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African universities tackle climate change

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By Mercy Kelani

Climate research and strategies to suppress impacts of climate change.

Universities have been saddled with the responsibility of playing a vital role in tackling the effect of climate change, promotion of sustainability and provision of schemes for mitigation and adaptation methods in 2023. Climatologists have also tasked themselves with the goal of building climate and sustainability courses and curricula and development of plans for extreme climatic events. African universities are set to host and join in climate policy dialogue sessions which includes the 9th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development held from February 28 to March 2, 2023; South Africa’s 5th National Global Change Conference (GCC5), to take place from January 30 to February 2, 2023; and the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) to be held in November 2023.

An associate professor of climate science at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, Isaac Kow Tetteh, said that the scourge of global climate change drove the introduction of climate science, climate-related and transdisciplinary climate programs from undergraduate to PhD levels in the institution. The university has been successful in climate research in the continent and is therefore at the forefront of climate change projects in climate diagnostics and hydro-climatological modelling with focus in ecological restoration, cleaner energy production technologies and watershed management. The research activities would help achieve SDGs 13.

Egyptian university provides guidance to build a low-carbon economy.

A center for excellence in sustainability which serves the purpose of a launching ground for research activities related to climate change, sustainability and its impacts was established in 2022 in Ain Shams University, a climate research institution in Egypt. Professor Ali Hassan, faculty of graduate studies and environmental research at the university, asserted that the University had recently concluded its research for the next five years and would concern itself with provision of science-based guidance for Egypt to build a low-carbon economy.

Speaking in an interview with University World News, the professor noted that the university is launching a special diploma which would be presented to sustainability and environmental officers at the government level, academia and players in the industry. The diploma is aimed at helping sectors come to awareness of their carbon footprint and acquire critical skills and knowledge needed for calculation of sustainability reports. There would also be a launch of a masters degree program in conjunction with the Institute of Environmental Management Assessment (IEMA) to focus on carbon and environmental literacy and consultancy. The institution is responsible for scheming climate change impacts and vulnerability at national level.

South African uni. to raise awareness on changes caused by human activity.

Acting Director at the School of Climate Studies founded in 2021 at Stellenbosch University (SU) in South Africa, Professor Guy Midgley, affirmed the school’s commitment towards empowering existing networks and developing climate schemes. The institution, in cooperation with the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate, led a program on capacity building and policy development and was one of the 15 universities across the globe to partake in building a pilot science policy training course from 100 students. The university is likewise pursuing developments in understanding climate variability.

An earth scientist at Stellenbosch University, Professor Susanne Fietz, emphasized the significance of their research in understanding past and future climate changes and climate-mitigation strategies. The earth expert added that their research should create sensitization concerning current changes triggered by human activity in comparison with past natural trends. They would also ensure proper understanding of carbon sequestration strategies. One of the ongoing research initiatives is reconstruction of climate of the past and study of the role of biogeochemistry in climate changes.

Nigerian uni. pledges to contribute to national climate response strategy.

Additionally, a lecturer at the University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria, Eberechi Osuagwu, asserted that research projects at the college of Natural Resources and Environmental Management are concerned with policy development that revolves around climate change. There would be a large focus on contribution to the national climate response strategy in cooperation with global recommendations. These policies are focused on the reduction of the vulnerability of people and systems to the impacts of climate change and creation of mitigation strategies to suppress emissions through agriculture and transportation systems.

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