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Assessment of climate change mitigation policies in 315 cities in the Covenant of Mayors initiative

Abstract: 

The Paris agreement recognises the key role of local authorities in reaching the 1,5 °C target. The Covenant of Mayors (CoM) has been an unprecedented phenomenon in the arena of transnational initiatives in climate action at local level. The initiative has expanded tremendously over the past 10 years, covering more than 9 600 local authorities and 327 million inhabitants as of June 2019. This study analyses policies and measures adopted and implemented by local authorities, signatories to the CoM, as reported in their Monitoring Emission Inventories (MEI). More than 12 000 policies reported in 315 MEIs have been assessed. The policies adopted in municipalities across Europe have been classified according to two criteria: (1) the type of policy tool and (2) the field of action. The aggregated policies have then be correlated with the grouping of signatories according to three 'contextual' drivers. The contextual drivers allow identifying the factors that may influence the distribution of climate and energy policies and successful examples and methodologies that may be replicated in other cities with comparable characteristics and similar contexts. Overall, results show that the most common policies cover municipal assets and structures. The policies adopted by local governments do change with the population and, therefore, the focus on municipal assets changes with the increase of population, while local authorities’ Gross Domestic Products and climatic conditions have limited influence on the selection and distribution of policies in the framework of this study.