City joins world to battle climate change

2015-05-19 06:00

By joining the Compact of Mayors, the City of Cape Town became one of 33 cities at the ICLEI World Congress in Seoul, Korea held in April to intensify its commitment to battling escalating climate change.

The Compact is an international declaration of responsibility whereby cities are holding themselves accountable to reduce carbon emissions, inspire dynamic green economies and commit to cleaner technologies. At the climate negotiations to be held in Paris later this year, the Compact will buttress the voice of mayors and their cities as they campaign for greater global national action. For Cape Town, this forms part of a resolve to inspire a sustainable future which seeks profound change in our energy supply and framework.

The City has already pledged itself to introducing a 10% renewable energy mix into its electricity structure by 2020 and we have made significant achievements in energy efficiency in this regard.

We are encouraged by the support shown by cities worldwide in committing to transparent and standardised climate change reduction, as well as by our fellow South African metropoles.

Climate change assumes a unique context within our country, where we are confronted with deteriorating electricity infrastructure and desperately require unanimous municipal support in lobbying the government to rapidly incorporate renewable energy into the national energy structure.

The journey towards becoming a more viable, self-reliant city requires a holistic appreciation of the way in which sustainability weaves through every facet of our daily lives.

As a demonstration of our commitment to lead by example, we have implemented an extensive energy efficiency programme in our own operations and are now realising energy savings of R25m.

Given the heightened importance of using less energy more efficiently, Cape Town also became one of three cities in Seoul to pen a Founders Commitment to Green Public Procurement.

This pact demonstrates a willingness to bring about social, economic and environmental change by committing to a greener future constituted by greener technologies and a greener supply chain. It ensures that the municipal government screens its suppliers, producers and distribution channels so that they might be held to a higher standard of construction and production.

The potential that this holds is untold as we aim for new industry and job creation that moves away from the traditional ‘dirty’ sectors and inspires greater invention and skills development.

In 20 years’ time, we hope to look back at these dynamic measures as the start of a spider-web of innovation which led to Cape Town becoming South Africa’s first energy independent city

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