Two pillars underpin Africa’s approach to climate change negotiations: One is the “African Common Position,” and the other is the development of a negotiating coalition for presenting that position. This report explores the roles that Africa’s regional powers—Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Africa—play in supporting this African approach. These regional powers do not share the same interests as the rest of the continent. Not only do they differ based on energy production (Nigeria) and consumption (South Africa), but also in terms of their general vulnerabilities and readiness to face climate change. Even where they share interests, they often view these negotiation processes as serving goals other than solving the problems of climate change. Despite such issues, Africa still needs its regional powers to play a role in ongoing global negotiations, and the world will likely continue to focus on at least some of them as continental representatives.
May 2016, Vol. 16, No. 2, Pages 110-129