Article

The Politics of Accountability in Networked Urban Climate Governance

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

Cities are increasingly seen as essential components of the global response to climate change: setting targets, taking action, and rendering themselves accountable to global audiences for their efforts. Why cities are making themselves globally accountable in the absence of compulsion or obligation, and what it means for cities to operate simultaneously as global and locally accountable actors, constitute important puzzles for scholars of global climate politics. In this article I set out the basic parameters of this phenomenon, and offer a conceptual framework with which to parse the politics of accountability in networked urban climate governance. I apply this framework to identify three distinct forms of accountability present in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group: an external politics of recognition; a network politics of ordering, and; an internal politics of translation. The article explores each for their distinct political processes, orientation, and power dynamics, and offers some propositions with respect to how they interact, and what it means both locally and globally when cities make themselves globally accountable.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... First, the metrics used for accountability often have more to do with a city's interest in maintaining legitimacy and authority than with environmental outcomes (Gordon, 2016;Kramarz & Park, 2016. Kramarz and Park (2016) point out that both the design of accountability institutions and the execution of interventions are important -otherwise, 'authority holders can be held to account for their actions without necessarily mitigating negative environmental impacts'. ...
... Similarly, the metrics used in international discourses of urban climate change accountability reflect an interest in demonstrating cities as attractive sites for investment rather than the social imperatives of reducing GHG emissions. For example, highlighting efficiencies and demonstrating GHG emissions reductions can help attract investors, exemplified by a recent Price Waterhouse Coopers report that lists transparency 'as an essential factor driving the ability of cities to secure access to private capital and much-needed investment' (Gordon, 2016). In this way, accountability metrics can have more or less to do with community and local concerns and while 'city-networks like the C40 may be contesting the who of global climate governance, but in seeking recognition through practices of external accountability they remain firmly embedded in reproducing the prioritization of economic over environmental objectives' (Gordon, 2016). ...
... For example, highlighting efficiencies and demonstrating GHG emissions reductions can help attract investors, exemplified by a recent Price Waterhouse Coopers report that lists transparency 'as an essential factor driving the ability of cities to secure access to private capital and much-needed investment' (Gordon, 2016). In this way, accountability metrics can have more or less to do with community and local concerns and while 'city-networks like the C40 may be contesting the who of global climate governance, but in seeking recognition through practices of external accountability they remain firmly embedded in reproducing the prioritization of economic over environmental objectives' (Gordon, 2016). ...
Book
Cambridge Core - Environmental Policy, Economics and Law - Urban Climate Politics - edited by Jeroen van der Heijden
... Dahal and Niemala identify numerous inconsistencies in contemporary systems of urban emissions measurement and reporting as a result of multiple competing methodologies (Dahal & Niemala, 2017), while Wachsmuth et al. view the entire enterprise of subjecting cities to standardized measurement as a flawed enterprise (Wachsmuth, Aldana Cohen, & Angelo, 2016). Critical questions have also been raised with respect to whether, and how, cities can be held accountable within the confines of the interstate regime (Bache, Bartle, Flinders, & Marsden, 2015;Gordon, 2016b;Hsu et al., 2016;Widerberg & Pattberg, 2016) and recent studies identify stubborn gaps that remain between rhetorical commitments, concrete actions, and measurable effects (Bansard et al., 2017;Widerberg & Stripple, 2016). There is, as well, a need to be attentive to changes in the configuration of political institutions related to the development of urban policy-to assess the opportunities made available to cities to participate directly and in meaningful ways in processes of national and international urban policy planning, strategizing, and decision-making such as those taking place around the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (Garschagen & Porter, 2018). ...
... To this end, Gordon proposes thinking about power as emanating from processes of recognition (Gordon, 2015;Gordon, 2016b). The ability of particular actors-cities, philanthropic organizations, environmental NGOs, global consultancies-to secure recognition for city-networks from external audiences constitutes a source of authority, one that enables them to set the terms within those networks with respect to how climate change can, or should, be governed by cities (both individually and collectively). ...
Article
Cities are increasingly central to the global governance of climate change, and much of their activity takes place within city‐networks operating at national, regional, and global scales. As the scope and ambition of city activities have been augmented over the past decade, so the scholarship has evolved as well. I set out in this review article to trace this evolution by focusing on four lines of inquiry organized around the conceptual foundations of governance experimentation, horizontal coordination, vertical integration, and political contestation. As we stand at the cusp of a vital moment in the global response, I suggest the need for a concerted effort to direct more, and more sustained, attention to the last of these. I argue that careful, critical, and creative thinking with respect to the power relations shaping the role of cities as global climate governors offers a means through which scholars can best contribute to augmenting the capacity for a just and effective urban contribution to the global effort. This article is categorized under: • Policy and Governance > Governing Climate Change in Communities, Cities, and Regions
... Gaining a better understanding of TMN-related C2CL exchanges and outcomes can help to close this gap. Additionally, despite recent efforts to explore this question (see Giest and Howlett 2013;Lee 2013: Busch 2015, it needs to be better understood why cities decided to join TMNs in the first place and what they expected from the membership (Niederhafner 2013;Gordon 2016). Furthermore, there is still a shortage of interviews with key actors from global cities involved in TMNs to better understand their perceptions and experiences about networking and learning (Bulkeley and Jordan 2012). ...
... The interview results are grouped according to four major themes deriving from the key research gaps on TMNs, C2C-cooperation and policy learning: A: Reasons for joining TMNs and the perceived added value of a membership derives from Niederhafner (2013) and Gordon (2016) who pointed out that little is known about why cities joined TMNs and what they expected from their membership. B: Kinds of exchanged and requested knowledge was inspired by Vinke-de Kruijf and Pahl Wostl (2016) who called for a better examination of how learning through international cooperation functions in practice and Gilardi and Radaelli (2012) who remarked that there is limited knowledge about how local policymakers actually learn. ...
Chapter
Over the past years a considerable number of municipalities joined together in networks that address climate change mitigation and more and more also adaptation. The presented research focuses on one key aspect of those networks: The sharing of knowledge and experience among the member cities, referred to as city-to-city learning. Due to climate change cities worldwide are facing enormous challenges that require an acceleration of the learning process of how to respond to them. Transnational city networks can help to provide a platform for learning from each other and connect cities to work together. However, the questions are how useful and effective these knowledge sharing processes are in practice, and how existing networks can facilitate and improve them. This was examined through interviews with key stakeholders representing cities that joined transnational networks. Main results were that cities are interested in learning from their peer cities that face similar challenges, and to follow the examples and adopt the strategies of pioneering cities. The contribution of networks were particularly seen in i) facilitating knowledge sharing, ii) promoting the adaptation and resilience work within the own city council, iii) providing (easier) access to funding and, most importantly, iv) enabling the establishment of informal city-to-city relationships based on mutual trust. Furthermore, some city representatives asked for a stronger involvement of the private sector in order to finance the municipalities’ climate change action, whereby the network could act as a facilitator.
... The steadily growing number of transnational city networks, the high number of cities joining them globally and their potential significance for tackling climate change stands in a certain contradiction to the rather little research that has been conducted on them. Generally, a more careful analysis of those networks is urgently required (Bouteligier 2013;Lee 2013;Gordon and Acuto 2015;Gordon 2016). Furthermore, it needs to be better understood why municipalities decided to join them and what they expected from the membership (Gore 2010;Niederhafner 2013). ...
... The key move was about local governments taking the lead ahead of their national governments, aspiring to put their names on the global map (Pattberg and Widerberg 2015). Increasingly considered as global climate governors (Gordon, 2016) cities started facing an emerging tension between contributing to meaningful global climate governance and addressing the specific and practical local challenges (Gordon and Acuto 2015). The shift from government to network governance provides local institutions access to flows of opportunities, while 'creating the illusion of empowering all even if in practice, accountability, legitimacy, legality and equity are compromised as the most powerful actors influence the whole governance process' (Gupta et al. 2015, 217). ...
Chapter
The water-soil-waste nexus is more relevant than ever. UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) covering food, water, climate and biodiversity can all significantly be served by applying wastewater and compost to soils, thereby potentially increasing food production, combating water scarcity while higher contents of soil organic matter are effective for climate mitigation and preserving biodiversity. The hydrology and soil science disciplines produce enormous amounts of methods and data, but the interaction between both disciplines is, unfortunately, rather limited. Interdisciplinarity, let alone transdisciplinarity, tends to suffer. UNU-FLORES initiated reports on 17 case studies from all over the world dealing with wastewater application to agricultural soils. These highly informative studies showed that the water-soil-waste nexus is still quite skewed with major emphasis on waste composition and quality focused on agricultural production, including health and safety, but hardly any information on hydrology and soils. The cases also indicated that policy studies focusing on rules and regulations are still in an infant stage, the more so since waste application to soils not only involves health risks but also faces unique emotional and psychological barriers. Successful waste application systems to the soil can only be developed with true and genuine engagement of stakeholders to the research process as part of transdisciplinary case studies. Presenting successful results of such case studies to the policy arena, based on a thorough analysis of both technical and socio-economic aspects, are potentially quite effective and can also be the source of innovative research ideas.
... However, scholars have raised awareness of the limits of governance networks, particularly with respect to accountability (Bäckstrand, 2008;Bovens, 2007;Willems & Van Dooren, 2011). 'The politics of accountability' is a term coined to grasp the phenomenon in which various actors, governments and non-state stakeholders, actively construct, contest and justify accountability for various purposes (Black, 2008;Chan & Pattberg, 2008;Gordon, 2016;Johansson, 2013;Newman, 2004). What complicates the search for accountability is that actors must make decisions in a situation of great uncertainty and where the outcomes of the actions are not known beforehand. ...
... The increasing significance of networks, in which responsibility for policy making and delivery is shared across organizational boundaries, challenges formal notions of accountability. Scholars have drawn attention not only to the merits, but also the limitations of various governance efforts involving multiple types of actors, including the ability to address the interests of society (Gordon, 2016;Klijn & Koppenjan, 2014). One key concern deals with the extent to which accountability turns out to be diminished in governance systems relying heavily on non-state participation (Koliba et al., 2011;Newman, 2004;Sørensen & Torfing, 2005), often known as 'the problem of many hands' and the difficulties in establishing the contribution of each participant (Poel et al., 2015;Thompson, 1980). ...
Article
Full-text available
The impacts of extreme weather events, causing severe storms and wildfires, cascade across administrative borders within a country, challenging the steering capacity of governance networks at different political scales. This paper examines how accountability and risk were constructed and negotiated in the aftermath of Sweden’s largest wildfire. It draws on results from an interview study with executives of organizations and landowners involved, and an analysis of government reports about the wildfire’s cause and consequences. Although the fire was human-caused, public administrative bodies paid considerable attention to the local emergency services and their poor handling of the wildfire, caused by lack of knowledge of forest fire behavior. The study confirms many of the challenges associated with governance networks. It finds that issues about who to hold accountable, in what forum and for what issue are not fully addressed, being overwhelmed by demands for better knowledge of forest fire prevention and improved coordination and collaboration. To conclude, the paper calls for a better-informed public administration, forest sector and interrelated networks that take responsibility for their actions or lack thereof.
... Gaining a better understanding of TMN-related C2CL exchanges and outcomes can help to close this gap. Additionally, despite recent efforts to explore this question (see Giest and Howlett 2013;Lee 2013: Busch 2015, it needs to be better understood why cities decided to join TMNs in the first place and what they expected from the membership (Niederhafner 2013;Gordon 2016). Furthermore, there is still a shortage of interviews with key actors from global cities involved in TMNs to better understand their perceptions and experiences about networking and learning (Bulkeley and Jordan 2012). ...
... The interview results are grouped according to four major themes deriving from the key research gaps on TMNs, C2C-cooperation and policy learning: A: Reasons for joining TMNs and the perceived added value of a membership derives from Niederhafner (2013) and Gordon (2016) who pointed out that little is known about why cities joined TMNs and what they expected from their membership. B: Kinds of exchanged and requested knowledge was inspired by Vinke-de Kruijf and Pahl Wostl (2016) who called for a better examination of how learning through international cooperation functions in practice and Gilardi and Radaelli (2012) who remarked that there is limited knowledge about how local policymakers actually learn. ...
