Bridging the Gap Between the Local and the Global Scale? Taming the Wicked Problem of Climate Change Through Trans-Local Governance

  • Jörg KemmerzellEmail author
Part of the Comparative Territorial Politics book series (COMPTPOL)


Cities and urban regions are not only the main originators of global climate change but particularly “incubators” of developments towards low-carbon-transitions. Notably in Europe, local climate policies are increasingly embedded in a dense structure of vertical and horizontal multilevel governance arrangements. Scholarship on cities and climate change ascribes two essential functions to multilevel activities: first, to bridge the trans-boundary and multi-scalar nature of climate change action; and secondly, to facilitate learning from best practice. However, local actors have the difficult task to explain publicly why a particular contribution of a city is necessary in order to tackle the wicked problem of global climate change. Kemmerzell argues that cities are particularly affected by the consequences of wickedness. Therefore, local actors need to embed climate policies within broader strategic settings. Based on research on the German cities Frankfurt, Munich, and Stuttgart, the chapter identifies and applies four mechanisms which trace the impact of trans-local action on local climate policy.


Climate change Mechanisms Multilevel governance Trans-local action Urban politics Wicked problems 



I am greatly indebted to my longstanding friends and colleagues Bettina Petersohn and Jared Sonnicksen for useful comments and suggestions on the first draft of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Technische Universität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany

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