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Urban Resilience takes centre stage at C40 Summit

JOBURG- More than 8 000 climate actions were underway around the world to improve “urban resilience” to climate change.

These actions span the energy, economic development, sustainable communities and transport sectors – with the transport sector recording the greatest increase in the number of climate actions. Initiatives include the implementation of rigorous energy efficiency regulations for buildings, instituting bus rapid transit lines and flood mapping efforts.

This according to the C40 report, Climate Action in Megacities Volume 2.0, which further found that 41 percent of these actions were taking place on a transformative, citywide scale.

“Mayors have real power to cut emissions and improve resilience – and they are taking action,” said C40 chairperson, Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor Eduardo Paes.

“C40’s networks and efforts on measurement and reporting are accelerating city-led action… around the world.”

According to the report, compiled by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership group in partnership with consultancy firm Arup, the transport sector recorded a 150 percent increase in climate change actions compared to 2011.

Over 1 500 initiatives had been implemented within the transport sectors, of which 873 were in private transport and 661 in public transport. Furthermore, the report found that 49 percent of recorded actions were to promote walking and cycling.

The City of Johannesburg has placed a strong emphasis on its green transport initiatives. According to Executive Mayor Tau Parks, the Rea Vaya currently saved around 380 000 tons of Co2 emissions per annum, and once the system was fully implemented it would save 6 000 000 tons of Co2 by 2030.

He also announced that the City’s new fleet of Metro buses would be powered by dual fuel, which uses methane gas and diesel.

Actions within the energy efficiency sector revealed that 90 percent of responding cities were taking action on outdoor lighting, introducing smart street lighting technology, to reduce emissions.

Sixty-nine percent of energy efficiency initiatives focused on reducing energy demands in buildings; including insulation and energy usage monitoring.

A trend towards waste-to-energy, such as capturing methane gas from landfills has been noted with 64 percent of cities undertaking this cross-sector initiative. Additionally, one third of future energy supply expansion plans would focus on generating energy from waste.

C40 cities are implementing more than 350 actions on sustainable community development and 76 percent of cities planned to expand on community-scale development projects that were already in place, the report found.

Johannesburg had embarked on The Cosmo City project, which is a sustainable community. It promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency and greening in low-income communities. In 2010 and 2011, 770 low-pressure solar water heater units and 797 insulated ceilings were installed in over 700 households in Cosmo City.

Energy efficient lights were distributed to homes not already within Eskom’s Compact Fluorescent Lamps programme.

Sixty-five percent of waste reduction initiatives were being undertaken citywide and were in a transformative stage.

Meanwhile, 92 percent of cities were taking action on landfill and landfill gas management.

The C40 cities represent 600 million people worldwide, five percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 21 percent of gross domestic product.

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