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Joburg is Racing to Achieve Climate Resilience by 2050



Joburg aims to be climate resilient by 2050

Johannesburg is taking bold steps towards a cleaner and greener future with its Climate Action Plan (CAP), aimed at achieving net-zero emissions and becoming a climate-resilient municipality by 2050. According to the City of Johannesburg, Lebo Molefe, the Director of Air Quality and Climate Change at the Environment and Infrastructure Services Department (EISD), highlights the City’s efforts to collaborate with various partners to enhance water security, implement flood and drought management strategies, and create resilient infrastructure, among others.

Climate resilience is vital to withstanding, adapting to, and recovering from climate change impacts. It encompasses the ability to absorb the consequences of changing weather patterns, severe events, rising sea levels, and other environmental pressures caused by global warming. According to Molefe, a climate-resilient municipality is better equipped to cope with and minimize the risks associated with climate variability, thereby maintaining essential functions and services in a changing climate.

Molefe points out that the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions is from using fossil fuels in vehicles, buildings, facilities, and industries, followed by emissions released during waste treatment. As a result, the world’s megacities bear a significant responsibility in addressing climate change, as they produce a large proportion of emissions while also experiencing the highest socio-economic impacts of climate change. As a result, many megacities, Johannesburg among them, have committed to the Paris Agreement under C40’s Deadline 2030 initiative as a response mechanism.

Also read: Record-Breaking Cyclone Freddy Strikes Mozambique Twice, Leaving a Trail of Destruction

The Climate Action Plan (CAP) of Johannesburg is a comprehensive roadmap to reduce carbon emissions and protect citizens from the adverse effects of climate change. Lebo Molefe, the Director of Air Quality and Climate Change at the Environment and Infrastructure Services Department, asserts that climate change is a social justice issue that governments cannot tackle without addressing poverty and inclusivity challenges. Johannesburg’s CAP will allow the City to reduce carbon emissions and attract international finance for green economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic by complying with global and national climate action targets per the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.


However, Molefe warns that carbon emissions will significantly increase without immediate action, and the City’s average temperature could rise by over 3°C, leading to more frequent and severe floods. She highlights that existing national and local policies are already working towards a better future. Still, additional ambitious climate action, in line with the CAP, is necessary to achieve an 85% reduction in emissions below 2016 levels.

Johannesburg has set its emissions reduction targets with a 2016 baseline. It aims to reduce carbon emissions by 25% by 2030 and 75% by 2040 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. These targets align with the Paris Agreement, which limits global warming to 1.5°C. Molefe emphasizes that the average temperature in the City has already risen by nearly 1.5°C during midday and almost 1°C during the night in the past four decades. She adds that rainfall patterns have become less predictable and erratic, severely impacting the City’s infrastructure and residents.

Also read: Cyclone Freddy Leaves Malawi Devastated – Homes and Lives Lost

Picture: Instagram / @eaglenaran

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