Addressing climate change in Southern Africa: any role for South Africa in the Post-Paris Agreement?
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Climate change is a global challenge. Its ramifying effects on both natural and human systems cut across different regions of the world. While Africa as a whole is being confirmed to be more affected by climate change due in part to a relatively low(er) mitigation and adaptive capacity, coupled with a situation where majority of its population depends mainly on natural resources, Southern Africa is singled out as a potentially vulnerable subregion for other additional factors. Representing a milestone in the trajectory of the global climate change process, the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP-21) resolved with a consensual climate change deal known as the Paris Agreement. The Agreement, through the instrumentality of a ratchet up mechanism, otherwise described as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), seeks significant cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions effectively from 2020. In essence, it calls for a novel though gradual shift from carbon-emission approach to low emission development strategy. This, no doubt, is indispensable to sustainable development at all levels. Beyond national commitments as obligatory for parties, there is a need for regional cooperative efforts which should bring about shared appropriate policy responses that promote green energy as well as seize opportunities inherent in it for national and deterritorialised gains. Adopting neoliberal and green theories, the institutional framework of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) where South Africa is expected to take a lead is examined in this article.
- Faculty of Humanities