Climate 100 honour for Mark New

28 May 2019 | Story Supplied. Photo Robyn Walker. Read time 3 min.
ACDI director Prof Mark New.
ACDI director Prof Mark New.

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Professor Mark New, director of the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI), has been listed among the world’s 100 most influential people in climate policy for 2019.

The Climate 100 list of politicians, civil servants, academics and activists comes courtesy of global network Apolitical, and is drawn from hundreds of nominations from experts and leading organisations. The aim is to recognise high-profile advocates whose work is indispensable to raising awareness and demanding change in respect of climate policy.

New, the citation says, is the director of the ACDI and professor of international development at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.

“His research career spans over 20 years, with a focus on detecting climate trends, climate modelling and assessing the impact of failed climate mitigation policy.

Tangible policy change

“New edits the journal Environmental Research Letters and serves on the boards of the South Africa Global Change Science Committee and the Africa Future Earth Science Committee.”


“His research career spans over 20 years, with a focus on detecting climate trends, climate modelling and assessing the impact of failed climate mitigation policy.”

The list, which is separated into Top 20, Youth, Politics and Government, Academia and Advocacy, and International and Non-governmental Organisations categories, “comes at a time when young people everywhere are marching to demand action on climate”, the network said.

“It’s more important than ever to celebrate and support those with the most power to act: the people driving tangible policy change.”

Among the Top 20 are US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, African Development Bank Group climate change and green growth director Anthony Nyong, broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough, youth activist Greta Thunberg, Greenpeace executive director Jennifer Morgan, and Hoesung Lee, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Last year New won the Piers Sellers Prize, one of two annual awards made by the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds in the name of the renowned climate scientist and former NASA astronaut, for his world-leading contribution to solution-focused climate research.

He also helped bring more than 1 000 scientists, practitioners, business leaders and policymakers from 87 countries to Cape Town for Adaptation Futures 2018, the fifth in the Adaptation Futures international conference series on global adaptation, held for the first time in Africa.

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Climate change


The University of Cape Town is an internationally renowned hub for climate change research and training. Our work is a strategic response to urgent knowledge and capacity needs on the African continent – climate change impacts have severe implications for economic and social development, and Africa is particularly vulnerable. Greater expertise is needed to understand the challenges and to design, evaluate and sustain solutions. Engaged research can help society innovate and support effective climate policies and strategies.

This series of articles shows how UCT researchers are working with governments, civil society and the private sector to co-produce knowledge that is impactful, moving us towards a more resilient African society.


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