Johannesburg and Cape Town won two of 10 environmental leadership awards during a ceremony that took place at the same time as the COP21 summit in Paris last week for their efforts to tackle climate change.
The awards were given by C40 Cities, a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, now in its 10th year, connects more than 80 of the world’s greatest cities, representing over 550 million people and one quarter of the global economy.
For these third annual awards, Cape Town won in the Adaptation Implementation category.
In 2007, the city committed itself to a comprehensive programme of water conservation and water demand management. The programme includes raising public awareness and the promotion of water use efficiency, the introduction of a ‘stepped’ water tariff designed to encourage water savings, free of charge plumbing repairs for low-income households, training of ‘community plumbers’, the promotion of alternative water sources such as borehole water and recycled water for irrigation, as well as a range of technical interventions to minimise water losses, such as improved asset management, pressure management schemes, pipe replacement programmes, leak detection and improved meter management.
Through careful management, ingenuity and consumer education, Cape Town has managed to stabilise water demand. Water consumption growth has been reduced to less than 2 percent per annum and water wastage reduced to 20 percent, resulting in total water savings of approximately 30 percent. Expensive capital infrastructure projects, including an additional water supply scheme, have been postponed due to these water savings.
Johannesburg won for its Green Bond Programme.
In 2008, the city conducted a detailed climate change vulnerability assessment in order to assess the impacts of climate change, which was instrumental in helping it understand its climate risk to ensure it responds accordingly. The Green Bond was a step in the right direction in creating funding opportunities to assist Johannesburg in preparing and implementing integrated inclusive and long-term adaptation strategies designed to reduce vulnerability, thus cementing its commitment.
Green initiatives that will receive funding through the Green Bond include the Biogas to Energy project, the Solar Geyser Initiative and dual-fuel buses, as well as other projects that are critical to reducing the City’s GHG emissions.
Johannesburg is in the process of developing a comprehensive greenhouse gas emission inventory to understand better its carbon foot print. This will enable it to have a proper measure of the outcomes.
No other city in South Africa, nor within C40, had previously issued a green bond. As the first listed green bond in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the green bond index did not exist and this will probably assist in the establishment of the index for future issuers. The city believes that, by creating this index, new investors will become interested and create a potential market for future issuances.
Some of the other winners included Vancouver, Canada, and Washington, D.C., Stockholm, Sweden, and Nanjing, China.