Understanding how and why cities engage with climate policy: an analysis of local climate action in Spain and Italy
Cities significantly contribute to climate change and at the same time have governance capacity to act efficiently in the field s of mitigation and adaptation. Their capacity is being increasi ngly recognized by international institutions and has been pointed out as crucial i n the multi-level government scenario of the European Union (EU). Addressing the ch allenges of climate change at urban level is a complex issue w hich requires a holistic approach to strategic urban planning. Unders tanding why and how cities start action can help to identify th e barriers they face when addressing climate change, and how national government s, regions and international bodi es can support local authoriti es in their climate fight. This work aims to contribute to the provision of the knowledge needed to gain a better and deeper insight into u rban climate action. The study investigates the state-of -the-art of urban climate plans in Spain and Italy, two countries which share simila rities on many levels (i.e. cultural, geographical, climate vulnerabilities, urban configurations and institutional framework). The research a nalyses cities that are included in the Eurostat Urban Audit (U A), 26 in Spain and 32 in Italy, focusing on the actions taken by large and medium m unicipalities in reducing their contribution to climate change and becoming mo re resilient to changing weather patterns. The results of the a nalysis show a trend towards increasing awarene ss of climate mitigation (highly focused on ener gy efficiency and the promotion of cleaner ener gy sources), while adaptation remains a local policy area in its infancy in both countries. The study also identifies the beneficial influen ce of national and international climate city networks.