The City has deeply integrated climate change and energy issues into its high level policy and planning documents, particularly the City's Integrated Development Plan and City Development Strategy.
Climate change features extensively in Cape Town’s CDS, interwoven into the description of the large-scale challenges facing the city (and the wider city region) and the goals put forward for Cape Town in 2040. In the CDS, climate change is primarily related to concerns regarding food, energy and water security in the city. Emphasis is placed on increasing the resource efficiency of the city over the medium to long-term and the need for research and innovation to support such a transition. This suggested as an economic opportunity for Cape Town, as a place to develop, pilot and test new approaches and technologies that generate climate resilience and low carbon growth, and once proven effective can be exported across the continent.
The CDS highlights Cape Town’s remaining natural resources (e.g. dune cordons, wetlands, wind, solar energy) as a key strength and source of adaptive capacity in the face of climate change, motivating to restore and maintain the ecosystems that underpin these natural assets, in the process creating much needed employment opportunities.
Climate change relates to each of the 6 goals put forward in the Cape Town CDS:
•A healthy and vibrant life (goal 1) entails keeping risk to an acceptable and manageable level, including climate risks, and encourages non-motorised transport, which has the added benefit of reducing emissions.
•Being educated and informed (goal 2) involves better understanding the nature of climate change risks and how to address them.
•Being connected (goal 3) includes being more connected to and in sync with the ecosystems we rely on for water, food, clean air, recreational spaces, etc., as well as more efficient and accessible transportation and information and communication technology (ICT) systems, both with associated mitigation benefits.
•An inclusive and resilient economy (goal 4) requires infrastructure and activities that are well adapted to the prevailing, as well as expected, local climate conditions to minimize flood and fire damages, limit the occurrence and impacts of water scarcity, build heat tolerance, etc.
•Building and celebrating Cape Town spirit (goal 5) is linked to being custodians of the city’s unique fynbos ecosystem.
•Being an eco-friendly city region (goal 6) requires minimizing waste, minimizing the emission of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants, rehabilitating and maintaining ecosystem functioning, limiting water demands, etc. all of which have adaptation and mitigation benefits.
The Integrated Development includes "Green Economy", "Resource Efficiency" and "Sustainable Energy" as key directions/programmatic areas for the City of Cape Town.