City of Joburg

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The City of Johannesburg was one of 10 cities to be recognized for innovation and leadership in tackling climate change during the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris.

Global climate award for Joburg's Green Bond initiative
The City of Joburg's Green Bond was the first-ever listed green bond in South Africa, as well as the first such instrument within the C40 Cities Network. (Photo: C40 Cities)

The City scooped a prestigious C40 Cities Award in the finance and economic development category for its Green Bond investment initiative‚ a financial instrument committing it to future emissions reductions.

The already oversubscribed Green Bond has raised more than R1.458-billion in the past financial year for green projects such as reducing unaccounted for water use through smart meters, promoting separation of waste at source, and introducing energy-saving measures such as solar water heaters and insulated ceilings in lower-income neighbourhoods.

Speaking at the third annual C40 Cities Awards ceremony on 3 December, Michael Bloomberg, president of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, said the awards "recognize mayors who are doing the hard work of taking action on climate change, and delivering results.

"The solutions highlighted through the awards offer models for other cities to follow, and it is great to see the number of applications increase each year - a sure sign that our progress is accelerating. Cities are leading by example, and the winners are at the forefront of that work," he said.

The award was accepted on behalf of the City of Joburg by Finance MMC Geoffrey Makhubo.

Executive Mayor Parks Tau, ahead of his departure for the parallel Climate Summit for Local Leaders on 4 December, said that the world's mayors would play a key role in talks aimed at significantly reducing the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

"Mayors are uniquely positioned as leaders on climate," Mayor Tau said. "The cities we govern account for 70% of the world's total energy-related carbon emissions, and 90% of the world's largest cities - with the exception of Johannesburg - are on coastal or intercoastal waterways. This makes many cities, including Johannesburg, increasingly vulnerable to negative economic, environmental and health impacts.

"From small cities to mega-cities, to our work here in the City of Johannesburg, mayors are finding solutions," Mayor Tau said. "From a simple plan to replace light bulbs to major green transportation investments, some of the most innovative ideas to combat climate change are already implemented at the local level and are being replicated."