The challenges Municipalities face in adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change on their Infrastructure.
Governments from around the world met in December to discuss policy and the way forward in dealing with the effects of Climate Change (Conference of the Parties -15 of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen). Negotiations at the Summit closed without reaching a legally binding agreement. South Africa had sought amendments to the Kyoto Protocol setting up a second commitment period, and a legally binding agreement under the convention to bring in the United States (US), secure finance for adaptation and mitigation for developing countries as well as their commitment to implement both mitigation and adaption programmes. At the conclusion of the conference, a total of 28 nations including South Africa signed a political agreement, committing to the continuation of negotiations in 2010.
Six key themes that the national climate change response policy will address:The South African Government has outlined its response to the climate change challenge . The intent is to balance mitigation and adaptation responses in designing a policy for the transition to a climate resilient and low carbon economy and society.
1. Greenhouse gas emission reductions and limits
2. Build on, strengthen and/or scale up current initiatives
3. Implementing the ‘business unusual’ call for action
4. Preparing for the future
5. Respond to vulnerability and the need for adaption
6. Alignment, coordination and cooperation
South African cities are in the process of determining and developing their own responses to the issues of Climate Change.
As part of the global local government climate roadmap process, a declaration at the African Local Government Summit states that local government will be responsible for ‘national disaster management, the use of the development planning regime to guide the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, and adaptations to manage or minimise the impacts of climate change, including climate proofing of infrastructural development’.
Given that local governments approve and implement development frameworks across the country, this is a critical role and could provide the necessary stimulus for change. Spatial development, which prioritises energy efficiency, the development of activity routes, densification, the enforcement of urban edges, and the priority of public transport over private, could contribute significantly to the reduction of greenhouse emissions. Local governments are therefore strategically positioned to be the front line in tackling climate change and are expected to respond to, and implement the objectives of the national climate change response policy.
The purpose of the Infrastructure Dialogue on Climate Change is to explore the challenges faced by Municipalities in determining and implementing strategies for adaption to and mitigation of the effects of Climate Change.
1. Cabinet Memorandum July 2008
2. Tshwane July 2008 hosted jointly by South African Cities Network (SACN) and ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability
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