758.5 Same problem, different motivations: A comparison of Quebec City's and Genoa's multiscalar responses to climate change

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 4:45 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Emiliano SCANU , Sociology, Laval University, Quebec City, QC, Canada
Geneviève CLOUTIER , Graduate School of Planning and Regional Development, Laval University, Canada
Cities are becoming key actors in tackling climate change effects. Mitigation and adaptation initiatives relying on multi-scalar perspectives and resources are being planned at the local level. 

Though it is increasingly said that cities can be models of efficiency in this field, there is a need for more accurate knowledge about local administrations’ motivations to integrate adaptation and mitigation objectives to planning. What encourages a city to plan measures in order to adapt its organization to climate change? To what extent is a city involved with other scales of government to mitigate climate change effects at the local level? Local administrations’ practices offer insight on how environment and society interact and on how they respond to the climate crisis.  

In this paper, we report on two cases, in two different contexts, in order to analyse how local institutions aim at taking into account the idea of an ecological rationality in their decisions. The first case presents the adaptation planning process in Quebec City, Canada. The second one concerns a mitigation initiative in Genoa, Italy.

Our first results indicate that the socio-political, cultural and institutional context plays an important role in orienting the decision to integrate either adaptation or mitigation objectives. In Quebec City, the adaptation initiative was essentially motivated by economic goals and a certain local culture of participatory process. In Genoa, the resources the European Union offers to local administrations for mitigation projects, coupled with a strong and interventionist local state explain why and how the city realised its innovative Sustainable Energy Action Plan. In different ways, these two cases illustrate how a variety of stakeholders and scales of government interact when it comes to planning actions to tackle climate change at a local level.