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Earth Hour 2021 and Beyond

To honour Earth Hour 2021, which is taking place tonight, 27 March 2021, between 20:30 and 21:30, residents, neighbourhoods, schools, churches and communities are encouraged to act and switch off non-essential lights for an hour.

Earth Hour 2021 is a global annual World Wide Fund for Nature event. Excitingly, the City of Cape Town’s new climate change and resilience campaign, Let’s ACT. For a Stronger Cape Town, has also been launched today, 27 March, to encourage all  partners to join in helping to build a stronger, healthier, more equal and sustainable future Cape Town.

The City’s climate change response and resilience campaign, Let’s ACT. For a Stronger Cape Town, aims to encourage residents, communities, businesses and organisations to take action.

Let's Act, Earth Hour 2021

‘We are truly excited to launch this campaign on the same day that Earth Hour takes place. It will be rolled out further over the coming months as the City moves toward finalising its Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, and as we move closer to the next important global climate change conference, being the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November,’ said the City’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato.

Climate change is a global concern, which has already caused significant economic, social and environmental impacts.

‘Capetonians are familiar with the impact due to the drought we experienced in recent years. But by working together, we reduced water use by 50% in record time, to avoid the worst. No other city in the world has managed to achieve this. This kind of collaborative action is what we need to become stronger, more resilient and to help reduce the impacts of climate change. So, Let’s ACT for a stronger Cape Town.

‘Tackling climate change requires that we all work together. There are many simple actions, some big and some small, that each of us can take to make our city stronger,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change, Councillor Phindile Maxiti.

Let’s ACT. For a Stronger Cape Town – Actions residents can take in their homes/workplaces
• Start or support a neighbourhood food garden.
• Reduce water usage in the home.
• Change the light bulbs in the home to more energy efficient ones.
• Switch off non-essential lights.
• Buy energy efficient appliances.
• Reduce, re-use and recycle, including organic waste through home composting.
• Walk or cycle to the local shop.
• Invest in a solar PV system or a solar water heater and also save on electricity bills.
• Plant indigenous water-wise plants and trees in the garden.
• Teach children about living more sustainably.
• Investigate how their community, neighbourhood watch and church can get involved in climate and community action to make us all, and our city, more resilient.
• Empower colleagues with knowledge about sustainability and practical solutions in the office such as reducing paper printing.
• Buy sustainably produced and organic food where possible. Let their local shops know that they demand more sustainable products.

How climate change is affecting Cape Town
• Decreasing levels of average annual rainfall and changing seasonality of rainfall, which affects the amount of water to which we have access.
• An increase in the average annual temperature and increased maximum temperatures, which means an increase in hotter days, and more frequent and intense heat waves.
• An increase in the average wind and maximum wind strength.
• Rising sea levels and increased coastal erosion.

What we need to do to tackle climate change
In support of the growing global momentum to tackle climate change, Cape Town, along with cities in South Africa and worldwide, has committed to working to achieve carbon neutrality and climate resilience by 2050. Importantly, reducing global warming is key. These necessary targets can only be reached through significant transitions in urban form, energy sources, transportation and resource efficiency.

What is carbon neutrality?
Carbon neutrality means introducing new technologies to clean up the fuels and activities that cause greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, while enhancing our social, economic and environmental goals. Read more about the City’s Carbon Neutral 2050 commitment.

What is the City doing?
We have committed to achieving the goal of carbon neutrality and climate resilience by 2050.

Along with the Climate Change Strategy, the City is completing a Climate Change Action Plan that sets the pathway towards this goal. These will be released by June 2021.

The City has in place many programmes that support climate change adaptation, mitigation and climate resilience, and is working towards significantly growing these.

In the adaptation and resilience work area, projects include:
• developing our water resilience
• conserving our biodiversity and protecting coastal areas
• enabling appropriate nodal development through the adoption of a coastal urban edge

To reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, our mitigation efforts include:
• driving energy efficiency in our own municipal operations
• shaping regulatory and incentive mechanisms to support net zero carbon buildings
• developing our own clean energy generation
• procuring energy from Independent Power Producers (IPPs)
• enabling small scale embedded generation (SSEG)
• waste reduction
• building an efficient transport network

Over the last 10 years, the City’s energy efficiency in municipal operations programme has saved over 231 GWH of electricity? This is enough electricity to power 35 clinics over 10 years and translates into 229 035 tons of avoided carbon emissions.

Some highlights
• 60 City buildings retrofitted to make them more efficient
• All traffic lights retrofitted with LED lights
• 563 kWp installed rooftop solar
• 34% of streetlights retrofitted

• City’s Cape Town Future Energy Festival
• Experience net zero carbon living: Click here to take a virtual tour
Smart Living Handbook
• Save electricity: You can save at least 10%-15% on your electricity bill by developing smart energy use habits in your home. Find out how HERE