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Ecology & Safety, Volume 12, 2018

CITIES AND CLIMATE CHANGE: BETWEEN RHETORIC AND ACTION
Avi Gottlieb
Pages: 1-17
Published: 27 Jul 2018
Views: 887
Downloads: 281
Abstract: Cities have worked on the sidelines of international climate negotiations for many years. While recognizing their role as both leading emitters of greenhouse gases and as drivers of climate change policy, the 2018 IPCC-sponsored inaugural Cities and Climate Change Science Conference also underscored the significant lacunae of data about the climate actions of cities and their outcomes. The current study employs meta-analytic methods to explore the climate policies of 217 cities around the world, and the actions they have taken to mitigate their GHG emissions. The data were collected from the official websites of two transnational urban networks for climate change, from an international registry of the climate change actions of various political entities and the corporate sector, and from peer-reviewed research. The analysis is based on five diagnostic categories, all widely-used measures of urban climate policy (e.g., green construction), and six more diagnostic categories that reflect processes of good climate policy (e.g., transparency and participation). Data on the cities’ follow-up on their plans (reviews, revisions), and data on changes in their GHG emissions as tangible outcomes were also recorded. Many cities have set emission reduction targets that are pointedly higher than their national governments, and many have begun to implement their climate action plans. But they often encounter obstacles in translating their commitments, whether external (e.g., insufficient funding) or internal (e.g., resistance by interest groups). Networking between cities, particularly networking to improve policy-learning, accompanied the praxis of many of the cities’ climate actions. Engagement with residents (e.g., participatory involvement), on the other hand, is a less-favored derivative of climate action plans in most cities. The most widely deployed strategy to mitigate GHG emissions is changes in the public transport sector, followed by green construction and land use. Education is the most common tool municipalities apply to engage with residents. At this point, reductions in GHG emissions are too small to establish a reliable trend.
Keywords: climate change and cities, climate change policy, climate governance, mitigation
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