Article
Cities are increasingly joining forces through transnational municipal networks. The presented research focuses on one of the key services of these organisations: providing a platform for city-to-city learning. Interviews with representatives of networks and cities showed that through network organisations local policymakers aim to connect with peers from cities that face similar challenges or that are considered frontrunners. However, the main perceived added value of the studied network organisations is around their function as facilitator of personal networking among local policymakers. While learning certainly takes place and is actively promoted by some networks, most peer-exchanges are about the sharing of knowledge and do not qualify as learning. Therefore, we suggest to distinguish thoroughly between mere 'knowledge sharing' and processes of in-depth learning. Moreover, we call for more research focussing on the role of frontrunner cities in providing 'solutions', particularly up to which point these are helpful and down-scalable.
... Bäckstrand 2008;Jordan et al. 2015), it is vital to grow a strong but modest literature that examines the role of the urban scale (e.g. Bulkeley and Betsill 2005;Gordon 2016;Marvin et al. 2018). This latterurban sustainability transitions scholarship addresses where the action happens, so to speak (Swyngedouw 2006). ...
... energy efficiency in buildings without green gentrification). At higher spatial scales within an understanding of urban governance as networked (Gordon 2016), lack of attention to telecoupled materiality can likewise lead to hollow accountability by spatially dislocating problems (e.g. high-carbon emitting practices), or secure substantive accountability through sufficient attention to local actors' roles within translocal assemblages as part of the basis for material choices (e.g. ...
Article
The European Green Capital (EGC) award has become a familiar feature in a polycentric sustainability governance landscape increasingly characterized by fragmentation and voluntary initiatives. Unclear accountability for translocal connections renders these initiatives at risk of locking unsustainable practices into transitions. Seeking clarity, this paper examines accountability through the lenses of material dislocation and discursive construction in an assessment of Oslo’s (2019) and Lisbon’s (2020) winning EGC entries. How can the EGC distinction better enable substantive urban sustainability, situating claims within wider energy transitions in these capital regions? Within the award’s circumscribed focus on urban centres, do cities account for cognitive and material dislocation through their discursive emphases and telecoupling respectively? Does the EGC catalyse change, brand the capture of low-hanging fruit, or spatially dislocate rather than reduce emissions? We argue that it propagates a focus on optimizing local sustainability effects, while rarely accounting for larger translocal or cross-scalar repercussions. Hence, urban sustainability strategies risk spatially dislocating socio-ecologically unsustainable practices rather than decreasing emissions systemically. Cities need to institute accountability mechanisms that reshape the geographies of responsibility for the systemic and translocal impacts of urban sustainability initiatives, which the EGC could promote by, e.g. including emission indicators for consumption and aviation.
... City networks are seeking to build city recognition in international climate change arenas and represent an example of transnational climate change governance (Castán Broto, 2017). By voluntarily adhering to transnational networks on climate change, local governments share their emission inventories and climate action plans, upon which the impacts and potentials in the climate challenge are assessed Gordon, 2016). One of the international initiatives that acknowledges the role and directly engages local governments in the climate challenge is the Covenant of Mayors (CoM). ...
... del P. Pablo-Romero, Pozo-Barajas, & Sánchez-Braza, 2016;Pablo-Romero, Pozo-Barajas, & Sánchez-Braza, 2018;Pietrapertosa et al., 2018;Reckien et al., 2018;Rivas et al., 2015) have developed assessments of the wide variety of mitigation and adaptation policies drawn up by municipalities and of their potential outcomes in the framework of the initiative with either international or national samples. The necessity to correlate variables and factors to investigate the role of urban context (including climate, socioeconomic and political aspects) and the drivers influencing either the participation of cities in the networks or the emissions and target setting, has been also highlighted by numerous studies (Athanassiadis et al., 2017;Busch, Bendlin, & Fenton, 2018;Croci et al., 2017;Pablo-Romero, Pozo-Barajas, & Sánchez-Braza, 2015, 2016. Fujii, Iwata, and Managi (2017)) studied the factors that influence urban carbon emission intensity by taking into consideration characteristics of the main emissions sources in cities and combining three analyses (decomposition, cluster and determinants). ...
Article
The Paris agreement recognises the key role of local authorities in reaching the 1,5 °C target. The Covenant of Mayors (CoM) has been an unprecedented phenomenon in the arena of transnational initiatives in climate action at local level. The initiative has expanded tremendously over the past 10 years, covering more than 9 600 local authorities and 327 million inhabitants as of June 2019. This study analyses policies and measures adopted and implemented by local authorities, signatories to the CoM, as reported in their Monitoring Emission Inventories (MEI). More than 12 000 policies reported in 315 MEIs have been assessed. The policies adopted in municipalities across Europe have been classified according to two criteria: (1) the type of policy tool and (2) the field of action. The aggregated policies have then be correlated with the grouping of signatories according to three "contextual" drivers. The contextual drivers allow identifying the factors that may influence the distribution of climate and energy policies and successful examples and methodologies that may be replicated in other cities with comparable characteristics and similar contexts. Overall, results show that the most common policies cover municipal assets and structures. The policies adopted by local governments do change with the population and, therefore, the focus on municipal assets changes with the increase of population, while local authorities’ Gross Domestic Products and climatic conditions have limited influence on the selection and distribution of policies in the framework of this study.
... This does not only apply for many cities aspiring to become leaders on a global stage but also for a rising number of international funders and investors looking for partners at the local level. Furthermore, as membership to C40 requires that cities disclose their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and demonstrate a credible commitment to action, C40 is deemed as being at the forefront of the move toward accountability in networked urban climate policy-making (Acuto 2013b;Bulkeley and Schroeder 2012;Gordon 2016). In fact, C40 appears to be more accountable than any other city networks gauged by its members' efforts at measuring and disclosing climate-relevant data on an annual basis. ...
... However, C40's promise to be accountable and its commitment to the maxim that "you can't manage, what you don't measure" has not only enabled C40 member cities to establish themselves as legitimate and authoritative global climate governors, but, as some observers have noticed, it has also been well received by a number of powerful international financial institutions and donors (including the World Bank). 8 These actors link cities' prospects for gaining access to international climate financing channels to the need for quantification, standardization, and transparency (Aust 2015;Gordon 2016;Porras 2008). ...
Article
Full-text available
Scholars of world politics have recently devoted growing attention to the inner workings of international organizations. While this research strand has considerably enhanced our knowledge on the impact of international bureaucracies on global policy-making, their interplay with transnational actors has not been analyzed in much detail. Against this backdrop, the present article addresses the question of why and under what circumstances international bureaucracies and transnational actors work together. Building upon a resource-exchange approach, the article specifically explores the determinants of varying levels of inter-organizational collaboration between the World Bank and transnational city networks in the policy domain of climate change. We contend that the resource-exchange perspective bears great potential to understand inter-organizational dynamics as it takes the motivations on both sides of the relationship into account. In contrast to conceptualizations of international organizations as regulators, principals, or orchestrators, this approach leaves conceptual room for analyzing their bureaucracies as partners of transnational actors.
... Cities of the C40 have come to converge around not only a common orientation with respect to the role of cities as crucial participants in the global response to climate change but also around particular governance practices and standards. These include, for example, uptake of the Global Greenhouse Gas Protocol for Cities (GPC), an emissions measurement and management standard developed jointly by C40, the World Resources Institute (WRI), and ICLEI, and practices of transparency and disclosure (of emissions inventories, governance activities, targets, and plans) to third-party platforms such as CDP Cities (Gordon, 2016a). ...
... Scholars have developed creative means of assessing the performance of cities, in terms of congruence between nominal commitment and policy action (Chan et al., 2017), the ambition of governance targets and policy actions (Bansard et al., 2016), and measurable effects of governance interventions (Erickson et al., 2014). Yet work is needed with respect to addressing whether cities can (and by whom) be held accountable for the promises and commitments (Gordon, 2016a;Hsu et al., 2016;Widerberg & Pattberg, 2017) and the empirical/conceptual markers through which agency can be detected and assessed (Gordon & Johnson, 2018;van der Ven et al., 2017). ...
... An increasing number of cities and local governments adhere to transnational initiatives that are active on climate change mitigation. Cities that adhere to transnational networks on climate change by making emission inventories and climate action plans publicly available, although in the absence of obligation, render themselves accountable both globally as well as locally [1]. Their performance and identity are increasingly scrutinized in terms of global impact and exploited in the scientific literature [2]. ...
... Similarly, in the CoM, the governance of integrated energy and climate action plans has been in place for a decade through transparent and robust framework of reporting and monitoring of the so-called sustainable energy and climate action plans in municipalities. Although in the absence of obligation, cities adhere voluntarily to the initiative and they render themselves accountable both globally as well as locally [1]. The largest difference perhaps between national and transnational systems, such as CoM, on the governance is related to possibilities for sanctioning non-compliance with soft measures such as removal of support or suspension from the initiative [35]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Local authorities and cities are at the forefront of driving the energy transition, which plays a crucial role in mitigating the effects of climate change. The greenhouse gas emissions in cities, due to energy consumption, are placed into two categories: direct emissions generated from the combustion of fossil fuels mainly in buildings and transport sectors, and indirect emissions from grid-supplied energy, such as electricity and district heating and/or cooling. While there is extensive literature focused on direct greenhouse gas emissions accounting in cities’ inventories, research has focused to a lesser extent on allocation methods of indirect emissions from grid-supplied energy. The present paper provides an updated definition for the concept of local energy generation within the Covenant of Mayors initiative and proposes a new methodology for indirect emission accounting in cities’ greenhouse gas emission inventories. In addition, a broader policy framework in which local action is taken is discussed based on the European Union energy and climate policies, and over 80 exemplary Covenant of Mayors good practices are identified across the technology areas of local energy generation and four modes of urban climate governance. The contributions of the paper demonstrate that local authorities have the capacity to support and mobilize action for local energy generation investments through the multiple modes of urban climate governance to update and strengthen climate action
... Previous publications have pointed out that more careful analysis of TMCNs is urgently required (Bouteligier 2013;Gordon 2013Gordon , 2016Lee 2013;Gordon and Acuto 2015). This gap was filled for a few TMCNs through a few case studies, mainly focused on Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) (Feldman 2012;Zeppel 2013;Van Staden et al. 2014;Fenton and Busch 2016). ...
... TMCNs have already distinguished themselves as providers of guidelines (Kern and Alber 2009) and as setters of rules (Andonova et al. 2009;Bulkelely and Jordan 2012;Busch et al. 2018) and benchmarks (Bulkeley et al. 2003;Fünfgeld 2015;Gordon 2016). Furthermore, TMCNs are increasingly important for 'international advocacy (Fünfgeld 2015;Busch et al. 2018) and the internationalisation of urban environmental governance' (Fünfgeld 2015, p. 68). ...
Article
The steady emergence of transnational municipal climate networks demonstrates that cities are globally joining forces to tackle climate change. However, we still know little about how these increasingly influential organisations function. By modifying and extending an existing network typology through the development of a set of new dimensions and indicators additional examination criteria, this paper aims to better define, systemise, and distinguish the different networks. The paper reveals demonstrates that there are very exclusive elite networks only open to a limited number of municipalities and very inclusive mass networks open to almost all municipalities. Moreover, many networks vary significantly in terms of organisational structure, governance, or the number of involved private, public, or other partners. Additionally, the paper raises critical questions to be addressed by future qualitative research. These should be focused on gaining a better understanding of the role and significance of the various network partners as well as the existing collaboration in several networks.
... Gaining a better understanding of TMN-related C2CL exchanges and outcomes can help to close this gap. Additionally, despite recent efforts to explore this question (see Giest and Howlett 2013;Lee 2013: Busch 2015, it needs to be better understood why cities decided to join TMNs in the first place and what they expected from the membership (Niederhafner 2013;Gordon 2016). Furthermore, there is still a shortage of interviews with key actors from global cities involved in TMNs to better understand their perceptions and experiences about networking and learning (Bulkeley and Jordan 2012). ...
... The interview results are grouped according to four major themes deriving from the key research gaps on TMNs, C2C-cooperation and policy learning: A: Reasons for joining TMNs and the perceived added value of a membership derives from Niederhafner (2013) and Gordon (2016) who pointed out that little is known about why cities joined TMNs and what they expected from their membership. B: Kinds of exchanged and requested knowledge was inspired by Vinke-de Kruijf and Pahl Wostl (2016) who called for a better examination of how learning through international cooperation functions in practice and Gilardi and Radaelli (2012) who remarked that there is limited knowledge about how local policymakers actually learn. ...
