New climate studies school to impact policies and show SA the way
by KRISTIN ENGEL
Cape Town - Stellenbosch University (SU) has launched a School for Climate Studies that will start in June to support South Africa’s transition to a climate-resilient society and a low-carbon economy.
The university said the new school will be a world-class institution with interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary capacity to combine the climate-related knowledge systems of SU’s faculties, the public sector’s climate policies and initiatives, the private sector’s climate redress and innovation capacities, and the social impact mission of SU.
Professor Eugene Cloete, SU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, said the school was the first of its kind in South Africa and had the status of a faculty.
“South Africa is a major contributor to greenhouse gases on the African continent. It has become essential to move towards a greener economy. SU has the expertise to lead the way through research and innovation, and has already done cutting-edge research on renewable energy. Stellenbosch is also leading the field in the move towards a carbon-neutral university.
“The school is already overwhelmed with national and international partnership opportunities that will aid their research and mission of ensuring SU achieves the status of a carbon-neutral university, wherein the university would not contribute towards carbon emissions at all,” said Cloete.
They have been invited to join the Global University Alliance on Climate (GUAC), which consists of leading universities across the world, including Oxford, Cambridge and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. SU is the only African member of GUAC at present.
“South Africa and the African continent desperately need human capacity to deal with climate change, from policy-making level in government to the implementation of practical solutions to mitigate climate change. The move towards a green economy will create many new careers in engineering, manufacturing, agriculture, renewable energy and research into the fundamental drivers of climate change. Virtually every industry will be affected,” said Cloete.
The School for Climate Studies will engage in research and development, learning and teaching, collaboration, capacity building and consultancy, commercialisation and social impact.