Jive Media Africa’s Science Writer and Editor, Yves Vanderhaeghen visited COP as part of the Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation delegation. Upon his return he shared this short reflection – underlining the importance of Jive’s role in science communication and translation.
Image above: An artwork by the world-famous Keiskamma Art Project in the Eastern Cape was the backdrop to the South African Pavilion at COP28 inspiring hope and action.
COP28 spawned a bewildering number of presentations and debates by an array of organisations and researchers.
It was all too much to take in, and too much to do anything tangible with. But while the big guns were shooting high for global resolutions on fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions, it was in the smaller venues that detailed research was engaged with.
Soil, for example. It has everything, when healthy, that the entire edifice of COP is talking about: biodiversity, water, nutrition, sequestered carbon. And yet, how, mused one banker, do we turn it into an asset class to generate the capital for the small farmer, on the one hand, and to do the heavy lifting to mitigate and adapt to climate change, on the other?
Finance came into just about every conversation, as did just energy transition. Transitioning to green energy is one thing, but getting there with jobs to go around is another, vexed issue altogether, and it is putting a brake on climate imperatives.
Teasing out these debates takes some work, and lots of stamina, and Jive Media Africa listened to a lot of hot air, but got some nuggets in the end, of ideas and research which hold the promise of big things, but which need policy makers, and financiers, as well as society at large, to take up with alacrity to make a difference.
We will continue to grapple with these issues, and to support research engagement at multiple levels and in numerous contexts.