7 November 2018

Africa: Interview - South Africa, Climate Change 'Hot Spot'

analysis

In a world that's warmed 1°C against pre-industrial levels, bringing wildfires, droughts and heatwaves to vast regions of the planet, South Africa has warmed at twice the global average. What's the science behind this? What are the implications for our farmlands and cities? Most important, will our country survive if trends remain where they are? Professor Francois Engelbrecht, among the world's leading specialists on African climate change, takes the largest questions facing humanity to where we rarely see them -- back home.

I. Hot

The question for Professor Francois Engelbrecht, during the lunchtime rush in the most popular canteen at Pretoria's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, was about the one thing that climate scientists are supposed to avoid -- emotion.

For the past 45 minutes, Engelbrecht had been charting a course through the safe terrain of his own data. As one of the lead authors on the world-shaking Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, endorsed by 195 countries and released in South Korea in early October, he knew better than most that the only effective weapons...

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