Joburg gears up for Climate Summit

JOBURG- The extreme thunderstorms and heatwaves that have hit Johannesburg are an indication of the impact of climate change that is being felt in the city - and around the world.

According to the city council, significant increases in both temperatures and rainfall are expected in Johannesburg over the next forty to fifty years, which will have a major impact on infrastructure, health, biodiversity, human settlements, industry and food security.

In a bid to address these issues, the City is preparing to host the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Mayors’ Summit from 4 to 6 February – the first time the event will be held in Africa.

City of Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau said, “The impact of the choices which we make today will be evident in the atypical weather conditions the latter half of the century will experience. To reduce this future impact, the City is implementing adaptation measures as a proactive response to climate change.”

At the top of Johannesburg’s agenda will be resource efficiency, which includes the development of climate resilient and energy efficient buildings.

The Cosmo City housing project, the Alexandra urban renewal project, and green transportation such as the Rea Vaya rapid bus transport system fall into this category.

Focus will also be on the development of green infrastructure projects across the energy, transport, water, waste, housing and building sectors.

During the summit, the city will demonstrate its current initiatives, which include sustainable communities, green transportation, integrated waste and water management.

“A liveable and resilient city is one which is climate-proofed against these extreme weather conditions through adaptation and mitigation,” Tau said.

“Climate change is a global problem that affects current and future generations. Our responses must therefore be collaborative and intensive. Citizens are urged to become part of the solution.”

Appealing to the public to contribute to Joburg’s green initiatives, the city council has offered a few green tips:

• Recycle your waste, and make your own organic compost.

• Use water sparingly, report water leaks, and where possible implement water saving mechanisms within households and businesses.

• Use electricity responsibly, investigate alternative sources of energy, and where possible switch to electricity saving measures like solar geysers and energy saving light bulbs.

• Plant trees and grow your own fruit and vegetables.

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