IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Cities in Germany and their climate commitments: More hype than substance?

Listed author(s):
  • Sippel, Maike

While nation states debate climate policy at an international scale, on a local level, cities across the globe have committed to emission targets and mitigation activities. This study analyses the actual performance of municipal climate action against their targets. Official information material from large cities in Germany was collected and complemented with questionnaires from officials in 40 municipalities. While 77% of cities have adopted emission targets in a voluntary act, and 80% of these cities are engaged in at least basic emission reporting, only a quarter of them are on course to reach their targets. All of these ‘successful’ cities are situated in Eastern Germany – and their emission reductions can mainly be explained by the industrial decline in the 1990s after the German Reunification. Not a single city in Western Germany is on course to reach its reduction commitment. Cities average mitigation performance is slightly worse than the German average, and the effect of city networks on cities is not very clear. It can be concluded that cities are currently not living up to their ambitions. The practice of urban emission reporting does in many cases not allow for proper quality management of greenhouse gas policies. For a more meaningful contribution to the battle against climate change, cities could follow a double strategy: Firstly they could report emissions regularly and adopt realistic and city-specific targets and action plans based on their emission patterns. Secondly, they could complement their targets with a visionary approach: This would include pilot projects that demonstrate how low carbon cities could look like, as well as a more ambitious target which they would be able to reach – provided that optimal framework conditions for local mitigation activities would be put in place by other policy levels.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 23011.

in new window

Date of creation: Jun 2010
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23011
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2459
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-992459
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Maike Sippel & Till Jenssen, 2010. "What Explains Cities' Climate Policy - Making? A Review of Drivers and Barriers," Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism, ASERS Publishing, vol. 0(1), pages 39-56, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23011. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.