"Drawing on Robert Putnam’s metaphor of the two-level game, the analysis considers the challenges facing South Africa in balancing domestic priorities with growing international pressure to reduce carbon emissions. Through the analysis, this paper argues that in its current position, South Africa’s credibility in calling for greater international commitment to carbon emission reductions at Copenhagen may be undermined by the government’s slow progress in defining and mainstreaming climate change considerations into the country’s social and economic development priorities. The climate change–energy nexus has proved to be particularly problematic for South Africa, with a number of key decisions taken indicating the continued prominence of fossil fuels, particularly following the 2007/08 energy crisis. As we approach Copenhagen, South Africa has expressed a number of ambitions and released a number of detailed policy frameworks on climate change, yet questions remain as to whether it will be able to deliver on these."