Climate Smart Cape Town is a public action campaign aimed at the city becoming a more compact, lower carbon and resource efficient environment adapting to the impacts of climate change. The City’s Energy and Climate Action Plan comprises 50 programme areas and 120 projects designed to help realize the vision of a low carbon city.
The Climate Smart Cape Town campaign addresses three major challenges, including the high carbon footprint compared to global cities, where its per capita carbon emissions are on par with London, New York and Beijing, while having a much smaller economy. Secondly, it addresses the city’s poor energy security relating to its high dependence on electricity from coal power stations as far as 2 000km away, with consumption predicted to quadruple by 2050 in the absence of intervention. And the third biggest challenge facing the city is its vulnerability to the impacts of climate change relating to the sprawling of this coastal city, dependent on private vehicles while low income communities live far from urban areas. It also faces hazards from temperature changes, sea level, rainfall patterns and storm events.
The campaign message will also be conveyed at the upcoming COP 17 in Durban from 28 November to 9 December. The city says that SA’s role in hosting COP17 – The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Seventeenth Conference of the Parties, is placing the country in the global spotlight of mitigating carbon emissions. In addition, solutions for sustainable adaptation methods need to be communicated through increased awareness.
The six categories of the Climate Smart Cape Town take action campaign relates to energy consumption, water savings, nature conservation, cleaner air, waste recycling, and making smart travel choices.
Aiming for an electricity consumption reduction of 10% by 2012 or 3.3% per annum from 2010 to 2012, it explains that for every 1 kWh of electricity consumed, 1kg of CO2 is produced, and that the city’s electricity consumption alone is responsible for 66% of its overall CO2 emissions. Instant savings can be derived from reduced temperatures of geysers to 60 degrees amounting to 5 percent of savings, and solar water heating systems accounting for savings of 25 percent.
Shifting rainfall patterns resulting in a greater threat to already scarce drinking water resources is calling for rainwater harvesting, water-wise gardens, pool covers, fixing of leaks, dual-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads, and abiding by watering restrictions of between 10:00 and 16:00.
Emphasising the preservation of natural environments is a Manchester University’s research study stating that more parks and green spaces in urban areas could cool cities by up to 4°C, and that infrared maps of cities show woodland areas to be 12°C cooler than treeless city centres.
Get on your bicycle says the city, and reduce the number of cars on the road. The Department of Transport 2009 statistics of motorized vehicles on SA’s roads, recorded 5. 4million private cars, 1.9million LDV’s, 362 400 motorcycles, 282 941 minibuses.
The recycling of waste material already reaching high levels in the Western Cape, is aimed at zero waste to landfills. Illustrating successful action is the first High Temperature Conversion of Waste (HTCW) plant in the Southern Hemisphere that will be located near the town of Riversdale in the Municipality of Hessequa on the Garden Route, that will result in the permanent closure of two landfills in 2012.
Smart travel choices for cleaner air include greater use of existing public transport such as MyCiti buses, trains and shared lifts. The IBM Annual Global Commuter Pain Study published in September ranks the emotional and economic toll of commuting in 20 international cities. It shows a significant increase since 2010, in respondents saying traffic on roads increases levels of personal stress and anger, and impacts negatively on work performance.