In the beginning,the conversation about global climate change focused on
cutting greenhouse gas emissions to keep the Earth's temperatures from
rising dangerously high.
Later, another conversation developed
alongside the first, which said even if we stopped all greenhouse gas
emissions today, we would not be able to avoid some climate change because
of the vast amount of emissions we had already pumped into the atmosphere
over hundreds of years.
These had already set some global climate changes in motion.
The adaptation conversation posited that while reducing emissions was
critical, it was just as important for the world community to work out ways
of adapting to a changing climate so that we could cushion its effects and
avoid the worst impacts of a hotter world.
This conversation has come to Cape Town this week in the form of the
Adaptation Futures 2018 conference where 1 200 scientists, policymakers,
business leaders and members of civil society from 87 countries and 230
organisations are gathered to share ideas and try to find solutions through
This is the first time the Adaptation Futures conference, held every two
years, has been convened on the African continent.
"Adaptation Futures is an academic conference where researchers present
their work, but it is also about putting changes in place. As researchers,
we need to engage with practitioners in civil society, government and in
NGOs to share information and to explore alternatives and ways of adapting
to climate change," Gina Ziervogel, Associate Proffesor at the University of
Cape Town (UCT) said.
The conference is being held at the Cape Town International Conference
Centre from 18 to 21 June.
The opening plenary session took place on Tuesday, 19 June, with a panel
that included Cape Town Mayor, Patricia de Lille; European Union Deputy
Director of Research and Innovation, Patrick Child; and the Director of
UCT's African Climate and Development Initiative, Mark New.