... The value of this study is not limited to China, but has implications for the broader literature on climate governance. A significant trend in studies on climate governance in liberal democracies has been the emergence of a local perspective on policy innovation, where municipal governments and other local actors are leading experimentation in the absence of top-down commands and support (Gordon 2016;Bulkeley and Betsill 2013;Lee and Painter 2015;Jordan et al. 2015;Simon Rosenthal et al. 2015;Lo 2014b;Broto 2017). Climate experimentation is often conducted through partnerships between local governments and community groups (McGuirk et al. 2015;Aylett 2013;Heiskanen et al. 2015), businesses (Leventon, Dyer, and Van Alstine 2015;Schroeder, Burch, and Rayner 2013;Khan 2013), and transnational municipal networks (Busch 2015;Giest and Howlett 2013;Bouteligier 2013;Rashidi and Patt 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
The Low-Carbon Pilot (LCP) program in China is an important national initiative aiming to facilitate climate experimentation. Thus far, 87 local governments have become climate pilots and are tasked with developing innovative climate solutions with the hope that these innovations can be applied nationally. The LCP adopts a uniquely Chinese approach to policymaking that is characterized by both bottom-up experimentation and top-down control and has been described as a success in the official discourse. However, using two case studies from Guangdong and Jilin, we show that there could be significant variation in performance and willingness to conduct experimentation among the climate pilots. The presence of variation suggests that the top-down steering mechanisms of the LCP are not conducive to climate experimentation and have the unintended consequences of encouraging risk-averse behaviors. We further show that local factors – leadership support, communities of practice, and alignment of interests – are important factors enabling success.
... This is due to the fact that the objectivity of LCA has long been a point of discussion in the community (and in other fields), where value judgments, methodological considerations and completeness have been discussed in the community for decades; see e.g. Hertwich et al. (2000), Heiskanen (2002), Lazarevic et al. (2012), Gordon (2016), Freidberg (2018), Lazarevic (2018). Similarly, as Heiskanen (1999) (p. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a widely used environmental assessment tool. However, only a small share of efforts have been made to extend communication. Researchers, practitioners, and their targeted audiences have divergent needs and knowledge for using and communicating the information provided from LCAs. As such, communication efforts are needed to transparently and coherently identify how LCA can be used and how to interpret the results. The goal of the study is to provide insight and guidance on improved communication of LCA results. The goal is approached, on the one hand, by exploring how LCA results presently are communicated, and on the other, by exploring preferences on communication among different stakeholder groups. The study employs a mix of methods; interviews, a literature review and a final online survey. Results from these methods are later analyzed and triangulated to provide further understanding of improving LCA communication; based on feedback, needs and knowledge from all stakeholders involved in the study and scientific knowledge. The interviews resulted in a review of divergent needs, knowledge and opinions from different societal actors on communicating life cycle-based knowledge. The interviewees highlighted the importance of communication of intent and conclusions. This was however not reflected by the current practice identified in the literature reviews. The survey respondents emphasized the importance of tailoring communication to media and audience, and a need for a certain LCA knowledge when communicating LCA results. Perceptions towards result presentation in figures and tables were mapped. Of suggested actions for improving communication, education and courses received the most recognition. In conclusion, the study identified a need for focus on LCA communication, both when it comes to the identification and evaluation of current practice and providing support for those communicating and receiving LCA results.
... For instance, an evaluation of four polycentric transnational networks found that such action can produce benefi ts for equity, inclusivity, information, accountability, organizational multiplicity, and adaptability (Sovacool 2011). Global measurement, reporting, and disclosure databases, capturing commitments and plans for thousands of cities, further stress the apparent desire for (global) accountability and responsibility in urban climate governance (Gordon 2016). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This Ernst Strüngmann Forum seeks to link justice, sustainability, and diversity agendas. In support, this chapter discusses how linkages between these three concepts h ave formed and changed in the climate change discourse, particularly in light of the recent Paris Agreement. As the latest addition to the portfolio of international climate change agreements, the Paris Agreement establishes a landscape in which nation-states, subna-tional actors, and transnational networks will be able to reconfi gure existing linkages between sustainability, diversity, and justice, and perhaps improve upon them. Here, three possible developments are identifi ed which may substantially infl uence the reconfi guration process. Recognition is given to the sustainability and justice deficits that have plagued the "top-down" character of the international climate change discourse , and it is hypothesized that the Paris Agreement opens the door for "bottom-up" movements to claim a larger segment of climate change policy decision making and design. In turn, the "polycentric" landscape created by such "movement from below" appears to emphasize concepts such as inclusivity and transparency perhaps allowing for explicit climate justice commitments. Finally, to advance societal transformation and embrace diversity, it is hypothesized that the scientifi c endeavor needs to be transformed from a purely analytical pursuit to an effort that makes use of the wide range of scientifi c competences and provides support for transformative innovations to change unsustainable sociotechnical systems.
... The quantification of environmental impacts, into specific units of GHG emissions etc., is part of the philosophy that one has to "measure it to manage it" (cf. Gordon, 2014). The legitimacy that science-based numbers provide has a long history, which can be traced back to Lord Kelvin's (1883) famous dictum "when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind: … you have scarcely … advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be." ...
Article
Since the introduction of the European Union's Renewable Energy Directive (RED), biofuel‐producing firms are required to perform life cycle assessment (LCA) based greenhouse gas accounting in order to fulfill part of directive's sustainability criteria. This paper adopts the concepts of “governing by standards” and “governing by numbers” to understand the LCA practices of biofuel‐producing firms and assess the critical moments of friction between these alternative modes of governance. We focus our analysis on the use of LCA in the Swedish biofuel industry, undertaking case studies on the use of LCA in four Swedish biofuel‐producing firms and semistructured interviews with industry associations and governmental bodies. Results indicated that the RED not only influences what biofuel sustainability entails but also structures the calculative practices used to measure it. At the same time, our results point to friction between achieving regulatory compliance and improving biofuel sustainability.
... At the most fundamental level, China's ECTRS represents a different mode of governance. In contrast to the more commonly studied bottom-up approach to energy and climate governance typically found in liberal democracies [75][76][77][78][79][80][81][82], China is guided by the logic of environmental authoritarianism where the national government drives and coordinates pro-environmental actions in a hierarchical manner. In light of the growing discontent over the lack of effectiveness of neoliberal governance models, there is an increasing interest in whether authoritarian regimes are more capable in environmental stewardship [45,83,84]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The governance of energy consumption in China is of environmental significance from the standpoints of preventing local air pollution and global climate change. At the heart of China’s energy governance system is the energy conservation target responsibility system (ECTRS). This article examines this important governance instrument from three key aspects. First, it explains the role of the ECTRS in China’s authoritarian yet decentralized governance system. Second, it traces the development of the ECTRS over the last decade, with a specific focus on the reforms introduced in the 13th 5-Year Plan (2016–2020), particularly the energy caps. Third, it analyzes the limitations of the ECTRS and provides a policy outlook in the context of growing domestic and international interests in energy conservation.
... While TMNs offer opportunities for introducing new planning rationales at the local level (Davidson & Gleeson, 2015), the ability of global dynamics to change local administrative logics may be limited (Hickmann, Fuhr, Hohne, Lederer, & Stehle, 2017). It is also not clear how cities can be held accountable in transnational regimes (Gordon, 2016). Warnings emphasize the lack of international climate funding on the one hand (Ayers, 2009), and the negative consequences of the involvement of cities in international institutions on the other (Cohen, 2014;Fraundorfer, 2017;Lefèvre, 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
In this review, we take stock of the last decade of research on climate change governance in urban areas since the 2009 conference in Copenhagen. Using a systematic evaluation of academic publications in the field, we argue that the current moment of research has been shaped by two recent waves of thought. The first, a wave of urban optimism, which started in 2011 and peaked in 2013, engaged with urban areas as alternative sites for governance in the face of the crumbling international climate regime. The second, a wave of urban pragmatism, which started in 2016, has sought to reimagine urban areas following the integration of the “sub‐national” as a meaningful category in the international climate regime after the 2015 Paris Agreement for Climate Action. Four themes dominate the debate on climate change governance in urban areas: why there is climate action, how climate action is delivered, how it is articulated in relation to internationally reaching networks, and what implications it has to understand environmental or climate justice within urban settings. Calls to understand the impacts of climate change policy have fostered research on climate change politics, issues of power and control, conflicts, and the inherently unjust nature of much climate policy. What is largely missing from the current scholarship is a sober assessment of the mundane aspects of climate change governance on the ground and a concern with what kind of cultural and socio‐economic change is taking place, beyond comparative analyses of the effectiveness of climate policies. This article is categorized under: Policy and Governance > Governing Climate Change in Communities, Cities, and Regions
... Within the urban politics scholarship, a fair amount of attention has been devoted to issues of devolution (Allen & Cochrane, 2007), leadership (Teles, 2014), form of government (Bae & Feiock, 2013), accountability (Gordon, 2016), and legitimacy and representation (Davies & Imbroscio, 2009). The narratives about the changing cast of private and public actors (Pierre, 2011) have inspired moves toward "social investments" that promote further democratization, participation, and cooperation between government, voluntary sector, and the business community; see, for example, the recommendations of the Commission for a Socially Sustainable Malmö (Stigendal & Östergren, 2013) to "reduce the differences in living conditions and make societal systems more equitable" (p. 6). ...
Article
Full-text available
This review article explores some of the key concepts, trends, and approaches in contemporary urban governance research. Based on a horizon scan of recent literature and a survey of local government officials, it provides a big picture on the topic and identifies areas for future research. Bridging the gap between the scholarly research focus and the perceptions and requirements of city administrators represents a major challenge for the field. Furthermore, because global and comparative research on urban governance is confronted with an absence of systematically collected, comparable data, the article argues that future efforts will require experimenting with methodologies that can generate new empirical insights.
... Platforms may miss the ways initiatives scale up and entrench themselves (or fail to do so) if they evaluate performance or potential performance in the short term. The risk is that such evaluations can prematurely create winners and losers, by signaling endorsement that helps to mobilize resources, or conversely by signaling that an initiative is undeserving of further support (see also Gordon 2016;Hsu et al. 2019). For example, van der Ven and colleagues (2017) argue that the domestic failure of the United Kingdom's Carbon Trust carbon labelling initiative could lead observers to overlook its long-term contributions: improving supply chain efficiency and disseminating its standards to non-United Kingdom jurisdictions. ...
Chapter
Architectures of Earth System Governance - edited by Frank Biermann May 2020
... Globally, the registry records 26.8 billion tons of CO 2 emission reductions by 2050 and covers over 820 million people [120]. Through these networks, urban leaders are held to account by their own citizenry but also through peer pressure from other cities that compete and collaborate [121,122]. ...
Article
Full-text available
In 2021, the U.S. government unveiled a national climate action plan, signaling the Biden Administration's intention to return the country to negotiations organized under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The plan would zero out CO2 emissions from the U.S. energy sector by mid-century. In response, the national opposition party quickly declared its goal to prevent the plan from being implemented, exposing a cycle of American climate policy inaction in which cancel politics are practiced by the Republican Party after the Democratic Party attempts to fashion a national compromise. The pattern has been repeated for decades with a common result: U.S. failure to sustain a responsive national policy to the climate crisis. However, while the U.S. ‘hothouse’ of national policy conflict is unmoved by overwhelming evidence of American impact in the global greenhouse, a third party (led by alliances of social movements with state and local governments) has emerged that is aggressively designing, enacting and enforcing responsive policies far exceeding the aims of a national plan that appears to have no future. We offer a theory to explain American national climate policy inaction and its contestation by an American “polycentric” counterparty, arguing that polycentric success in this contest can be traced to its focus on principles of social justice and moral responsibility to mobilize social change and to gauge its effectiveness. We offer supporting empirical findings of the power of this polycentric counterparty to transform U.S. energy-climate-society relations.
