COP17 Climate Smart Cape Town daily: Day 8

COP17 discussions continued today as parties tried to come to an agreement on a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, the only international, legally binding commitment for countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

There seems to be a difference of opinion over whether a legally binding agreement is needed. Some parties, such as South Korea, propose that each country make their own commitments that are not internationally binding. This is not the preference of European or African countries. Over fifty African leaders met today to reaffirm their position for a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. After a press conference this morning, China may also be ready to commit to a legally binding agreement.

Local governments from around the world made ground-breaking progress by signing the Durban Adaptation Charter at the Local Government Convention that ended on Sunday 4 December. Representatives from over 950 local governments from 28 countries, including South Africa, signed this political commitment to strengthen local resilience to climate change.

According to ICLEI Africa, local governments for sustainability, the Charter means that local governments have committed to unprecedented levels of local climate action including to ensure that:

  • mainstream adaptation as a key informant of all local government development planning
  • adaptation strategies are aligned with mitigation strategies
  • adaptation recognizes the needs of vulnerable communities and ensures sustainable local economic development
  • the role of functioning ecosystems is prioritised as core to municipal green infrastructure
  • innovative funding mechanisms are sought.

The following actions will need to be implemented by South African Local Governments, including the City of Cape Town: impact and vulnerability assessments, long-term local adaptation strategies to reduce vulnerability, eco-system-based adaptation, funding opportunities for local adaptation, the registration of adaptation commitments and promotion of partnerships city-to-city cooperation.

Durban Local Government ConventionThe events on the Climate Smart Cape Town Pavilion covered a variety of topics today. These included: the Cape Town and Western Cape Climate Change Think Tank, Carrotmobs as a method for social change, the role of local government in addressing climate change and preparing for a changed climate as well as how to shift towards a greener economy and make use of renewable energy.

If you are unsure what a Carrotmob is, watch the presentation below.

Can Carrotmobs Change the world?

The events that will take place on the Climate Smart Cape Town Pavilion on Tuesday, 6 December are:

  • 11h00: An experiment in temporary outdoor spaces Pecha Kucha by Stephen Lamb.
  • 12h00: A panel discussion on the Sea Level Rise and Coastal Protection facilitated by Garreth Bloor and including Gregg Oelefse, Andrew Mather (tbc), Helen Davies, Deputy Mayor of Rio Muniz (tbc) and Lucinda Fairhurst. The current sea level rise potentially impacts human populations for example those living in coastal regions and on islands and the wider natural environment. Therefore Coastal Protection is an essential issue to focus on during these times of a changing climate.
  • 14h30: Solar electrical power for change Pecha Kucha by Matthias Weber.
  • 16h00: A panel discussion title “Local Government Initiatives on Climate Change – How the Mexico City Pact, CarbonN Register, African Mayors Declaration on Climate Change and Resilient Cities among others are advancing climate change action in cities”. Local governments have made countless efforts to reduce greenhouse gas effects and such efforts collectively represent a powerful way to prove that a great number of communities, politicians, businessmen and people are in fact modifying our behaviour, public policies and investments to mitigate emissions that cause climate change and adapt cities to this phenomenon. The panel will be facilited by Kobie Brand and participants include Sarah Ward, Yunus Arikan (tbc), Anna Romero, Martha Delgado (tbc), Belinda Walker, the Deputy Mayor of Rio Muniz (tbc) and Lykke Leonardsen

Photo:Local government representatives outside the Durban City Hall. Photo courtesy of ICLEI Africa.