A case study of formal multilevel governance coordination to address climate change

Authors: John Armstrong*, Seattle University
Topics: Environment, Energy, Political Geography
Keywords: Climate governance, multilevel governance, climate change policymaking, renewable energy
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The effectiveness of local government climate change policies depends in part on governments’ ability to coordinate with each other regionally. Yet little coordination has occurred beyond network participation and information sharing. Through the lens of multilevel governance, this study investigates how local governments can coordinate successfully on climate policies. It examines voluntary, formal multi-government coordination to enact Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) in California, a significant and impactful policy undertaking that lets local governments control electricity procurement. The study surveys the governance arrangements of all 11 multi-government CCA programs in the state, evaluating their characteristics, financial investments, and governance structures. Three regional areas are examined in-depth through policymaker and stakeholder interviews, media coverage, and decision-making outcomes. The study finds that voluntary, formal multilevel governance coordination can be effective, and that successful coordination is built on task-specific governance arrangements, alignment on core goals, early and far-reaching outreach, and consensus-oriented decision making. Such coordination can help local governments enact burdensome, effective policies together that they may not be able to accomplish on their own.

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