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Better City Network Data Empowers Climate Action from Below

RESEARCH Working Paper by Benjamin Leffel and Michele Acuto
COP27 in Egypt

Cities are key actors in the fight against climate change. Progress made in data collection on city involvement in global governance is crucial to their success.

The impact of cities fighting climate change is becoming more visible and ever better documented as local leaders progressively step up their commitment to tackling one of the planet's deepest crises. Crucial to this story is progress over the past decade made in data collection on city involvement in global governance. 

Environmentally-focused city networks have grown to become crucial collective action mechanisms by which member cities share knowledge and other resources, and access multilateral funding and legitimacy. 

But do these networks help facilitate the all-important outcome of decarbonization, or the actual reductions of urban GHG emissions? Advances in data collection have allowed this working paper's authors, Senior Nonresident Fellow Michele Acuto and Benjamin Leffel, to demonstrate in a recent study that on a global scale, more concurrent city membership in environmental city networks indeed are associated with greater urban GHG emission reductions. 

About the Authors
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Michigan
Ben Leffel headshot
Benjamin Leffel is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan. He is a recognized voice in subnational diplomacy, the roles of global cities and corporations in climate change governance, city networks and global governance.
Ben Leffel headshot
Michele Acuto
Former Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global Cities
Council expert Michele Acuto
Michele Acuto is director of the Melbourne Centre for Cities and professor of global urban politics at the University of Melbourne, where he also serves as associate dean (research) in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. He is a recognized voice on the intersection between international affairs and urban governance, with extensive work on questions of urban health, waste management, nighttime economy, and city networks.
Council expert Michele Acuto