Tackling climate change and becoming more resilient in our homes, places of work and as a Cape Town community requires the participation and collaboration of each of us. There are many simple actions, some big and some small, that each can take to contribute. By making informed choices and taking collective action, we can uplift ourselves and those around us to help create a stronger city.

What is climate change?

Climate change is a global threat which has already caused significant economic, social and environmental impacts.

Capetonians are familiar with the impact due to the drought we experienced in recent years. But by working together, we reduced water use by 50% in record time, to avoid the worst. This kind of collaborative action is what we need to become more resilient, stronger and help reduce the impacts of climate change.

How is climate change affecting Cape Town?

Our city is facing the following climatic changes:

  • Decreasing levels of average annual rainfall and changing seasonality of rainfall, which affects the amount of water we have access to.
  • An increase in the average annual temperature and increased maximum temperatures, which means an increase in hotter days, and more frequent and intense heat waves.
  • An increase in the average wind and maximum wind strength.
  • Rising sea levels and increased coastal erosion.

What we need to do to tackle climate change?

In support of the growing global momentum to tackle climate change, Cape Town, along with cities in South Africa and worldwide, has committed to achieving carbon neutrality and climate resilience by 2050. Importantly, reducing global warming is key.

These necessary targets can only be reached through significant transitions in urban form, energy sources, transportation and resource efficiency. Key elements are cleaning up our sources of electricity, making the built environment more efficient and the electrification of transport.

What is carbon neutrality?

Carbon neutrality means introducing new technologies to clean up the fuels and activities that cause greenhouse gas emissions, while enhancing our social, economic and environmental goals. Read more about the City’s Carbon Neutral 2050 commitment.

What is the City doing?

We have committed to achieve carbon neutrality and climate resilience by 2050. Along with the Climate Change Strategy, the City has developed a Climate Change Action Plan and summary that sets the pathway towards this goal.

The City has in place many programmes that support climate change adaptation, mitigation and climate resilience, and is working towards significantly growing these.

Adaption

In the adaptation and resilience work area, projects include:

Mitigation

To reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, our mitigation efforts include:

  • building an efficient transport network
  • developing our own clean energy generation 
  • driving energy efficiency in our own municipal operations
  • enabling small scale embedded generation (SSEG)
  • procuring energy from Independent Power Producers (IPPs)
  • shaping regulatory and incentive mechanisms to support net zero carbon buildings
  • waste reduction

In an effort to lead by example, the City is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Over the last 10 years, the City’s energy efficiency in municipal operations programme has saved over 231 GWH of electricity. This is enough electricity to power 35 clinics over 10 years and translates into 229 035 tons of avoided carbon emissions.

Some highlights

  • 60 City buildings retrofitted to make them more efficient
  • All traffic lights retrofitted with LED lights
  • 563 kWp installed rooftop solar PV
  • 34% of streetlights retrofitted

Let’s act for a stronger Cape Town

The City’s new climate change response and resilience campaign, Let’s ACT. For a stronger Cape Town, aims to enable and support residents, communities, businesses and organisations to take action for a stronger, healthier and more resilient Cape Town for all. The roll out of the campaign has begun in phases.

Actions residents can take in their homes/workplaces:

  • Buy energy efficient appliances.
  • Buy sustainably produced and organic food where possible. Let their local shops know that they demand more sustainable products.
  • Change the light bulbs in the home to more energy efficient ones.
  • Empower colleagues with knowledge about sustainability and practical solutions in the office such as reducing paper printing.
  • Investigate how their community, neighbourhood watch and church can get involved in climate and community action to make us all, and our city, more resilient.
  • Invest in a solar PV system or a solar water heater and also save on electricity bills.
  • Plant indigenous water-wise plants and trees in the garden.
  • Reduce, re-use and recycle, including organic waste through home composting.
  • Reduce water usage in the home.
  • Start or support a neighbourhood food garden.
  • Switch off non-essential lights.
  • Teach children about living more sustainably.
  • Walk or cycle to the local shop.

Join us and take action against climate change, for a stronger Cape Town.