Climatic Change

, Volume 142, Issue 3–4, pp 419–432 | Cite as

Aligning subnational climate actions for the new post-Paris climate regime

  • Angel HsuEmail author
  • Amy J. Weinfurter
  • Kaiyang Xu


The Paris Agreement solidified the participation of subnational governments in global mitigation efforts, continuing the shift towards a polycentric landscape of climate action. Many scholars have suggested that the success of this emergent regime will depend, at least in part, on its ability to integrate climate action from non-state and subnational entities. Vertical alignment, the linking and coordination of policies between different levels of government, and horizontal alignment, the connection of peer cities and regions through networks of transnational climate governance, can help facilitate needed coherence. But, how do multiple actors link or interact at multiple scales and domains? In this article, we develop an analytical framework for examining different modes of vertical and horizontal alignment that subnational actors have employed to address climate change mitigation. We identify key elements in nine case studies of subnational climate action to examine the intersectionalities of alignment mechanisms that catalyze subnational climate actions. The paper concludes with a discussion about how vertical and horizontal alignment pathways overlap, intersect, and exhibit trade-offs.


Climate Policy British Columbia Emission Trading Scheme Climate Action Vertical Alignment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the following: David Albertani, Christophe Nuttall, Kristina Haddad, Qiuping Li, Terry Tamminen, and Denise Welch, R20; Felipe Bittencourt, WayCarbon; Ana Caetano and Weber Coutinho, City of Belo Horizonte; Kathryn Harrison, University of British Columbia; Naomi Swickard, VCS; William Dean and Mark Wenzel, CalEPA; Nesamani Kalandiyur, California Air Resources Board; Bing Han, Yin Lin, and Lavender Luo, China Emission Exchange; Aromar Revi, Indian Institute for Human Settlements; Sarang Shidore, University of Texas; Kartikeya Singh, CSIS; Steve Thorne, Energy Transformations cc/SouthSouthNorth; Sarah Ward, City of Cape Town; and Xiliang Zhang of Tsinghua University. We would also like to thank Sander Chan, German Development Institute, and Oscar Widerberg, University of Amsterdam, for their valuable insights; Stefanie Wnuck, who contributed to this research in an earlier version of this paper; Yale F&ES masters students Allison Khoe and Isabelle Rui; Ryan Thomas for interview assistance; Carlin Rosengarten for editing assistance; and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

Supplementary material

10584_2017_1957_MOESM1_ESM.docx (36 kb)
Table S1 (DOCX 36 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale-NUS CollegeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Yale School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesNew HavenUSA

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