SA cities to join climate challenge

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13 August 2013

South Africa’s cities have been challenged to demonstrate their commitment to combating climate change by participating in the international Earth Hour City Challenge.

The competition, which recognizes and rewards cities for their long-term efforts to combat climate change, was launched nationally by conservation group WWF South Africa last week.

Cities will have until October to register their data on the carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR), a globally recognised carbon reporting platform managed by the International Council for Local Enviromental Initiatives (ICLEI), one of the challenge’s partners.

Cities will also be required to submit urban development plans for transport, energy, building and food systems as part of the competition.

Strategies will be evaluated by an international jury and the winning city will be announced in March 2014.

Several South African cities are eligible to participate in the competition – including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and East London – based on the energy targets they have committed to.

Durban has already signed up to participate in the challenge. “eThekwini Municipality has taken a concerted stance on the fight against climate change and has been reporting its greenhouse gas emissions and accompanying mitigation and adaptation plans on the cCCR for a number of years,” energy unit head Derek Morgan said in a statement this week.

Last year was the first edition of the competition, with 66 cities around the world participating and Vancouver winning the Global Earth Hour Capital title.

“Municipalities across South Africa have been taking steps to respond to climate change and promote decentralised renewable energy for many years, but there needs to be massive up-scaling of commitment and action,” said ICLEI Africa project manager Steven Bland.

“We call on municipalities to develop energy strategies in the coming year so that South Africa can proudly showcase many more eligible cities taking part in next year’s EHCC.”

SAinfo reporter