... PNLG can be helpfully put in context by comparing it to that of another well-known environmentally focused transnational municipal network, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40). C40 is a climate change governance-focused network facilitating inter-city knowledge and resources exchange on climate change policy matters (Bulkeley et al. 2012;Lee 2015;Gordon 2016;Pichler et al. 2017). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This study observes environmental city diplomacy in the Global South through the example of the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia Network of Local Governments (PNLG). It offers several theoretical lessons: First, an environmental transnational city network can successfully expand membership into a politically restrictive state when the entry point is highly embedded in global capital flows and houses a strong specialized policy knowledge base. Such is the case of the Chinese city of Xiamen, which translated foreign trade management experience into international governance cooperation competence, leveraged its substantial local knowledge base in coastal management and thus came to be chosen as the home of the PNLG Secretariat. This preceded the expansion of Chinese city membership into PNLG thereafter. Second, the policy performance of member cities over time, including the frequency of implementation of new marine protection policies, is shown to be linked both to PNLG membership activities and frequency policy learning exchanges with other cities, independently of PNLG activities, domestically and internationally. Last, Global South cities, at least through the example of China, would appear to not be as dependent on Global North actors for policy knowledge as posited in existing literature.
... Well-known examples are for instance United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), 100 Resilient Cities and C40 (Labaeye and Sauer 2013;Haupt and Coppola 2019). Most of them, particularly the two latter ones, heavily focus on capital cities and large cities (Hunt and Watkiss 2011;Araos et al. 2016;Gordon 2016;Coppola et al. 2020;Haupt et al. 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Cities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Many larger cities have identified the potential impacts of different climate change adaptation scenarios. However, their smaller and medium-sized counterparts are often not able to address climate risks effectively due to a lack of necessary resources. Since a large number of cities worldwide are indeed small and medium-sized, this lack of preparedness represents a crucial weakness in global response systems. A promising approach to tackling this issue is to establish regional municipal networks. Yet, how might a regional network for small and medium-sized cities be systematically designed and further developed? Focussing on the German federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, we have explored this question by applying a participatory action research approach. As part of our research, we established a regional network framework for small and medium-sized cities. The framework supports small and medium-sized cities in identifying key regional actors, while taking local and regional contextual factors into account. Based on our findings, we suggest that other small and medium sized cities follow these steps: develop the knowledge base; build the network; and transfer and consolidate knowledge.
... 16 Perhaps even more daunting than the creation of domestic coalitions among mayors and governors within a given country are attempts by these same actors to build coalitions of peers that span international boundaries. A salient case in point is the C40 coalition of mayors seeking to challenge global inaction on climate change (Erickson and Tempest 2014;Gordon 2016 that were critical in the emergence of "municipal socialism" in countries like Brazil (Baiocchi 2003;Goldfrank and Schrank 2009). Although several regional presidents have sought to foster and coordinate anti-neoliberal protests against large-scale mining, protests have been largely ephemeral and have failed to produce much of an organizational residue once protests subside (which they often do in response to promises of corporate social responsibility facilitated by the national government). ...
... Cities interact with transnational municipal networks to set the local climate policy agenda (D. Gordon, 2016;Gordon & Johnson, 2017). Climate entrepreneurs and civil society organizations affect policymaking (Forrest et al., 2017;Green, 2017;Herweg et al., 2017;Neebe & Reusswig, 2012). ...
Article
Studies that focus on different urban governance structures, especially unitary states, and semi-authoritarian regimes, are still lacking in the urban climate governance literature. This research explains how climate change is governed under a unitary state structure, particularly focusing on how urban climate governance incorporates higher-level government policy and external stakeholders to set a climate agenda and actions. Four main themes are framed from the urban climate governance literature, including agenda-setting, the divergence between the existing policies and urban climate agendas, policy entrepreneurs' roles, and civil society organizations. By focusing on the four themes, we aim to understand how climate change is governed in Istanbul, the biggest and the richest city of Turkey, under a unitary system of government. Based on semi-structured interviews, field notes based on participant-observations, and review of existing official documents, we find that swings in political leadership, the divergence between the existing laws and newly adopted urban climate agendas, and conflicting priorities between policy entrepreneurs generate barriers to long-run and tangible climate change actions in Istanbul. Nevertheless, we argue there is an opportunity space for local governments to co-create new governance mechanisms, as the national government does not have the capacity to lead climate change action, nor is there a political will and focus at the highest levels of government to engage deeply in this policy space.
... The actors and processes of governance do not operate in a vacuum; they comprise complex institutions that include different reified governance organizations, formal and informal institutional arrangements, and values, norms, and objectives (da Cruz et al., 2019;Pierre, 2011Pierre, , 1999. Therefore, the study of governance also concerns the institutions and mechanisms that sustain and steer such processes (Gordon, 2016;Smith & Smyth, 2010). These institutional factors both shape the processes of governance and are shaped by the governance strategies conceived by reform-seeking actors (Hall, 2011;Pierre, 1999). ...
Article
Full-text available
Cities are at the forefront of the global challenges of climate change. Compared to other urban problems, the complexity and uncertainty of climate change presents new governance challenges. Consequently, new modes of urban governance have emerged to address climate change, including multilevel governance (the cooperation of governmental actors positioned at different jurisdictions and governance levels); network governance (the collaboration between public and private actors in steering collective action); and experimental governance (the trial-and-error-based interventions to generate new climate solutions). This review paper compares urban climate governance in China and the West through the three analytical perspectives. The findings show that the actors involved in urban climate governance have become more diverse in China and globally, driven by new governance mechanisms that encourage the active involvement of a broad range of state and non-state actors. However, Chinese urban climate governance does exhibit distinctive characteristics under the country's unique political-economic contexts. Therefore, care must be exercised in obtaining a nuanced and contextualized understanding of urban climate governance in China. This paper concludes by offering several suggestions for future research in Chinese urban climate governance.
... Climate city networks, understood as formalized subnational governance networks that have climate 23 change as their focus, emerged in the 1980s in response to weak national political responses and the need 24 for on-the-ground action to mitigate climate change (Acuto & Rayner, 2016; D. J. Gordon, 2016). These 25 city networks have been rapidly embraced by urban scholars as an essential part of urban policy and 26 governance, and they have repeatedly featured on the pages of Cities (e.g., Dent As climate city networks expand, researchers bring new questions to bear on their role in urban 38 climate governance. ...
Article
Full-text available
In recent decades, climate city networks, understood as formalized subnational governance networks that have climate change as their focus, have emerged, linking cities to the global climate governance regime and helping them to take climate action locally. Such city networks are considered an essential aspect of urban climate policy and governance. Scholarship on climate city networks has illustrated that such networks can no longer be understood as homogenous groups of organizations; rather, they show heterogeneity in how they seek to attract and engage with member cities. In this article, we unpack this heterogeneity and interrogate the various ways in which climate city networks attract and engage with their members. We are particularly interested in understanding what typifies climate city networks with an active member base. In studying 22 real-world climate city networks, we uncover five distinct types of networks with an active member base. The typology illustrates the rich, but bounded, variety of climate city networks, and helps to clarify how climate city networks can be effective in encouraging their member cities to take local climate action.
... While pivotal to the theoretical, analytic, and empirical study of cities in world politics, this work has not fully theorized city agency (cf. Van Der Heijden et al., 2019) nor the manner in which power is constituted and manifest (Gordon, 2016). ...
Article
Cities both large and small, more and less economically advanced, are deeply involved in efforts to address the most challenging and complex issues of contemporary global governance, ranging from climate change and conditions of insecurity to human migration and public health. Yet this puzzling phenomenon is largely ignored within International Relations (IR) scholarship, and only partially theorized by scholars working in other fields of inquiry. Our premise in this article is that attempts to understand and assess city participation in world politics are augmented by focusing on the global identity of the city, since understanding what cities do in world politics is shaped by who cities (think they) are on the global stage. In proposing a subtle shift, from the passively labeled global city to what we call the globally engaged city, we direct analysis to the political and discursive forces shaping, delimiting, and informing this novel role for the city as a world-political actor. We propose that city identity is now fractured into local and global dimensions and set out two analytically distinct contexts in which the global identity of the city is forged through a process of differentiation from the nation-state. Our framework highlights in particular the politics of recognition shaping how the globally engaged city is defined and diffused. Through two empirical vignettes we illustrate the value of our framework as a means for IR scholarship to bring cities in from the analytic hinterlands and better understand their (potential) impact on the world stage.
... Examples include studies on epistemic communities (Haas, 1992;1989), or on transnational advocacy networks (Keck and Sikkink, 1999;. Many scholars have also started to broadly refer to networked governance (Gordon, 2016a;2016b;Bouteligier, 2013a;Khan, 2013;Juhola and Westerhoff, 2011;Bäckstrand, 2008). Authors using the network-as-actor perspective tend to focus more on the network as a whole, its behaviour and its actions, than on looking at its relational characteristics. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
This dissertation seeks to explain the emergence of novelty through the case of transnational municipal networks engaged in global climate governance. Its theoretical framework uses network theory, complex systems approaches and some insights from organisational theories. Its empirical analysis is based on the study of 15 climate TMNs. Through an analysis of TMNs' governance instruments and interactions with a variety of actors, I found that TMNs' centrality and diversity of contacts help explain the emergence of novel governance instruments. In the absence of centrality and diversity, the presence of governance entrepreneurs might explain why some TMNs generate more novelties than others. By providing a new explanation for the emergence of novelties, this dissertation highlights potential mechanisms for the diversification of governance approaches to the wicked problem of climate change.
... City and county administrators continued to pursue climate preparedness and resilience strategies. As observed by and Gordon (2016), cities have undertaken countless actions in addressing climate change-related threats. The scaling of the climate resilience efforts to cities and counties levels is emphasized in outcomes from climate change-resilient activities. ...
... City and county administrators continued to pursue climate preparedness and resilience strategies. As observed by and Gordon (2016), cities have undertaken countless actions in addressing climate change-related threats. The scaling of the climate resilience efforts to cities and counties levels is emphasized in outcomes from climate change-resilient activities. ...
... While many have emphasized the role of non-state and transnational actors in motivating climate action in global South cities (Fisher, 2012(Fisher, , 2014Fisher et al., 2018;Fu¨nfgeld, 2015;Goh, 2020;Gordon, 2016;Khosla and Bhardwaj, 2018;Silver, 2017), the role of a city government's own agency remains critical (Borie et al., 2019;Chu, 2018;Heinrichs et al., 2013). Studies focused on the involvement of influential transnational and non-state actors in global South cities have emphasized that climate action involves bypassing existing political practices and forming experimental, hybrid arrangements. ...
Article
City governments are facing complex challenges due to climate change, but those in the global South often have limited capacities and governance arrangements to develop and execute a response. Cities must also manage other existing priorities such as housing, water and waste management, which have established bureaucratic practices and incentives. How are such cities with limited climate governance capacity and with existing non-climate priorities developing a climate response? From interviews and participant observation in two Indian cities that are pioneering climate action, we find that actors are ‘superimposing’ climate objectives onto existing bureaucratic practices. Building on analysis of ongoing projects in the two cities, we theorize superimposition as an approach taken by bureaucracies that have the intention of responding to climate change but have limited control over their planning practices and mandates, high levels of institutional inertia to change existing practices, and multiple other objectives related to development that dominate agendas. As superimposition does not involve the modification of existing bureaucratic practices or incentives, the types of climate actions which emerge from this approach reflect the features, scope and limitations of existing political arrangements. We highlight five such features of how Indian city bureaucracies respond to climate change: (1) the primacy of central and state ‘schemes’, (2) the prioritization of ‘development’ as an objective, and the imperative to implement (3) ‘quick win’, (4) ‘visible’ and (5) ‘bankable’ projects. Superimposition has led to creative and politically tenable climate projects that meet both climate objectives and those of existing schemes on housing, water and waste. But these projects are also limited by existing governance arrangements with tradeoffs for long-term planning, urban justice and public ownership of infrastructure.
... City and county administrators continued to pursue climate preparedness and resilience strategies. As observed by and Gordon (2016), cities have undertaken countless actions in addressing climate change-related threats. The scaling of the climate resilience efforts to cities and counties levels is emphasized in outcomes from climate change-resilient activities. ...
... TMNs appear to be a case of networked governance since they connect local actors to public, private, local and transnational partners (Lee, 2013). Gathering a variety of actors beyond member cities, they blur the traditional distinctions among public, private, national and international actors (Gordon, 2016a;2016b). ...
