Regional climate change policies: An analysis of commitments, policy instruments and targets

Author/s Giulia Gadani, Ibon Galarraga, Elisa Sainz de Murieta
Publishing Year 2020 Issue 2019/2 Language English
Pages 26 P. 49-74 File size 296 KB
DOI 10.3280/EFE2019-002003
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

Regional governments represent an increasingly relevant component in climate change policies, which showcase a high interest in the climate change sphere and provide several benefits connected with their governance. This study aims to shed light on this scale of governance by describing the climate change policies of 61 regions from all over the world and by analysing the possible connections between the regional environmental policy instruments and the level of mitigation and adaptation commitment. The results show that the regional governments of this work appear to be an active component in climate policy, since they all have their own GHG emission reduction targets, devise their own climate policies and instruments and participate in international climate networks. All regions have reported mitigation and adaptation commitments, with different levels of ambition. In addition, it is observable that while some regions (mainly the North) focus mostly on mitigation targets, other (the South) focus on adaptation. Finally, there does not seem to be a connection between the level of climate commitment and the preference for some policy instruments.

Keywords: Climate change governance, regional climate change policy, climate change commitment, mitigation, adaptation

Jel codes: Q54, R11, Q58

  1. Wolkinger B., Steininger K. W., Damm A., Schleicher S., Tuerk A., Grossman W., … Steiner D. (2012). Implementing Europe’s climate targets at the reg
  2. Abbott K. W. (2017). Orchestration: Strategic Ordering in Polycentric Climate Governance. SSRN Electronic Journal.
  3. Abeygunawardena P., Vyas Y., Knill P., Foy T., Harrold M., Steele P., … Sperling F. (2009). Poverty and climate change: Reducing the vulnerability of the poor through adaptation. World Bank working paper, N. 52176. Washington, DC: World Bank. Available at: -- Adger W. N. (2001). Scales of governance and environmental justice for adaptation and mitigation of climate change. Journal of International Development, 13(7): 921-931.
  4. Andonova L. B., Hale T. N., Roger C. B. (2017). National Policy and Transnational Governance of Climate Change: Substitutes or Complements? International Studies Quarterly, 61(2): 253-268.
  5. Averchenkova A., Bassi S. (2016). Beyond the targets: Assessing the political credibility of pledges for the Paris Agreement. London: Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  6. Bernstein S., Hoffmann M. (2018). The politics of decarbonization and the catalytic impact of subnational climate experiments. Policy Sciences, 51(2): 189-211.
  7. Byrne J., Hughes K., Rickerson W., Kurdgelashvili L. (2007). American policy conflict in the greenhouse: Divergent trends in federal, regional, state, and local green energy and climate change policy. Energy Policy, 35(9): 4555-4573.
  8. Casado-Asensio J., Steurer R. (2016). Mitigating climate change in a federal country committed to the Kyoto Protocol: How Swiss federalism further complicated an already complex
  9. challenge. Policy Sciences, 49(3): 257-279.
  10. Chan S., Asselt H., Hale T., Abbott K. W., Beisheim M., Hoffmann M., … Widerberg O. (2015). Reinvigorating International Climate Policy: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Nonstate Action. Global Policy, 6(4): 466-473. DOI: 10.1111/1758-5899.12294
  11. Chan S., Boran I., van Asselt H., Iacobuta G., Niles N., Rietig K., … Wambugu G. (2019). Promises and risks of nonstate action in climate and sustainability governance. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 10(3): e572.
  12. Dorsch M. J., Flachsland C. (2017). A Polycentric Approach to Global Climate Governance. Global Environmental Politics, 17(2): 45-64.
  13. Engel K. H., Orbach B. Y. (2008). Micro-Motives and State and Local Climate Change Initiatives. Harvard Law & Policy Review, 2: 119-137. Available at --
  14. Galarraga I., Gonzalez-Eguino M., Markandya A. (2011). The Role of Regional Governments in Climate Change Policy. Environmental Policy and Governance, 21(3): 164-182.
