Mayor commits to climate change initiative

CARL COLLISON

In a recent address to the Climate Coalition, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille outlined the City’s commitment to rolling out climate change-mitigation initiatives.

Held at the V&A Waterfront’s Watershed on Wednesday February 24, the event was attended by the Vice Consul of France Marine Bernabeu; C40’s African Regional DirectorHastings Chikoko; the City’s mayoral committee members, representatives from the provincial government as well as business and civil society representatives.

Commenting on her attendance at last year’s COP21, held in Paris, Ms De Lille said: “I was invited to the participate in a number of events in Paris at COP21 specifically dealing with role that cities can play in pushing a more ambitious agenda on climate change than that which national governments have committed to.

“I have come away from those deliberations more convinced than ever that cities have a pivotal role to play in both mitigating climate change and in adapting to the worst impacts of it.”

Ms De Lille added: “We are comprehensively looking at ways in which we can use all of our waste streams in the city far more effectively as a resource particularly for energy generation. We have already initiated pilot projects to look at how we can use waste as an energy generation resource.”

One of these is the waste-to-energy plant at the City’s Kraaifontein Integrated Waste Management Facility (KIWMF). Launched in November last year, the facility will see roughly 500kg of plastic converted to 500 litres of oil a day.

Initiated in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the six-month pilot project will provide insights into the potential for creating fuel from plastic waste diverted from landfill sites.

Another project which Ms De Lille said “not only mitigate against climate change and adapt to its worst effects, but also simultaneously reduces poverty and creates much needed jobs” is the ceilings retrofitting project.

Through this project, the City is retrofitting state-subsidised homes that were built between 1994 and 2005, which were constructed without insulated ceilings and weather-proofing, (“Ceiling retrofitting project commences, Northern News, February 24”).

Said Ms De Lille: “With City funding and capital raised from the Green Fund, our large-scale retrofitting programme will be rolled out to all 40 000 units at a cost of R400 million. This large-scale retrofit project has health, social, and environmental benefits. The first phase of retrofitting 8 000 homes will create around 800 job opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme.”

Commenting on the City’s initiatives aimed at mitigating climate change, Mr Chiboko said: “The City of Cape Town has made progress in delivering a suite of projects and programmes on climate change. Most importantly, Cape Town has put in place strategies and plans on addressing these.”

Commenting on possible areas of improvement, Mr Chikoko said: “Cape Town needs to continue focussing on energy consumption in the city’s buildings, transport, and industries to ensure a low carbon pathway.

“Given the energy mix in South Africa, Cape Town should increase its focus on renewable energy to steer the city away from unsustainable sources of energy.”

Priding itself in its “green thinking” is the V&A Waterfront, which, according to its CEO, David Green, has “sustainability at the heart of its business strategy”.

“Our intention is to create a vibrant, mixed-use, property with sustainability credentials. Sustainability is an integral part of operations at the V&A Waterfront, and we are focused on leadership in environmental practices in our future and current development plans,” said Mr Green.

“Our pragmatic role is commercial, yet we are able to be slightly more experimental in our mission to adhere to green and sustainable practises.

All of our new developments are innovative in their use of environmentally friendly products and features,” he said.