Pretoria - The Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) have released a joint report tackling the effects that climate change will have on South Africa in coming years, and unless the impacts of it aren't mitigated, SA could be in hot water.
The Department of Science and Technology has committed to producing two reports on climate change for cabinet with the first, " The State of Climate Change Science and Technology in South Africa" having just been released, and the second due in March 2019.
The first report assessed the climate change landscape and highlighted the key challenges and impacts in South Africa over the next 30 years.
While the country is set to face challenges brought about by climate change, our science research community, which is focusing on this global threat, is productive, well respected and growing.
The report affirms that over the next 30 years the western parts of South Africa are expected to be hotter and drier than the rest of the country, while more extreme weather, droughts and floods can also be expected. The country will also face increased pressure to move the energy mix away from its current high dependence on fossil fuels, especially coal.
The report also revealed strong international research linkages as the number of research collaborating countries increased from 40 in 2006 to 135 in 2015, with many South African scientists serving in leadership positions in international climate change research and assessment bodies.
The climate change research community in South Africa is spread across more than 30 institutions, with five research-intensive higher education institutions (the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Pretoria) dominating research output and the production of graduate students.
There are also strong linkages among climate change researchers in the various higher education institutions and between the university community, science councils and local and national government, but linkages with the private sector are relatively weak.
Climate change-related research and technology development in South Africa is currently funded at around R400 million per annum. This constitutes a growth of about 12% p.a. (nominal, 6% real) over the past decade.
Two-thirds of this funding is dedicated to research while the rest goes toward technology development.
Climate change research and technology development expenditure amounts to about 1.7% of the total South African research expenditure, which is high for a developing country.