperatures over 31,5°C. The Action Plan comes to deal with the climate challenges Athens faces and proves the strong commitment of Athens to protect the environment and the citizens in a holistic way.

Athens now more than ever relies on the capacity of its staff, who worked hard to deliver this action plan. By getting assistance and support from the two networks and with continuous knowledge exchange with peers from other cities, the City has delivered a comprehensive integrated plan, which is also fully in line with the city’s operational program, the plan for integrated urban interventions, the urban sustainability strategy, but also the Resilience Strategy of Athens.

Lenio Myrivili, City Councilor responsible for the Climate Change Portfolio in Athens, said: “The plan includes both short-term and long-term actions, some of them already being implemented; however, the successful implementation of the plan requires the joint effort of all sectors of the city”.

The action plan includes the following indicative actions:

A) For adaptation

  • Green and Blue infrastructure: maintaining and Increasing green spaces, but also alternatives ways of greening like vertical green techniques, and using water elements in urban planning
  • Built Environment by using sustainable materials, such as cool pavements, materials with low embodied energy, and bioclimatic design to reduce ambient air temperatures and improve microclimatic conditions.
  • Public information and awareness campaign
  • Informing and raising awareness of citizens about the heat risks they face and the steps they can take to protect themselves to reduce the occurrence of heat-related illnesses and deaths, but also increase the preparedness level of city services

Β) For mitigation

  • Reduce energy consumption in municipal buildings and facilities
  • Reduce fuel use in buildings and the municipal fleet
  • Raising public awareness for rational energy use and no- and low-cost measures at households
  • Promoting sustainable forms of transportation
  • Improving biodegradable municipal waste management

The City is already implementing the following climate actions:

  • Regeneration of the Athens Commercial Triangle using an energy and bioclimatic approach
  • Planting green areas and installation of green roofs
  • Energy upgrading of school buildings
  • Construction of bioclimatic nursery schools
  • Connecting municipal buildings to the natural gas network and avoiding diesel use
  • Implementation of energy education programs at schools
  • Separation at source for biodegradable waste
  • Purchasing of low emission waste collection vehicles
  • Maintaining the water fountains network
  • Putting NFC tags to municipal buildings for provision of information on urban temperatures, cool spots and Treasure app
  • Treasure app for assessing personalized risk during heat waves
  • Working with WWF Hellas for expanding cool spots network within the city

Next actions to follow:

  • Increasing green areas within the city
  • Replacement of obsolete public lighting with LED
  • Urban farming
  • Pocket parks
  • Use of cool and sustainable materials to all public works
  • More energy retrofits to municipal buildings and expansion of the energy education programme at schools
  • Conducting a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan

Read the city's press release (in Greek) here: http://www.cityofathens.gr/node/30147