South Africa: Five Years After Paris Climate Agreement, Why Is SA’s Response to Climate Crisis So Lethargic?

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement on 12 December, tough questions need to be asked on South Africa’s lethargic – and blinkered – response to the climate crisis.

Last week I had “The Talk” with my son. He’s seven, and while we haven’t really gone out of the way to shield him from the reality of the world, we thought it was important that he developed some mental tools, resilience and confidence before exposing him to this complicated subject. But kids listen, and it’s never possible to completely manage what they pick up through peers and media. His previous idle questions were satisfied with superficial responses, but this time he was very direct:

“What is the point in trying to stop climate change if it will happen anyway?”

I’ve been dreading the day when he would ask this question, because it means he’s finally starting to notice the mess that we are making of his future. Having worked on climate change for nearly 13 years, I couldn’t think of any good way to represent the intermittent desperation that assails me when I take stock of the real progress we’ve made over that period. Living…


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