Transnational Municipal Networks in Climate Politics: From Global Governance to Global Politics

Globalizations (Impact Factor: 0.47). 09/2008; 5(3):341-356. DOI: 10.1080/14747730802252479


In a multilevel and multicentric governance arena, pathways and mechanisms of influence are several and non-state capacities for technical leadership and norm entrepreneurship prove more significant than is the case within a strictly multilateral framework. Among actors with such capacities are municipalities, which multiply their influence through horizontal and vertical relationships. Transnational municipal networks present opportunities for both intermunicipal dialogue and the pooling of global influence, highlighting the presence and influence of the city in the world. This paper examines the collective response of some cities to climate change, exploring the place of cities in global environmental politics through analysis of two transnational municipal networks: the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives' Cities for Climate Protection and the International Solar Cities Initiative. The article addresses the following questions: How might municipal efforts toward a climate-stable future be significant to the larger issue of ecological justice in global environmental politics? Might cities be able to redefine the rules of the game and take a stand on ‘inefficient’ norms? After briefly accounting for the relationship between cities and the world, the article characterizes technical leadership as a legitimizing force of and in global environmental governance and norm entrepreneurship as a potential source of contestation and subversion in global environmental politics. The paper describes what cities are globalizing, in terms of pollution, environmental degradation, and risk, and in terms of management and politics. Finally, the article explores the possibility that emerging horizontal and vertical relationships, intermunicipal relationships, and relationships between cities or networks of cities and other scales of governance potentiate legitimizing roles for cities in climate governance and subversive roles in climate politics.

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Available from: Noah Toly, Jan 27, 2014
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    • "The second type of horizontal climate governance, the establishment of transnational city networks, aims to facilitate the exchange of experiences and the transfer of best practices. Apart from lobbying, which was discussed in the previous section, facilitating best-practice transfer and organizing the exchange of experiences among members form important parts of the mission of transnational city networks such as the Climate Alliance (Keiner and Kim 2008; Toly 2008; Kern and Bulkeley 2009). Transnational city networks have fostered horizontal urban climate governance because local actors use such networks for transnational learning. "

    The Quest for Security. Protection without Protectionism and the Challenge of Global Governance, Edited by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Mary Kaldor, 01/2013: chapter Cities and Global Climate Governance: From Passive Implementers to Active Co-Decision-Makers: pages 288-305; Columbia University Press., ISBN: 978-0-231-15686-8
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    • "Moreover, there are very few studies that take national programmes into account and analyze national multi-level systems and the conversion of national policy goals into local politics (Gupta 2007). Finally, there is a lack of research that compares the various national and transnational city networks and analyses their relationships and impact on local action (Toly 2008; Kern/Bulkeley 2009). "

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    • "Historically and today, one of the dominant areas of research on cities and climate change is the role that national and international municipal and city networks play in motivating action (see Bulkeley and Betsill 2001; Betsill and Bulkeley 2004, 2006; Bulkeley and Kern 2006; Selin and Vandeveer 2007; Schreurs 2008; Sugiyama and Takeuchi 2008; Toly 2008). This literature has examined the real and potential learning that takes place between cities in relation to emission reductions and the potential for this to translate into pressure on subnational and national governments to act. "

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