Table of Contents

Local Climate Change Law

Local Climate Change Law

Environmental Regulation in Cities and Other Localities

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series

Edited by Benjamin J. Richardson

This timely study offers a multi-jurisdictional perspective, featuring international contributors who examine both theoretical and practical dimensions of how localities are addressing climate mitigation and adaptation in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, South Africa and the United States, as well as considering the place of localities in global climate law agreements and transnational networks.

Chapter 13: Climate Governance in South African Municipalities: Opportunities and Obstacles for Local Government

Anél du Plessis

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental law, geography, cities, law - academic, environmental law, urban and regional studies, cities


Anél du Plessis 1. INTRODUCTION The parameters of any complexity, including that of climate change, are determined by context. How one understands its causes and impacts, how one projects it and the lens through which one proposes any solutions to address it, depend on text-based comprehension as well as one’s understanding of various other contextual factors. One of the contexts within which climate change and governance should be understood is the territorial, in-country, domestic context where ‘the nation-state’ or ‘the government’ as sovereign national governor is required to or may want to design and implement plans, programs, laws or policies directed at climate mitigation and adaptation.1 Generally, neither the concept of the ‘nation-state’ nor that of ‘government’ is straightforward to understand. Government, for instance, is differently constituted from one country to the next, and it often comprises of different related and/or autonomous organs of the state with different degrees of public power, functions and duties.2 Nevertheless, as this book suggests, it would be possible for the purposes of research and knowledge generation within a national context to focus on governance and climate change in relation to the level of government closest to the people. In most countries this is known as local or municipal government. 1 Stephen H. Schneider and Michael D. Mastrandrea, ‘The Politics of Climate Science’ in Maxwell Boykoff (ed.), The Politics of Climate Change (Routledge, 2010) 16–19, for example, convincingly argue that climate change is not just a scientific topic but also a matter of...

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