The implementation of urban greening projects for energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions in Potchefstroom, South Africa
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere have increased by as much as 30% since pre-industrial times due to the accelerated rate of GHG emissions. This phenomenon may result in elevated average global temperatures, changes in regional precipitation rates, increased incidence and intensity of extreme weather events, and a rise in the average sea level. Although there is a substantial amount of research that attempts to verify several of the projections on climate change that have been detailed by the IPCC report, there is still a gap in the understanding of how local authorities in South Africa can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a local level to contribute to this global issue. This study analyses the possibilities and challenges for the cost-effective reduction of GHG emissions associated with the use of energy, methane recovery and utilisation, and CO2 sequestration in intermediate-sized African cities. This is achieved by explaining the efforts and achievements of the city of Potchefstroom as a case study. In the city of Potchefstroom, certain urban greening projects were carried out to meet specific service demands in the respective market sectors, while the application of technology was, compared to previous practice, also accompanied by significant reductions in the quantity of GHG emitted. A total 44.84% reduction in GHG emissions was achieved in Potchefstroom after the implementation of the GHG reduction projects. The Potchefstroom experience has shown that the deciding factor for getting the mayor, councillors and other major role players committed to sustainability and GHG reduction issues, was the possibility of immense economic saving obtained by the GHG reduction projects.