City of Cape Town - Climate Change Policy

Author: City of Cape Town

Date: July 2017

Why did we select this policy?

This document sets both the guidelines and the priorities of the City of Cape Town in response to climate change. Addressing climate change in any city, but especially a city of high inequality like Cape Town, is as much political and economic as it is technical. Agreeing on what is needed is not easy and responding to climate change in an effective manner will, therefore, require partnerships, deliberation, negotiation, learning and leadership. 

Key insights:

  • the City’s response to climate change will focus both on preparing for change at the local level to reduce risks and build adaptive capacity to projected climate change impacts, and contributing to global efforts to reduce GHG emissions.
  • the economic impacts of climate change will be extensive, raging from ambient and air quality, to infrastructure and transport, the insurance sectors etc. 
  • The City is already working extensively to prepare for change at the local level to reduce risks and build adaptive capacity, to contribute to global efforts to reduce GHG emissions and to build a more resource efficient and resilient Cape Town.
  • Anticipating, reducing, responding to and coping with identified impacts necessitates an integrated approach across the City. This relies on strong leadership to maximise collaboration across line functions and to strategically harness resources where they are available.

In the long-term, the City will work to ensure the following: 

- All City-led projects or programmes have incorporated climate change considerations into their design and implementation. 

- The City accesses and uses both the best available technologies and most up to date climate science data, assessment and monitoring tools39, information and knowledge as well as local and context-relevant knowledge to better manage resources, monitor progress and inform decision making. 

- The City implements and enables a compact urban form, with development that is resource efficient, well located and well connected, in order to grow within the limits of available resources and enable social and economic inclusivity. 

- The City incorporates climate change adaptation in the construction and maintenance of service delivery infrastructure so as to minimise future impacts. 

- Disaster risk management takes a proactive approach and is integral to climate change response efforts. 

- Social and economic development are optimised and made more inclusive through the effective management of climate change risks and resources including recovery from climate related disasters. 

- Cape Town’s natural ecosystems are protected, managed and made resilient so that they can act as effective buffers to climate change impacts and provide benefits of ecological infrastructure in support of current and future physical infrastructure. 

- Cape Town’s businesses and citizens, particularly the most vulnerable communities, are made more aware of and are able to withstand the impacts of climate change. 

- Climate change is seen as a shared risk to Cape Town and all citizens work collectively to address climate change.

Reference: City of Cape Town (2017). CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY (POLICY NUMBER 46824). Pp. 1-62, Cape Town