Article
Transnational Municipal Networks (TMNs) are increasing in size, scope and number on the global arena. They reflect a tendency for city governments to coordinate environmental action through networked forms of governance. In this article, we argue that a new generation of TMNs has entered the global scene to help cities steer their efforts to handle environmental issues. In contrast to the characteristics of older TMNs as public, inclusive, and self-governed, new-generation TMNs are influenced by private actors, they are exclusive, and employ enforcement mechanisms to secure the fulfilment of network goals. To underline the diversity of TMNs and thus better understand urban networked governance, we present a case study of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative covering its conduct in 2013–2019. Looking at its actor composition and membership terms, we identify a hybrid nature different from the one described in earlier literature on European TMNs primarily. This subscription to a hybrid form of governance calls for a larger discussion on the implications of this shift in governance type and on the extent to which hybridisation implies a shift of power from the public to the private sphere.
... In "actually existing" DEG, local entities rarely work in isolation but rather are formally or informally embedded within governance networks that include state actors at various scales, community-based organizations, regional-to global-scale NGOs, producer associations, private firms, kinship groups, and myriad other entities. Local entities may experience network accountability from these actors so as to "secure recognition" and acquire or maintain authority or legitimacy (Gordon 2016). In other words, decentralised governance entities may come to see the conservation of conflict wildlife species as necessary to maintain their standing as legitimate members of broader governance networks. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Effective environmental governance is often viewed as one of the most important contributing factors to successful conservation. Good alignment between institutions and the geographical extents of ecological issues or systems they are meant to manage contributes to this success (known as “social-ecological fit”). However, issues and systems often extend beyond the control of any one organization or agency and thus require the efforts of multiple actors working together to achieve their common goals. Different governance structures may vary in the degree to which they foster networks for successful collective action. In this dissertation, I analyze the performance of Colombia’s environmental governance in conserving the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus), a flagship species entangled in human-wildlife conflict. My analysis considers the actions and interactions of three groups of conservation actors: 1) environmental authorities known as autonomous regional corporations (corporaciones autonomas regionales or CARs)—the primary entities responsible for implementing conservation policy in Colombia; 2) Colombia’s National Natural Park Service; and 3) nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Interinstitutional coordination is crucial as the known range of Andean bears in Colombia crosses the boundaries of 22 CARs and 22 national natural parks. My analysis was based on qualitative and social network data gathered via 67 semi-structured interviews with conservation practitioners during 2018-2019; these data were later integrated with a landscape connectivity model for Andean bears constructed with circuit theory. My research suggests that the successful coordination of large-scale wildlife conservation may yet require leadership from central institutions. Inconsistent program implementation among the CARs and limited information exchange potentially exacerbate human-bear conflicts, particularly at CAR borders. Only 30% of those CARs that shared habitat critical to Andean bear movement had communicated with one another about Andean bear research and conservation strategies. CARs were more likely to communicate with the National Natural Park Service or NGOs. These other entities were often located within the social network structure as intermediaries between otherwise disconnected CARs. These actors could use such strategic positions to facilitate coordination between CARs that share habitat important for Andean bear connectivity and, in so doing, improve social-ecological fit for the conservation of this species.
Chapter
Data-driven urban climate change mitigation is on the rise, as both a normative aim cities are encouraged to pursue and as a component of city governments’ own activities around climate change mitigation. As comparatively new entrants to climate governance, city governments have lacked the necessary data employed by other levels of government. The trend towards data-driven urban climate change mitigation has resulted in data that can act as basic building blocks for effective climate change response measures. However, while typically presented as a technical exercise and part of transparent, good governance, data-driven urban climate change mitigation comes with some important political implications and has the potential to empower and disempower particular agents in urban climate change governance. In this review we identify main strains of scholarship: the promotion of data as a policy and governance input for increasing capacity, the politics of data as a mechanism for transparency and accountability, and the democratic implications of data-driven climate change mitigation. We advocate for research that delves more deeply into understanding the actors implicated in urban data collection and storage, and that leverages comparative analysis of cities in different political-economic contexts.
Article
In what ways is climate change political? This book addresses this key - but oddly neglected - question. It argues that in order to answer it we need to understand politics in a three-fold way: as a site of authoritative, public decision-making; as a question of power; and as a conflictual phenomenon. Recurring themes center on de- and re-politicization, and a tension between attempts to simplify climate change to a single problem and its intrinsic complexity. These dynamics are driven by processes of capital accumulation and their associated subjectivities. The book explores these arguments through an analysis of a specific city - Ottawa - which acts as a microcosm of these broader processes. It provides detailed analyses of conflicts over urban planning, transport, and attempts by city government and other institutions to address climate change. The book will be valuable for students and researches looking at the politics of climate change.
Book
In what ways is climate change political? This book addresses this key - but oddly neglected - question. It argues that in order to answer it we need to understand politics in a three-fold way: as a site of authoritative, public decision-making; as a question of power; and as a conflictual phenomenon. Recurring themes center on de- and re-politicization, and a tension between attempts to simplify climate change to a single problem and its intrinsic complexity. These dynamics are driven by processes of capital accumulation and their associated subjectivities. The book explores these arguments through an analysis of a specific city - Ottawa - which acts as a microcosm of these broader processes. It provides detailed analyses of conflicts over urban planning, transport, and attempts by city government and other institutions to address climate change. The book will be valuable for students and researches looking at the politics of climate change.
Article
This paper offers a conceptual examination of the power-effects of transparency, as information disclosure, on those making accountability claims against actors deemed to be causing significant environmental harm. Informed by Lukes’s ([2005]. Power: A radical view (second edition). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.) multi-dimensional theory of power, I review recent scholarship to interrogate four hypotheses positing empowerment for accountability claimants arising from the disclosure of sustainability information. Across public and private governance forms, academic research suggests that information disclosure promotes the communication of the sustainability interests of affected parties, and in some cases enhances the capacity of these parties to evaluate justifications provided by relevant power-wielders. However, evidence is weaker that disclosure of sustainability information empowers accountability claimants to sanction or otherwise steer those responsible; and there is little support that transparency fosters wider political interrogation of the configurations of authority producing environmental harm. Differentiating between behavioural and non-behavioural understandings of power allows an evaluation of these research findings on the power-related effects of information disclosure.
Article
The challenges related to climate change and energy issues have induced a growing number of actors to participate in governance arrangements of information-sharing and mutual policy-learning. In recent years the increasing availability of data on policy outputs and outcomes has enabled researchers to observe variation in these governance arrangements of transnational municipal climate networks (TMCNs). To capture this variation, we rely on two ideal types of policy information systems: policy tracking (PT) and policy surveillance (PS). Focusing on two TMCNs active in energy governance, our qualitative analysis attests the existence of these two modes of monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions. The Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy exemplifies how PS schemes can standardize scoring methodology and facilitate policy compliance and enforcement. In contrast, Energy Cities fits the typology of a PT system that aims to showcase local initiatives and mutual learning.
Article
Full-text available
The Paris Agreement has underlined the role of cities in combating climate change. The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) is the largest international initiative dedicated to promoting climate action at a city level, covering globally over 10 000 cities and almost half the population of the European Union (EU) by end of March 2020. The fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report notes that there is a lack of comprehensive, consistent datasets of cities' greenhouse gas (GHG) emission inventories. In order to partly address this gap, we present a harmonised, complete and verified dataset of GHG inventories for 6200 cities in European and Southern Mediterranean countries, signatories of the GCoM initiative. To complement the reported emission data, a set of ancillary data that have a direct or indirect potential impact on cities' climate action plans were collected from other datasets, supporting further research on local climate action and monitoring the EU 27 (the 27 member states of the EU) progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 on climate action. The dataset (Kona et al., 2020) is archived and publicly available with the DOI https://doi.org/10.2905/57A615EB-CFBC-435A-A8C5-553BD40F76C9.
Thesis
Full-text available
Municipalities worldwide are increasingly exposed to the impacts of climate change manifesting in a higher incidence of natural hazards. In order to respond to these challenges, local governments need to search for solutions that proved to work elsewhere. Learning exchanges with peers from other municipalities - on the national and international level – appear to be a promising approach for local policymakers. Indeed, particularly in the last two decades cities were globally joining together in transnational municipal climate networks that promote city-to-city learning and the sharing of knowledge among its members. However, our current understanding of the functioning of these network organisations and the significance of the learning processes they facilitate is still very limited. Little is known about their impacts on the ground (e.g. on policy formulation). Moreover, despite numerous attempts to theorise and define policy learning, we still do not know how policymakers actually learn. Drawing mainly on various literature streams on governance and policy learning and policy mobilities literature this thesis explores how learning exchanges among local policymakers within transnational municipal climate networks affect local climate policymaking. The outlined question was explored through expert interviews with local policymakers and representatives of transnational municipal climate networks. The thesis is composed of three distinct research papers. At first, the various transnational municipal climate networks needed to be better defined, systemised and distinguished from another. This was done by way of a two-step desk research methodology consisting of an extensive academic literature study and an analysis of sources provided by the examined network organisations. A key finding was that there are very exclusive elite networks only open to a limited number of municipalities on the one hand, and very inclusive mass networks open to almost all municipalities on the other. Moreover, there is a stark differentiation between traditional public governance oriented networks and new emerging non-state funded networks that call for stronger private-public partnerships. In a further step, a global survey addressing key network and local representatives explored the learning opportunities leveraged from transnational municipal climate networks. In particular, the forms in which city- to-city learning is taking place within networks, alongside a perception of its helpfulness and significance by the policymakers involved. The findings generally confirm that through the participation in climate networks policymakers are enabled to learn from and with their peers from municipalities 9 facing similar challenges. Indeed, in many cases, transnational municipal climate networks act as crucial facilitators of valuable personal contacts among local policymakers. Moreover, it was shown that only some exchanges among local policymakers qualify as learning while the major parts of them were around the sharing of knowledge. The global survey also revealed that many policymakers regard study visits an effective network tool to initiate in-depth learning exchanges. Therefore, in the final paper of the thesis, study visits in climate change adaptation organised by a consortium of European municipal climate networks were investigated. Several interviews with policymakers participating in the study visits showed that – under certain conditions – they increase the credibility of policies within a municipal administration and can initiate policy adoption. However, the research also raises critical questions about the mass suitability of one-sided learning exchanges of inexperienced municipalities from frontrunner or pioneering municipalities. Instead, a stronger emphasis should be placed on mutual learning exchanges between more equal partners that learn and improve together. http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12571/9733
Chapter
Agency in Earth System Governance - edited by Michele M. Betsill January 2020
Article
Full-text available
Mayors worldwide are currently actively engaged in transnationally coordinated efforts to address climate change, pandemics, terrorism, and other global challenges, and a significant amount of scholarly attention has been paid to this development in the fields of international relations, urban studies, and security studies. Yet, curiously, the pioneering work of the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in their Mayors for Peace campaign and other related efforts to promote a vision of a world without nuclear weapons since the 1970s has scarcely been examined in city diplomacy research. Drawing largely on archival research in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this article addresses one of the key issues in the field—the legitimacy of city diplomacy. How do mayors justify the use of the limited resources at their city hall’s disposal for a global campaign associated with a policy goal that is beyond their jurisdiction? In the defense and security fields, where national leaders are the primary policymakers and deciders, this question of legitimacy is especially acute. The cases of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s city diplomacy for the elimination of nuclear weapons are no exception, despite the fact that their legitimacy has often been taken for granted given the two cities’ unique historical experience. The mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have consistently, and at times jointly and at times separately, sought to establish their legitimacy locally, nationally, and internationally. Their city diplomacy since the 1970s has successively revealed several different registers of legitimacy. Each register of legitimacy—enacted through cooperation with the national government; confrontation with the national government; and collaboration with cities, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals outside Japan, respectively—is relational and has entailed distinctively spatiotemporal reconfigurations. While city diplomacy researchers have persuasively argued that the emergence of city diplomacy is emblematic of the structural transformation of the world order in which actors and issues are not simply local, national, or global, the cases of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s city diplomacy serve as a reminder that the legitimacy of city diplomacy demands consistent relational recalibration through which the current world order is reimagined.
