The Western Cape Provincial Government is the first provincial authority on the continent to pioneer a strategy and action plan in response to climate change, says provincial Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Pierre Uys.
The Western Cape Provincial Strategy and Action Plan was launched today Tuesday 27 January 09) in Milnerton. The main aim of this comprehensive document is to reduce the emission of green house gasses that speed up the effects of global warming, to mitigate the resultant effects and adaptation.
Premier Lynne Brown opened the event where leading climate change experts gave a provincial overview, and Minister Uys unveiled the Western Cape Strategy and Action Plan.
Premier Lynne Brown and her cabinet approved the strategy and action plan in November 2008. The strategy and action plan build on a study to determine the susceptibility of the Western Cape to global warming that will and is already affecting the province, and will be one of the most detrimentally impacted regions of the country.
The Western Cape is leading the way provincially in an area of international interest.
Climate change affects everyone and all individuals need to work to reduce, reuse and recycle in the common good of the region and the planet.
Some of the impacts that exposed the vulnerability of the Western Cape with its vast shoreline are floods in areas like the Overberg and Southern Cape, unusual spells of droughts with drier soils and reduced rainfall, conditions conducive to big wildfires, declining water levels inland, long term rising of sea levels and with extreme or erratic weather conditions. Even the Cape Floral Kingdom came under pressure with fynbos dieback due to heavy rains in the Outeniqua Mountains.
The Western Cape Provincial Government, the public and experts have joined forces with the strategy and action plan to respond efficiently and effectively to the challenges climate change brings and that would impact on wine and other farming, tourism, environmental resources like scarce water and quality air as well as trade across the province.
The Western Cape has already started various initiatives to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels, harnessing alternative energy sources that are renewable and sustainable, reducing waste, training teachers to assist the next generations to deal with the new challenges and to recognise opportunities that arise from a change in course.
This government also undertake exemplary action steps such as greening
offices or the workplace for savings, an energy audit with a view to
reduce its usage, putting up moveable ambient air quality monitoring
stations across the province, the roll out of 1 000 solar geysers to
poorer communities and promoting renewable energy.
As a caring and responsive government, the Western Cape plans to play a leading stewardship role.
In this regard legislation may follow to ensure more sustainability, a
green procurement policy, a dedicated climate change unit in the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, a desk to deal with a Clean Development Mechanism and intergovernmental relation building to work towards mitigation.
Focus will be on the poor and most vulnerable, partnerships, minimising the adverse impacts, to position the province to take advantage of emerging economic prospects, developing energy efficiency options and practical actions (such as in land use and development planning in constructing energy efficient buildings).
*We all have to change our behaviour, activities and attitudes. I challenge every citizen to take hands with this provincial Government in its target to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels with 15% over about 5 years and increase total consumption from renewable energy sources by 15%. Every one should reduce personal consumption in this regard. We all have to adapt now,* Minister Uys says.
Cobus Grobler (media officer) 073 133 7299
Minister Uys 082 4555 144
THE WESTERN CAPE CLIMATE CHANGE STRATEGY & ACTION PLAN AT A GLANCE
- to strengthen resilience to climate change, particularly in vulnerable economic sectors and communities
- by reducing the Western Cape*s carbon footprint to maintain the province*s status of having comparatively low greenhouse gas emissions
- Government will lead partnerships with research institutions, industry and communities to minimise the impact of climate change to improve the knowledge of climate change
- Demand side management to control the use of resources (like water as South Africa is already a water scarce country) and utilities (like electricity) and other practical action , including the increased use of naturally available systems like orientating houses to make the best use of sunlight.
- Adaptation measures, including the use of alternative farming methods and development planning
- Mitigation through active reduction of carbon emission, including the use of cleaner fuels and efficient use of energy
- Identification of vulnerable natural and human environments, including water resources, bio-diversity, air quality and built environments at risk, for the most appropriate action
PROVINCIAL PRIORITIES & ACTION AREAS
- An integrated water supply and infrastructure management programme - researching the cost-benefit ration of irrigation, pricing strategies and water conservancy strategies;
- A clear link between land stewardship, livelihoods and economic activity * effective land use and researching the best possible way to strengthen vulnerable communities;
- A focused climate change research and weather information programme;
- A programme to reduced the provincial carbon footprint though energy efficiency (including transport), development of renewable and alternate sustainable energy resources and effective waste management;
SCENARIOS of IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE
The likely climate change factors are a 1 degree Celsius increase in temperatures is expected by 2050, the drying up of water sources are likely to dry up with reduced rainfall and reduced soil moisture and an increase of extreme weather like flash floods, droughts and wildfires.
Specifically in the Western Cape, this could lead to:
- Impacts of crops due to higher temperatures and drier soils;
- Higher temperatures or heat waves which will stress the carbon footprint as demand for air-conditioning increases;
- Increased danger to human communities, the Cape*s biodiversity and infrastructure from wildfires;
- Increased sea levels which will heighten the risk of coastal flooding and also the intrusion of salt water into groundwater and wetlands.
You can download the full and summary reports from the departmental web site (see link on the sidebar of this blog) or from the drop at http://drop.io/dflclimatechange using the guest password "1amaguest" NOTE: The first character of the password is the numeral 1 (one)