24 - Forming networks, enabling leaders, financing action: the Cities for Climate Protection™ campaign  pp. 383-398

Forming networks, enabling leaders, financing action: the Cities for Climate Protection™ campaign

By Abby Young

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Local governments are well placed to get to the nub of the [climate] problem in a way that global treaties and carbon trading can never achieve. They can get the message across to the residents, shopkeepers and drivers of the world that efficient, cheap-to-run homes, fridges, cars and so on can improve their quality of life while helping a global cause. … It's refreshing to see that bottom-up local action still has an important part to play in tackling climate change. Power to the people indeed!

Jim Gillon (2004)

Local governments have been the leading champions for climate protection in the United States for over a decade. While not funded or mandated by higher levels of government to do so, local governments have taken on the burden of reducing their communities' contribution to global warming. What motivates this action? In over ten years of working with local governments on climate protection planning, ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability has identified common factors that facilitate local action. These include the presence of a local champion, positive effects on the financial bottom line, and supportive networks of local governments across the country making the same commitments and taking similar actions. The campaign is introduced in the section below, while these key factors are discussed in the remainder of the chapter. Observations from what has worked in these local communities hold valuable practical lessons for communication and social change.

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