Concentric circles of South Africa’s climate diplomacy

Oluwole I. Olutola, Chris Landsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper adopts the logic of concentric circles to unpack the multi-level approach that characterizes South Africa’s interface with climate change. The post-1994 South Africa interacted with climate change at multiple levels. At some points, South Africa’s response to climate change is guided strictly by the dictates of its overriding national interests. At another, it is a question of either serving a continental ‘representative’ or ‘leading voice’ for groupings of major importance within the global South regarding climate change. Also, South Africa’s climate diplomacy on the global scene ranks relatively high when compared with the scenarios concerning other emerging and even a good number of industrialized economies. Therefore, it is not certain how the policy emphasis is shifting radially across the interest-chain of South Africa’s relations in the context of climate change. As a key finding, this paper argues that South Africa’s super-state posture leaves one to wonder how constructively altruistic is the country’s climate diplomacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-187
Number of pages15
JournalAfrica Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Climate change
  • Concentric circles
  • Diplomacy
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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