How to Translate International Climate Lessons into Local Climate Action

Climate change is a world problem with local solutions. As countries around the globe are gearing up for the UN Climate Change Conference this December in Paris, many nations are looking across borders to identify viable climate solutions.

This cross-country exchange of information and ideas about combating climate change is the project of a newly formed German organization, Climate Dialogue, which seeks to identify ways to implement successful climate change action in both cities and nations. The scope of the project is international, yet many of the lessons learned can be applied to municipalities throughout the United States.

One key take away is that national support is critical. Municipalities can make progress alone, but political and financial support from the national government is a significant help. Second, initiating benchmarks, rewards, or competition can boost climate action. Such incentives require cities to measure progress, and provide the ability to publicize successes when climate targets are hit. These and other valuable lessons provide city leaders a helpful guide for considering how to advance climate solutions in their city.

Mayors and city leaders throughout the U.S. can learn valuable lessons from one another, and from abroad. Organizations that help spread the word on climate successes, provide resources to engage with constituents, and connect leaders to take effective climate action are pivotal facilitators towards the Path to Positive.  

How can municipal governments take action on climate change? Some lessons from Europe

By Kaj Fischer | City Metric | September 21, 2015

While the financial support for climate action seems to be improving, resources to take effective measures at local level remain limited – even in some of the most advanced countries. Under these conditions, many countries are relying on ambitious local communities to implement climate activities at local levels, without waiting for change at national or global levels.

Comparing such initiatives from different countries reveals that such programmes often face very similar challenges – and reveals important lessons about how best to set up a pioneer programme.

The insights presented below are based on exchanges among practitioners and programme coordinators, organised by the project Climate Dialogue on behalf of the federal German environment ministry. Experts discussed examples from Sweden, Norway and Germany.

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