Article
Full-text available
While there are excellent policy and academic foundations for thinking about and making sense of urban climate action and questions of justice and climate change independently, there is less work that considers their intersection. The nature and dynamics of, and requirements for, a just urban transition (JUT)—the fusion of climate action and justice concerns at the urban scale—are not well understood. In this review article we seek to rectify this by first examining the different strains of justice scholarship (environmental, energy, climate, urban) that are informing and should inform JUT. We then turn to a discussion of just transitions in general, tracing the history of the term and current understandings in the literature. These two explorations provide a foundation for considering both scholarly and policy‐relevant JUT agendas. We identify what is still needed to know in order to recognize, study, and foster JUT. This article is categorized under: • The Carbon Economy and Climate Mitigation > Benefits of Mitigation • Climate, Nature, and Ethics > Climate Change and Global Justice
Article
The use of increasingly large and diverse data sets to guide urban climate action has implications for how, and by whom, local governments are held accountable. This review focuses on emerging dynamics of accountability in data-driven urban climate change governance to provide insight and direction for research and practice. We examine current understandings of the implications for accountability based on three common rationales for prioritizing data-driven decision-making: standardization, transparency, and capacity-building. While data-driven climate governance has the potential to enhance accountability through each of these dimensions, it is also shifting who city governments are accountable to and whether and how they are being held to account. We conclude that the trend toward data-driven urban climate governance can incentivize city governments to prioritize narrowed metrics and external interests, inhibiting the broader transformations required to realize climate change goals. We offer priorities for research at the intersection of data-driven climate governance and the accountability of city governments.
Book
Full-text available
Cambridge Core - Environmental Policy, Economics and Law - Cities on the World Stage - by David J. Gordon ***** Print: https://tinyurl.com/y7t3lo57 ******* eBook: https://tinyurl.com/y8bqq4lw ******* ## Cities, and the transnational city-networks in which they participate, are increasingly acknowledged as leaders in the global response to climate change. Yet a commonplace assertion that remains prominent is that cities are motivated solely by an innate pragmatism and problem-solving orientation. In this book I focus on the politics shaping whether and in what ways cities have come to do global climate governance, and how those politics operate to shape and drive city engagement through transnational city-networks. Drawing from scholarship on social constructivism, social movements, global governance and social fields, the book develops a theory of global urban governance fields that sheds light on the subtle relations of authority and power within this global urban governance domain. The resulting analysis applies this framework to explain how the C40 Cities Leadership Group, a prominent transnational city-network, has contributed to increasing the amount, scope, and ambition of member city engagement. It does so by drawing out a link between observed increases in engagement and the convergence of cities around particular ways of understanding and enacting their role of global climate governors. Highlighting the nature and function of power within these voluntary governance initiatives, the book provides a means of thinking critically about the transformative potential of cities as they step onto the grand stage of world politics. ##
Chapter
The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994, as the universally agreed‐upon framework for international cooperation to combat climate change. Climate and clean air responsive policies need to be framed differently, and acted upon urgently by integrating socio‐economic development with reducing vulnerability and financing the transition to clean energy for all. This chapter focuses on the role of NNSAs within the context of the PA and provides a backdrop for the argument that NNSAs are vital to the future of climate mitigation, including curbing SLCPs and increasing access to clean energy for all. There is a dizzying range of climate summits, pledging platforms and networks that almost daily showcase NNSA involvement in addressing climate change but there is no analog in terms of reducing air pollution or SLCPs.
Book
Full-text available
International institutions are prevalent in world politics. More than a thousand multilateral treaties are in place just to protect the environment alone, and there are many more. And yet, it is also clear that these institutions do not operate in a void but are enmeshed in larger, highly complex webs of governance arrangements. This compelling book conceptualises these broader structures as the 'architectures' of global governance. Here, over 40 international relations scholars offer an authoritative synthesis of a decade of research on global governance architectures with an empirical focus on protecting the environment and vital earth systems. They investigate the structural intricacies of earth system governance and explain how global architectures enable or hinder individual institutions and their overall effectiveness. The book offers much-needed conceptual clarity about key building blocks and structures of complex governance architectures, charts detailed directions for new research, and provides analytical groundwork for policy reform.
Book
Full-text available
Experts dominate all facets of global governance, from accounting practices and antitrust regulations to human rights law and environmental conservation. In this study, Ole Jacob Sending encourages a critical interrogation of the role and power of experts by unveiling the politics of the ongoing competition for authority in global governance. Drawing on insights from sociology, political science, and institutional theory, Sending challenges theories centered on particular actors’ authority, whether it is the authority of so-called epistemic communities, the moral authority of advocacy groups, or the rational-legal authority of international organizations. Using in-depth and historically oriented case studies of population and peacebuilding, he demonstrates that authority is not given nor located in any set of particular actors. Rather, continuous competition for recognition as an authority to determine what is to be governed, by whom, and for what purpose shapes global governance in fundamental ways. - See more at: https://www.press.umich.edu/4016693/politics_of_expertise#sthash.uJi9scbu.dpuf
Article
Full-text available
This article analyses discourses on climate change and mitigation through the deconstruction of European Union (EU) rhetoric and practices on climate benchmarking. It critically examines the motivations behind climate benchmarking, the methods used to construct international benchmarks, and the reasons for variety in domestic compliance. Germany and the United Kingdom are analysed as cases where domestic politics drive very different reactions to the practice of climate mitigation, differences that have been largely hidden by the type of quantification that EU benchmarking involves. Through an exploration of the methods used to formulate climate benchmarks, the article demonstrates that these commitments have privileged certain responses over others, and thus helped to paint a picture of EU benchmarks as ‘reformist’ but not ‘radical’. EU climate benchmarks often end up concealing more than they reveal, making it difficult to fully engage with the scale and complexity of the far-reaching domestic changes that are required in order to comply with agreed international benchmarks. The deficiencies of benchmarks as a mechanism for driving long-term sustainable change, and importantly discouraging harmful policies, may ultimately undermine their credibility as a means for governing climate change at a distance in the EU.
Article
Full-text available
In climate change, as in other areas, recent years have produced a 'Cambrian explosion' of transnational institutions, standards, financing arrangements, and programs. As a result, climate governance has become complex, fragmented, and decentralized, operating without central coordination. Most studies of climate governance focus on interstate institutions. In contrast, I map a different realm of climate change governance: the diverse array of transnational schemes. I analyze this emerging system in terms of two theoretical frameworks developed to describe, explain, and evaluate complex governance arrangements- regime complex theory and polycentric governance theory-revealing fruitful avenues for positive and normative research. I conclude by arguing that the benefits of institutional complexity could be increased, and the costs reduced, through nonhierarchical 'orchestration' of climate change governance, in which international organizations or other appropriate authorities support and steer transnational schemes that further global public interests.
Article
Full-text available
Governance responses from the international climate regime have been widely critiqued. But fresh research is revealing that ‘new’ and more dynamic forms of governing are appearing in alternative domains, producing a more polycentric pattern. Some analysts believe that these ‘new’ forms will fill gaps in the regime, but this optimism is based on untested assumptions about their diffusion and performance. We conclude that the advent of more polycentric governance does offer new opportunities to govern climate change, but based on existing empirical research it is far too early to judge whether hopes about the performance of the ‘new’ forms are well founded. More time and vastly more coordinated research efforts are needed to comprehend their full potential; time that is in very short supply in governing climate change.
Article
Full-text available
Global climate governance conducted in settings such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Major Economies Forum, and Group of Twenty (G20) has proven incapable, to date, of generating an effective response. Greenhouse gas emissions have steadily increased since the issue was added to the global agenda in the early 1990s and prospects appear slim for a single, all-encompassing international legal agreement. Outside the formal regime, however, there are signs of dynamism as non-nation state actors engage in a variety of climate governance experiments. Cities, and city-networks such as the C40 Climate Leadership Group, represent important sources of innovation in the broader system of global climate governance: they challenge prevailing norms regarding who should govern climate change, and how coordinated governance responses can be generated. This paper presents a brief history of the C40, and assesses, drawing on ideas from network theory, some of the opportunities and limitations of networked climate governance. Recognizing that cities, and city-networks, exist within a broader multi-level governance context, the paper concludes with some thoughts related to updating Canadian federal climate policy in order to leverage and enable innovative city-network governance initiatives, address gaps in current federal climate policy, and link climate change to other, pressing issues, on the urban agenda.
Article
Full-text available
This article challenges the assumption that the boundaries of state versus non-state and public versus private can readily be drawn. It argues that the roles of actors — as state or non-state — and the forms of authority — public or private — are not pre-given but are forged through the process of governing. Drawing on neo-Gramscian and governmentality perspectives, it suggests that a more dynamic account of the state can offer a more nuanced means of analysing the process of governing global environmental affairs. In order to understand this process and the outcomes of governing climate change, we argue that analysis should focus on the hegemonic projects and programmes through which the objects and subjects of governing are constituted and contested, and through which the form and nature of the state and authority are accomplished. We suggest that this is a process achieved and held in place through ‘forging alignment’ between diverse social and material entities in order to achieve the ‘right disposition of things’ through which the will to govern climate change can be realized (Murray Li, 2007a). We illustrate this argument by examining the governing of climate change in two global cities, London and Los Angeles.
Article
Full-text available
Transnational and global environmental harm present substantial challenges to state-centered (territorial) modalities of accountability and responsibility. The globalization of environmental degradation has triggered regulatory responses at various jurisdictional scales. These governance efforts, featuring various articulations of state and/or private authority, have struggled to address so-called "accountability deficits" in global environmental politics. Yet, it has also become clear that accountability and responsibility norms forged in domestic regulatory contexts cannot simply be transposed across borders.
Article
Full-text available
One of the most pressing problems confronting political scientists today is whether global governance has democratic legitimacy. Drawing on an analysis of the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in 2002, this article advances and empirically deploys an ideal-typical model of a new approach to key areas of global governance—‘stakeholder democracy’. This work is located in the context of the changing practices of global governance, in which concerns about legitimacy, accountability, and participation have gained prominence. Sustainability is an arena in which innovative experiments with new hybrid, pluri-lateral forms of governance, such as stakeholder forums and partnership agreements institutionalizing relations between state and non-state actors, are taking place. A central argument is that sustainability governance imperfectly exemplifies new deliberative stakeholder practices with general democratic potential at the global level. In examining these governance arrangements, we draw together the nascent elements of this new ‘model’, such as its distinctive takes on political representation and accountability.
Article
Full-text available
Accountability is a confusing term, one that readily confounds efforts at precise definition or application. On one hand, its implementation is regarded as a kind of panacea with respect to the need to prevent and, whenever necessary, to punish unethical, illegal, or inappropriate behavior by public officials, corporate executives and nonprofit leaders. The refrain is by now familiar: act against sham deals, accounting tricks, securities fraud, personal use of charitable and public funds, exchange of political favors and monies, and so on. The ‘problematics’ of accountability are accordingly framed in terms that underscore the ever-present risks of deliberate malfeasance perpetrated by individuals acting to aggrandize themselves. The commonly espoused ‘solution’ is predictable: better oversight through tougher regulation, combined with harsh penalties as a deterrent. The magic wand of accountability is similarly seen to be at play in instances of global and state governance, where it is regarded as a supervening force able to promote democracy, justice, and greater human decency through the mechanisms of transparency, benchmarked standards, and enforcement. In recent years, however, the analytical domains of accountability have become so extended that the very precision once conveyed by the concept has become eroded. This has generated widespread concern that the term will become devalued or incapacitated through overuse. ‘Appropriated by a myriad of international donor and academic discourses,’ write Newell and Bellour (2002, p. 2), ‘accountability has become a malleable and often nebulous concept, with connotations that change with the context and agenda.’ © Cambridge University Press 2007 and Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Article
Full-text available
Debates about globalization have centered on calls to improve accountability to limit abuses of power in world politics. How should we think about global accountability in the absence of global democracy? Who should hold whom to account and according to what standards? Thinking clearly about these questions requires recognizing a distinction, evident in theories of accountability at the nation-state level, between “participation” and “delegation” models of accountability. The distinction helps to explain why accountability is so problematic at the global level and to clarify alternative possibilities for pragmatic improvements in accountability mechanisms globally. We identify seven types of accountability mechanisms and consider their applicability to states, NGOs, multilateral organizations, multinational corporations, and transgovernmental networks. By disaggregating the problem in this way, we hope to identify opportunities for improving protections against abuses of power at the global level.
