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Institutionalising decarbonisation in South Africa: navigating climate mitigation and socio-economic transformation

Tyler, Emily and Hochstetler, Kathryn ORCID: 0000-0003-2960-058X (2021) Institutionalising decarbonisation in South Africa: navigating climate mitigation and socio-economic transformation. Environmental Politics, 30 (sup1). 184 - 205. ISSN 0964-4016

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Identification Number: 10.1080/09644016.2021.1947635


Strong climate institutional governance is necessary for countries to meet their international climate mitigation commitments. This article shows that while South Africa steadily created climate institutions up to 2011, these failed to take hold in the following years. Also, despite the systemically critical energy sector dominating the emissions profile, these climate institutions had no purchase over it. This situation is largely due to South Africa’s political economy of energy, which gave powerful actors the sustained ability to block meaningful institutionalisation of decarbonisation in the energy sector. As a result, South Africa’s climate institutions play few of the roles expected for successful institutionalization of climate action, with energy institutions instead playing a shadow climate governance role. This case suggests that conceptions of climate institutional governance in countries where single sectors dominate in emissions and power must accommodate the roles of institutions affecting climate outcomes despite this not being their primary objective.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2021 15:39
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2024 05:12

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