Mark New


Expertise: Climate Impacts Modelling; Climate Change Attribution; Loss and Damage; Adaptation Finance

Prof. Mark New was the previous Director of the African Climate and Development Initiative (2011 - 2023) and a Professor in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, both at UCT. He is also Director of the ARUA (African Research Universities Alliance) Centre of Excellence for Climate and Development, in which UCT partners with the University of Ghana and Nairobi University, to drive pan-African research and teaching on climate change in Africa.

In 2023, Mark received the Frontiers Planet Prize, which awards research that contributes towards solutions to planetary environmental problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and water overuse.  He has also been awarded the for Piers Sellers Prize for world leading contributions to solution-focused climate research, has twice been named in Apolitical’s list of the 100 most influential people in climate policy, and is the leading African scientist on the Reuters “Hot List” of influential climate scientists.

Mark has over twenty-five years’ experience in climate change research, teaching and project management. His research has encompassed detection of climate change trends, climate modelling and scenarios, assessment of uncertainty in climate projections and impacts, attribution of climate change impacts, and climate change adaptation.

His current research focuses on climate change risk and climate adaptation, an African focus, including: (i) improved understanding of climate processes, climate projections, climate risk and attribution; (ii) climate impacts and adaptation, especially with regard to water, agriculture and food security, and compound impacts across sectors; (iii) barriers and enablers of climate adaptation and resilience.  He has also contributed to scholarship and teaching on engaged research and transdisciplinary leadership.  Mark has been principal investigator on over twenty research projects, including ASSAR (Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions) a 10M Dollar project from 2014-2018 that worked across 10 countries in Africa and Asia and SAF-ADAPT (the South Africa – Flanders Adaptation Research and Training Collaboration) an $3M project aimed at building research capacity on climate change adaptation in South Africa.

He has served in a range of science and policy coordination, advisory and editorial roles, including as (i) Editor for Global Environmental Change and Environmental Research Letters, (ii) as an author on a number of IPCC reports, most recently as Coordinating Lead Author for Chapter 17 of the current Working Group II Sixth Assessment, (iii) a Science Committee member for the World Adaptation Science Programme, and (iv) a member of the Science Review Group for the UK Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Science and Services; and (v) an advisor to the SA National Biodiversity Institute’s Green Climate Fund project pipeline.