Climate change continues unabated and is affecting every country on every continent. Greenhouse gas emissions are rising. And with temperatures approaching 1.2 °C above pre-industrial levels, we are far off-track from meeting the commitments of the Paris Agreement.
Africa – despite its low contribution to greenhouse gas emissions – remains one of the regions most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which are already threatening human health, food and water security and socio-economic development on the continent.
The African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI), a cross-university institute, aims to increase the scientific knowledge and understanding needed to improve human development outcomes in the face of climate change. ACDI’s multi-scale research is anchored in South Africa and extends via collaboration into Africa and beyond.
In 2018, the African Research Universities Alliance awarded Centre of Excellence status for Climate and Development (ARUA-CD) to ACDI along with partners at the universities of Nairobi and Ghana. ACDI provides a platform for UCT’s and ARUA’s collective response to the challenge of climate change.
Among ACDI’s projects is ‘Transforming social inequalities through inclusive climate action’ (TSITICA), which seeks to address the nexus of climate change, sustainable livelihoods, poverty and inequality through climate action policy and practice in Africa. The initiative’s ‘Towards equitable and sustainable nature-based solutions’ (TES NbS) project aims to inform more appropriate design and implementation of nature-based solutions for reducing risk and vulnerability to climate change in developing regions.
The UCT Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG) addresses the climate change knowledge needs of developing nations, delivering tailored information, building capacity within the continent, and engaging with users around adaptation, policy and impacts. Among other areas of work, CSAG plays a key role as part of the new Adaptation Research Alliance, a global collective to promote impactful adaptation research, and provides research leadership with an African perspective in the World Climate Research Programme.
Environmental Humanities South (EHS) at UCT is focused on reconceptualising and achieving justice in African environmentalism and climate interventions. By linking civil society and community-based organisations on the continent with university teaching from a range of disciplines, it supports African engagement with global environmental policies. Based in the arts, humanities and social sciences, with close engagement with law, engineering and the sciences, EHS supports the exploration of a new paradigm to address the planetary crisis.