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New Plan Drives Climate Action to Protect Human and Economic Health

7 October 2021

A milestone has been achieved for Cape Town and its people with the launch of the City of Cape Town’s Climate Change Action Plan.

The plan recognises the need for urgent climate action to protect, promote and enhance human and ecosystem health and well-being and to become stronger together to face the consequences of climate change. It also shines the spotlight on the urgent need for sustainable economic recovery.

A green economy will be essential to prosper in a changing world that is fast moving away from carbon intensive technology. The launch comes ahead of the United Nations’ COP26 climate conference, which takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, at the end of October.

The climate is changing, and so must we

The climate actions we carry out now, collectively as a global community and as Capetonians, in our homes, workplaces, schools and neighbourhoods, will determine whether we will be able to avoid the most serious consequences of global warming and how we will increase our resilience to the climate impacts that are now inevitable. These actions will shape the lives of generations to come.

The City has therefore committed to a heightened level of climate change response action through its new Climate Change Strategy and a global climate change action commitment under the C40 Deadline 2020 Programme to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, which requires carbon neutrality by 2050 and enhanced climate resilience.

Building on a 20-year history of climate change response planning, the City’s Climate Change Action Plan sets out a wide range of actions to achieve this new level of ambition across 10 strategic focus areas and five cross-cutting work areas.

Let’s be part of the climate response

“Urgent action is required to keep global average temperature increases below 1,5 °C and reduce the climate change impacts that critically risk socio-economic development, environmental sustainability, and human health and well-being,” says Cape Town Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato.

“The plan sets out how the City will act to cut its share of greenhouse gas emissions while adapting to the inevitable impacts expected across human and natural systems, especially within the city’s most vulnerable communities and natural environments. “

The City’s plan is, however, not only about emissions and climate risk. It is also about using the opportunity to be a leader in transitioning to a competitive, resilient and efficient green economy.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is a reminder that, because such crises affect all of us, the responses must also include all of us. There is an opportunity catalysed by the pandemic for populations and political leaders to ‘build back better’, and to recover from the events in a sustainable and inclusive way,’ added Mayor Plato.

10 focus areas

The plan has 10 strategic focus areas, namely: water security and drought readiness, water sensitivity, flood readiness and storm management, coastal management and resilience, managing fire risk and responsiveness, spatial and resource inclusivity, carbon-neutral energy for work creation and economic development, zero-emission buildings and precincts, mobility for quality of life and livelihoods and the circular waste economy.

“The plan also includes five cross-cutting work areas which include the actions needed to enable change in the local government and the city as a whole,” says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change.

“These cover the areas of governance and research, the economy, finance, communication, and human and ecosystem health. The City must lead by example. It must act, it must enable, it must encourage and ignite and it must drive awareness to bring real and immediate change. Together we can act for a stronger Cape Town for all. We can act at home, at work, at school and in our neighbourhoods. We invite our residents and businesses to join the movement for climate action because even small actions can lead to big results.”

The principles informing the development of this plan are: