Munich Personal RePEc Archive

What about local climate governance? A review of promise and problems

Sippel, Maike and Jenssen, Till (2009): What about local climate governance? A review of promise and problems. Published in: Social Science Research Network (November 2009)

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Abstract

A large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions is produced in urban areas, particularly in high income countries. Cities are also vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and particularly so in developing countries. Therefore, local climate policies for mitigation and adaptation have to play an important role in any effective global climate protection strategy. Based upon a systematic literature review, this article gives a comprehensive overview of motivation and challenges for local climate governance. A large part of the literature focuses on mitigation and cities in industrialized countries. The review also includes the smaller and emerging body of literature on adaptation and cities in developing or industrializing countries. Motivations and challenges we find fall into broad categories like ‘economic’, ‘informational’, ‘institutional’, ‘liveability’ or ‘political/cultural’. We conclude that the mix of motivation and challenges is city-specific, and that the national framework conditions are important. It matters, whether cities engage in mitigation or adaptation policies, whether they are located in developing, industrializing or industrialized countries, and at which stage of climate policy-making cities are. For many cities, cost savings are a primary motivation for local mitigation policies, while perceived vulnerability and a commitment to development is the primary motivator for adaptation policies. The collective action problem of climate protection (also known as ‘Tragedy of the Commons’) and inappropriate legal frameworks are key barriers to mitigation policies. Challenges for adaptation include financial constraints, and a lack of expertise, cooperation, leadership and political support. Understanding their specific motivation and challenges may support cities in developing appropriate local climate action plans. Furthermore, the understanding of motivation and challenges can inform other policy levels that want to help realize the local climate protection potential.

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