C40 Cities: South African Cities Vital Role in Delivering Green Jobs

  • Data shows how South African cities can play a vital role in delivering green jobs and an equitable and sustainable recovery from the pandemic. 
  • Ambitious urban climate action could create and support over 1.8 million green jobs in South Africa by 2030.
  • The jobs would be part of a green and just recovery from COVID-19, according to the research from C40 Cities, a global network of mayors taking urgent action to confront the climate crisis.

Of those jobs, nearly 1.1 million would be across the buildings, power and sustainable transport sectors, and almost 674,000 of those jobs — accounting for approximately 58% of all jobs — can be generated and supported locally within cities. According to the report, investing in adaptation and nature-based solutions to tackle extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, can produce an additional 705,000 sustainable jobs across the country.

Alongside the research, national polling commissioned by C40 found that two-thirds of South Africans strongly support using national government funds to invest in green jobs in cities.

The report identified improving the energy efficiency of existing and new homes, schools and workplaces as having the most significant job-creation opportunity. This has the potential to create more than 900,000 jobs, equivalent to 78% of the jobs created from climate action in the buildings, energy, and transport sectors. These urban actions would lead to significant emissions reduction that would surpass the South African 2030 climate target, making higher ambition to align with the Paris Agreement possible for South Africa.

Most significantly, creating green jobs will have a ripple effect across people’s lives, from ensuring comfortable homes, to cleaning up the air we all breathe and making cities more resilient to future extreme weather events. The research indicates the need to implement workforce development, training and just transition policies to guarantee that new jobs are truly inclusive and accessible to those who need them the most, including women, youth and previously disadvantaged individuals, as this will not happen automatically. For example, female representation in future jobs is estimated at 32%, showing there is an opportunity to bolster equity as these jobs are created

The report also highlights that significant investment from public and private sources is needed for cities to realise their full potential in terms of job creation, emissions reduction and building resilience, and that the gains from this investment will far outweigh the cost. Investments of a similar magnitude would be required under a business-as-usual recovery that wouldn’t provide the same benefits across people’s lives (such as more energy efficient houses, cleaner air, better public transport systems and more resilient cities) or put the country on track to meet climate targets. This means that it is not a matter of additional investments, but more to ensure that investment moves from carbon-intensive projects to low-carbon ones supporting a green and just recovery for everyone.

“The research not only shows the potential for green job creation in South Africa, but also symbolises the potential for other African countries to harness the power of cities to unlock green jobs and realise a just transition,” said Hastings Chikoko, Regional Director for Africa at C40.

Time is of the essence. A delay of five years in the climate actions outlined in the research will reduce the emissions reduction and job creation potential by 2030 by one-third.

Link to the full report HERE 

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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Green Building Africa promotes the need for net carbon zero buildings and cities in Africa. We are fiercely independent and encourage outlying thinkers to contribute to the #netcarbonzero movement. Climate change is upon us and now is the time to react in a more diverse and broader approach to sustainability in the built environment. We challenge architects, property developers, urban planners, renewable energy professionals and green building specialists. We also challenge the funding houses and regulators and the role they play in facilitating investment into green projects. Lastly, we explore and investigate new technology and real-time data to speed up the journey in realising a net carbon zero environment for our children.

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