role of cities
SA and the GCR
green initiatives
solar energy
energy efficiency
water and sanitation
mobilising the region
SA and the GCR

'Growing without carbon constraints may be good for South Africa’s economic growth, but it will result in rapidly increasing emissions. A four-fold increase in emissions by 2050 is likely to be unacceptable to the international community. It is also a high-risk approach on other grounds, such as rising oil prices, carbon constraints in trade, and advancing impacts. If all countries, including high emitters in the developing world, adopted a ‘Growth without Constraints’ approach, climate change impacts in South Africa would be extensive. A massive effort would be needed by South Africa to achieve emissions reduction sufficient to meet the ‘Required by Science’ target. The gap between where South Africa’s emissions are going and where they need to go is large – 1300 Mt CO2-equivalent, more than three times South Africa’s annual emissions of 446 Mt in 2003.'

(2008) 'Long Term Mitigation Strategy for Climate Change', 27. This strategy has been approved by the South African Cabinet

focussing on South Africa…in the global context

South Africa, like the rest of the developing world, is locked into a deeply unequal global economy that must change fundamentally if development and prosperity are to be genuinely shared across the globe.

In 2008/09, the deepening global financial crisis brought the global inequities into stark relief, at the same time as disputes over global warming and the realities of climate change gave way to a global consensus that ‘business-as-usual’ was not an option – or not a sustainable option, anyway.

The most logical argument is thus that managing the global crisis has to be located within a broader strategic framework that seeks a sustainable future by creating a more fair, inclusive world than existed prior to the crisis.

Go to: ‘city responses to the global financial crisis’


where does the Gauteng city-region fit into this picture?

Gauteng is the economic engine of South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. It is part of the globalised world economy, and has been directly affected by the economic crisis that spread across the globe during 2008 and 2009.

The crisis exacerbated existing fault-lines:

  • Cities and regions with existing low skills or structural unemployment problems suffered more than others
  • Low-diversified economies were hard-hit, especially those locked into export markets
  • ‘Dirty economies’ with large carbon footprints faced almost inevitable environmental taxes unless they could go green.

Investing in green technologies – from renewable energy to training unemployed young people to retrofit existing buildings – became a central feature of responses to the crisis worldwide.

The Gauteng city-region faces some key macro-economic challenges from a green perspective.

But these are also key opportunities which, if grasped, could catapault the GCR into being one of the leading green city-regions globally.