Western Cape

Population: ~ 6 million

GDP: R424.38 billion (US$29.3 billion)

Country: South Africa

Land area: 129,462 km2

Total GHG emissions (year): 36 345 753 tCO2eq (2012 – only energy sector emissions)

GHG emissions/capita/year: 6 tCO2eq / capita (2012 – only energy sector emissions)

The Western Cape is the southernmost region of the African continent, flanked by the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The vegetation is extremely diverse, with one of the world's seven floral kingdoms almost exclusively endemic to the province, namely the Cape Floral Kingdom. Most of the province is considered to have a Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The province's economy is dominated by the city of Cape Town, where the vast majority of all non-agricultural economic activity takes place. The single largest contributor to the region's economy is the financial and business services sector, followed by manufacturing. Close to 30% of the gross regional product comes from foreign trade with agricultural products and wine dominating exports.

The current Provincial Strategic Plan sets out the Western Cape Government’s vision and strategic priorities for 2014-2019. The Western Cape Climate Change Response Strategy (WCCCRS) was approved by the Western Cape Cabinet in 2014. The Strategy is developed as a coordinated multi stakeholder climate change response covering nine focus areas: Energy efficiency; Renewable energy; Built environment – critical infrastructure, Disaster management, integrated waste management, Human settlements; Sustainable transport; Water security and efficiency; Biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services; Coastal and estuary management; Food security; and Healthy communities.

  • Key targets
    • GHG Emissions reduction target
    • Energy Efficiency or Energy Productivity target
    • Renewable energy target
  • Current activities


    • The Climate Change Mitigation Scenarios for the Energy Sector study (2015) has identified 100 supply and demand side mitigation measures for the energy sector and then modelled a set of scenarios around the uptake of these mitigation measures.  The analysis reflects that the largest gains in terms of mitigation resides in the power generation, where the measures are associated with replacing coal-fired power plants with renewable energy plants and natural gas fired plants.
    • The Western Cape Government’s Provincial Strategic Plan emphasizes the need for “energy security” and states that inadequate electricity supplies will threaten economic growth over time.  The goal is to reduce the Western Cape’s electricity demand from Eskom by 10% by 2018. A number of levers have been identified to achieve this and includes more installations of rooftop PV and solar water heaters and the reduction in energy usage in public and private buildings.


    • Work is underway to enable the uptake of small scale embedded generation (SSEG) in Western Cape Municipalities. In order to create a safe and conducive environment for the growth of the SSEG market, the Western Cape Government has been collaborating to develop and promote the necessary guidelines, by-laws and tariffs.
    • Opportunities around solar PV installations on public buildings are also being investigated and currently 3 WCG buildings have been approved for solar PV installations with more feasibility studies underway. 


    • As part of the WCG modernization program relating to office space, there has been a focus on energy efficiency interventions as well as making use of metering technology in order to measure the consumption and potential savings realised as part of the interventions put in place. 

    Urban environment/smart cities:

    • The Climate Change Municipal Support Programme was initiated in 2012 from an expressed need by municipalities for support on climate change and led to a programme to support municipalities in the development of Climate Change Response Frameworks and Plans.
    • WCG is also monitoring and evaluating the progress of municipalities in responding to climate change. In assessing this, an annual Integrated Development Plan (IDP) assessment of all local and district IDPs is undertaken utilizing a Climate Change IDP Assessment Framework. 

    Sustainable land use:

    • SmartAgri – ‘Smart Agriculture for Climate Resilience’ is a sector framework and implementation plan developed over 20 months to provide a comprehensive Status Quo Assessment of the Agriculture sector in the Western Cape, which covers: i) existing climate change impacts and early responses by agriculture to adapt to climatic changes; ii) climate trends and risk and vulnerability assessments of each region of the Western Cape, and its commodities to climate change impacts and iii) synergistic low carbon responses in the Agriculture Sector. http://www.greenagri.org.za/smartagri-2/about/
    • The River Improvement Plan was endorsed by the Western Cape Government during January 2013 the pilot of which focused on the Berg river. Under this plan, both short and long-term actions are currently being implemented and integrated across the various departments of the Western Cape Government towards a common outcome.
    • Western cape is finalizing a Provincial Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan88 (PBSAP) which is a high level long term plan that will govern biodiversity management in the province. The PBSAP aims to protect the diversity of ecosystems, habitats, populations, species and genetic diversity. Areas that are protected should be representative of all these levels of biodiversity and should encompass all environments as well as ensure ecosystem processes are maintained and are resilient in the face of climate change and variability.


    • The region is generally considered drought prone and expected to be particularly hard hit by the combination of warming and additional stress on already constrained water supplies.
    • The current priority areas for addressing climate change related disaster management is through a move towards climate risk management in the Western Cape and focuses on the incorporation of climate change into disaster management plans across the province.
    • In 2010, the WCG commissioned sea level rise studies for all the coastal Districts in the province, which included a sea level rise and flood inundation Geographic Information System (GIS) model as well as a sea level rise and flooding hazard risk assessment for the coastline. In 2011, the DEADP commissioned a series of studies to determine coastal setback / management lines for all District Municipalities in the Western Cape which are currently being adopted.
    • The  Western Cape Coastal Management Plan was updated in 2016, focusing on growing the blue and green economy through unlocking the economic potential of  coastal assets. Of the nine Priority Areas of the plan, Priority Area 4 focuses on “climate change, dynamic coastal processes and building resilient communities”, with the goal of promoting resilience to the effects of dynamic coastal processes, environmental hazards and natural disasters.



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