Climate Change Policy: The Role of the World's Cities

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: F203
Oral Presentation
Avi GOTTLIEB , Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
Climate Change Policy: The Role Of The World's Cities


The community of nations has struggled in vain to shape a coherent and effective modus operandi to reduce the global emissions of greenhouse gases. Rather than advancing toward the modest emissions reduction targeted by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in global emissions.

Concurrently, climate change policies have devolved to non-governmental actors and to sub-national levels, often with far greater effectiveness. Particularly noteworthy is the role of cities around the world in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Already home to over 50% of the world population and routinely major players in the global economy, the world's cities are primary consumers of energy and other natural resources and account for an estimated 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions – a ratio likely to increase dramatically in the future. Moreover, many of the world's cities are acutely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels.

In light of these profound challenges, it is hardly surprising that many cities are vanguards in reducing GHG emissions, increasing energy efficiency, and adapting to the ecological, economic, and social risks of climate change. Hundreds of cities around the world have successfully established and implemented climate action plans with ambitious emission reduction and energy efficiency targets, and many are taking preventive measures to cope with climate change-related risks.

In light of the unparalleled challenges to urban planning and economic, social, and environmental policy posed by climate change, the articulation of a theoretical model that defines the key elements that contribute to the success of climate change policies is of utmost importance. The current study elaborates such a model and tests it empirically by examining several case studies in cities around the world.