finding 4.6 : key-message-4-6

Urban areas are important sites for policymaking and decision making that shape carbon fluxes and mitigation. However, cities also are constrained by other levels of government, variations in their sources of authority and autonomy, capacity, competing local priorities, and available fiscal resources (high confidence).

This finding is from chapter 4 of Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR2): A Sustained Assessment Report.

Description of evidence base: Thousands of North American cities have joined municipal networks to pursue co-benefits from climate mitigation measures, including benchmarking initiatives. However, many cities do not have authority to dictate fuel sources for their energy supply or for vehicles, nor they do control carbon inputs into products that come into cities. Evidence for Key Finding 6 indicates that municipal carbon emissions mitigation initiatives in the United States vary significantly among states. This variation suggests that state-level policies and characteristics may influence the propensity of cities in their borders (Krause 2011). Jurisdictional barriers that restrict decision making by municipalities may impede change because of a lack of authority over decision making (Tozer 2013).

New information and remaining uncertainties: Cities vary in extent and type of innovation, though the precise motivation lacks sufficient evidence to provide a clear understanding of the factors involved. In addition, each country has different governmental arrangements that affect city autonomy; even within states in the same country, these arrangements may vary.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence: Evidence of the importance of cities is supported by the large proportion of North American anthropogenic carbon emissions (see Key Finding 1). The evidence for the moderated influence over carbon emissions is supported by the mixture of political, economic, and social authority of cities over direct and indirect emissions sources.

This finding was derived from figure P.2: P.2. Likelihood and Confidence Evaluation

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