Coordinated by Professor Mark New, Director, African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town

Climate change caused by emissions of greenhouse gases is one of the major challenges facing society today. In one sense the science is unequivocal – greenhouse gas emissions have already warmed the global climate to unprecedented levels during the last 100 000 years, and society is locked into emissions that will warm the planet at least another degree, perhaps more than three degrees. On the other hand, climate science finds it difficult to provide precise forecasts of what is in store for people. This presents a challenge to those who are developing climate change responses: how do we build resilience to an uncertain future, especially when there are competing demands on public and private finance and human resources?

This course explores these issues – what climate science can and cannot tell us, and how can we respond when there is uncertainty – looking in particular at Cape Town. The course will draw on a long-term research collaboration between the City and UCT in which researchers have worked closely to develop an understanding of the risks climate change poses for the city, and how to respond to these risks. The course begins with a primer on global climate change, followed by contributions that focus on particular issues facing Cape Town.



1. Understanding the global forecast   Prof M. New, UCT

2. The Cape Town forecast               Dr C. Jack, UCT

3. What keeps me awake at night    H. Davies, Climate Change Unit, City of Cape Town YouTube link

4. Water security in Cape Town      Prof M. New, UCT

5. How a complex organisation such as the City of Cape Town responds to the ‘wicked’ climate change problem  Dr A. Taylor, UCT

Recommended reading

Scholes, B.J., Scholes, M. & Lucas, M. 2015. Climate Change: Briefings from Southern Africa. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

CDKN. 2014. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What’s in it for Africa? Climate Knowledge Development Network. London. 


Date: 23–27 January                                                    .


Time:  3.30 pm
COURSE FEES Full: R480,00  Staff: R240,00  Reduced: R120,00