Existing research has increasingly identified synergies and trade-offs between urban climate change mitigation and adaptation policies. There is a gap, however, in our knowledge of the extent to which urban climate change mitigation efforts affect the adoption of adaptation policies. Analysing the presence of different levels of climate change mitigation efforts in European cities, while also considering local climate risks and national adaptation mandates, our results show a positive and significant correlation between mitigation and adaptation policies. This is partly a result of the perceptions and discourses linking global and local climate risks, and partly a consequence of the co-benefits of the two activities at the local level, which enable cities to piggyback on their prior mitigation efforts when adopting adaptation policies. A conceptual ‘mitigation-adaptation nexus’ governance framework is adopted to improve the current synergy versus conflict debate. Multilevel logit regression analyses of 261 European cities, controlling for both city- and country-level factors, suggest that adaptation is positively influenced in cities with mitigation action policies with monitoring systems, rather than mere mitigation commitments. We also find that national mandates drive local adoption of adaptation policies. Key policy insights The mitigation-adaptation nexus approach enables cities to regard climate change policies not as single-dimensional, but as comprehensive capacity building efforts. Cities committed to actual progress on mitigation policy (i.e. with a monitoring system in place) are more likely to adopt adaptation policies. Cities are driven to join municipal adaptation networks on the basis of their established mitigation policies rather than local climate risk profiles. National adaptation mandates have an important influence on local climate planning.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Atmospheric Science
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law