Article
Full-text available
To develop and implement public policy requires work. In this paper, we examine some of the work involved in a pathbreaking climate change policy adopted in Portland, Oregon. Seeking to address shortcomings in existing studies of local environmental governance, we focus particular attention on how climate change became a political priority in Portland, how a particular representation of local carbon dioxide emissions was developed in the process of public consultations, and how the local state attempted to achieve its adopted policy objectives by enlisting the self-governing capacities of its residents. To carry out such an analysis, we draw on both actor-network theory (ANT) and governmentality. The first approach offers an understanding of how collective priorities emerge as different actants learn how to move toward their goals by working together, and also suggests how subjects and objects are reshaped by their enrolment in such configurations. The second approach offers a more precise understanding of how the state attempts to achieve its objectives-once they are established-by conducting the conduct of its citizens. Brought together, we argue, ANT an govern mentality provide an incisive approach to questions of local environmental governance, and to broader political concerns as well. As each approach addresses well-cited shortcomings of the other, the combined approach developed in this paper could be deployed in many studies that examine the emergence of political priorities and the capacity to achieve them.
Article
Full-text available
In climate change, as in other areas, recent years have produced a 'Cambrian explosion' of transnational institutions, standards, financing arrangements, and programs. As a result, climate governance has become complex, fragmented, and decentralized, operating without central coordination. Most studies of climate governance focus on inter state institutions. In contrast, I map a different realm of climate change governance: the diverse array of transnational schemes. I analyze this emerging system in terms of two theoretical frameworks developed to describe, explain, and evaluate complex governance arrangements-regime complex theory and polycentric governance theory-revealing fruitful avenues for positive and normative research. I conclude by arguing that the benefits of institutional complexity could be increased, and the costs reduced, through nonhierarchical 'orchestration' of climate change governance, in which international organizations or other appropriate authorities support and steer transnational schemes that further global public interests.
Chapter
Full-text available
The Human Ecology: Maps as Interest MosaicsThe Emerging Countercoalition
Article
Full-text available
In this article we examine the emergence and implications of transnational climate-change governance. We argue that although the study of transnational relations has recently been renewed alongside a burgeoning interest in issues of global governance, the nature of transnational governance has to date received less attention. We contend that transnational governance occurs when networks operating in the transnational political sphere authoritatively steer constituents toward public goals. In order to stimulate a more systematic study of the diversity and significance of this phenomenon, the article develops a typology based on the actors involved and their authority-public, private, or hybrid-and the primary governance functions performed in order to steer network constituents-information-sharing, capacity building and implementation, or rule-setting. A comparative discussion of transnational governance networks for climate change illustrates each category and the value of the typology in assessing the multiple mechanisms through which transnational governance occurs. In conclusion, we suggest that our typology provides a useful starting point for future research and reflect on the implications for the study of global affairs. (c) 2009 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Article
Full-text available
Nonstate certification programs have formed in the past 20 years to address social and environmental problems associated with production practices in several economic sectors. These programs embody the idea that information disclosure can be a tool for NGOs, investors, governments, and consumers to support high performers and hence, advocates hope, place upward pressure on sector-wide practices. Many unanswered questions remain, however, about information disclosure's practices and outcomes. We compare the use of procedural and outcome transparency in the rule-making and auditing processes of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). We highlight key differences in how transparency relates to accountability and legitimacy of the programs. The MSC uses transparency and stakeholder consultation instrumentally, whereas the FSC treats them as ends unto themselves. This underscores the importance of considering transparency alongside other governance aspects, such as who the eligible stakeholders are and who gets decision-making power. (c) 2010 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Article
Climate change is one of the most challenging issues of our time. As key sites in the production and management of emissions of greenhouse gases, cities will be crucial for the implementation of international agreements and national policies on climate change. This book provides a critical analysis of the role of cities in addressing climate change and the prospects for urban sustainability. Cities and Climate Change is the first in-depth analysis of the role of cities in addressing climate change. The book argues that key challenges concerning the resources and powers of local government, as well as conflicts between local goals for economic development and climate change mitigation, have restricted the level of local action on climate change. These findings have significant implications for the prospects of mitigating climate change and achieving urban sustainability. This book provides a valuable interdisciplinary analysis of these issues, and will appeal to students and researchers interested in sustainability at local and global scales. © 2003 Harriet Bulkeley and Michele M. Betsill. All rights reserved.
Article
Through analysis of transnational municipal networks, such as Metropolis and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Sofie Bouteligier's innovative study examines theories of the network society and global cities from a global ecology perspective. Through direct observation and interviews and using two types of city networks that have been treated separately in the literature, she discovers the structure and logic pertaining to office networks of environmental non-governmental organizations and environmental consultancy firms. In doing so she incisively demonstrates the ways in which cities fulfill the role of strategic sites of global environmental governance, concentrating knowledge, infrastructure, and institutions vital to the function of transnational actors.
Article
This book illustrates the importance of global cities for world politics and highlights the diplomatic connections between cities and global governance. While there is a growing body of literature concerned with explaining the transformations of the international order, little theorisation has taken into account the key metropolises of our time as elements of these revolutions. The volume seeks to fill this gap by demonstrating how global cities have a pervasive agency in contemporary global governance. The bookargues that looking at global cities can bring about three fundamental advantages on traditional IR paradigms. First, it facilitates an eclectic turn towards more nuanced analyses of world politics. Second, it widens the horizon of the discipline through a multiscalar image of global governance. Third, it underscores how global cities have a strategic diplomatic positioning when it comes to core contemporary challenges such as climate change. This book will be of much interest to students of urban studies, global governance, diplomacy and international relations in general.
Article
There is substantial evidence that the global governance of climate change must pass through cities. While formal networks offer cities a means of generating effects that extend beyond their own borders, it remains unclear as to whether such networks can address collective action barriers and implementation gaps. City-networks, after all, are limited in their efforts to govern and must rely on information, service provision, and soft forms of coercion if they are to steer their members past these considerable challenges. This article contributes to extant efforts to assess their ability to do so by addressing two gaps in the literature. First, the article focuses on the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP), a city-network that has received little attention to date. Second, through analysis of two Canadian cities (Toronto and Winnipeg), the article provides an empirical illustration of the limitations of network authority and influence, and offers some thoughts on what this means for networked urban climate governance in Canada and beyond.
Article
A new kind of climate politics is emerging, as national actions prove insufficient to address the changing climate. Subnational actors [mdash] ranging from provinces and cities, to civil sector organizations and private companies [mdash] are acting alongside nation states, making up for lost ground and missed opportunities.
Article
Why do some cities join transnational climate change networks while others do not? This study examines the factors that drive cities' participation in transnational climate change networks, such as the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the Cities for Climate Protection program. Hierarchical analysis of 256 cities in 118 countries suggests that the degree of cities' globalization, or their level of "global cityness," is positively associated with the cities' membership in the global networks. The level of individual cities' integration into the international economy and transportation grid is crucial for sharing ideas of global environmental responsibility. This tendency is found both in global cities of both developing and developed countries. Hierarchical models also suggest that attributes of cities-not country attributes such as democracy, income level, and being an Annex I country under the Kyoto Protocol-account for cities' memberships in transnational networks.
Book
Drawing upon a variety of empirical and theoretical perspectives, The Urban Climate Challengeprovides a hands-on perspective about the political and technical challenges now facing cities and transnational urban networks in the global climate regime. Bringing together experts working in the fields of global environmental governance, urban sustainability and climate change, this volume explores the ways in which cities, transnational urban networks and global policy institutions are repositioning themselves in relation to this changing global policy environment. Focusing on both Northern and Southern experience across the globe, three questions that have strong bearing on the ways in which we understand and assess the changing relationship between cities and global climate system are examined. How are cities repositioning themselves in relation to the global climate regime? How are cities being repositioned – conceptually and epistemologically? Whatare the prospects for crafting policies that can reduce the urban carbon footprint while at the same time building resilience to future climate change? The Urban Climate Challengewill be of interest to scholars of urban climate policy, global environmental governance and climate change. It will be of interest to readers more generally interested in the ways in which cities are now addressing the inter-related challenges of sustainable urban growth and global climate change.
Article
Cities have become crucial actors for the global governance of climate change. Their increased activity in this field is reflected by the rising number of adoptions of local climate strategies in an original sample of 274 European cities from 1992 to 2009. Using event history analysis, I find that this spread is promoted by transnational municipal networks (TMNs) successfully deploying strategies for governance by diffusion, their impact exceeding that of most alternative explanatory factors cited in the literature. Given their capacity to foster the spread of climate policy innovations among cities, TMNs can thus be expected to play a decisive role in a climate governance system that is becoming increasingly fragmented, polycentric, and transnational.
Book
It is increasingly clear that the world of climate politics is no longer confined to the activities of national governments and international negotiations. Critical to this transformation of the politics of climate change has been the emergence of new forms of transnational governance that cut across traditional state-based jurisdictions and operate across public and private divides. This book provides the first comprehensive, cutting-edge account of the world of transnational climate change governance. Co-authored by a team of the world's leading experts in the field and based on a survey of sixty case studies, the book traces the emergence, nature and consequences of this phenomenon, and assesses the implications for the field of global environmental politics. It will prove invaluable for researchers, graduate students and policy makers in climate change, political science, international relations, human geography, sociology and ecological economics. Provides the first comprehensive account of transnational climate change governance Offers three different conceptual lenses through which to examine these issues Will appeal to those seeking to understand the potential and limits of alternative responses to climate change
Article
This study examines how numbers in transnational governance constitute actors, objects, and relationships, including relationships of power. We review the existing literatures on numbers for insights relevant to their role in transnational governance, including the ontology of numbers, the history of numbers and their role in governance. On this basis, we set out the main distinctive ways that numbers are implicated in transnational governance. We conclude that studies of transnational governance would benefit from paying more attention to the much overlooked performative role of numbers in governance processes. Numbers have properties that differ from words, and shifts from one to the other in governance, for instance in the displacement of laws or norms with risk models or rankings based on numbers, have particular effects, including political effects on states, firms, individuals, and other actors and institutions.
Article
In our 2005 paper, Rethinking Sustainable Cities, we made a case for the increasing significance of climate change in the urban politics of sustainability. Taking a multilevel governance perspective, we argued that the ‘urban’ governance of climate protection was not confined to a local arena or to the actions of the state, but rather was orchestrated through the interrelations between global, national and local actors across state/non-state boundaries. We revisit these arguments and examine their validity in the light of the rapidly changing landscape of urban responses to climate change and the growing academic literature in this field. We consider in turn: the ways in which climate change is shaping urban agendas; the utility of multilevel governance perspectives for understanding this phenomenon; and the extent to which we can identify a ‘new’ politics of urban climate change governance and its consequent implications for the development of theory and practice in this field.
Article
Observers often cite transparency as a response to the accountability concerns of global actors, but how disclosure and openness actually affect the behavior of international organizations, transnational corporations, and nation-states remains theoretically and empirically under-specified. This article identifies three forces—market pressure, external discourse, and internal norms—that can have a regulatory effect on global actors who make their actions transparent. It also highlights the limitations of such accountability tools and stresses the need for an accounting actor, typically civil society, to bring them to bear. The article then considers the implications of transparency-based accountability for larger questions of global governance, especially its potential to create the kind of nonterritorial, problem-based polities that scholars have called for to address problems that transcend national boundaries.
Article
With multilateral efforts to mitigate climate change in gridlock, attention has turned to transnational climate governance initiatives, through which sub- and non-state actors seek to reduce greenhouse gases. These initiatives include networks of cities committed to lowering their carbon footprints, voluntary corporate reduction targets and disclosure processes, and many of the rules that govern carbon markets. The paper considers the role of “traditional” actors in world politics—states and intergovernmental organizations—in orchestrating such initiatives. This strategy accounts for nearly a third of transnational climate governance initiatives, we find, and upends the conventional dichotomy between “top down” and “bottom up” solutions to global collective action problems. We develop a theory to explain when states and intergovernmental organizations are likely to engage in orchestration, and we provide initial support for this theory with a new dataset of transnational climate governance initiatives and case studies of two of the most active orchestrators, the World Bank and the United Kingdom.
Article
It is hard to quarrel with Weiss and Wilkinson's argument that deeper investigation of global governance could have big payoffs, and the four “primary pursuits” or research tasks they sketch will interest many scholars in this field. My concern is that while Weiss and Wilkinson nicely describe the importance of these tasks, they offer only cursory suggestions about ways forward when they could do much more. Unlike Weiss and Wilkinson (hereafter W&W), I see a great deal of first rate work being done that speaks directly to issues they raise—how power is exercised globally,2 structures of global authority,3 increasing complexity,4 actor proliferation, and change. The problem, I would argue, is not that scholars are ignoring these issues, but that so much more could and should be done. In this short essay, I build on foundations laid by others to sketch more focused research agendas for global governance scholars in four areas to tackle some of the central questions W&W identify, with particular attention to their laudable interest in change.
Article
Little interest has thus far been paid to the role of cities in world politics. Yet, several are the examples of city-based engagements suggesting an emerging urban presence in international relations. The Climate Leadership Group, despite its recent lineage, is perhaps the most significant case of metropolitan intersection with global governance. To illustrate this I rely on Actor-Network Theory (ANT) to develop a qualitative network analysis of the evolution of the C40 in the past seven years from a limited gathering of municipal leaders to a transnational organisation partnering with the World Bank. Pinpointed on the unfolding of a twin diplomacy/planning approach, the evolution of the C40 can demonstrate the key role of global cities as actors in global environmental politics. These cities have a pivotal part in charting new geographies of climate governance, prompting the rise of subpolitical policymaking arrangements pinpointed on innovative and hybrid connections. Yet, there remains some important rational continuity, in particular with neoliberalism, which ultimately limits the revolutionary potential these cities might have for international relations.
Article
John Gerard Ruggie is Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. For helpful comments, I thank Richard Betts, Edward Mansfield, Jack Snyder, Anders Stephanson, Steve Weber, and Mark Zacher. 1. John J. Mearsheimer, "The False Promise of International Institutions," International Security, Vol. 19, No. 3 (Winter 1994/95), pp. 5-49. 2. Cited in Warren F. Kimball, The Juggler: Franklin Roosevelt as Wartime Statesman (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), p. 96. 3. Ibid., pp. 103-105. 4. Robert C. Hilderbrand, Dumbarton Oaks: The Origins of the United Nations and the Search for Postwar Security (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), p. 65. 5. Ibid., p. 250. 6. The final U.S. proposal in mid-1947—by then probably designed to be rejected by the Soviet Union—advocated a total of 20 ground divisions; 1,250 bombers; 2,250 fighters; 3 battleships; 6 carriers; 15 cruisers; 84 destroyers; and 90 submarines. See D.W. Bowett, United Nations Forces: A Legal Study (New York: Praeger, 1964), pp. 12-18. 7. Cited in Donald Neff, Warriors at Suez (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), p. 365. 8. See Lester B. Pearson, Mike: The Memoirs of the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson, Vol. 2, 1948-1957 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1973), pp. 244-278. 9. George F. Kennan, letter to the editor, Washington Post, November 3, 1956, p. A8. 10. Eisenhower exhibited little awareness of the textbook model of collective security that drove the realists to despair, meaning by his occasional use of the term more generically cooperative, institutionalized approaches to dealing with security problems. See Dwight D. Eisenhower, Waging Peace, 1956-61 (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965). 11. Hans J. Morgenthau, letter to the editor, New York Times, November 13, 1956, p. 36. 12. He felt that all had ended well, however, because "the three 'aggressors' did the exceptional thing of restoring the status quo ante despite the absence of collective military sanctions." Arnold Wolfers, Discord and Collaboration (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1962), p. 187. Wolfers' logic is tortuous, and it also ignores the extensive economic sanctions the United States imposed on Britain. See Diane B. Kunz, The Economic Diplomacy of the Suez Crisis (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991). 13. For a recent rendition of this refrain, see Ted Galen Carpenter, "A New Proliferation Policy," The National Interest, No. 28 (Summer 1992), pp. 63-72. 14. Cited in Robert Endicott Osgood, NATO: The Entangling Alliance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962), p. 220. 15. Mitchell Reiss, Without the Bomb: The Politics of Nonproliferation (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), chap. 1. 16. Thomas W. Graham and A.F. Mullins, "Arms Control, Military Strategy, and Nuclear Proliferation," paper presented at the conference on "Nuclear Deterrence and Global Security in Transition," University of California, Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, La Jolla, Calif., February 21-23, 1991. 17. Michael Howard, "Introduction," in Olav Riste, ed., Western Security: The Formative Years (Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1985), p. 16. In an influential essay published a generation ago, Wolfers pointed out the difference between collective self-defense and fully-fledged collective security systems. Arnold Wolfers, "Collective Defense versus Collective Security," in Wolfers, Discord and Collaboration, pp. 181-204. NATO, to be sure, is an instance of the former, not the latter. It does not follow, however, as realists typically assume, that there is no principled difference between the NATO form of collective self-defense and an old-fashioned alliance. 18. See Anders Stephanson, Kennan and the Art of Foreign Policy (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989), p. 140; David Mayers, George Kennan and the Dilemmas of U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 152-155; and Geir Lundestad, America, Scandinavia, and the Cold War, 1945-1949 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980), pp. 172-173, 188-189. Kennan later recalled favoring a "dumbbell" arrangement, with the European countries cooperating on one side, the United States and Canada on the other, but in which they would have been linked, not by treaty and a permanent U.S. troop presence in Europe, but merely by a U.S.-Canadian guarantee of...
Article
Do requirements for legitimate global governance vary across intergovernmental and non-state governance institutions? The author introduces a framework to address this question that draws attention to the social forces and power dynamics at play in determining what standards of legitimacy apply. Rather than beginning with a focus on democratic legitimacy, which pre-judges what legitimacy requires, the framework posits that what constitutes legitimacy results from an interaction of communities who must accept the authority of the institution with broader legitimating norms and discourses – or social structure – that prevail in the relevant issue area. To illustrate its plausibility, the framework is applied to a comparison of intergovernmental and non-state institutions in the social and environmental issue area: the intergovernmental Kyoto Protocol on climate change and members of the non-state International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling Alliance, an umbrella organization created to develop agreement on ‘best practices’ for its members. Implications of the findings for legitimacy of global economic governance are also explored.
Article
Obra que reconstruye el origen y evolución de las actuales redes transnacionales que, con la utilización de las nuevas tecnologías informativas como recurso organizador y aglutinador, han logrado constituirse en movimientos más o menos presionadores en la defensa de los derechos humanos, de la protección ambiental y de una mayor equidad de género, entre otros.
Article
Purpose – This study aims to analyze city networks as they face the challenges of global warming. It seeks to introduce the notion of “governance from the middle” as an alternative to traditional intergovernmental policy. This is developed by focusing on the particular experiences of the C40 Cities Leadership Group and discussing its prospects and risks. Design/methodology/approach – CCI works with a number of commercial banks, institutional investors, international financial institutions and other capital providers to design financing programmes and source capital. Findings – The C40 Group illustrates some fundamental traits of city networks with a hybrid governance structure, combining traditional public institutional structures with market-based arrangements, organizationally and qualitatively governing from the middle. Critical factors in this dynamic are the use of an external implementing body, providing new organizational opportunities for the network, and the prominence given to an integrated procurement process, which develops incentive structures for action and effectively connects actors at various levels of society. The latter emphasis on market-incentives as a template for action is an innovative governance feature but not the panacea many want. The complex nature of the governance arrangement itself, the structural asymmetries among its members, and the diversified set of issues the network intends to address are all factors that remain to be researched. Originality/value – The study provides new perspectives on the conceptual discussions about governance by introducing the notion of “governance from the middle”. These allow us in turn to continue research about the role of market-arrangements in linking global and local ambitions. This could have a decisive policy impact on climate governance in general.
Article
This paper develops Michel Callon's analysis of the technological economy in two ways. First, the paper is concerned with the way that political activity is framed through the use of a variety of technical devices. Arguing against the view that politics can be located in all forms of social and economic activity, the paper suggests that politics should be regarded as a rather specialist activity that is often directed towards 'anti-political' ends. Second, through a discussion of what the paper terms 'the fragility of metrological regimes' and the 'inventiveness of measurement', the paper argues that measurement and calculation can have the effect of disrupting the frame of politics, and creating a conduit for the cross-contamination of the economic and the political.
Article
This study examines opportunitie s for and obstacles to the mitigation of climate change in US cities using the example of the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) campaign sponsored by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. The CCP experience suggests a number of ways in which municipal governments can control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but also highlights several obstacles that make it dif � cult for local of � cials to do so. First, climate change is generally framed as a global issue. The CCP experience suggests that climate change is most likely to be reframed as a local issue when the preferred policy response (controlling GHG emissions) can be linked to issues (e.g. air quality) already on the local agenda. Secondly, even when local governments recognise that they should do something to control GHG emissions, institutiona l barriers make it dif � cult for municipalitie s to move from political rhetoric to policy action. Finally, it is questionable whether local initiatives can make meaningful contribution s to climate change mitigation in the absence of policy changes at the state and national levels.
Article
Studies of the urban governance of climate change have proliferated over the past decade, as municipalities across the world increasingly place the issue on their agendas and private actors seek to respond to the issue. This review examines the history and development of urban climate governance, the policies and measures that have been put into place, the multilevel governance context in which these are undertaken, and the factors that have structured the posibilities for addressing the issue. It highlights the limits of existing work and the need for future research to provide more comprehensive analyses of the achievements and limitations of urban climate governance. It calls for engagement with alternative theoretical perspectives to understand how climate change is being governed in the city and the implications for urban governance, socioenvironmental justice, and the reconfiguration of political authority.
Article
The rapid growth in carbon disclosure in recent years represents a major success in the struggle to build awareness and action on climate change. The measurement and reporting of carbon missions at the product, facility and organization levels display considerable momentum. The growth of carbon disclosure is the result of three core drivers: regulatory compliance, pressure from on-governmental organizations (NGOs) and managerial information systems intended to facilitate participation in carbon markets, reduce energy costs and manage reputational risks. In this essay, we argue that the strategies pursued by ‘institutional entrepreneurs’ have played a key role in the successful institutionalization of carbon disclosure by bringing together companies, NGOs and government agencies. We argue that the field is drifting toward a more corporate logic, and that while this enhances the diffusion of disclosure, it also weakens it as a tool for driving the substantial cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions needed to address climate change. Our analysis also highlights that building new institutions requires not just discursive strategies to frame issues in a particular way, but also political and economic strategies to construct an organizational coalition and a ‘business model’ for the new institution.
Article
Modern societies have in recent decades seen a destabilization of the traditional governing mechanisms and the advancement of new arrangements of governance. Conspicuously, this has occurred in the private, semi-private and public spheres, and has involved local, regional, national, transnational and global levels within these spheres. We have witnessed changes in the forms and mechanisms of governance by which institutional and organizational societal sectors and spheres are governed, as well as in the location of governance from where command, administration, management and control of societal institutions and spheres are conducted. We have also seen changes in governing capabilities (i.e., the extent to which societal institutions and spheres can, in fact, be steered), as well as in styles of governance (i.e., the processes of decision making and implementation, including the manner in which the organizations involved relate to each other). These shifts tend to have significant consequences for the governability, accountability, responsiveness and legitimacy of governance institutions. These developments have been generating a new and important research object for political science (including international relations). One of the crucial features of these developments is that they concern a diversity of sectors. In order to get a thorough understanding of ‘shifts in governance’, political science needs, and is also likely to adopt, a much stronger multidisciplinary orientation embracing politics, law, public administration, economics and business administration, as well as sociology, geography and history.
Article
This paper outlines the elements of a pluralistic system of accountability with regard to one of the most ambitious institutional innovations in global governance: multisectoral public policy networks. These networks bring together the public sector (governments and international organizations), civil society and business around issues ranging from corruption, climate change and fighting malaria to environmental and labour standards. We argue that multisectoral networks should be embedded in a pluralistic system of accountability making use of a combination of accountability mechanisms on a number of dimensions (actors, process, outcomes). The paper discusses some of the key conceptual, empirical and practical challenges of a ‘learning model’ of accountability in networks.