Cape Town is a world leader in inclusive climate action

Cape Town is one of 30 cities across the world that has signed an equity pledge that commits cities to inclusive climate action.

"This week, I returned from San Francisco where leading cities from across the globe – including the City of Cape Town – signed an equity pledge to commit local governments to ensure climate action is used to achieve development, improve living conditions, reduce poverty and boost economic growth," writes Exec Mayor, Patricia de Lille.
 
"Cape Town is one of 30 cities, representing close to 100 million people across the world, that has signed an equity pledge that commits cities to inclusive climate action.
 
Today, I visited Epping where a Cape Town-based company, Sustain Power, is manufacturing containerised generators that convert biogas and landfill gas into electricity for heating or cooling. 
 
The company’s CEO, Tobias Hobach, was a participant in the City’s funded masterclass and pre-incubation workshop series in 2017. The City supports the South Africa Renewable Energy Business Incubator (Sarebi) to run these programmes in order to encourage local entrepreneurs to innovate and create jobs in the industry. 
 
Sarebi assists businesses like Sustain Power with operational support including accounting services, human resources, industrial relations, payroll management, tax and VAT filing and back-end IT support. Sustain Power was in a very early conceptualization stage of their business when the City provided support through Sarebi.
 
It is encouraging to see that within a year Sustain Power is manufacturing their 500Kw BioGas CHP generators from their facility in Cape Town. The company has become the only local manufacturer of gas-to-power gensets in the country. This is a first for the South African economy and the energy sector.
 
Even more encouraging was to see how the renewable energy company has innovatively partnered with a Cape Town-based company, Unique Group, that in the past provided saturation dive support vessels to the fossil fuel industry but are now using their skills to produce infrastructure for clean energy.
 
This innovative approach shows that, when government creates an enabling environment and platforms, businesses will come up with innovative solutions that build new business sectors and create jobs.   
 
Sustain Power and many other companies supported by the incubation programmes show that climate change is not solely an environmental issue, but can inextricably be linked to eradicating poverty by growing the economy and jobs.
 
In addition, this particular business addresses four of 12 of the key metrics on the City of Cape Town’s Mayor’s Portfolio of Urban Sustainability.
 
It develops viable enterprises in the clean energy sector for the future sustainability of the City and its communities
The generators burn and consume methane thereby reducing the release of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere
The company creates a way to convert landfill gas to electricity and heat making it a resource-efficient energy source
The new business creates economic opportunities and jobs

An opportunity for the City to raise living standards 

Cities are at the forefront of ensuring that we implement and encourage climate action that can mitigate and turn the tide against one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Acting against climate change is not a burden but an opportunity for the City to raise living standards for all at a faster rate by following a low-carbon development path.
 
While the City creates an enabling environment for new businesses to grow, build new industries and create jobs, we are also working to explore new ways to generate electricity and be less reliant on Eskom’s coal power stations. 
 
Gas-to-power, wind and solar are all options the City is exploring. Earlier this year the City announced a R12,7 million agreement with the US Trade and Development Agency to study the possibility of using natural gas. 
 
The City’s Transit-Orientated Development Management Framework and projects aim at creating a more compact, integrated city. Our ceiling retrofitting project and the installation of solar heaters in low income areas all contribute to our inclusive climate action aimed at addressing climate change and inequality. 
 
The City’s climate actions are closely aligned with building an inclusive and equitable city to ensure that we especially improve the lives of the vulnerable who are most affected by the impacts of climate change."