AbstractLittle interest has thus far been paid to the role of cities in world politics. Yet, several are the examples of city-based engagements suggesting an emerging urban presence in international relations. The Climate Leadership Group, despite its recent lineage, is perhaps the most significant case of metropolitan intersection with global governance. To illustrate this I rely on Actor-Network Theory (ANT) to develop a qualitative network analysis of the evolution of the C40 in the past seven years from a limited gathering of municipal leaders to a transnational organisation partnering with the World Bank. Pinpointed on the unfolding of a twin diplomacy/planning approach, the evolution of the C40 can demonstrate the key role of global cities as actors in global environmental politics. These cities have a pivotal part in charting new geographies of climate governance, prompting the rise of subpolitical policymaking arrangements pinpointed on innovative and hybrid connections. Yet, there remains some important rational continuity, in particular with neoliberalism, which ultimately limits the revolutionary potential these cities might have for international relations.
Summary Drawing on the case of the Olympics, and in particular on the role of London in securing, planning and administering the 2012 Summer Games, this article investigates how cities participate in world politics beyond the traditional avenues of the international system. Tracing how the planning of a sporting mega-event has been woven into London's international role as a global 'green' leader, the article seeks to shed some light on the diplomatic role of cities, as well as on how sport has been used in relation to city diplomacy and urban governance. The Olympics offer a unique window on the multi-scalar reach of these subnational authorities, allowing for substantial public diplomacy initiatives. Major cities such as London, as the article argues, can exert a pervasive diplomatic influence, and planning for sporting events can extend their capacity to link 'city diplomacy' with tangible impacts on everyday lives.