  15. Galarraga I., Sainz de Murieta E., França J. (2017). Climate policy at the sub-national level. In Averchenkova A., Fankhauser S. and Nachmany M (eds.). Trends in Climate Change Legislation. Cheltenham (UK) and Northampton (USA): Edward Elgar Publishing. DOI: 10.4337/9781786435781.00018
  16. Goulder L., Stavins R. (2010). Interactions between State and Federal Climate Change Policies. NBER Working paper series, N. 16123. Cambridge: NBER.
  17. Happaerts S. (2015). Climate governance in federal Belgium: Modest subnational policies in a complex multi-level setting. Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences, 12(4): 285-301. DOI: 10.1080/1943815X.2015.1093508
  18. Hoffmann M. J. (2011). Climate Governance at the Crossroads. Oxford: Oxford scholarship online.
  19. Hsu A., Widerberg O., Chan S., Roelfsema M., Lütkehermöller K., Bakhtiari F. (2019). Bridging the emissions gap – The role of nonstate and subnational actors. UN Environment Synthesis Report. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme. Available at: -- Hsu A., Moffat A. S., Weinfurter A. J., Schwartz J. D. (2015). Towards a new climate diplomacy.
  20. Nature Climate Change, 5(6): 501-503.
  21. Last access 27.1.2020.
  22. Last access 25.1.2020.
  23. Last access 25.1.2020.
  24. Last access 28.1.2020.
  25. Last access 25.1.2020.
  26. Last access 29.1.2020.
  27. Last access 25.1.2020.
  28. Last access 16.11.2019.
  29. Last access 15.10.2019.
  30. Last access 16.11.2019.
  31. Last access 26.1.2020.
  32. Last access 27.1.2020.
  33. Last access 26.1.2020.
  34. Last access 27.1.2020.
  35. Last access 26.1.2020.
  36. Last access 26.1.2020.
  37. Last access 26.1.2020.
  38. Last access 26.1.2020.
  39. Last access 26.1.2020.
  40. Last access 25.1.2020.
  41. Last access 26.1.2020.
  43. Last access 4.10.2019.
  44. Kates R. W., Wilbanks T. J. (2003). Making the Global Local Responding to Climate Change Concerns from the Ground. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 45(3): 12-23. DOI: 10.1080/00139150309604534
  45. Keskitalo E., Juhola S., Baron N., Fyhn H., Klein J. (2016). Implementing Local Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Actions: The Role of Various Policy Instruments in a Multi-Level Governance Context. Climate, 4(1): 7.
  46. Knill C. (2005). Introduction: Cross-national policy convergence: concepts, approaches and explanatory factors. Journal of European Public Policy, 12(5): 764-774.
  47. 10.1080/13501760500161332. Lenschow A., Liefferink D., Veenman S. (2005). When the birds sing. A framework for analysing domestic factors behind policy convergence. Journal of European Public Policy, 12(5): 797-816. DOI: 10.1080/13501760500161373
  48. Liargovas P., Apostolopoulos N. (2014). A new Europe 2020 strategy adopting an enhanced regional approach. Planning Theory & Practice, 15(4): 603-605. DOI: 10.1080/14649357.2014.968009
  49. Markandya A., Watkiss P. (2009). Potential costs and benefits of adaptation options: A review of existing literature. UNFCCC technical paper, N. FCCC/TP/2009/2. New York: UNFCCC. Available at --
  50. Matthes F. C. (2010). Greenhouse gas emissions trading and complementary policies – Developing a smart mix for ambitious climate policies. Berlin: Oko-Institut. Available at: --
  51. Mazzanti M. (2018). Eco-innovation and sustainability: Dynamic trends, geography and policies. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 61(11): 1851-1860. DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2018.1486290
  52. Mcewen N., Bomberg E. (2014). Sub-state Climate Pioneers: The Case of Scotland. Regional & Federal Studies, 24(1): 63-85. DOI: 10.1080/13597566.2013.820182
  53. Nachmany M., Fankhauser S., Davidovà J., Kingsmill N., Landesman T., Roppongi H., Townshend T. (2015). The 2015 Global Climate Legislation Study – A Review of Climate Change Legislation in 99 Countries. London: Grant ham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, Globe and Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU). Available at --
