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Cities, Climate Change and Multilevel Governance


  • Jan Corfee-Morlot


  • Lamia Kamal-Chaoui


  • Michael G. Donovan


  • Ian Cochran


  • Alexis Robert


  • Pierre-Jonathan Teasdale


Cities represent a challenge and an opportunity for climate change policy. As the hubs of economic activity, cities generate the bulk of GHG emissions and are thus important to mitigation strategies. Urban planning will shape future trends and the concentration of population, socio-economic activity, poverty and infrastructure in urban areas translates into particular vulnerability to increased climate hazards. City governments and urban stakeholders will therefore be essential in the design and delivery of cost-effective adaptation policies. Further, by empowering local governments, national policies could leverage existing local experiments, accelerate policy responses, foster resource mobilization and engage local stakeholders. This paper presents a framework for multilevel governance, showing that advancing governance of climate change across all levels of government and relevant stakeholders is crucial to avoid policy gaps between local action plans and national policy frameworks (vertical integration) and to encourage cross-scale learning between relevant departments or institutions in local and regional governments (horizontal dimension). Vertical and horizontal integration allows two-way benefits: locally-led or bottom-up where local initiatives influence national action and nationally-led or top-down where enabling frameworks empower local players. The most promising frameworks combine the two into hybrid models of policy dialogue where the lessons learnt are used to modify and fine-tune enabling frameworks and disseminated horizontally, achieving more efficient local implementation of climate strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Corfee-Morlot & Lamia Kamal-Chaoui & Michael G. Donovan & Ian Cochran & Alexis Robert & Pierre-Jonathan Teasdale, 2009. "Cities, Climate Change and Multilevel Governance," OECD Environment Working Papers 14, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:envaaa:14-en

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jun Li, 2011. "Supporting greenhouse gas mitigation in developing cities: a synthesis of financial instruments," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 16(6), pages 677-698, August.
    2. Janthana Kunchornrat & Aumnad Phdungsilp, 2012. "Multi-Level Governance of Low-Carbon Energy Systems in Thailand," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(3), pages 1-14, February.
    3. Stéphane Hallegatte & Jan Corfee-Morlot, 2011. "Understanding climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation at city scale: an introduction," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 104(1), pages 1-12, January.
    4. Mario Piacentini, 2012. "Rationale and policies for the green growth of cities and regional economies," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 129-146, June.
    5. Achim Hagen & Leonhard Kaehler & Klaus Eisenack, 2016. "Transnational Environmental Agreements with Heterogeneous Actors," Working Papers V-387-16, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2016.
    6. Jan Corfee-Morlot & Ian Cochran & Stéphane Hallegatte & Pierre-Jonathan Teasdale, 2011. "Multilevel risk governance and urban adaptation policy," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 104(1), pages 169-197, January.
    7. Kennedy, Christopher & Demoullin, Stéphanie & Mohareb, Eugene, 2012. "Cities reducing their greenhouse gas emissions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 774-777.
    8. Fouad Khan & Benjamin K. Sovacool, 2016. "Testing the efficacy of voluntary urban greenhouse gas emissions inventories," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 139(2), pages 141-154, November.
    9. Iwata, Kazuyuki & Managi, Shunsuke, 2015. "Can Land Use Regulations and Taxes Help Mitigate Vehicular CO2 emissions?: An Empirical Study of Japanese Cities," MPRA Paper 66435, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Jennifer S. Bansard & Philipp H. Pattberg & Oscar Widerberg, 2017. "Cities to the rescue? Assessing the performance of transnational municipal networks in global climate governance," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 229-246, April.
    11. World Bank, 2011. "Green Cities : Cities and Climate Change in Brazil," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12785, The World Bank.
    12. Damsø, Tue & Kjær, Tyge & Christensen, Thomas Budde, 2016. "Local climate action plans in climate change mitigation – examining the case of Denmark," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 74-83.
    13. Adrien Labaeye & Thomas Sauer, 2013. "City networks and the socio-ecological transition. A European inventory," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 27, WWWforEurope.
    14. Miranda A. SCHREURS, 2010. "Multi-level Governance and Global Climate Change in East Asia," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 5(1), pages 88-105.
    15. Patrick Biard & Edoardo Croci & Tania Molteni, 2015. "An analysis of multi-level collaborative initiatives on sustainable energy in Europe," ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(1), pages 89-110.

    More about this item


    competitiveness; eco-innovation; environmental policy; globalisation; supply chain;

    JEL classification:

    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • R00 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General - - - General

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