Emerging from the inability, at COP15 (Copenhagen), of nation states and multi- national agencies to agree on a long-term commitment to tackling climate change and managing its consequences, there has been a renewed focus on local and self-styled responses to the challenges. These responses are being formulated in the absence of peer reviewed published reference material. The city-scale has been neglected in the climate change literature, not least because nation states are seen as the drivers of climate negotiations and because the bulk of the academic literature has been on agriculture and rural impacts of climate change. But cities are likely to bear some of the greatest costs of climate change and are critical sites of innovation. The book focuses on the city-scale and explores the role of sub-national government as an agent of action.

The chapters of the book draw from research that was commissioned from specialists under a partnership known as the ‘Cape Town Climate Change Think Tank’. Cape Town has long been acknowledged as an innovator in the area of urban environmental management. Few Southern cities have been as proactive or as successful as Cape Town in putting issues of global environmental change at the core of their governance philosophy and practice. As a highly unequal coastal city with limited resources to manage the demand for a more resilient and equitable future, the Cape Town response to climate change challenges presents an especially provocative case study of the challenges of urban transformation in the context of climate change.

Table of contents

  1. The Centrality of the Challenge of Climate Change to Urban Transformation
  2. Climate Change Predictions for Cape Town
  3. Producing ‘Localised’ Scientific Knowledge on the Marine Freshwater Interface in the Face of Climate Change: a Case Study of the Salt River, Cape Town
  4. Long Term Mitigation Scenarios for Cape Town
  5. Understanding the Risks to Cape Town of Inundation from the Sea
  6. Reducing the Pathology of Risk: Developing an Integrated Municipal Coastal Protection Zone for the City of Cape Town
  7. Climate Change and Possible Legal Liability: Implications for the City of Cape Town
  8. Towards a Climate Resilient and Low Carbon City of Cape Town: Climate Change, Planning Law and Practice
  9. Opportunities and Challenges in Establishing a Low Carbon Zone in the Western Cape Province
  10. Supporting City-Scale Decisions in the Context of Climate Change: The Case of the City of Cape Town
  11. The Law of Delict and Climate Change: Legal Implications for the City Council
  12. Intergovernmental Challenges and the Constitutional Responsibilities for Climate Change: Ex Abundanti Cautela – ‘From an Excess of Caution’
  13. Setting a City-Scale Legal Framework For Climate Change Adaptation
  14. The Coastal Cities Climate Change Adaptation Network (C3ain)
  15. City Of Cape Town Solar Water Heater Bylaw: Barriers to Implementation 16. Learning from the Climate Change Think Tank Experience