Jozi is still committed to fighting climate change Print
13 February 2017

The City of Johannesburg is fully committed to climate change mitigation and adaptation, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services Cllr Anthony Still told a delegation from the City of Paris, France, on Friday February 10 following a week-long conference on the topic in Johannesburg.

The conference was convened to discuss and explore how major world cities such as Johannesburg and Paris could help mitigate the impact of global warming and climate change.

“This conversation started in 2014 between the City and business, when the City hosted the first mayoral summit on climate change on the African continent. And in 2015 the world confirmed the Sustainable Development Goals as targets that the world will pursue for the next 15 years – to 2030 – to help save our planet as well as humankind,” Cllr Still said.

“At COP21 in Paris in 2015, it was agreed that cities are to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change.”

The Paris delegation – including Head of Climate and Energy Strategy Francois Yann Francoise, Urbanisation Department’s Francois Hote, Climate Agency’s Anne Girault, building-energy efficiency expert Anne-Gaelle Baptiste and International Relations Department’s Anne Sophie Monceau – had been in Johannesburg since Monday February 6.

South Africa and France are among 195 countries that adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate agreement at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December 2015. Known as the Paris Agreement, the deal commits signatories to reducing and maintaining the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C.

Cllr Still said the aim of the co-operation agreement was to assist with the capacitation of staff, including the mainstreaming of the climate-change action within the cities.

Last week Tuesday, the City of Johannesburg took the delegation on a tour of Soweto using the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.Daisy Dwango and Alex Buurman of the City’s Transport Department explained to the delegation the department’s initiatives towards climate change.

“Johannesburg has a high number of private vehicles, which is a concern to CO2 emission,” Dwango said.

Explained Buurman: “A significant saving of 29% CO2 can be achieved if we take up the BRT system and shift the bus fleets to low emission options.”

Buurman said some of the steps taken by the City to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector included the Rea Vaya BRT system, re-fleeting of Metrobuses, conversion of buses to dual fuel and the creation of non-motorised transport zones.

Cllr Still said the City of Johannesburg’s participation in the attempts to reduce CO2 emission had the blessings of Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba and some of the national government departments. Representing South Africa’s Department of Energy, Xolile Mabusele emphasised the importance of energy efficiency in city-owned buildings and infrastructure.

Reitumetse Molotsoane of the Department of Environmental Affairs identified the solar geyser rollout programme as key to lowering carbon emissions. Lebo Molefe of the City of Johannesburg’s Environment and Infrastructure Services Department outlined her office’s strategic agenda as influenced by the Constitution, National Development Plan, National Climate Change Response White Paper and the Paris Agreement.

“The City is ready and prepared to play its role in improving the environment and the earth we live in,” Molefe said.

Francoise said there were overlapping similarities in what the two cities were planning to do. He said in Paris, however, most of these steps were already at an advanced stage.

“In addition, it is important that the cities have partners to assist them to realise the goals of COP21. Most importantly, funding is key to this. Business, governments and everybody must lend a hand. After all, the environment is for everybody,” he said.


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Last Updated on 13 February 2017