How are European cities planning to respond to climate change? Analysis of local climate plans from 885 urban areas in the EU-28

Reckien et al.

With the Paris Climate Agreement, national governments voted unanimously to respond to the threat of climate change by keeping a

global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius, aiming for 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In highly urbanized areas, like Europe, this target has substantial implications for cities and urban areas—assumedly bearing the bulk of the mitigation responsibility.

This paper reports the state of planning for climate change by collecting and analyzing the availability of climate plans across 885 cities and urban areas of the EU-28, using core cities of Eurostat's Urban Audit.

We developed and employed an analysis framework that classifies local climate plans along the level of integration with other local policy documents, and the spatial dimension. The analysis reveals that there is large diversity in the availability of urban climate plans across Europe with most local climate plans in Central and Northern Europe. Mitigation plans are more numerous than adaptation plans, but mitigation does not always precede adaptation. Mitigation plans are most numerous in Denmark, Germany and Finland; adaptation plans are proportionately many in Denmark and Finland as well. The integration of adaptation and mitigation is country-specific and mainly seen in countries demand their local governments to develop climate plans.

National legislation, city size and international networks are drivers of LCPs across the sample, with climate plans that are developed as part of international networks prevail in Cyprus, Slovenia and Denmark. National legislation such as in France and the United Kingdom make local climate mitigation plans twice more likely and local adaptation plans sic times more likely than in countries that do not impose the development of local climate plans.


The article was published in the Journal of Cleaner Production