Table of Contents

Local Climate Change Law

Local Climate Change Law

Environmental Regulation in Cities and Other Localities

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series

Edited by Benjamin J. Richardson

This timely study offers a multi-jurisdictional perspective, featuring international contributors who examine both theoretical and practical dimensions of how localities are addressing climate mitigation and adaptation in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, South Africa and the United States, as well as considering the place of localities in global climate law agreements and transnational networks.

Chapter 3: Local Climate Change Law and Multi-level Governance in North America

Scott Pasternack

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental law, geography, cities, law - academic, environmental law, urban and regional studies, cities


Scott Pasternack* 1. INTRODUCTION As ‘engines of the global economy’, cities consume much of the world’s energy and resources, resulting in numerous greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute significantly to climate change impacts. Ironically, cities are often the most vulnerable to these impacts.1 Fortunately, many cities are responding. They have entered into multi-city agreements, completed GHG emission inventories, adopted GHG reduction targets, pursued innovative green financing, and adopted local laws and policies to meet these commitments. However, given the magnitude of the problem, more is needed.2 Essential to the adoption of local climate change actions has been the interactions among and between different levels of government, various jurisdictions within the same level of government, non-profit organizations, business associations, and community groups. Such multi-level governance (MLG) approaches to climate change are what this conundrum continues to require in order to attain effective solutions. Neither efforts to adopt comprehensive, federal climate change legislation in Canada and the United States – the focus of this chapter – nor efforts to replace or update the Kyoto Protocol3 have yet to succeed. Part 2 of this chapter provides an overview of MLG, and Part 3 offers Canadian and US examples of local climate change actions reflective of such approaches. The views expressed in this chapter are the author’s and do not reflect the policies and positions of the Toronto City Council or the City of Toronto. 1 See Jan Corfee-Morlot et al., Cities, Climate Change and Multilevel Governance, Environmental Working Paper 14 (OECD, 2009) 8, 13. 2...

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