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26 May 2016

Tshwane named SA’s Earth Hour Capital

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The City of Tshwane has been selected as South Africa’s Earth Hour Capital for 2016 – and this for the second year running – in recognition of the city’s low carbon and sustainability initiatives. It is now one of thirteen cities vying for the Global Earth Hour Capital title, which will be awarded at Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador this October. The Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) is a collaborative effort between WWF and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability – that aims to mobilise action and support from cities in the global transition toward a sustainable energy future.
South Africa was represented by the City of Tshwane and the City of Cape Town in the global round of this annual competition. Following a review of 41 finalist cities, Tshwane has been selected as one of 13 eligible cities for the Global Earth Hour Capital title. The Global Earth Hour Capital will be announced at the UN-Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador in October.
Tshwane was recognised for its commitments to low carbon development, backed by various high-level strategies and plans for implementation across its high-emitting sectors.
The city is addressing energy security by diversifying its energy mix through renewable sources and reducing demand through resource efficiency. Of note is the wheeling agreement it has entered into with Bio2Watt and BMW, whereby energy produced through a biogas digester is wheeled through the Tshwane grid to contribute to BMW’s base-load. The energy is produced from cattle manure and other forms of food waste. Resource efficiency is promoted through its Green Building By-law, the first of its kind in South Africa.

Synergies between energy and food security are also emphasised by the recent launch of the Tshwane Food and Energy Centre. The Centre, which is situated next to Bronkhorstspruit, demonstrates the multiple and co-dependent benefits of holistic and sustainable planning as the Centre combines sustainable livelihoods, food sovereignty, renewable energy, rainwater harvesting, poverty reduction, skills development, and entrepreneurship.

As part of its suite of mitigation programmes, the City has partnered with the private sector to launch a multi-purpose Material Recovery Facility to the west of the City. This will assist in diverting substantial amounts of recyclable material from being landfilled and will be further supported by an extensive separation at source programme in Regions 3 and 4.

Low carbon mobility is also a significant area of focus for the City given that the second greatest source of carbon emissions in the City is transport related. Interventions include active promotion of cycling, the investment in electric vehicles and solar charging stations, a world-class Bus Rapid Transit system and a fleet of clean buses including CNG-propelled buses.

Driving this vision to integrate sustainable practices, the city actively engages its citizenry through various modes—from awareness campaigns to private sector outreach for innovative sustainability solutions.

In all, the City of Tshwane’s announcement as South Africa’s Earth Hour Capital for 2016 is a testimony to the deep political commitment to achieving its Vision 2055 in a sustainable manner.

For more information on the 2016 Earth Hour City Challenge in South Africa, visit

The City of Tshwane also hosts its annual Sustainability Week Conference which brings together experts and stakeholders to share best practices, demonstrate solutions, and connect for potential partnerships. This year’s conference takes place from 31 May – 2 June 2016 at the CSIR Conference Centre.

Interested to learn more? You can read about the City of Tshwane’s climate initiatives, watch a video covering a selection of their key projects, or see how citizens are celebrating #WeLoveTshwane across various social media platforms.

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