Joburg hosts summit on climate change

Posted by Laura Grant on June 3, 2008
Posted in Green News

Environmental management must become a central part of the planning and execution of public projects in order to deal with the implications of climate change, the City of Johannesburg MMC for environmental management Prema Naidoo, told delegates at a first-of-its-kind local government conference on climate change in Johannesburg yesterday. [Engineering News]

Midrand, Johannesurg’s high-tech commercial hub, is built on a wetland which makes it susceptible to the effects of uncontrolled climate change, Prema said. Developers also did not take the flood line into consideration when building the suburb, he added. Damage from severe weather events, such as floods, could cost the city dearly in revenue and potentially lives. [All Africa.com]

The two-day summit, whose theme is “All hands on deck: towards a low carbon economy,” is described as an opportunity for most of the country’s 283 municipalities for the first time to thrash out policy and strategy solutions on climate change.

The effect of climate change on the influx of refugees to South Africa was also discussed. Climate change is expected to increase pressures on food and water security in the continent. In light of the xenophobic attacks that have taken place in South Africa in the past few weeks leaving thousands of people from other African countries displaced, this is a very important subject.

“It is important that South African cities and government are equipped and have strategies in place to be able to manage the influx of [people from other countries],” SALGA Chairperson and Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Councillor Amos Masondo, said. [All Africa.com]

Climate change mitigation initiatives that the City of Johannesburg had reportedly committed to in 2007 include: [Engineering News]
• intentions to reduce its largely coal-based energy consumption,
• the retrofitting of all municipal buildings,
• introducing alternative energy sources in new housing and settlement projects,
• planting trees.
• a proposed bus rapid transport (BRT) system project, which could lower fossil fuel consumption in the city and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 382 940 t by 2013.

Mr Naidoo said adaptation measures were also required becausse South Africa was spending millions on ‘clean-ups’ following storms and floods.

Photograph: © Cliff Parnell, iStockphoto.com

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