The department of science and technology has launched a centre to focus on climate change research.
The Access centre was launched by Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor at the COP 17 climate conference in Durban on Tuesday.
Speaking at the event, Pandor said that her department was focussed on climate research as one its focus areas.
“The DST adopted global change research as one of its main focus areas three years ago and since then has been involved in a varied portfolio of global-change activities,” she said.
Delegates at the UN-sponsored conference are hoping to produce a binding agreement that would limit carbon emissions, but talks are hamstrung by global polluters China, the US and India which have rejected a move towards a legal deal.
The DST has awarded funding to research as part of its campaign to find sustainable ways to reduce mankind’s impact on the planet.
“We have just awarded 11 research grants to the value of about R50m in the broad field of sustainable global change.
“We prioritise research in the key sectors of waste and water to support global-change mitigation and adaptation efforts,” Pandor said.
The Applied Centre for Climate and Earth Systems Science (Access) will combine research from a range of institutions to collect climate data that will ultimately create better decision-making through improved knowledge and collaboration.
Some of the institutions include the CSIR, the South African
Service, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, the South African National Biodiversity Institute, Marine and Coastal Management and research groups from South African universities.
South Africa’s extensive biodiversity makes the country sensitive to the impact of climate change and Pandor praised the researchers involved in the programme.
“As a result of these comparative knowledge and geographic advantages, South Africa has an outstanding record of scientific research, and many South African scientists are recognised world leaders in their fields.
“Moreover, we have been able to attract many foreign scholars and scientists from Africa and abroad.”