Two Wits professors are making waves in the field of climate science.

Two Wits University professors have contributed to an internationally recognised report produced by the United Nations (UN) which provides new insights into how climate change is understood and approached.

Bob Scholes and Coleen Vogel, professors at the Wits Global Change and Sustainability institute participated in the Future Earth 2020 project which is aimed at furthering a global transition towards a more sustainable future.

Scholes was part of the editorial board, made up of a group of ten world-renowned experts, and Vogel assisted in writing the report, contributing to a chapter titled: “Transformation: How to spur radical change”.

Scholes considers the lack of awareness and urgency to be some of the major issues regarding climate change. He says, “The issue of climate change has a long lag time, so by the time it becomes urgent and inescapable, it’s too late.”

Both academics say Wits will be contributing towards climate mitigation in the near future too, with the development of the Wits Sustainability Strategy (2020-2030). This strategy makes climate change issues a top priority and according to Scholes and Vogel, Wits students will be involved in the decision-making process over the next few months.

This strategy demonstrates an active approach to climate change, linking to Vogel’s idea on transformation. She highlights the need for a major societal transformation rather than simply adjusting to adapt to the conditions created by climate change.

“It requires a radical shift in the way we conceive the problems and the way we deal with the them. Ultimately, its about a systems change,” she says.

Click here to access the full report (pdf). 

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits professor Bob Scholes who was involved in the UN global initiative: Future Earth. Photos: Catia De Castro.