Top SA climate change expert hits panic button as US dumps deal

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Top SA climate change expert hits panic button as US dumps deal

Phoebe Barnard's stance is backed up by analysis of more than 40 years of data on deforestation and emissions

Cape Town bureau chief

One of SA’s leading climate change experts has joined international colleagues in warning that “untold human suffering” is unavoidable without deep and lasting shifts in activities that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Phoebe Barnard, from the African Climate and Development Initiative at the University of Cape Town, was part of a team that analysed more than 40 years of data on energy use, surface temperature, population growth, land clearing, deforestation, polar ice mass, fertility rates, gross domestic product and carbon emissions.

Their declaration, in the journal BioScience (https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biz088/5610806), came the day after President Donald Trump’s administration presented its withdrawal letter to the UN, confirming the US was pulling out of the Paris climate pact...

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