Climate records show that the Western Cape Province’s average temperature has risen by almost one degree over the past 50 years. That trend is set to continue, as climate models predict drier, hotter conditions – with repercussions for water and rainfall, said University of Cape Town (UCT) climatologist Dr Peter Johnston.
Dr Christopher Trisos, who directs the Climate Risk Laboratory at the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) at the University of Cape Town (UCT), has received the rare honour of being awarded a P-rating by the National Research Foundation (NRF). This recognition is reserved for young researchers (normally younger than 35 years of age) who have held a doctorate for less than five years and are considered likely to become future international leaders in their field.
The challenge of defining African energy futures gains complexity as local politics interact with geopolitical powers and global climate change concerns. The AU-EU strategy focuses on ‘innovation for green transitions’, while European companies continue to dominate African fossil fuel markets. The Chinese strategy to decarbonise their domestic markets encouraged Chinese coal industries to build abroad. How can African societies define their own energy futures without turning into ‘living sustainability labs’ or stepping into debt traps set out by foreign actors?
Energy poverty is a major challenge in South Africa. Many of the 1.25 million households in informal settlements rely on burning paraffin or wood to cook and provide light and warmth in their homes. Not only do these methods of energy production create health and safety hazards, but they also limit the economic and educational opportunities of the people – most commonly women and children – living in these settlements.