When the worst climate crises scenarios become a reality, will we then rush to make vaccines?


By Mr. Zakhele Nkosi

Lecturer and researcher at the University of Pretoria; PhD Candidate at the University of Johannesburg

GSAf seminar series

Date: 26 February 2021

14:00 (GMT)

15:00 Nigeria and Morocco time, 16:00 Egypt and South Africa time

Online Seminar (Google Meet)



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Mr. Zakhele Nkosi completed both his undergraduate and M.Sc. in geology at the University of Pretoria. His M.Sc. dissertation was on mineral carbonation research, using platinum mining-derived tailings. The dissertation earned the 2019 John Handley award from the Geological Society of South Africa. He is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Johannesburg under the supervision of Profs W. Altermann and K.S Viljoen. The research continues to be on mineral carbonation; however, the focus is on kimberlite tailings. He is currently serving as a member of the academic staff at the University of Pretoria with a core teaching focus on applied mineralogy, palaeontology, paleoclimatology, and geo ethics. Most of his teaching time is devoted to first- and second-year student cohort, and the supervision of two honours and an M.Sc. student. When the worst climate crises scenarios become a reality, will we then rush to make vaccines?


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) continues to churn out one report after another since its inception back in 1988. Its objective, to provide scientific guidance to governments at all levels such that they can use it to develop climate crises averting policies. Sadly, the commitment to such guidelines and even to self-derived commitments has been lacking to all the signatory member states of the Paris Agreement, this is according to all recent estimates by number of independent researchers. Meanwhile, the global CO2 emissions have not shown any significant decrease and as a result, atmospheric concentration levels as of 2021 January measure at 415 ppm. The last time the world experienced consistent GHG concentrations above the 400 ppm was during the Pliocene Era, and during that time the average global climate was 3℃ warmer than today and see levels several meters higher. Based on the IPCC’s latest Synthesis Report (AR5), by 2100 if the worst-case scenario becomes reality, the Earth could experience more than 4℃ warming above pre-industrial levels which would spell disaster for billions of people around the world as sea levels rise and displace coastal populations, wildfires ravage forests, and prolonged droughts decimate agricultural yields globally (to name but a few). The question is, what can, and will we do when all these crises’ scenarios become reality?