Environmental Regulation in Cities and Other Localities
The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Benjamin J. Richardson
Chapter 7: Climate Governance at the Municipal Level in Canada: A Case Study of Mitigation Efforts in Halifax
Meinhard Doelle and Kaija Belfry Munroe 1. INTRODUCTION National efforts and international leadership on climate change have been lagging behind the level of ambition dictated by science and equity for some time in North America. The 2007 assessment report of the IPCC suggests that a 25–40 percent reduction to 1990 emission levels may be needed from developed countries collectively by 2020 to enable the global community to avoid the worst effects of climate change.1 However, Canada and the United States have pledged to climate mitigation efforts that would see their emissions more or less return to 1990 levels by 2020.2 Many states in the United States and provinces in Canada have responded to this vacuum at the national level with their own climate mitigation strategies, with greatly varying levels of ambition and commitment. Individuals, interest groups and other stakeholders concerned about the lack of progress at international, national and provincial levels have frequently turned to municipal governments. This level of government is often most accessible to individuals and community interest groups but is least able to ensure a coordinated global climate mitigation effort. Nonetheless, municipal governments, at least in some jurisdictions, have shown surprising leadership with regard to climate mitigation. While many municipalities are starting to address both climate mitigation and adaptation, most municipal action has focused on the former.3 Despite 1 For the IPCC’s most recent summary for policy-makers, see The Physical Science Basis, Summary for Policymakers (IPCC, 2007); Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, Summary for Policymakers (IPCC, 2007)...
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