Skip to main content
main-content
Top

About this book

Can we sidestep tedious climate policy negotiations and forge a coalition of the willing instead? Many international organizations and scholars hope to spur local climate action by orchestration, indirect and voluntary governance arrangements. Lena Bendlin looks beyond the apparent success of voluntary initiatives using the example of the Covenant of Mayors, often heralded as an exemplary multi-level EU initiative. Five in-depth case studies show why, how, and with what difficulties local governments engage in this voluntary commitment scheme. The analysis identifies durability, intensity, and causality as crucial building blocks for more cautious orchestration theorizing and derives recommendations for appropriate incentives and support at the regional, national, and international level.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
The Paris agreement recognized local governments as crucial contributors to mitigating climate change (Hale 2016). In the years of stalemate within international climate negotiations before 2015, a groundswell of voluntary local climate action raised hopes for an alternative, decentralized approach to global climate governance (Betsill and Rabe 2009; Bulkeley and Kern 2006; Corfee-Morlot et al. 2009). An exemplary attempt by the European Union (EU) to incentivize and coordinate local climate policy is the Covenant of Mayors, the voluntary climate commitment scheme with the largest number of participating municipalities worldwide. More than 7,000 local governments signed the Covenant pledging to achieve the European climate and energy targets.
Lena Bendlin

Chapter 2. Local Governments in European Multi-Level Climate Governance

Abstract
Why is the study of European multi-level governance of particular relevance with regard to decentralized approaches to global climate governance, and why does it require a multi-level governance approach? An approach building exclusively upon intergovernmental relations theory (Betsill and Bulkeley 2006, 142), or upon intergovernmentalist and supranationalist theories of European integration (see e.g. Bieling and Lerch 2006) that focus on single-level interactions (Scharpf 2010), could not capture the complexities of interactions in European climate governance. This chapter scrutinizes the role of local governments in European climate governance and argues that European climate governance entails the need for local climate policy coordination, and that studying the local level is useful in advancing our understanding of governance more broadly.
Lena Bendlin

Chapter 3. Theorizing Orchestration in European Climate Governance

Abstract
As demonstrated above, climate governance in the EU happens in a multi-level system. Here, no single level can achieve its goals alone. All actors are interdependent and have to rely on others’ resources in a continuous process of negotiation that is not simply hierarchical. This raises questions of governability which have been answered differently by scholars depending on the policy fields and actor constellations they focused on.
Lena Bendlin

Chapter 4. Methodological Approach

Abstract
As put forward in the purpose statement (see section 1.1), the value of this research project is instrumental – as opposed to intrinsic – in that it is not “conducted out of pure interest and curiosity in the particular case […] [but] done with a purpose in mind” (Thomas 2011, 98). Its aspiration is to be relevant to both real-world problems and political science, namely the advancement of orchestration theorizing.
Lena Bendlin

Chapter 5. Inter-municipal Coordination in European Local Climate Governance

Zusammenfassung
To date, we know little about the role and potential of inter-municipal associations in climate governance – but they can and do engage in local climate policy coordination. The local level is conceptualized here as consisting of municipalities and their associations (see section 4.2.2). Their scopes of action for climate policy are significantly determined by domestic institutional and political frameworks.
Lena Bendlin

Chapter 6. Analyzing Orchestration in the Covenant of Mayors

Zusammenfassung
The Covenant can be conceptualized as an orchestration arrangement where the CoMO acts as an orchestrator on behalf of the European Commission. Inter-municipal associations that engage as Covenant Coordinators are understood as intermediaries in addressing the actual target actors, namely municipalities. This does not exclude the possibility that participating actors might have a genuine interest in contributing to climate mitigation – especially when their actions are driven by engaged individuals (Hooghe and Marks 2001a, 70). It builds on existing literature on voluntary non-state climate action when it assumes that the participation in a particular scheme or program is most likely motivated by some kind of co-benefits (see 3.1.1).
Lena Bendlin

Chapter 7. Conclusions

Zusammenfassung
The O-I-T-model has been applied to the study of the Covenant of Mayors in order to better understand local contributions to global climate governance within a multi-level governance system. Five case studies on inter-municipal climate policy coordination in Germany and France have exemplified the co-benefits pursued by local governments in voluntary climate action. Their participation within the orchestration arrangement of the Covenant has been shown to be highly selective, and subject to local and national conditions that significantly complicate sustained coordination, namely competing policies and volatile agendas with regard to territorial governance
Lena Bendlin

Backmatter

Additional information