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The City of Johannesburg and the business sector will work closely to reduce carbon emissions and conserve the natural environment in the city. The partnership will work on strategies to fortify Johannesburg against the effects of climate change.

THE City of Johannesburg is planning to work more closely with business to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve the natural environment.

This follows the Business Seminar held on Monday, 20 January 2013, at which the City and the business sector committed to working more closely in caring for the natural environment. With its Green Star status, the Standard Bank head office in Simmonds Street provided an appropriate setting for the seminar.

The Green Star accreditation is awarded by the Green Building Council SA to buildings that meet green building requirements, such as effective air conditioning systems that use natural cooling methods to minimise electricity use.

Discussing climate change resiliency
The seminar provided a platform for the city, the National Business Initiative (NBI) and Standard Bank to discuss climate change as part of the build-up to the C40 Climate Change Summit that will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre from 4 to 6 February. It was attended by more than 100 delegates representing business and local government.

Joburg mayor, Parks Tau, praised South African businesses for taking climate change seriously, saying, "South African companies are, in many respects, leading the way in innovation and achievements. From your most recent Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Report released just before our meeting in December, it is evident that the response rate of South African companies is the second highest in the world, with a remarkable 83%."

Mayor Tau added that unlike cities in the developed world which have to grapple with mitigating climate change, the developing world has to deal adaptation.

"Differentiating two forms of adaptation namely: 'acclimation type' and: 'resilience type', can assist with making the right investment decisions. Acclimation type adaptation addresses strategies to cope with the gradual changes in the background, for example, gradual warming. On the other hand, resilience type adaptation addresses the potentially damaging effects of changing climate extremes, for example, sudden major floods exacerbated by poor drainage systems."

Mayor Tau announced at the summit that "The City has been working with C40's Measurement and Planning Initiative -- and in partnership with Siemens and the World Research Institute - to conduct its first-ever citywide greenhouse gas inventory and baseline".

Karin Ireton, director for Group Sustainability Management at Standard Bank said the bank had set aside R19-billion to fund renewable energy projects and has already funded a wind farm in Port Elizabeth.

Derek Batte of the Johannesburg Business Forum commended the city for involving business in service delivery, including the introduction of a dual fuel Metrobus fleet, which is expected to be unveiled at the C40.

"The city has done a magnificent job, not that I’m saying that because I partner them but indeed job well done."