The Western Cape's Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan will be used as a primary vehicle in reducing the emission of greenhouse gases in the province.
"The plan aims to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases that speed up the effects of global warming and also to mitigate the resultant effects and adaptation, said Western Cape Premier Lynne Brown and provincial MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Pierre Uys at the launch of the plan, Tuesday.
He said the province was leading the way in an area of international interest.
"Climate change affects everyone and all individuals need to work to reduce, reuse and recycle in the common good of the region and the planet," he said.
Some of the impacts that exposed the vulnerability of the province with its vast shoreline were floods, unusual spells of droughts with drier soils and reduced rainfall, big wildfires, declining water levels inland, long term rising of sea levels and with extreme or erratic weather conditions.
The MEC said even the Cape Floral Kingdom came under pressure with fynbos dieback due to heavy rains in the Outeniqua Mountains.
The Western Cape Provincial Government, he said, was the first province on the African continent to pioneer a groundbreaking plan in response to climate change.
This extensive plan was approved in November 2008 by Premier Lynne Brown and the provincial cabinet.
The strategy and action plan, he said, builds on a study to determine the susceptibility of the province to global warming that is already affecting the province.
MEC Uys said the provincial government has partnered with public and experts to respond efficiently and effectively to the challenges climate change brings.
"The province has already started various initiatives to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels, harnessing alternative energy sources that were renewable and sustainable.
"It has also introduced training programmes for teachers to assist the next generations to deal with the new challenges and to recognise opportunities that arise from a change in course."
The MEC affirmed that the provincial government has undertaken exemplary action steps such as greening offices or the workplace for savings, an energy audit with a view to reduce its usage.
"The provincial government has put up moveable ambient air quality monitoring stations across the province, the roll out of 1 000 solar geysers to poorer communities and promoting renewable energy," he said.
In this regard, he said, legislation may follow to ensure more sustainability, a green procurement policy, a dedicated climate change unit in the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, a desk to deal with a Clean Development Mechanism and intergovernmental relation building to work towards mitigation.
"Focus will be on the poor and most vulnerable, partnerships, minimising the adverse impacts, to position the province to take advantage of emerging economic prospects, developing energy efficiency options and practical actions."
The MEC invited the public to join hands with the provincial government in its target to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels with 15 percent over about five years and increase total consumption from renewable energy sources by 15 percent.
"Every one should reduce personal consumption in this regard. We all have to adapt now," the MEC said. - BuaNews