Transnational municipal networks in climate politics: from global governance to global politics

Globalizations (Impact Factor: 0.47). 01/2008; 5:341-356. DOI: 10.1080/14747730802252479

ABSTRACT 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. En un ámbito de gobierno multinivel y multicéntrico, son varias las trayectorias y los mecanismos de influencia y las capacidades no estatales para el liderazgo y la norma empresarial resultan ser más significativas que en el caso de un marco estrictamente multilateral. Entre los actores de tales capacidades se encuentran los municipios, los cuales multiplican su influencia a través de relaciones horizontales y verticales. Las redes municipales trasnacionales presentan oportunidades al diálogo intermunicipal y al fondo común de influencia global, destacando la presencia e influencia de la ciudad en el mundo. Este artículo examina la respuesta colectiva de algunas ciudades al cambio del clima, analizando el lugar que le corresponde a las ciudades dentro de la política global del medio ambiente, a través del análisis de dos redes municipales trasnacionales: El Consejo Internacional de Ciudades con Iniciativas Locales para la Protección del Clima y la Iniciativa Solar de Ciudades Internacionales. El artículo aborda las siguientes cuestiones: ¿De qué manera los esfuerzos del poder municipal con miras hacia un futuro de estabilidad del clima, pueden ser significativos con relación a la cuestión más amplia de justicia ecológica dentro de la política global del medio ambiente? ¿Tendrían las ciudades la capacidad de redefinir las reglas del juego y adoptar una postura firme ante las normas 'ineficaces'? Después de explicar brevemente la relación entre las ciudades y el mundo, el artículo caracteriza al liderazgo técnico como una fuerza legitimizadora dentro de la autoridad global del medio ambiente y la norma empresarial, y como fuente potencial de protesta y subversión en la política global del medio ambiente. El documento describe qué ciudades se están globalizando, en términos de contaminación, degradación del medio ambiente y el riesgo y en términos de administración y política. Finalmente, el artículo analiza la posibilidad de que las relaciones horizontales y verticales, intermunicipales y entre ciudades o redes de ciudades y otras escalas de gobierno incipientes, aumentan el efecto de legitimar las funciones a las ciudades dentro del clima gubernamental y las funciones subversivas dentro del clima político.

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