  54. NewClimate Institute, Data-Driven Lab, PBL, German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Blavatnik School of Government, and University of Oxford (2019). Global climate action from cities, regions and businesses: Impact of individual actors and cooperative initiatives on global and national emissions. Available at: --
  55. OECD (2010), Climate Change: Helping Poor Countries to Adapt. In: OECD (eds.). Development
  56. Co-operation Report 2010. Paris: OECD Publishing.
  57. (eds.). Energy and American Society – Thirteen Myths. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. DOI: 10.1007/1-4020-5564-1_14
  58. OECD (2017). Designing Carbon Pricing Instruments for Ambitious Climate Policy. Carbon Market Platform – 2nd Strategic Dialogue, Rome. Available at:
  59. Olazabal M., Galarraga I., Ford J., Sainz De Murieta E., Lesnikowski A. (2019). Are local climate adaptation policies credible? A conceptual and operational assessment framework. International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, 11(3): 277-296. DOI: 10.1080/19463138.2019.1583234
  60. Ostrom E. (2009). A Polycentric Approach for Coping with Climate Change. Policy Research Working Papers, WPS5095. Washington, DC: The World Bank. DOI: 10.1596/1813-9450-5095
  61. Rayner S. (2010). How to eat an elephant: A bottom-up approach to climate policy. Climate Policy, 10(6): 615-621.
  62. Royles E., Mcewen N. (2015). Empowered for action? Capacities and constraints in sub-state government climate action in Scotland and Wales. Environmental Politics, 24(6): 1034-1054. DOI: 10.1080/09644016.2015.1053726
  63. Sainz de Murieta E., Galarraga I., Markandya A. (2014). An Introduction to the Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change. In: Markandya A., Galarraga I. and Sainz de Murieta E. (eds.). Routledge Handbook of the Economics of Climate Change Adaptation. Abingdon: Routledge.
  64. Schreurs M. A. (2008). From the Bottom Up: Local and Subnational Climate Change Politics. The Journal of Environment & Development, 17(4): 343-355. DOI: 10.1177/1070496508326432
  65. Selin H., Vandeveer S. D. (2005). Canadian-U.S. Environmental Cooperation: Climate Change Networks and Regional Action. American Review of Canadian Studies, 35(2): 353–378. DOI: 10.1080/02722010509481376
  66. Shogren J. (2012). Behavioural Economics and Environmental Incentives. OECD Environment Working Papers N. 49. Paris: OECD publishing.
  67. Sovacool B. K. (2008). The best of both worlds: Environmental federalism and the need for federal action on renewable energy and climate change. Stanford Environmental Law Journal, 27: 397-476.
  68. Sovacool B. K., Brown M. A. (2009). Scaling the policy response to climate change. Policy and Society, 27(4): 317-328.
  69. Stead D. (2018). Policy preferences and the diversity of instrument choice for mitigating climate change impacts in the transport sector. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 61(14): 2445-2467. DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2017.1397505
  70. Steurer R., Clar C. (2015). Is decentralisation always good for climate change mitigation? How federalism has complicated the greening of building policies in Austria. Policy Sciences, 48(1): 85-107.
  71. Steurer R., Clar C., Casado‐Asensio J. (2019). Climate change mitigation in Austria and Switzerland: The pitfalls of federalism in greening decentralized building policies. Natural Resources Forum. DOI: 10.1111/1477-8947.12166
  72. Termeer C., Dewulf A., van Rijswick H., van Buuren A., Huitema D., Meijerink S., … Wiering M. (2011). The regional governance of climate adaptation: A framework for developing legitimate, effective, and resilient governance arrangements. Climate Law, 2: 159-179. DOI: 10.3233/CL-2011-032
  73. Trisolini K. (2010). All hands on deck: Local governments and the potential for bidirectional climate change regulation. Stanford Law Review, 62(3): 669-746. Available at --
  74. Wilbanks T. J. (2007). Energy Myth Thirteen – Developing Countries are not Doing Their Part in Responding to Concerns About Climate Change. In: Sovacool B. K., Brown M. A.

Giulia Gadani, Ibon Galarraga, Elisa Sainz de Murieta, Regional climate change policies: An analysis of commitments, policy instruments and targets in "ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT" 2/2019, pp 49-74, DOI: 10.3280/EFE2019-002003