President Zuma’s opening speech for COP17 this morning left a lot to be desired. 

The opening address was a real opportunity for Zuma to step up and show his mettle to the world. It was a chance for him to really push the urgent need for decisive climate action, and decry the effects that climate change is already having on millions of people across Africa.

Sadly Zuma never came close to what he could have delivered, and the result was an empty call for “global solutions”.

If the South Africa delegation is serious about Durban not becoming the burial ground for the Kyoto Protocol, then Zuma must stop acting like its pall bearer.

The bottom line is that talk is cheap, and policy on paper is meaningless without action. As the highest CO2 emitter on the continent, and 12th largest in the world, South Africa has big strides to take in the reduction of its emissions. Trying to hide our coal addiction beneath policy promises will not save the planet from catastrophic climate change.

If South Africa is to take meaningful steps towards a credible climate deal, and herd the developed world towards this outcome, we need to ditch the rhetoric and starting listening to what the 99% are calling for