Today, more than 8,000 cities and municipalities in 128 countries are taking action to address climate change.Footnote 1 To share information, build capacity and spread best practices, these cities participate in transnational governance networks – cross-border alliances which rely on voluntary cooperation among members.Footnote 2 By providing an evidence base for decision makers and establishing peer-to-peer learning mechanisms, these networks have the potential to enable city-level climate action.Footnote 3 However, research indicates that, as a result of limited mitigation ambition and weak monitoring processes, transnational city networks may make a less significant contribution to global climate governance than is generally assumed.Footnote 4 Even so, supporters of urban climate action argue that cities can and should play a central role in addressing climate change.Footnote 5 Jolene Lin’s Governing Climate Change: Global Cities and Transnational Lawmaking adds to the debate on whether cities and their transnational governance networks help in addressing climate change. Answering in the affirmative, Lin argues that city networks spread practices and voluntary standards, which eventually develop into ‘norms’ – reference points of appropriate behaviour which possess ‘a quality of “oughtness” that sets them apart from other kinds of rules’ (p. 127). Referring to these norms as ‘urban climate law’ (p. 128), Lin concludes that they positively contribute to global climate governance by complementing and reinforcing the international climate regime that has evolved under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)Footnote 6 (pp. 150–8).
Mai, L. (2019). Book Review: Governing Climate Change: Global Cities and Transnational Lawmaking, Transnational Environmental Law, 8(1), 193-197. doi:10.1017/S2047102519000013