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City’s new Climate Change Think-Tank to lead local interventions


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As part of Cape Town's continued commitment to the enviroment, with concepts such as "green tourism", and making sure that the 2010 FIFA World Cup will have as little impact on th environment as possible. The City has formed a new group of specialists that will focus soley on climate change and the effects the decisions people make have on the environment.

Source: City of Cape Town website

Cape Town's newly formed Climate Change ‘Think-Tank’ aims to inform, shape and drive the implementation of effective climate change policies, programmes and interventions at local level.

The City has always been committed to doing what it can to prevent and adapt to climate change. However, it has realised that clearer understanding, research and investigation into a range of climate change issues will make its approaches more effective.

This is where this Climate Change Research Reference Group comes in. It facilitates ongoing collaboration and dialogue between top academics, researchers, specialists and local government officials around this issue.

The City has already adopted an Energy and Climate Change Strategy and established an Energy Committee. But it is the newly formed Climate Change Think-Tank that will lead the proactive response to climate change.

Climate change presents potentially formidable challenges for Cape Town, with particular risk to the economy, service delivery, resource sustainability and its most vulnerable communities.

Climate change, which is caused by global warming, is the result of increasing levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, which under normal conditions trap heat from the sun and keep the earth warm and liveable. Due to natural events and human activity such as burning coal, oil and gas for heating, transport and electricity, GHG levels have been increasing to the extent that the earth is heating up too much. Scientists expect that southern Africa’s average temperature will increase by 3,4°C before the end of this century; some parts of the region will become drier, and others wetter, causing droughts, floods, heat waves and conditions conducive to fires and diseases such as cholera and malaria.

The Climate Change Research Reference Group aims to better understand the implications of climate change for Cape Town and its citizens, and the high-risk areas that need interventions first.

The team will then develop adaptation measures that can easily be integrated into the City’s processes and decisions, as well as financial mechanisms for the roll-out of mitigation and adaptation measures.

The Reference Group will also be part of the City’s team that attends the Copenhagen Convention on Climate Change in December 2009. The Convention will finalise an international agreement to stabilise global carbon emissions, and will replace the Kyoto Protocol, which set binding targets for 37 industrialised countries and the European community to reduce their GHG emissions between 2008 and 2012.

The Think-Tank, established by the City with funding from the Royal Danish Embassy, will meet four times a year for the next two years. Regular updates from the group will be made available to the public.

For more information, contact Gregg Oelofse: Head of Environmental Policy and Strategy, on

Marttin Pollack

Date Posted: 2009-10-01
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