UCT Plays its Part in Producing Scathing Review of Global Climate Crisis

Several UCT researchers worked on the newly-released IPCC report, which unequivocally blames states for failing to act in the face of the current climate crisis.

By Asemahle Ntoyakhe (Staff Writer) & Daniel P. Rossmeisl (News Editor)

On Monday 9 August 2021, the Sixth Climatic Assessment Report authored by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was released. With the mandate to provide an understanding of emerging patterns that form global climatic systems, as well as to map both natural and human-led climate change, this report distinguished itself from its predecessors by unequivocally charging state governments with failure to act appropriately (or in some cases at all) to an immediate and globally recognised crisis. Furthermore, and tellingly, the IPCC also called out individual state actors for their failure to adhere to or realise agreed upon climate-change-abating measures and goals. 

Whereas previously, the report has acknowledged some level of scientific debate surrounding the extent to which climate change possesses a threat, as well as to which changes in climatic systems are a result of human activity, this time around there is no doubt;  humans are responsible for severe climate change and that will have life-threatening consequences for universal ability to sustain human life. The report released evidence showing changes in a range of climate phenomena including heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones. It is alleged by a number of news agencies, including an article published in the Guardian on August 9th, that wildfires across North America and the Mediterranean as well as flooding in Germany earlier this year is likely a tangible consequence of issues highlighted by the IPCC.

Some of the credit for this stronger line adopted by the IPCC may be ascribed to the increasingly diverse pool of researchers from developing countries employed in this report’s construction. The African Media Agency suggested on August 9th that at least 234 scientists from 66 countries were involved in the project. This includes a number of UCT researchers. Professor Harald Winkler and Dr Christopher Trisos who, both associated with the African Climate & Development Initiative (ACDI), formed a cohort with 30 authors and nine review editors from around the world to form the core writing team.

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