Environment Ministry unveils details of climate risk map to help policymakers

The Environmental Protection Ministry presented new details Thursday on a portal currently being developed that will feature real-time, interactive climate risk maps aimed at helping policymakers and local authorities prepare for various aspects of climate change such as storms, flooding, fires, heatwaves and sea-level rise.

The project, launched earlier this year, takes inspiration from a national risk index created by the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Following further work on its technological aspects, the first version of the portal is expected to go online next year. It will be piloted among local authorities that have responded to a ministry call for help to create climate risk preparedness plans.

Combining multiple layers of information, the Israeli digital portal will offer high-resolution ‘Vulnerability Index Maps’ and vulnerability forecasts based on models created by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It will also include recommendations for potential responses to challenges posed by climate change.

In the case of floods, for example, it will provide data on economic and health vulnerabilities in the various localities, based on factors including population density, age distribution, the local proportion of people with disabilities and the number of basements. It will also outline where authorities will or will not be able to continue routine and emergency services in case of a disaster, based on the local main roads, health and educational facilities, and emergency units.

It will also highlight environmental vulnerabilities of areas such as nature reserves and rivers, and of areas surrounding sewage treatment plants and factories with hazardous materials.

Among the potential recommendations for dealing with the dangers posed by floods will be planning and implementing drainage and seepage flow recession programs, increasing permeable surfaces, green rooftops and green urban areas, and protecting and restoring wetlands to increase rainwater absorption and reduce stormwater runoff.

The portal, which will be continuously updated, will present integrated information for each local authority.

Environmental Protection Ministry Chief Scientist Prof Noga Kronfeld-Shor (left) and outgoing Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg at a session on climate change preparedness at the Israeli pavilion, UN COP27 climate conference, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 17, 2022. (Environmental Protection Ministry)

Prof. Noga Kronfeld-Shor, the Environmental Protection Ministry’s chief scientist who has been coordinating the work on the portal, told an audience at the UN’s COP27 climate conference in Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh that “the climate crisis affects each area in a different way — the risk, the sensitivity to risk and the ability to prepare for the effects of climate change vary with a high spatial resolution.”

Policy- and decision-makers, therefore, need detailed and accessible information to help them navigate and set priorities related to preparing for climate change.

According to the sixth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), up to 3.6 billion people are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Natural disasters caused global losses of around $280 billion in 2021 alone.

The Environmental Protection Ministry has been working with the Israeli-American startup Tomorrow.io on the project.

Thursday’s event, featuring a multinational panel, also showcased the OECD’s new IPAC dashboard, which includes climate-related hazard indicators and city case studies from around the world.

The Middle East and North Africa are regarded as a climate hotspot, because temperatures are rising twice as fast there than the global average.

Israeli politics told straight

I joined The Times of Israel after many years covering US and Israeli politics for Hebrew news outlets.

I believe responsible coverage of Israeli politicians means presenting a 360 degree view of their words and deeds – not only conveying what occurs, but also what that means in the broader context of Israeli society and the region.

That’s hard to do because you can rarely take politicians at face value – you must go the extra mile to present full context and try to overcome your own biases.

I’m proud of our work that tells the story of Israeli politics straight and comprehensively. I believe Israel is stronger and more democratic when professional journalists do that tough job well.

Your support for our work by joining The Times of Israel Community helps ensure we can continue to do so.

Thank you,
Tal Schneider, Political Correspondent

Join Our Community

Join Our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

You’re a dedicated reader

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago – to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel

Join Our Community

Join Our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *